The biggest point of difference you are underselling

If you are like most business owners your biggest point of difference comes not from what you do or even how you do it, it comes from what you know.

The knowledge you have around your industry, products and services, your customers needs, problems and challenges, the lessons you’ve learnt and the formulas, templates, processes and systems you’ve created based on your knowledge and experience is all extremely valuable. 

What’s more it could be what influences a potential customer in doing business with you over your competitors. Yet most of us undersell it. 

So if by chance you are underselling your knowledge, here are four reasons why you should stop doubting and start sharing.

1. Your industry knowledge isn’t “common sense”

When something comes easy to you, it can be easy to think that it comes easy to everyone else too – but it doesn’t. The truth is you have distinct skills and knowledge that most people will never have. Even the most researched customers won’t come close to what you know.

2. You may share the same expertise, but not the same experience

While you may feel that the industry knowledge you have isn’t unique, that it is shared by anyone working in your industry, your experience is. The experience you have gained from working in your industry day in and day out can’t be replicated.

No one has been exactly where you are today. They haven’t had the same life experiences, the same customers, learned the same business lessons, or had the same setbacks and wins. You are far more knowledgeable than you realise.

3. Your explanation and application could be just what someone needs

Each of us respond better to particular communication and learning styles and build rapport quicker with specific personalities. 

While you may not be the most knowledgeable person in your industry – or even close at this stage, how you explain, implement or package your knowledge could be what spurs a customer or potential customer to finally take action on something they have “heard a hundred times” before.

4. Every great expert started as an amateur

Remember that every great expert and every successful entrepreneur and business leader started out as an amateur. The only difference is they kept learning, growing and sharing what they knew with their staff, customers and the world.

Are you underselling yourself?


How to give people a “good feeling” about you

Like it or loathe it intuition and having a “good feeling” about someone or something can greatly impact our business decisions and the purchase decisions of our customers and potential customers.

So how do you ensure you are giving out the right vibe when you are talking to people? Here are five tips to help you give people a “good feeling” about you.

1. Be confident, friendly and approachable

People are naturally drawn to warm people and are more likely to listen to confident people, that is why being confident, friendly and approachable is the rapport building trifecta. 

Not only will you be more likeable, people will feel more relaxed around you, respect your opinions and be more inclined to follow you, leaving you smiling all the way to the bank.

2. Be an expert in your industry

When you are an expert in your field, and know your products and services intimately you give better explanations, presentations, infomercials and pitches and answer those tricky questions and objections quickly and powerfully.

Nothing gives a customer or potential customer more confidence than having all of their questions answered or hearing someone knowledgeable share insight that will help them in their life or business.

3. Add value

Instead of seeing what you can get out of each person you meet, focus on how you can add value. By adding value you prove your value and your potential customers guards naturally come down. 

With this approach potential customers will not only be more receptive to what you have to say, they will open up to you, making it easier to convert sales and build profitable relationships.

4. Ask questions and listen carefully

Asking the right questions and listening closely to the answers can be incredibly powerful. You can establish rapport, showcase your knowledge, increase credibility, uncover needs, and build relationships.

The more targeted and intelligent your questions are, the better the answers you receive and the easier it is to find even more ways to add value.

5. Never underestimate the power of your body language

Often the “feeling” someone will have about you will come more from what you are not saying. While you may be a smooth talker, if your body language doesn’t support what you are saying, people will question your authenticity.

If a person can’t maintain eye contact with you, covers their mouth a lot when they speak, is fidgety or seems uncomfortable, leans back and crosses their arms, or frowns a lot, chances are you are going to walk away from the meeting and not have a great feeling about the person you were talking to or how the meeting went.

However, if you are meeting with someone who maintains eye contact, faces towards you and leans in, smiles, nods and is open and animated, you will naturally warm to them.

Next time you are talking to someone ask yourself “what is my body language saying about me and is it matching my message?”

Do you use your intuition in making business decisions? What gives you a “good feeling” about someone?


Knowing when to walk away

In business we often come across opportunities, people, businesses, ideas and situations that look promising and profitable. 

While some can certainly meet and even exceed our expectations, every now and again one can hand us a confronting dose of reality that can result in hard decisions and the possibility of cutting all ties. 
But how do you know when to stop or when to try harder? Here are five checks to put in place so you know when it’s time to walk away in business.

