Invitation to a Special Evening!


S2 Seminars would like to invite you to a special evening!

Toastmasters District 42 Speech Champion, Russ Dantu is off to compete in the Toastmasters’ World Champion of Public Speaking Finals in August. On July 25, we are Launching Russ to Chicago with an evening of entertainment and enlightenment.

The evening begins with a free autographed copy of Russ’s new book, At Your Service upon your arrival. If you’ve already bought his book, no problem. Russ is offering a “trade-in deal” where you can exchange the book from this evening for one of Russ’ other wonderful products.

Next, you’ll move onto wine and cheese networking. Your first glass of wine is free. More may be purchased for cash, with all proceeds going to the fundraiser. Meet new people and old friends as we mingle before the show and during intermission.

Then, we gather in the historic and beautiful Hillhurst United Church sanctuary for entertainment by some of Russ’ favourite Toastmasters and friends.

  • Emcees, Palmo Carpino and Former District 42 International Speech Champion, Rowena Carlson, promise an evening of hilarity.
  • Former District 42 International Speech Champion and professional performer, Chuck Rose will entertain us with his gift of song.
  • Former District 42 International Speech Champion, Darlene Davies will show us (and Russ) how it’s done!
  • For all those who’ve wondered “what the heck is Cowboy Poetry anyway?” Shelley Goldbeck (me!) will be sharing from her repertoire of original poetry and music.
  • And of course, you’ll get to hear Russ Dantu, himself, as he delivers his two competition speeches.

If that’s not enough, our evening will top with the talents of mentalist, Greg T, who uses, human psychology, illusion and intuition to dazzle his audiences.

Proceeds from this fundraiser will go towards assisting Russ with his expenses. If we reach our goal — in the spirit of uplifting each other — we plan to leave a legacy account for future Toastmaster District 42 International Speech Contest winners.

It seems ambitious, I know, but if you’re willing to treat your favourite someone to a summer evening of entertainment, enlightenment and enchantment, we’ll meet our goals.  Tickets are only available online through the secure registration services provided by our favorite event service provider, Ticketor.

Summer is short and we realize folks are vacationing and busy with family. If you can’t make it, please extend this invitation to someone who might enjoy a night on the town or consider donating money by contacting me directly.

For your convenience, I have attached our event e-Poster. We appreciate your sharing with your network to help us reach our goal of 250 Russ supporters.  Here’s how others can help:

  1. Share our poster.
  2. Buy tickets: https://bit.ly/2L3tJof
  3. Become an event sponsor. Call Shelley Goldbeck @ 403.606.1379 for details.

We hope to see you there.

Shelley Goldbeck and Susan Cramer
www.S2Seminars.ca

S2Seminars is proud to be the official registration sponsor for the fundraiser to Launch Russ Dantu to Chicago for the 2018 Toastmasters International Speech  Championship.

The Excellent EmCee

The Master of Ceremonies (MC, EmCee) is an important job — all too often left as an afterthought… after all the planning and sometimes right up to showtime.

Then someone will think, “Maybe we should have somebody running this show.” And someone, who is not prepared, is “voluntold” to herd the cats, er, I mean, usher the presenters on and off the stage. There’s much more to being an EmCee than herding cats! 

An Excellent Emcee engages, enchants and enhances the audience experience.

Time is important. Perhaps there’s a banquet. The kitchen is ready to serve at 6:30 but the speakers are all competing for Windbag Awards. After all that wind, dinner is cold and patrons are cranky. The EmCee can avert this by designating a timer to advise presenters when their time is up and they’ll be “encouraged” to vacate the stage! Follow through with the first windbag and the rest of the show will likely run on time.

It’s nice if presenters are properly introduced. This is a skill that requires preparation. A good EmCee will rehearse the introductions in advance. Yes, rehearsal. We’ve all heard introducers struggling with names and places, long run-on-and-on sentences and other readable but not speakable language.

