Category Archives: senior professionals

Small is Not a Bad Word

Here are a few reasons why small businesses should embrace their size and not feel pressure to stretch the truth or their size:

You have an expertise. Instead of building a long list of product/service offerings, focus on your strongest capabilities. Build your business on these, and you limit the risk of mistakes, which can damage your brand image.

This will also help you focus your brand and corner your niche.

Red tape is non-existent. A great asset is there is little room for bureaucracy. Instead of dealing with an automated service, boilerplate answers and inflexible rules, your customers get to deal with a person. Trust me, that’s invaluable.

There is no “bait and switch”. How many times have you been pitched by the VP or another high-level executive at a company, only to find out you will never work with that person? Instead, you will be working with a junior team that is nowhere near the initial meeting.

Yes, this junior team may be capable, but it doesn’t matter because you’ve built a report with the initial pitch team. Eliminating the bait and switch puts you at an advantage and sets the tone for an honest work relationship.

Your business is flexible. Most small businesses are nimble by design. Can you meet or complete projects at unconventional times? Do you have a unique way to work (special worksheets, work plans, etc.)? Make sure your clients know about it.

Avoiding the Deleted Items Folder

Your emails say a lot about you. And while we all can overlook a sporadic typo, ignoring email etiquette can not only damage your perception, it can land your email in the “deleted items” folder.

Here are two posts to get you on the right track. The first, How To Improve Your Email Etiquette, is from Marci Alboher, Working the New Economy’s Blog.

The second, Sending Emails That Get Read, is a post I wrote about a year and a half ago.

Happy Emailing!

A Time for Evaluation

With today’s businesses, there is little room for fluff and even less time for “this is how it’s always been done.” There is a bottom line that must be met.

 

Considering this, have you evaluated the value you provide to your clients? Do your clients know your value? Are there things you can do to increase your value?

 

Many businesses are courting new clients right now, and you can believe that your current clients are on someone’s list. While you can’t stop that, you can make sure that your clients know exactly how much value you provide.

 

Trust me, when a prospective vendor sends in their list of services with a cheaper price tag, that might just capture some attention.

 

However, the things you provide that can’t be listed on a generic list of services will be your ammunition in defending your turf. And it’s better to think about that before you get called into a meeting.

 

 

Towanda Long aka mscafe

Keeping Your Weakest Link

One of the things that have been a blessing and a curse for me is my laid-back personality (except when I’m driving, but that’s another story…). Some find it admirable that I can remain calm in stressful situations; others think I don’t show enough emotion.  

 

I don’t run around like it’s the end of the world. I do meet deadlines, whether I have five minutes or five months (I should be so lucky…). I once had a boss get upset because I wasn’t “urgently” taking care of a last minute request, even though I finished my portion of the project before him…

 

Yes, running around may look good, but it’s not efficient for me.

 

I say that to say this. It’s important to know how others see you. And it’s good to know whether they think certain characteristics are good or if they see them as your weakest link.

 

But, it’s also important to know when your weakest link is something that makes you special, something that you want to keep.

 

Towanda Long aka mscafe

The Yard Sale Wagon

The “doom and gloom” message of the economy is not helping your marketing campaign. At best, it’s getting lost among the many other products and services using the same message. At worst, it’s just annoying (I received 9 e-mails today with recession specials…).

 

Clients and consumers with a strapped cash flow want to feel like they are getting the best possible product or service for their money. Most people feel this way, even if they have plenty of disposable income!

 

They want to feel like they are purchasing a viable product or service from a viable company, not a yard sale. They want to know if they need further assistance a month or a year from now, you’ll be there to provide it. They want to know that they are getting a premium product, and that the price is reasonable.

 

Instead of jumping on the yard sale wagon, why not accentuate the positive? Tell your current and potential customers what is so great about your product or service. Show them ways that you can help them function more efficiently.

 

Instead of focusing mainly on price, why not focus on the value you add? When price comes up, go into the discussion with all of the information you need to explain why you are worth the quoted price. Negotiations may be inevitable, but price shouldn’t be the door-opener. It should be your great product/service.

 

Towanda Long aka mscafe

Working on my “Things To Do” List

It’s been a while since I’ve written, mostly because relocating is EXTREMELY time-consuming. Plus, I just haven’t found my new groove yet.

 

 However, this post, Godin’s Get To vs. Have To, has inspired me to make time, not only for the “musts” on my TTD list, but the “wants” too.

 

Enjoy!

 

Towanda Long aka mscafe

The Addiction to Twitter

After a few weeks as a Twitterite I will admit, I’m addicted. And for once (okay, maybe twice, because I actually don’t mind the shopping thing…), I am okay with it.

 

My Twitter experience started with my inherent need to be knowledgeable about all things marketing. Articles kept popping up, people I respect sang its praises and so I thought, “Why not?”.

 

Well, now I get it. Twitter is great for many reasons, but here’s my top five:

 

  1. It’s like an AP Wire for those of us not in a newsroom. I follow ABC, NPR & ESPN, to name a few. So, when something happens I know right away. And the news is given to me in 140 characters or less! (Once you join Twitter you can decide whom you want to follow. The updates of these Twitterites then show up on your homepage.).
  2. It feeds my need to be knowledgeable about all things marketing. Twitterites are a diverse group. Many tweet links to very interesting articles, etc. that I would probably not find on my own. It’s not just, “I had a salad for dinner and now I’m going to bed” tweets.
  3. I can tweet about what I’m doing, offer food for thought (i.e. Great marketing does not supersede poor customer service.), or forward links to things I think are interesting.  
  4. The 140 character limit forces me to write succinctly.
  5. It’s kinda cool to see what other people do all day.

Yes, this is my list, but let me know your thoughts. I’m sure I’m not by myself…

 

Towanda Long aka mscafe

(my name on Twitter in case you want to follow me)