What if you only had 20 decisions?

Disney

Me and T-Rex

If you could only make 20 decisions in your businesses life, what would they be? Obviously I don’t expect you to answer them right away. But, it certainly makes you think. I’m guessing you’ll take every decision a little more seriously and not jump in to the latest marketing fad or trend right away. Maybe you wouldn’t follow what everyone else is doing. Maybe you’d stay put, and see how it goes for a year before making a decision.

This is Warren Buffett’s strategy when it comes to the stocks, and companies he invests in. He leads himself to believe he only has a 20 hole-punch card for his entire lifetime when it comes to investing. Every choice he makes is a punch in that card, so he MUST choose wisely. He understands it’s a marathon and not a sprint.

It’s not about last quarter’s earnings. It’s about 5, 10, 25 years down the line. I see sooo many businesses fail (even my father’s) because they were so focused on the money coming in now. I get it. You need that cash flow, but maybe you shouldn’t have tried to start out so big in the first place. Baby steps.

Wayne Gretzky didn’t become the greatest hockey player overnight. It took 20 or more years of coaching, practice, and effort. Sometimes doing the same thing day in and day out. Over and over again. Consistency counts for something.

Your story

Your story will carry you. The reason why you do what you do. Why your business exists…it will carry you. SEO, a Tweet, targeted-ads or any media campaign won’t carry you. Your passion (even if it’s fake) will carry you. Why do you do what you do? Why is it so important? Is it to make money? If so, you’re probably doing the wrong thing.

What if your business only had 20 punches. And for every major decision from expansion to marketing to a new executive hire was a punch in that card?

Do your homework, then go with your gut. You already know how to make that BIG decision. Don’t worry about screwing up. If you believe in your businesses story…in YOUR story. You will succeed. It won’t happen over night. It won’t happen thanks to Google. It will happen because of YOU and YOUR STORY.

Here’s your 20-hole punch card. Use it wisely.

Love you,

Jordan

Ps. You can check out the 20-hole punch story here

What you can learn from LEGO

LEGO

LEGO bricks

Everyone has a LEGO story. I used to slap on a snorkel, build my LEGO boats and play in the bathtub for hours. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one. After all, LEGO is a billion dollar, global company.

However, in the early 2000’s it was in trouble, haemorrhaging money. The company and brand extended itself beyond its means. Ventures into video games, amusement parks, clothes, board games, TV shows and movies left it out of touch with what made it famous…small interlocking bricks, with endless innovative possibilities.

In the mid-2000’s a marketing / advertising man was inserted as CEO. Jorgen Vig Knudstorp turned LEGO’s yearly income from a loss to a notable profit. How? By going back to what made them famous. He and his team got rid of most of the items associated with brand extension including the amusement parks (although they still exist). Anything that was losing money, he stopped doing. And he started talking to the LEGO fanatics. Those who would custom build amazing structures using the interlocking bricks. He didn’t use focus groups or toss a few ideas around the board room. He went right to the source – the customers, and brought the LEGO brand back to the billion dollar company it currently is.

Here’s a great interview showcasing Jorgen, and what he’s done to re-build LEGO

Everyone has a story that has or could make them famous. Jorgen, and his team went back to the original LEGO story and are winning…BIG TIME. LEGO stores now have line-ups out the door, the LEGO movie was a HUGE hit, and LEGO blocks are selling by the millions.

What can you learn from LEGO?

What’s your story that made you famous? If you’re not famous yet, what’s your story? Why do you exist? I’m not talking about a mission statement or some other corporate BS. Why do you do what you do?

Me – I’m trying to rid the world of useless advertising talking AT people instead of joining in on the conversation. That’s why I highlight brands like LEGO. They get it.

In this over communicated world – people, and brands try to do too much. They believe being busy, and long work weeks are what you need to make money. Ask yourself this – what can you TAKE AWAY from your product or service to make it more efficient, and profitable? Maybe it’s the social media page you’ve had for two years, take time to update daily, and your likes and followers are going nowhere and not leading to money in your pocket. Maybe it’s the employee who you know is useless, but you string them along because you like them. Or maybe it’s the pasta on the menu that few people order, and bogs down your kitchen when it is ordered.