1. Know what you stand for 

Know who you are and what you stand for both personally and professionally. Also know what your business and brand stands for, beyond just making sales or profits.
What boundaries do you want to set around the way you work? What behaviour is acceptable and not acceptable from you, your staff, your customers, suppliers and associates? What lines are you comfortable with crossing in business and what lines will you never cross? 
By establishing what you do and don’t stand for and what you will and won’t tolerate you make it easier to identify when you need to take action to prevent a situation from escalating, or when you need to cut your losses and walk away.

2. Be committed to win/win

Any business arrangement you enter into should  be win/win, and equally win/win at that. If it isn’t steps need to be taken to rectify it in order to create a mutually beneficial arrangement.
To guard against possible resentment and relationship breakdowns, you need to regularly evaluate your working relationships and maintain open communication to make sure all parties are getting what they want and need.
Sometimes in relationships one party ends up giving more at times, the key is to be aware of it and manage it to ensure it balances out. If it still continues to be win/lose than it might be time to lose the relationship.

3. Keep your emotions in check

Emotions influence and impact every decision we make. For this reason it is important to be mindful about how they may be motivating or fuelling your thoughts and actions through crucial situations and circumstances.
Whatever you are dealing with examine your thought process, are you making rational arguments? Are you calm or highly emotional? Are you looking at the facts or at the hypothetical? Often some time and space from the situation can be enough for you to think a little more rationally and logically.

4. Listen to your intuition 

Our subconscious mind takes in far more information than we can consciously process and can often give us little clues through our intuition to help us in our decision-making.

While we can’t recall all of the information, we will often get a ‘feeling’ that something is not quite right. Listen to it; you get this for a reason. Find out more information to evaluate the opportunity, person, business or idea properly if needed and make the decision that gives you the most peace.

5. Know your value

In order to avoid resentful and difficult situations you need to be clear on the value of your time and expertise. What you do, what you know and even who you know is valuable. 
If you want to know how valuable, work out what it would cost to hire someone else to do everything you do at your level. You will soon see just how much your time is worth and how valuable your knowledge and skills really are.
Once you know your value set your price and stick to it. As tempting as it can be to chase, discount and say, “yes” to the money, it can come at a cost and sometimes even a loss to your business. 
By knowing what you are worth and what you want to command you will be able to sort the good opportunities from the bad or the costly, and move away from those who don’t value you faster.
How do you decide it is time to walk away in business?


Three ways to gain more clarity in business

Every minute of every day our brains are filled with thoughts, from client deadlines, to-do’s, calls, meetings, appointments and ideas, to errands, the friends we need to call, the family commitments we have for the week, the things we’ve forgotten to do but still need to do, and on it goes.

With so much action going on all the time, it can become almost impossible to focus on the task at hand. To help you be more clear and precise, here are three ways to gain more clarity in business.

1. Go back to basics

It is easy to get distracted in business. From the regular interruptions of phone, email and social media, to watching what competitors are doing, listening to every bit of customer feedback and innovating products and services to meet market demand and grow, we can lose sight of what we want to achieve in the day, week, month, year and beyond. 

When this happens it’s important to go back to basics. Look at the key markets you are targeting. Have they changed or do they need to change? Profile your current and ideal customers, remembering that your market should be an inch wide (targeted and specific) and a mile deep (lots of interested customers).

Then look over your points of difference, your key messages, your brand positioning, your business SWOT, the ‘why’ you do what you do and what you want to achieve. These business and marketing basics will give you more clarity on your business and help you establish the direction you want and need to take.

2. Simplify

By over complicating tasks and processes, failing to reduce wastes and inefficiencies and refusing to give up control and delegate or outsource, we leave ourselves bogged down in task overload and unable to see beyond our own to-do list.

With complication being the enemy of clarity and creativity, look to simplify. As you go about your day always be asking, “Is there any easier or quicker way to be doing this?” By simplifying, you’ll reduce the time and money spent, and give yourself more brainpower to prioritise and focus on what you really need to be doing.

3. Purge your thoughts

If you are becoming increasingly distracted by thoughts going a million miles an hour, take 5-10 minutes to write down everything that is running through your head.

As tempting as it can be, this is not the time to develop your ideas further or put them into action. You are simply purging your thoughts and ideas to increase your focus and clarity, with the added bonus of providing a point of reference for later.

What are your tricks for gaining more clarity?


Four tips to push past the point of no inspiration

We’ve all felt the frustration of staring at a blank computer screen or piece of paper when it needs to be full of ideas or content. 