The best introductions are those where the introducer has bothered to learn something personal about the presenter that doesn’t appear in the event program. The audience can read. Come up with something different. It’s as simple as asking presenters what they do for fun or what surprising thing can we learn about them. You’ll be amazed at the gold you’ll unearth!

A good EmCee is familiar with the entire program, knows who is drawing for the door prizes and  knows where the door prizes are. The EmCee is well briefed on the Health and Safety message and location of facility services.

Sound checks are the responsibility of the EmCee, ideally with all presenters so that if there are special needs, the EmCee is aware and can assist in accommodating them. The EmCee is the ad hoc assistant to anyone on stage. They need help negotiating the stairs; they need water; they left their notes off stage; their microphone isn’t on; their name tag is upside down – you name it.

The EmCee is like a Boy Scout: always prepared. I learned early in my speaking journey that “something will go wrong.” Rather than being devastated when it happens, accept it.  The EmCee’s job is to be agile, with a pocket full of Plan B’s and C’s!  Rarely is anything Life or Death, and a professional EmCee can camouflage most minor errors. Really talented EmCees turn disasters into entertainment. The most memorable highlights of an event are often the running gag provided by an early disaster.

The EmCee is the face of the eventthe audience assumes you’re responsible for it all. You’re the host. Always be welcoming. What is your face doing when others are speaking? Watch video of yourself to determine if you smile enough.  Practice smiling.  Are you watching the speakers when they’re performing to model the behaviour they want from their audience?

A genuine interest in people is a good trait and an absence of hubris is helpful. It’s not about the EmCee; facilitating the performance of the presenters and guiding the audience through the program are the main objectives.

When there are lulls in the program, like the PowerPoint projector isn’t working, a well prepared EmCee fills the gaps with audience-appropriate jokes, stories and interviews to keep the audience engaged. More preparation and training. Another talent is compressing the program so it doesn’t appear rushed, just efficient.

Needless to say, dressing the part, choosing appropriate language, and professional conduct are imperative. Prior to and during an event, self-care is vital:

  • sleep adequately.
  • eat nutritious food.
  • drink lots of water.
  • practice good dental hygiene.
  • avoid alcohol, coffee and foods that can affect your voice, like dairy products, which cause phlegm.
  • limit stinky food (onions, garlic, coffee, beans).

Have fun! If you have fun on stage, the audience will have fun. And an audience having fun is malleable, willing to be led and somewhat forgiving of imperfections.

Finally, be agreeable, flexible and professional throughout the event, no matter how long it takes, no matter what’s gone wrong, and no matter what difficult people have crossed your path. A smile, a kind word and a sincere “thank you for the experience” will go far to bolster your reputation as an Excellent EmCee.

Toastmasters is a terrific place to learn, develop and practice EmCee skills. Find a club near you by visiting www.Toastmasters.org. 

Don’t have time to develop your own EmCee skills?  Contact us!  We have experience EmCeeing events from birthday parties to weddings to conferences and awards dinners.  We chair Annual General Meetings too – Robert’s Rules of Order and all!

Shelley Goldbeck and Susan Cramer
www.S2Seminars.ca

S2 Seminars, Grow Exponentially – use both sides of your brain!, is a partnership between Shelley Goldbeck and Susan Cramer. To learn more about running your small business (or conducting your event!), contact us today.

 

 

That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles??

Shelley and I believe so strongly in our mantra of “no starving artists” that we take it literally when we speak publicly. We feed our audience cookies!

When we started down this path, we spoke with our good friend, Flo – an exceptional baker and home-chef.  She offered to create a prototype cookie for us that would not only taste great but could also operate as an edible business card.

After lots of experimentation, Flo shared her product with us.  We were thrilled with the taste and the look. These cookies screamed the professionalism we were after.

The next step was to figure out the cost to S2 Seminars for all this yummy goodness.  Flo agreed to let us walk her through our maker pricing process to arrive at what she should charge per cookie.

Here are the steps we used for Flo and the cookies.

Step One:  Figure out the material costs to produce a batch of cookies. 