It generally takes another set of eyes, and ears to figure out what can be SUBTRACTED from your business to make your business more desirable and profitable. Let me be the other set of eyes, and ears.

Email me at effumarketing@gmail.com, and let’s add profits to your bottom line while subtracting useless, money losing lines in your budget.

Love you,

Jordan ‘The Guy with the Bow Tie’ Rycroft

We are all people

Robin Williams from people.com

Robin Williams courtesy of people.com

I lost someone who I grew up with this week as many of you did. Robin Williams touched many people in one way or another including me. He was a part of my life starting in my youth all the way up to his latest TV show “The Crazy Ones.”

When I heard of his passing I took a step back and gained some perspective. Whether you’re a celebrity, a star athlete or an icon of business. You’re still a person. Although your bank account, your fame or whatever it is may be inflated, at the end of the day you still face hardships and troubles just like the ‘Average Joe.’

When I started my career I was envious of those who were higher up than me. The cars they drove, the money they made, the high-end wines they could afford to drink. I wanted that. I wanted all of it and I thought life would be sooo much easier if I had more money, more status, etc…

Turns out life isn’t like that at all. No matter what my bank statements say, the car I drive or the company I keep, I still have issues. I’ve had my struggles with alcohol, and I’ve dealt with my fair share of issues surrounding my biological father. Not to mention the day in and day out stresses of what I do.

I used to look at celebrities and those higher up in the food chain and think they didn’t have any problems whatsoever. That life smiled on them more than it smiled on me. Now, with the internet, and the invasiveness of our society, we can dive into the lives of celebrities and those higher up than us. We see they are fractured. They struggle with life just as we do. We get a chance to go behind the curtain and see who The Wizard of Oz REALLY is. And he’s just a person, like you or I.

Robin made me smile and laugh…he still does. He had the innate ability to connect with his audience. He could pull you in and make it seem as if he was in the room with you. He was a special person. But again he was a person, no different than you or I.

He laughed, he cried, he smiled and he was troubled. He was human.

Looking back enables you to gain perspective. Whether it’s watching Mrs. Doubtfire again to remember the Robin you know and love. Or thinking of how petty it is to think celebrities and those you admire have it any better than you do.

We are all troubled, but let’s not forget we also have the ability to smile, and laugh. Let’s do more of that. Take a breather from the Rat Race to soak in family, friends and those that make you smile. Choose to smile and laugh. Go out of your way to put a smile on someone’s face today. Robin did. And you can too.

Love you,

Jordan

Ps. Russell Brand wrote a great piece on Robin Williams and how we are all linked. You can check it out HERE

Everyone wants to buy and they want to buy from YOU

Me carrying a load.

Me carrying a load.

The art of selling has changed, especially if you’re a new sales rep or a new business opening its doors. Authenticity reigns supreme at this day and age. No longer can you hide behind your marketing and PR. People will find out about you through Google, a Yelp review, Tweet, etc… Fancy sales lingo and closing techniques are things of the past (although I’m sure some still work).

PEOPLE WANT TO BUY

No one wants to be sold. Marketers used to tell people what they want. Now it’s a discussion or it should be. As a marketer you should put all the information you have out there. That’s what we’re accustomed to now. We’re information junkies and we want to load up on the info before we buy. If we’re interested in buying, we’ll ask you a question. Please don’t shove it down my throat.

Think about this – not too long ago if you wanted to buy a car, you’d see / hear the ad, visit the dealership, talk to a sales rep, negotiate and away you went. Now, it takes 2-3 months for the average person to go through the process of buying a car. For me, I had a general idea of what I wanted, so I went online and searched through a ton of info (customer reviews, spec sheets, videos, price comparisons, etc…). When I was ready to BUY (noticed how I didn’t say ready to be sold) I went to the dealership for a test drive.

My wife and I were interested in a hybrid and the Toyota Prius came to mind (Yes, we’re THOSE people). We popped into the dealership, got hooked up with a sales rep (this part of the sales process is still the same) and off we went for a test drive. We liked the car, so the negotiation began. Instantly I could tell the sales guy was going by the book (aka script). He was relatively young, and he’d only be doing this for a year or so. I commend him for going by the book. Why? Because that’s what our managers tell us to do. “Here use this script and all of your dreams will come true.”