In a time where our intellectual property is so highly valued, it is important for us to be able to come up with new ideas, innovations and content at the drop of a hat even when inspiration is no where to be found. 

So how do you keep your creative juices and ideas flowing? Here are four tips to help you push past the point of no inspiration. 

1. Break it down and plan

While it can save time going from idea right through to completion in one go, don’t feel pressured to do this every time. Break your task into stages. 

Even the simple step of writing down what you need to do, what you want to achieve by it and the framework of how you are going to do it can be enough to get you going. For example, if it is a blog post you need to write, determine your audience, set the topic, write down the main points you want to cover and what you want your reader to know and do by the end of it.

If it is a proposal or pitch you need to produce, briefly outline your target audience, their current frustrations, how you can make it better (with proof) and what they need to do to act. 

Starting is often the hardest part but by taking the small step of planning you not only give yourself more clarity around the project, you save time and make completing the task far easier. 

2. You don’t need to have it all figured out immediately

We often put so much pressure on ourselves to have everything figured out from the start, but ideas are a work in progress. 

If you feel you are stumbling over a word, sentence, section, page or particular task mark where you are up to and move onto the next word, sentence, section and so on. Don’t get so bogged down in perfecting your work that you stop making progress. Remember no one needs to see the planning or working version of your task except you. 

3. Eliminate all of your distractions 

Give yourself every opportunity to focus on the task at hand. This means turning your phone onto do not disturb, unplugging from the Internet and bringing order to your workspace.  

Many of our thoughts can be silenced by the noise and distractions that fill our daily work day. By eliminating those distractions you give yourself the opportunity to think and focus.

4. Step away to move forward 

Sometimes the best plan of action is to give yourself some space from the task at hand. The longer you are in a stressed state the longer your ideas and thoughts will be stifled. To break the cycle you need to change your state. 

Get some fresh air, change your work environment, run on the spot or take a break, do something that will relax you and ease your stress. While you can think you don’t have time, this will clear your mind and get your ideas flowing again.

If you would like help with your copywriting or content marketing, I would be happy to help.

How do you push past the point of no inspiration?


Six tips to create a more customer-focused business

If you want to create a real competitive edge in your business start focusing on your customers. It sounds obviously simple, but the fact is most businesses continue to focus on what value they can get as opposed to what value they can give.

But when you start to focus on your customers and what they want and need, you create better products and services, generate more business opportunities and sales, develop more loyal customers and increase your referrals. 

So to ensure you are reaping the benefits and profits of giving value, here are six tips to help you create a more customer-focused business.

1. Stay connected to the needs of your customers

Your business success is directly determined by how connected you are with your customer and their needs. As a business owner it can be easy to fall into the trap of offering, stocking or doing what you want instead of considering what your customers want, but it’s one of the fastest way to limit your growth.

To refocus yourself and remain connected to your customer you need to be constantly asking questions, both of your customers and of yourself. Questions like what do my customers want from my product, service, business or industry? What are their current frustrations or complaints and how can they be improved or solved? 

2. Anticipate future needs and trends

While meeting your customers current needs is important, in order to future proof your business and really establish your point of difference you also need to anticipate their future needs. 

Ask yourself, what will my customers want from my products or services in three, five or ten years? What new trends or technologies are going to impact on how they use my products or services? What is not yet being offered that would benefit my customers? 

3. Write your marketing from your customer’s perspective

“You” is one of the most powerful marketing words you can use. Not only does it help your reader connect with you when the read or hear your content, when you continually write from the angle of “you” instead of “we” you stay in the mind of your customer and can more easily identify and anticipate their needs and wants. 

You start to uncover what is important to them, what they value most and what part of your products and services will most appeal to them. 

4. See your customer as a friend not a sale

One of the smartest things you can do in your business is to stop selling and start serving. When you change your approach from “how much can I get out of you” to “how can I help you” your customer’s guard comes down, they relax and start to open up to you. 

When you add value to them and appear to be looking out for their best interests, they become more receptive to what you are saying, value your opinion and are more likely to see you as a trusted expert who can help them, increasing the likelihood of you making the sale. 

5. Stay in regular contact

To build a relationship with your customers you need to stay in regular contact with them, but not just through newsletters and email marketing, genuine, personal contact. Talk to them to see how they are going. Keep in touch in a way that makes them feel valued. 

Be proactive, your existing customers are the easiest sales you will ever make so make sure you look after them and take an interest.