How much were the ingredients and the packaging to produce a dozen final-product cookies?  Taking into account the cookie and icing ingredients, the plastic sleeves and the ribbon, and any spoilage, Flo used her receipts to calculate that 12 finished-product-worthy cookies could be produced for around $9.

Note 1: Flo defined spoilage as cookies where the royal icing surface was not level or flat, the edges were too brown, the bottoms too dark, the icing letters smudged, etc.  She felt roughly 9 in every 12 cookies she produced were acceptable to represent S2. This meant each batch had to contain a minimum of 16 cookies to make sure she got a full dozen of her final product.

Note 2: For those with an accounting bend reading this blog, please know we purposefully kept this story simple. If Flo were going to make and bake full time, then we would definitely need to expand our pricing process to include sunk and operating costs and possibly some amortization too.

Step Two: Figure out the cost of labour required to bake, ice and package a batch of cookies. 

Including shopping and cooking time, Flo estimated the labour was around two hours per dozen worthy cookies.  She did feel her labour estimate would become lower over time once she developed a production system  but for now, this was the number.

In Alberta where we live, minimum wage was $13.60 when she was producing the cookies.  Multiplying two hours times $13.60 gave us $27.20 for the cost of labour.

Step Three:  Figure out the price to charge per cookie.

Now we knew the ingredient and packaging costs and the labour costs.  It was time to do some more math and figure out the price per individual cookie.

Herein lay the crux of the problem.  S2 Seminars had a budget of $1.50 a cookie.  $3.02 per cookie was more than double!  To get the price per cookie to meet our budget, it meant the material costs, labour costs or both needed to shrink.

Flo looked at her material costs and decided that, with our mutual eye to a quality product, there was not much that could be done to get the cost lower.  Next, she determined that meeting the goal of $1.50 per cookie would mean she’d only be able to charge $4.50 per hour until her systems were in place.  This put a lot of pressure on those systems to become ultra efficient so her labour rate could reach the minimum wage per hour target. Her chances of success were extremely low.

We then came to the mutual conclusion.  Although we all loved the finished product, it was cost prohibitive for either of us to pursue further.  We sure had fun finishing up the prototype cookies though!

If you’re a maker and struggling with setting your price, write us and we’ll write back.

Shelley Goldbeck and Susan Cramer
www.S2Seminars.ca

S2 Seminars, Grow Exponentially – use both sides of your brain!, is a partnership between Shelley Goldbeck and Susan Cramer. To learn more about running your small business, contact us today.

 

 

A Sweet Business Plan for Success

“Business Plan!”

Did you cringe?

Many people cringe at the mere mention of a business plan, especially if they prefer to live in their right-brain over their left-brain. Of course most of us use both sides of our brains — some appear to use neither side! — but we all resonate more with one side or the other. (See our previous blog, Right-Brain, Left-Brain.)

Business plans live in the left or logical side of our brains. For those who prefer to use right-brain skills, a business plan can seem daunting.

At S2 Seminars, we realized we could help right-brain thinkers if we could find a way to translate some of the business plan “code” into language more suitable to the way they think.

Drumroll please…. enter the S2 Seminars Honeycomb Business Plan Model!

The honeycomb is symbolic of the industrious bee, his propensity to work in teams, yet able to work independently, and his sweet, Return on Investment (ROI), honey! (No, I’m not getting fresh with you!)

The hexagon shapes in honeycombs fit together in a wide variety of configurations which are conducive to building a plan, especially if  you don’t initially know the order your pieces need to be placed or how many you will need.

We recognized that 80% or more of the content in typical business plans is common to all plans. By starting with these common components, you can develop a plan that works for you.  If others who need to see your plan require more components, simply add them on to what you developed for yourself.  (For reasons to have a business plan, see our blog “Because You’re Worth It).”

Here are the most important components of a business plan.

Basics: Your company name, structure, address, phone, web site, social media, your business description and other introductory information.

Vision: Includes vision, mission and value statements. Why are you doing what you are doing and how will you do it?

