Authenticity During A Crises

authenticity, effUmarketing, be yourself

First – check out this 20 minute video on advertising in a crises. It gets real hot at the 10 minute mark. It comes from the NYT best selling author and Wizard of Ads, Roy Williams (who I’ve been a student of for over a decade). It also relates to what I wrote about a couple weeks ago before the shit hit the fan.

On to the goods

Now more than ever YOU have to be YOU. You have to be your authentic self. I don’t know who’s going to come out above this crises. It may be a different version of your business or even a different version of you.

It took me awhile to realize who I was (more on that at the bottom of this post). Plus, I continue to discover new things on a seemingly daily basis (reminder – I do have a toddler). I literally spent 20 minutes last night discussing with my wife what she thinks I do well. After all – we have lots of time on our hands. Find some time and ask your partner or a friend what they think you’re good at.

What is authenticity?

I’ve been on quite the authenticity trip lately, and here’s why – it’s imperative to your brand. Whether it be a personal brand or professional brand, people will see through your BS.

My wife, and I started our e-commerce store, Ever Rose, with the mindset of being as transparent as possible. The same holds true for my ‘Guy with the Bow Tie’ brand, and the community magazines I used to publish. Be authentic, and you’ll start to see amazing results.

How real are you?

Stop and ask yourself this. When you wake up in the morning are you excited about doing what you’re doing? Even in these times.

Maybe you are, maybe you aren’t, and I’m not going to preach about ‘doing what you love’. I want you to get real, because if you aren’t REAL you’re robbing this world of your natural talents. And if you aren’t being real when you step into work whether it’s your business or not – you’re only hurting your bottom line.

It’s inevitable your business will kind of be like you.

It will stand for your values, and your beliefs. You are your business, and your business is you. And that’s okay. It’s when you or your business starts to be something it’s not that you start to lose.

There are so many options available to consumers to poke holes in your BS. If you claim to be the world’s best chef, but a quick Google search discovers you’ve only flipped burgers at McDonald’s, well BS meters are going to start going off. Just be yourself, and someone somewhere will have a connection with who you are, and what you stand for.

If you think you’re boring, then tell people about it. Say, you’re really boring, but damn do you ever make a good pizza or build a great garage. The more genuine, and open you are, the more genuine, and open people will be back to you.

This comes to mind as I’m working with an inspiring entrepreneur who’s going to be launching an online platform shortly where you can use Bitcoin to book hotels online.

He lives in the Southern US, and is originally from India. He runs a couple hotels, and as such he started getting fed up with OTA sites (Expedia, Trivago, Travelocity, etc…) eating into his margins, and taking away from his LOCAL business, and the LOCAL economy. So, he does what any entrepreneur or savvy business owner would do – he’s fighting back. He’s so passionate about creating a fair, online portal for hotel seekers that he decided to build his own platform, and it’s going to be launching soon. His company is a reflection of his personal beliefs, and feelings. He’s REAL.

Your Personal Brand

Jordan with wife
A little photo with my wife

You hear it, I hear it, we all hear it…BE YOURSELF! And it’s so true when it comes to business, and especially in times of a crises. When I was starting out, I was trying to be something I wasn’t. I thought I knew it all. I thought the world was at my finger-tips, and I was humbled quickly…very quickly.

Whether you like it or not, you’re being judged everyday. People are Googling you and colleagues interact with you at work as they try to figure you out. On this note – have you Googled yourself lately? What comes up? Anything?

When I made the change from the corporate world to being self-employed, I was going back to my original self. The guy who I am at home, and on weekends. The guy who I knew I wanted to be when I was growing up. I dropped the act, stopped caring about what others thought, and started being REAL.

It’s not easy – it took me 10-years to figure out who I REALLY was, but it all started with my gut. How I felt in the morning was a HUGE indicator of who I was and what I wanted to do. I went from wanting to hit the snooze button repeatedly to bouncing out of bed, and ready for the day ahead.

I can’t tell you how many strong connections I’ve made by showing people who I truly am. I even let people in to tell them about my childhood, and my biological father who I never, and still don’t know. You won’t find that in a sales or business book anywhere, but it’s who I am, and it’s what allowed me to make the connections I have.

I no longer have visions of me quitting my job while I brushed my teeth in the morning. I’m doing what I want, and what I’m supposed to be doing…at this point in my life anyway.

Start being your authentic self and the rest will follow.

Love you,

Jordan ‘The Guy with the Bow Tie’ Rycroft

Ps. It’s a shitty time we’re in right now. If you need help, whether it’s financial, emotional, mental – let me know. I’m here for you.

Why Your Online Store Isn’t Making Sales

This is a common question I see on message boards and through the grapevine of entrepreneurs. It also is a cause for concern in the bricks-and-mortar world, but let’s stick with online.