6. Always add value

One of your goals in business should be to give your customers what they can’t get anywhere else, or in a way they can’t get anywhere else.

It could be as simple as taking the time to answer all of their questions, giving them an added bonus, sending them a book, resource or opportunity that you know they would benefit from, or having their favourite coffee and snack when they come to meet you.  

Always be looking at how you could be adding value to each of your customers in order to make their experience with you even more memorable.

How do you stay customer focused in your business?


Are you in search of the information ‘holy grail’?

We live in an age where we have so much knowledge at our fingertips. But with so many sources of information on every topic you could hope for, you can soon find yourself falling down the rabbit hole of professional and personal development in search of the information ‘holy grail’ that will truly transform your business and give you more time, money, freedom and happiness.

But knowledge only gains it’s power once it is implemented and the only way you’ll ever be able to transform your business is to start taking action now. So to ensure you don’t become the person who has “heard it all before” but actioned nothing, here are four tips to put what you learn into action.

1. Develop a filter

With so much information available, you need to set boundaries. Work out the topics you need or want to learn more about and only search out, read or listen to those topics. Resist the urge to go off course and multi-task your reading and research.

Only once you feel you have mastered that topic or have what you need to put it into action should you move onto another area. Make the implementation of knowledge your goal, instead of just knowledge gain.

2. Write down what resonates with you

There is a reason why they made us write so many notes in school, it helps us commit what we’ve learned to memory and it provides an easy point of reference when we need to revise it. 

So the next time you are reading a book or blog post, listening to a podcast or watching a You-Tube video, keep a notebook beside you (preferably the same notebook each time) and write down the information, ideas and tips you want to implement or remember. This ensures you go beyond the head nodding stage and actually do something with it – even if it is to provide a point of reference for later.

3. Share what you have learned

Whenever you hear or read something that was valuable to you, tell someone else who will benefit. When you start sharing or teaching what you have learned you naturally increase your level of understanding on the topic and more importantly the practical application of it.  

But not only that, by adding value you gain more credibility and goodwill with those you tell (as well as benefit from their knowledge and experience on the topic) and you create a level of accountability when it comes to you putting it into action. 

4. Make a plan of action

So once you have heard a ‘great tip’ about generating publicity, minimising your tax, increasing your sales conversions, public speaking, making your business more efficient or whatever it may be, make a plan to put it into action.

Is there some way you can start implementing or actioning it in your business today or in the next week, fortnight or month? Could you send out a media release with the tips you have read, make an appointment with your accountant, write a new sales script, volunteer to speak at a networking event or implement new business systems?

It doesn’t have to be massive action, just any action, because this where the true learning lies.

How are you going to start putting your knowledge into action?


10 Marketing Tools and Apps to Make Your Life Easier

Marketing is one of the most essential areas of business yet it can also be one of the first areas to be sidelined when business gets busy. Here are 10 marketing tools and apps to help you streamline your marketing and make your life a little easier.

1. WhatsApp

Available on iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows Phone and Nokia, WhatsApp allows you to send text messages, photos and videos to clients, team members, collaborators and associates who are also using WhatsApp for free.

2. Evernote

Evernote is a handy app that helps you keep text notes, audio and web pages in the one place for easy access. It’s perfect for writing blogs on the go and recording your ideas with the added ability to categorise them across all of your devices.

3. HootSuite

HootSuite allows you to manage your social media accounts in one simple dashboard. Schedule messages and tweets, track brand mentions and analyse social media traffic at the office or on the run.

4. Buffer

Buffer makes it easy to share pictures, videos and links with your social media fans and followers. Simply put what you want to share into Buffer, and it will be posted at the best times throughout the day, so more of your fans and followers see your updates.

5. Fast analytics

Fast Analytics helps you monitor your website and blog statistics on the go by syncing with your Google Analytics account. The app shows you your daily, weekly, monthly or yearly statistics as well as, traffic sources, search engine keyword reports and visitor browser, country and engagement reports,.

6. Portent’s Content Idea Generator

Having a hard time coming up with content marketing ideas? Portent’s Content Idea Generator can help, simply enter your subject and get hundreds of interesting topics and headlines for your blog posts, reports, e-books and more.

7. Google Alerts

Set Google Alerts for your industry, your business name, your name and any topics that are relevant to your area of expertise so you can see who is talking about your business, respond to any criticisms or thank someone for a mention or endorsement.