Products: What are you selling – products, services or both?

Money: How much do you want to make? How much will you charge? What are your financial projections?

Markets: Who is your customer? Where is your customer? How will you reach your customer? How will you bond with your customer?

People: Who is on your team? What skills do you lack? Who can you hire or barter with for the gaps in your skills? Or, do you get training so you can fill the gap yourself?

Summary: The Executive Summary or overview of everything you’re planning. This is written after the rest of your plan but presented to potential business partners and financiers BEFORE the main plan to entice them to read more.

Writing a business plan is the first step in making a living from your art.

S2 Seminars is pleased to offer a two-day workshop for creative and performing artists called A Sweet Business Plan for Success. We will lead you through all these components in detail, helping you ferret out answers to important questions and flesh out a business plan that works for your goals, whether it’s simply to have a roadmap for business success or to secure funding.

At the end of the two days, you will have a business plan that’s 85 to 100% complete, (depending on its complexity, your ability to provide information and who needs to see it) so you can get on with making money from your art.

For more information, check out our events page.

Shelley Goldbeck, 
www.S2Seminars.ca

S2 Seminars, Grow Exponentially – use both sides of your brain!, is a partnership between Shelley Goldbeck and Susan Cramer. To learn more about running your small business, contact us today.

 

Because You’re Worth It

Have you been asked/expected to donate your art? Play for free? Speak at an event for no charge?

It’s often for a good cause.

Or my personal favourite… exposure!

When I’m asked to perform for exposure I say, “People die from exposure!”

Of course, as artists learn their trade, sometimes they have to do projects for experience, which differs from exposure. With experience, you get your mistakes out of the way so when the Big Show comes (whatever that may be for your art), you’re ready!

I read a Facebook post several years ago by a woman, a professional speaker, who was approached by Oprah’s team to present at their up-to-$1000-per-seat event.

For free.

The conversation went something like this:

The author of the post asked the producer on the phone, “Are you getting paid?”

Oprah’s producer replied, ” Yes.”

“What about the receptionist? Is she getting paid?”

Again, Oprah’s producer replied, “Yes.”

“The janitor?”

“Yes.”

Not surprised but disappointed, the author said, “Yet you expect me to work, after taking 16 years to get my education, practicing for years, becoming better with every performance — so much so that I’m considered an expert — for free?

To which the producer responded, “But it’s Oprah.”

(Hmmm… this reply has a bit of “exposure” odor to it, doesn’t it?)

Not shaken, the author queried again, “Is Oprah getting paid?”

I’d like to tell you the producer eventually saw the light and was able to negotiate an agreeable speaking fee for the author.  But, it was Oprah and things were done her way.

Being expected to work for free is common among my fellow musicians, poets and speakers and my numerous friends who are painters, dancers and other creatives.

Why should artists be paid? Here are 13 good reasons. I’d love to hear your reasons.

  1. Art education costs money. Lessons, classes, degrees and certificates all have their price.
  2. Art costs money to produce: paint, canvas, instruments, costumes, demo CDs, studios, props… the list goes on.
  3. Art takes time. Think of the hours you invested getting good at your art — playing an instrument, perfecting that move, capturing the curve of a face, getting your speech timing just right.
  4. Artists need to eat.
  5. Artists have marketing costs like any business: business cards, website, travel, supplies, instruments, technology, etc.
  6. Artists cope with criticism, pain, pressures, self-doubt and rejection, perhaps more than others because of their vulnerability when exposing their art to the world. (Maybe they deserve hazard pay!)
  7. Artists must create and cultivate a fan base to be successful. There are many ways to do this, but they all cost money and time.
  8. Being an artist carries greater risk than other professions. There’s no safety net of a weekly paycheque here. Gigs and sales are often sporadic and unpredictable.
  9. Art is vital to our culture, our education and indeed, our happiness. Why do we not attach higher value to it?
  10. Few artists get filthy rich, but shouldn’t all artists be able to make a living using their gifts?
  11. It’s a myth that getting paid demeans the art. The greatest art in the world has monetary value.
  12. Everybody needs money. Artists are part of the everybody.
  13. It’s not a sin to be paid for doing what you love. Many people do it and haven’t been struck down by lightning!