Unfortunately, those managers have been out-of-touch for a couple years on what people want because they haven’t been ‘pounding the pavement’ like the sales reps. And they’re out-of-touch with the new generation of buyers.

BE YOU 

We’re intelligent beings (for the most part). We know when you’re reading from a script and when you’re uncomfortable. We can sense it. The easiest way to sound confident and to be confident about what you’re selling is to be you. Be your genuine self. How many people 30-years-old and younger have ever bought something from a telemarketer? My estimation is slim to none. We know you’re reading from a script and we know you only have one goal in mind…to SELL us something.

When I started out in the sales world (everyone is in sales in some way, btw), I used scripts and techniques that were passed down to me. I read countless books on the sales process and human psychology. I tested everything I learned from those books, managers, and scripts and what did I find? When I CONNECT with people and put them into a position to BUY. They buy ME first. Not the product or the service I’m peddling. THEY BUY ME. Then, they buy the product / service.

Why do they buy me? Because I’m genuine. I’ll tell you things most people keep as secrets. I’ll tell you things my managers tell me not to say. I’ll be as open and honest as I can, so you can make an intelligent buying decision. That’s my personality and that’s who I am.

Maybe you’ll buy me, maybe you won’t. Business is a series of rejections. If you stick with being yourself, you’ll find plenty of people who accept you. Those people are your fans. Continue pleasing your fans and you’ll be very successful and very fulfilled. Don’t lead with the product or service. Lead with what you know best…YOU.

Love you,

Jordan

PS. My wife and I ended up buying a different hybrid from a different sales rep. He didn’t use scripts, he told stories and gave us the information my wife and I requested to make an informed buying decision. I was a fan of his because he was real.

Social Media & Traditional Media

cat with a bow tie

Scotch with a bow tie

Social media and traditional media. Notice how I didn’t say social media vs. traditional media. I’ll touch on that in a moment.

Social media is exactly that. It’s social and it’s media. However, as our society usually does, it pretty much has already destroyed the social aspect of the media. There are more PUSH marketing messages than actual social conversations. Again, marketers are trying to stuff things down consumers throats.

It started out as people being able to have conversations on Twitter, Facebook, etc… all over the world. Now, it’s more of what we’re used to. One directed messages from a company or person not really concerned with carrying on a conversation.

This past week, I searched Twitter for #personalbranding. And guess what, I found numerous people using the hashtag, so I started a conversation with one of those people (in this case it was a brand). I recently wrote an article on my ‘Guy with the Bow Tie’ person brand (check it out here). I reached out to this company and shared my post. They liked it and guess what? We started a conversation. Ha! Go figure. It wasn’t a one way message. It was a back-and-forth on a subject that BOTH parties are interested in. Funny how that works.

Anyway, you can call my bullshit on the following, but the more the media world changes the more it stays the same:

Google Search = Yellow Pages
YouTube = TV
Twitter = Radio / Print
Facebook = Radio / Print

I could be way off, but let’s start the discussion. It’s not as if one is better than the other. They all are media and they all work if your message and strategy stays consistent (that’s a whole other bag of beans). The one striking issue with social media is message credibility. @JoeBlow could put something out there and we have no idea if it’s remotely true. Remember when a shark appeared after Superstorm Sandy hit the eastern seaboard? Ya, it never happened, but it made its way around the globe because someone was half-decent at Photoshop and tweeted it. Then again, it’s become increasingly difficult to take traditional media as credible.

The point I’m trying to hit on is the media landscape hasn’t changed much. There happens to be more people at the table fighting over the same scraps, but even the social media types have realized they need to start charging for ads and pulling back the freebies. As a result, the more the media landscape supposedly changes…the more it stays the same.

For example, I hear plenty of small businesses talking about Google Adwords. Well, it’s no different than the Yellow Pages. Google is a directory (like the Yellow Pages) and everyone’s fighting for the top of the page or the biggest ad. Funny enough, it doesn’t matter who’s first on Google. What matters is familiarity. People buy what they know regardless of whether or not you dropped a serious chunk of change on words like Calgary, Car, Pizza, etc… (more on what makes people buy here).

Social media and traditional media. The more we change, the more we stay the same.

Love you,

Jordan