8. Wordle

Wordle is a great tool if you’re a blogger, or you are serious about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

Wordle creates word pictures from your text and helps you see what words are the most prominent in your copy. The bigger the word, the more frequently it has been used in your copy. So your goal is to ensure your keywords are largest in the image.

9. MindNode

MindNode is one of the hundreds of mind mapping apps available today that are ideal for strategising and planning on the run. Some are paid, and some are free, though most of them are all similar in their function so test a few to see which one you like best.

10. Grammarly

Avoid the embarrassment of missing spelling and grammatical errors in your marketing material, blogs and client communication with Grammarly. Grammarly reviews your text and corrects your grammar, spelling, word choice and style mistakes with far more accuracy than your usual spell check.

What marketing tools do you use regularly in your business?


Four ways to identify more business opportunities

To be successful entrepreneurs we need to be continually innovating and looking for opportunities to grow our business.

But how do you find new opportunities to take your business to new markets and growth levels? Here are four ways to identify more business opportunities.

1. Listen to your potential clients and past leads

When you’re targeting potential customers listen to their needs, wants, challenges and frustrations with your industry. Have they used similar products and services before? What did they like/dislike? Why did they come to you? What are their objections with your products or services?

This will help you to find opportunities to develop more tailored products and services, hone your target market and identify and overcome common objections.

2. Listen to your customers

When you’re talking to your customers listen to what they saying about your industry, products and services. What are their frequently asked questions? Experiences? Frustrations? Feedback and complaints?

This valuable customer information will help you identify key business opportunities to expand and develop your current products and services.

3. Look at your competitors

Do a little competitive analysis (don’t let it lead to competitive paralysis though!) to see what they doing and more importantly not doing? Where are they falling down? What are they doing right? What makes customers go to them over you?

Analysing your competitors will help you identify key business opportunities to expand your market reach and develop your products and services.

4. Look at industry trends and insights

Subscribe to industry publications, join relevant associations, set Google alerts for key industry terms and news and follow other industry experts on social media. Absorb yourself in your industry and continually educate yourself on the latest techniques and trends.

How do you identify additional business opportunities?


How to avoid being overwhelmed by your competitors

Researching your competitors can be a great way to keep up to date with industry developments, identify new market opportunities and find out what is and isn’t working for others.

But occasionally competitive analysis can turn into competitive paralysis, where you become so focused on what your competitors are doing that you lose sight of what you are trying to achieve or worse lose all motivation.

To prevent you from becoming overwhelmed and distracted by your competitors, here are five tips to keep your competition in the proper perspective.

1. Be a leader not a follower

When you change the way you do business or take an alternate course of action because of what your competitors are doing, they become the leader and you become the follower.

You are making business decisions based on someone else’s plans and goals instead of your own. Your business becomes dependent on what your competitors are doing, putting you always one step behind.

As a business owner you shouldn’t change your actions or decisions in reaction to any competitor. Certainly innovate when needed, though focus on building a business that works for you and value-adds to your customers.

2. Remember you won’t get every customer

It’s important to realise that you won’t get every customer, there will always be those that go elsewhere. So don’t covet your competitor’s customers, even if some of them once belonged to you. Instead focus on your own ideal target market and look to dominate there.

3. Be different

If you want to get ahead in business the key is to be different. You can certainly learn from other people’s successes and failures though don’t spend all of your time looking in the rear view or side mirrors watching what everyone else is doing, focus ahead on your goals and the best direction to go.

Develop your point of difference, what you can offer your clients and prospects that no one else can (or at least not as well). Perhaps it is in your processes, the quality of your products or services, your experience and expertise or the follow up services you provide. Focus on your differences and what your current clients say they love about you.

4. Look at their weaknesses not strengths

When you do look at what your competitors are doing, look for their weaknesses and the growth opportunities you have out of those, instead of focusing on their strengths and how you can replicate them. Find where they fall down or are vulnerable and turn those areas into your strengths.  

5. Stay focused on your customer, not your competition

If you want to grow your business and expand your market share, the best and quickest way to do it is to stay focused on your customer not your competitors.

What do your customers want and need? What are their problems and challenges? What results do they want from your product or service? The more you can get inside your customers mind the more relevant and targeted you can make your products, services and marketing. Give your customers what they want and they will not only keep coming back they will also refer their family, friends and colleagues.

So be a leader, find opportunities to be different, stay focused on what your customer wants and continually value-add and innovate to give it to them. Do this and you won’t have to worry about your competitors. They on the other hand will have a lot to worry about with you.


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