Your art is a valuable contribution to society.

Your being PAID allows you to make that contribution. Otherwise, you’re relying on  others for sustenance or earning a paycheque with busywork that doesn’t scream who you are like your art can.  Why should you have to let these distractions stifle your creativity and productivity when others are “allowed” to do what they love and earn a living doing it?

Today I challenge you.

Change your beliefs about artists and money.

Artists deserve to be paid.

Shelley Goldbeck, 
www.S2Seminars.ca

S2 Seminars, Grow Exponentially – use both sides of your brain!, is a partnership between Shelley Goldbeck and Susan Cramer. To learn more about running your small business, contact us today.

Hug a Woman Today Because…

… it’s International Women’s Day. On second thought, maybe only hug the ones in your family. The rest might get you into trouble! But do consider doing something special to mark this day and show your support for the women in your life and around the world.

Not sure what the International Women’s Day or IWD is all about?  Here are some fast facts:

  •  IWD celebrates women’s achievements worldwide and has since March 8, 1911.
  • International Women’s Day is also known as United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace.
  • Some countries like Armenia, Kazakhstan, Russia and the Ukraine declare IWD a public holiday where businesses, educational institutions and government offices close.
  • Many countries mark the day by marching to support women’s rights, inviting people to speak publicly on gender equality and women’s empowerment, and holding more events throughout the year to contribute to the theme of the year.  You can find events near you for 2018 on the IWD site.

There are 5 actions you can take to support this year’s IWD theme – #PressforProgress. You can even register your intent on the IWD website to keep yourself accountable.

  1. Maintain a gender parity mindset
  2. Challenge stereotypes and bias
  3. Forge positive visibility of women
  4. Influence others’ beliefs / actions
  5. Celebrate women’s achievements

Want to learn more?  Visit the International Women’s Day official site to see how you can think, act and be gender inclusive.

Gentlemen – thinking you should have your own day?  Good news – there is one!  It’s called International Men’s Day and is held November 19 each year.  Check it out to see how you can contribute to your gender community.

Shelley Goldbeck and Susan Cramer
www.S2Seminars.ca

S2 Seminars, Grow Exponentially – use both sides of your brain!, is a partnership between Shelley Goldbeck and Susan Cramer. To learn more about running your small business, contact us today.

How to Sell Your CDs Online

Music distribution has changed dramatically over the years. In the past, you’d hear a song on the radio. If you liked it you’d go to your local record store and buy the album or the single.

I got an iPod for my birthday from my daughters in 2008. What a wonderful new toy! I spent weeks and hundreds of dollars building my digital music library. I revelled in having thousands of songs at my fingertips wherever I went. Because it was so convenient I developed a relationship with many old favourites and relished the new music I sampled.

I stopped buying CDs, preferring the convenience of digital files so I completely understood when my friends asked where they could buy a digital copy of my CD, Buffalo Beans and Bluebells.

I quickly discovered that I couldn’t list directly on iTunes or many of the other music services for that matter.  These systems aren’t set up for the budding artist with only a CD or two under their belts, like me.  You see, unless you have a large repertoire of albums, they force you into using  a music distributor who will happily take a share of your royalties for their trouble.  I got busy and started researching online.

Luckily, I was able to find reviews for many. I was dismayed at what I read. The biggest complaint from artists seemed to be the inability to reliably collecting money from these distributors.

Then I found Distrokid, whose reviews were stellar. For only $19.99 per year, you can upload unlimited albums and songs. Distrokid distributes them to iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, Amazon, Google Play and over 150 other stores and streaming services. You keep 100% of your royalties. You can even legally use cover songs by paying $12 per year per song. (It’s important to me that other musicians are paid for their work too.)