Anyone, anywhere can have a store. No longer do you need vast sums of money for a lease, employees and stock. You can do everything behind a screen. With that – the amount of online stores hawking goods from dresses (EverRose.com – plug, plug) to backpacks to cheeses is endless. The world is flat in this regard. However, just because it’s relatively easy to set up. It doesn’t mean it’s profitable.

no sale, no sale sign

Here’s why you’re not making any sales

1) Your online store is too cumbersome. You’ve read too many blogs about what you should have on your store, and instead of creating a simple process for those who buy – you’ve confused your would be buyer with link after link after link. Your product(s) should be the first thing people see when they visit your store. You should also have some info on shipping and returns, and a page that reflects who you and your business are (if you want to add a personal touch).

2) Your product photography looks like crap. You can’t sell a shitty looking product online, just as you can’t sell a shitty product. Here are some quick DIY photo tips.

3) No one knows you exist. I hope you’ve read this far as this is probably the most important item on the list. You can’t expect sales without people knowing about you. You need to market yourself. Hook up with bloggers or influencers in your line of work. My wife and I hook up with fashion bloggers to promote our product to their masses. We also buy advertising (funny thought), and it works.

4) If you have traffic to your site, and you’re still not making sales – check the options above. If you’ve done all of the above then you probably didn’t research your product upfront. If you haven’t tested to see if your idea works through family friends, then your idea is probably not going to work to others. Just because you think it would be cool to run an online t-shirt store, it doesn’t mean people are going to buy from you. Ask your friends and family first – see if they would buy. My wife and I’s online dress shop did this, and our first few customers were family and friends. From there the word spreads.

The above should point you on the correct path. I could write an endless post on why you aren’t getting sales, but the points above are the most common reason. You can always ask me to take a look too. I’m always free to give open and honest feedback.

Love you,

Jordan ‘The Guy with the Bow Tie’ Rycroft

Is Customer Service Dead?

You can get your groceries delivered to your door with the click of a button. You can shop hundreds of styles of clothes in less than a minute. You can connect with your friend visiting a town on the other side of the globe in an instant. All of this is possible behind a screen. With that, actual physical interaction with someone is slipping away. With the limited physical touches and conversations going on – has customer service taken a hit? When’s the last time a company went above and beyond for you?

The art of customer service

“Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.”
– Walt Disney

Funny how one of the most valued commodities – if not the most – nowadays is time. You do whatever you can to save nanoseconds. You’d think businesses would see this and increase employees or response times to potential customers. However, it’s increasingly difficult to find someone with enough knowledge to actually answer the questions you need to be answered – whether it’s in-store or online.

In order to make your business stand out – try doing one step more. If you can answer one question – see if you can elaborate and suggest something more. My dad is amazing at this. He’s an upholsterer and every time he’s on a sales call – he always gets asked about the type / colour of the fabric his potential client should use. He answers the question by giving a few options and then BANG! He mentions pillows, and how a contrasting colour will make everything pop. It’s the classic up-sell, but it’s so much more than that. It’s providing value, suggesting something the potential client didn’t even think about, and increasing his profits at the same time.

Customer service quote

What can you do to add that extra touch?

My wife and I’s online shop – EverRose.com is similar. We try to add personal touches everywhere to ensure our fans know we care about them. After all, without them we wouldn’t be in business. My wife writes personal notes to each and every fan who orders. We also take it one step further than most online clothing stores by measuring each piece of clothing. This gives a comprehensive outline on whether or not it’s going to fit you. It’s all about taking it one-step further. It’s a pain in the ass on our end, but the end result is SALES. Plus, our fans love it. How do we know – they tell us in reviews and in personal emails they send us.

This is what makes your business a brand. It makes the person on the other end (customer) feel something for you, and your product / service.

“Courteous treatment will make a customer a walking ad.”
– James C. Penney, Founder, J.C. Penney

You want to know how to limit your advertising spend? Make your experience so memorable to a customer they’ll have no choice, but to recommend you to their friends and family. If that’s not enough – encourage them to do so by following up with requests for reviews (my wife and I do this for every sale by sending a personalized email to each fan). Word-of-mouth is the best form of advertising, and nothing creates more word-of-mouth than outstanding customer service.

It’s not that hard

With the majority of corporations pulling back on their customer service channels, and personnel it’s very easy to stand out. Even being present and engaging in conversation with your potential customer can put you over the top. At the very least give the customer what you’d expect to receive from a company. Then try and out do yourself. Make a suggestion above and beyond the question asked of you. Personalize everything. Respond as quickly as you can, and as honestly as you can.

A few of these will go along way in your customers mind, and will ensure success down the road.

Love you,

Jordan ‘The Guy with the Bow Tie’ Rycroft