The process for loading your music is straight forward. I had a small glitch because my producer had loaded my album for me as a favour.  Because Distrokid doesn’t allow duplicates, I was unable to get those songs listed in my name. So I asked my producer to remove my files. It took a few days but I was able to load the album without a hitch.

It was very exciting as I got notifications that my CD was up on iTunes,  Amazon and other services. I haven’t seen any money yet but to be fair, I only loaded everything last week.

If you have a CD, it’s imperative you provide your customers with choice for how they purchase that CD. Distrokid is an easy way to reach your fans and collect the royalties you deserve. One final tip: Remember to update your website with links to your digital music.

Disclaimer:  We did not receive any fees or proceeds in any form for recommending Distrokid.  They’re just a company doing it right and one we’re happy we are getting to know.

Shelley Goldbeck, 
www.S2Seminars.ca

 

S2 Seminars, Grow Exponentially – use both sides of your brain!, is a partnership between Shelley Goldbeck and Susan Cramer. To learn more about running your small business, contact us today.

Creating a Marketing Plan, Part Four: How To Implement your Marketing Plan

This is the fourth in a four-part series on Creating a Marketing Plan for your arts business.

In our previous posts we discussed Who is Your customer? Where is Your Customer? What Matters to or Bonding with your Customer. In this post we look at some ideas for How to Implement your Marketing Plan.

Now that you know who your customer is, where they hang out and what matters to them, you are ready to start marketing.

The good news?  There’s more than way to accomplish this goal. Here are some tips that have worked for us.

  1. Get a system. Create a calendar to regularly put action into your marketing plan. We recommend a simple spreadsheet using MS Excel or Apple’s Numbers. There are apps you can download to integrate your calendar with other functions. Or use Google Plus where you can use the calendar, store and share documents and more. You can even go low-tech and use a paper calendar. It doesn’t matter. Just have a system. And. Use. It. If you schedule web site updates for 3PM Sunday, keep that promise to yourself or reschedule within 24 hours.
  2. Plot out your plan. Research how often you can message your customers without losing their trust. For some it’s daily, others, weekly. You might get away with sending a weekly blog or newsletter (with four times more info as sales copy), (which is tweeted and shared on Facebook automatically); two additional Facebook posts (which are automatically tweeted) and one presentation at a non-profit luncheon where you get to sell your books/CDs. Your research will dictate your frequency. Follow others in your industry. Are you comfortable with their frequency and messaging?
  3. Pre-fill content, wherever and whenever possible. For example, you can write ten blogs one weekend and schedule them to release once a week over the next two and a half months. Prepare content ahead even if you can’t have it generate automatically. You have a system, remember? You can write all your Facebook messages for the month. Collect your images, links, etc. in a file on your favorite device. They’re ready to copy and paste into your posts as you need them. With some preparation your Facebook chores can take only a few minutes each day. Technology can help. Often you can set it up so that when your blog goes live, it notifies your social media of choice. Linking the channels you use is easier than ever and will save time.
  4. Focus. You can’t do it all. Some say it’s better to NOT be on a social media channel if you aren’t active. Pick the top two or three media your audience uses and wow them. If you’re wildly successful and have more resources, you can expand your channels in the future.  If you’re on Facebook, be there. Answer comments. Share information interesting to your tribe. Be frequent and regular. If YouTube is your main channel, do it well.
  5. Measure and test everything. For example, install analytics in your web site so you can see who visited, how long, which pages they clicked on, how long they stayed on the page (were they reading it or just passing through?); all vital information. Test Facebook posts by posting the same message twice, each time with a different title. Which title garnered more likes/views? These are more clues to what resonates with your customer. Test email subject lines by sending the same message to two different groups using two titles. Measure which title elicited more reaction.

We’ve really only scratched the surface of Creating a Marketing Plan but if you implement a few of these tips you will enjoy exponential growth over doing almost nothing!

If you’re serious about making money from your art business, Create a Marketing Plan. If you need help, let us know.

Shelley Goldbeck and Susan Cramer
www.S2Seminars.ca

S2 Seminars, Grow Exponentially – use both sides of your brain!, is a partnership between Shelley Goldbeck and Susan Cramer. To learn more about running your small business, contact us today.

 

 

Creating a Marketing Plan, Part Two: Where is Your Customer?

This is the second in a four-part series on Creating a Marketing Plan for your arts business.  Link to Part 1, Who is Your Customer?

Part Two: Where is Your Customer?

In Part One of Creating a Marketing Plan we identified who our ideal customer is and what matters to him/her. Now that you know that information, finding your customers will be easier. Here are some tips for where to find your customers.

  1. Create a list of possible media. Your list might include your web site, your blog and social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat; traditional media like print (including books/magazines), radio, TV; and newer media like podcasts, YouTube and webinars. Business cards, postcards, brochures, and promotional gifts (pens, water bottles, bags) are all part of your marketing, as are how you dress, how you speak; even the cleanliness of your car sends a message to clients.
  2. Now that you have your list, it’s time to analyze each medium’s effectiveness in reaching your ideal customer. For example, if your ideal customer is a soccer mom, you will likely find her on Facebook. If your client is the CEO of a small company, good luck reaching him on Facebook! Odds are LinkedIn will be his social media of choice. This might require you spending time on the various media to find out who’s there and what they’re saying.
  3. If you don’t know where your customer hangs out, do some research. Ask past customers how they like to communicate with you. They might like frequent short messages on Twitter rather than reading a long technical blog article. They might prefer podcasts because they spend long hours in a car. They might like to post pictures on Instagram. 

Once you’ve determined where your customers are, the next step is to join them there. Set up your Facebook account, start writing your blog or the script for your video, decide if you’ll find your following on Pinterest or Instagram or neither! (Where NOT to be is as important as where TO be!)

Finding your tribe is a process. Very few get it on the first try.

Most artists, authors, speakers and other influencers are not using the same media nor speaking to the same audience with the same message in the same way they were two decades ago!

So be kind to yourself as you build your business. Baby steps!

If you need help setting up your systems, call us.

Once you find your following, what are you going to say?

In Part Three of Creating a Marketing Plan, we cover “Bonding with your Customer” or Matching your Message to your Customer.

 

Shelley Goldbeck and Susan Cramer
www.S2Seminars.ca

S2 Seminars, Grow Exponentially – use both sides of your brain!, is a partnership between Shelley Goldbeck and Susan Cramer. To learn more about running your small business, contact us today.

 

Link to Part 1, Who is Your Customer?

Creating a Marketing Plan, Part One: Who Is Your Customer?

In our past blog, I Have My CD, Now What? we discussed why you need a marketing plan.

And we promised to show you how.

In this four-part series, we’ll look at various steps that are integral to planning, building, and executing a marketing plan for your business.

A few decades ago I participated in a community theatre production. Once we had our parts, our first exercise was to “get to know” our characters. We did that by creating a back story for them. In the script we found clues to why the characters were the way they were and we made up back stories to explain their current state.

At the time I wondered why we were bothering. What we wrote would never be performed or revealed in any way.

Then I realized that none of us could “be” our characters if we didn’t really know them. “Being” a character is far different from “doing” a character, as anyone who has sat through a badly performed play can attest.

It’s the same with customers. We can’t serve them, meet their needs or sell to them if we don’t really know them.

The first step to creating a marketing plan is to get to know your ideal customer.

Who is your ideal customer?

The answer is NOT “everyone”, despite being the most common answer!

In our world of infinite choices and combinations you and your product will never appeal to “everyone” so get over it!

Here are some tips for discovering your customer.

  1. Think about one person who was most excited about you or your product. What does he/she look like? What does she want, need, have, etc.? What does he drive? What makes her heart sing? How many children does she have or does she even have children? Does he cook? Does she travel? Does he play an instrument? What does she read?
  2. Think about what you can do for her. Don’t even think about what she can do for you (buy your product) before you know why she wants/needs your product. You waste your resources and risk alienating a potential future customer when you’re not sure. How will your product improve her life/health/happiness?
  3. Think about why. Why does your ideal customer care about you or your product? (Or, what would it take to get her to care about you and your product?) What values do you share with your customer?

This is not a comprehensive list of questions because all our customers are different. The important part is to ask questions. Make no assumptions.

You might find it helps you to draw a picture of your ideal customer or create a collage of everything your ideal customer cherishes.

Caution: if you do not complete this painting-the-picture-of-your-ideal-customer step all future steps are at your peril! It is imperative that you know the wherefores and the whys of your customers’ buying decisions if you ever hope to sell them anything. You can only accomplish this if you know them intimately.

Once you’ve arrived at honest accurate answers to this question, “Who is your ideal customer?” you’re ready for Part Two of Creating a Marketing Plan, Finding Your Ideal Customer.

Shelley Goldbeck and Susan Cramer
www.S2Seminars.ca

S2 Seminars, Grow Exponentially – use both sides of your brain!, is a partnership between Shelley Goldbeck and Susan Cramer. To learn more about running your small business, contact us today.

 

 

What to do when Oprah calls…

Breathe! Remember we all put our pants on one leg at a time – even the rich, successful and famous! Then say, “Hello.” Maybe follow it up with, “How are you today?” Whatever you do, don’t drop the phone or go running up to the first person you see screaming, “Oprah’s on the phone!!”

Seriously though, how often do you meet someone you feel is better than you – whether it’s true or not. Maybe it’s because of their financial status, brain power, natural raw talent, or some other “trait” you’ve convinced yourself makes them superior to you. We are all comprised of flesh, bone and water – roughly 60% water actually! Some of us just use our grey matter a little differently and others are simply born into money.

Our overall sense of self-worth or personal value is called our self-esteem. It’s healthy to have confidence in our own worth and abilities. But what do we do when those feelings of worthiness and contribution are low?

What You Can Do to Bolster Your Self-Esteem NOW

1. Surround yourself with people who love you.

Stop spending time with people who treat you badly. Reconnect with those who believe in you and like you (love you is even better). These people are pre-wired to help you feel better about yourself and want to see you succeed.

2. Remove negative self-talk from your vocabulary.

Why do we set the bar higher for ourselves then we would for other people, then kill ourselves trying to jump over that bar? It’s time to start believing “good enough” really is good enough and quit beating ourselves up when things aren’t perfect. Done well and with the right heart beats done to perfection every time.

3. Stop comparing yourself to others.

People don’t always tell the truth, especially on social media. On the surface, it may look like they’re doing better than you are when in reality, you are doing just as well or better! Author Seth Stephens-Davidowitz in his 2017 book Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are says:

“In the Facebook world, the average adult seems to be happily married, vacationing in the Caribbean, and perusing The Atlantic. In the real world, a lot of people are angry, on supermarket checkout lines, peeking at the National Inquirer, ignoring the phone calls from their spouse, whom they haven’t slept with in years.”

4. Find something you like doing and do more of it.

Maybe it’s playing or creating music, painting, sculpting, writing, spending time with your children, … whatever! Just do more of it so you can remind yourself you don’t have to be an expert at something to have fun. And fun is good for your mental health!

5. Get support if things become too much.

Many major centres have free or next-to-free programs for people to help re-establish healthy self esteem. In Toronto for example, the Health and Wellness Centre at the University of Toronto offers counselling services for low self-esteem. The Calgary Counselling Centre in Calgary has an action-oriented program to help you “create a positive, stronger sense of self and make healthier choices.” If you’re nervous about that big a step, make an appointment with your family doctor and start there. The secret is to just start doing something to make your life better.

 

Shelley Goldbeck and Susan Cramer
www.S2Seminars.ca

S2 Seminars, Eradicating Poverty in Artists by Teaching Business Skills, is a partnership between Shelley Goldbeck and Susan Cramer. To learn more about running your small business, contact us today.