Archives October 2013

Build your fan base and they will be screaming for you.


Yesterday, we talked about effective networking online. This sparked a discussion about the steps you should take in building that ever-important reputation. Piping up about the “fan-base philosophy,” garnered from years in the entertainment business, I decided to make today’s exercise about that. If you have read “The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell, you know that there’s a certain level of action required before something tips and interest comes in larger waves. That point can be achieved through consistent activities that create exposure for your business. In a word, you have to create value.

Think about a new rock band and how they build their fan base. Starting out, they might play a few local shows. They are seen in some way. It’s said that you can’t make money by sitting in your office. You need to get out, press the flesh, get known. That’s what these small shows are about and, for you, its what small talk is about. Attend a conference where your target market is, become interested in them. Now that the rock band has played a few local shows, and they’ve captured some information (in your case business cards) they send a track out. They’ve also been working their social media channels. They’ve been opening up on Facebook and Twitter, providing a behind the scenes to potential fans. They’ve been providing inspiration and giving away tickets to their next local show. Now they book some local interviews. They get themselves in the media, whatever media they can find. They find their angle an tell their story. They start going to the right parties. (In your world, that party might be the right LinkedIn Group – Staples runs a great one.) They don’t whip out their instruments and play at the party, they just go with the flow, they meet people. More interest collected, they provide their demo to the right people.

Here’s the key, though, they warm up the audience. Your opening song is simply having a conversation. You aren’t in it to pitch yet. You are in it to find out about them, add value and see if they are even pitch worthy. Imagine if this same rock band went to a party and immediately started pitching their music and (ooops) come to find out they are talking to the GM of a country music station. Once the fan base is there, you can communicate on a regular basis and be sure your fans get the newest stuff first. Providing exclusive treatment to your best customers is a great way to keep them listening to you for life.

Building a fan base is all about:

1) Identifying the right channels – Where is your target audience? Where are they most likely to be looking for you?

2) Providing value – What can you provide that’s cool and interesting? What’s your role at the party?

3) Nurturing the fandom – Keep giving, keep learning, keep LISTENING.

4) Learning how you can serve – Ask directed questions and continue to listen.

5) Playing your heart out – Once you can serve, serve with all your heart.

6) Develop an ongoing relationship – Don’t let this be a one night stand. Keep in touch! Check in. Continue providing value and you will be top of mind next time they need something.

Today’s Exercise: Where are you in fan base building? Are you at #1 where you are just figuring out who to talk to or are you learning how to listen? Identify where you are and start building, online and offline. What steps do you need to take to be the rock star of your own business?

Discuss this exercise in the comments below or if you need help, contact us.


Are you an online business creeper?


Today, as I was moderating our new Help for Business Owners and Entrepreneurs LinkedIn Group, I encountered an enthusiastic entrepreneur with an energy business. Unfortunately, I encountered him in the wrong way. Within moments of joining our group he had plastered his URL, phone number, headline in three different places on the group. Being a coach, I reached out to him versus banning him outright (which is what most groups would do). Here was my response, paraphrased. I thought it worthy enough to share with all.

“One of the top things I coach my clients on is how to participate in a group when networking. You meet people for business purposes through networking, but its kind of like dating. It’s not a good idea to push marriage on the first date. You participate in discussions. You provide input. Sending URLS, emails, and so on when you are not the sponsor of the group is not effective group participation.”

It’s true. Think about online dating for a bit. If you are serious about looking for someone, you don’t outright say – “hey, I want to get married honey.” You ask about interests. You comment on aspects of their profile. You get to know them before asking them out on a date.

Social media networking works the same way. If you join a group, ADD VALUE. Answer people’s questions. Ask a few questions of your own. Post an interesting article. To lead generate, post an article you have written that resides on your web site. Ask for opinions about a new product offering. Don’t just say, “hey baby, have I got a special offer for you.” The ONLY place that is appropriate is when you are the sponsor of a group. But do it VERY SPARINGLY. You are there to build a community, to add value. Ultimately, yes, you will come upon people who are interested in what you have to offer. But, like the new person who is participating in a LinkedIn Group, Facebook Group, posting on walls, tweeting, pinning, Instagramming, or anything else, you need to have a soft touch.

Otherwise you just come off like that sleazy guy in a bar looking for a one night stand. Who wants to be THAT guy?

Today’s Exercise: Look at all the ways you network – in person or via social media. Are you asking for marriage before you even get a date? What is your strategy for becoming part of the group and gaining interest before you pitch? What are you doing right? What are you doing wrong?

Questions about how to tackle social media networking? Claim your free Quick Question session and ask away – or just ask on our LinkedIn Group.

Are your goals SMART or LAME?


You can plan all day long until you are blue in the face. Yes, until you make real goals and make them SMART, you might as well consider your brain a very high functioning toy. Entrepreneurs especially are great at that. New idea! They play. New product! They play. However, in all that playing and planning, some end up trying to put the roof on a house with no foundation. They get the steps out of order so, like a house with no foundation, the ideas don’t stand on their own.

SMART goals are nothing new. Yet, often, people get so caught up in the excitement of “getting going” that they put on the jet packs and fire off in the wrong direction.

Here’s how to set a SMART goal.

SMART goals are:

Specific: What EXACTLY are you looking to accomplish?

Measurable: What METRIC are you going to apply to this? What does success look like in NUMBERS?

Attainable: With the resources you have at your disposal, is this DOABLE?

Realistic: Can this really happen or are you dreaming up a big pretty business UNICORN?

Timely: How LONG do you give yourself to accomplish this goal? How much TIME will it really take?

Today’s Exercise: Think of one goal you have. Just one. Make it a shorter term one – say within a month. Now, make it SMART. What changed about your goal? Does it seem more or less attainable?

Discuss your experience below.

By the way, LAME goals are:





More on that later…

For now, we now have a NEW LinkedIn Group for FREE HELP for Entrepreneurs, Business Owners and Business Leaders. Go there now and cash in on your What Works Quick Question and meet others like you around the world.

It’s time to be stupidly happy.

Today, I was working on a project and minimized everything on my screen. There he was, a little bit of happy. It was a rabbit yawning. It was so cute I had to call the others in the office over to look at it. “There, I said… I had to share that little bit of happy with you.” The smile faded and I went on with my day. Then, I found a quote.

Man is the only animal for whom his own existence is a problem which he has to solve. – Erich Fromm

As I go about my day, I see people lament their situation. People will rant about what pissed them off. People will cry “why me” when faced with life situations. People will question every little aspect of their lives and what’s going on with it.

What do I say to that? Be the rabbit. Yawn in the morning and don’t care what you look like or how your breath smells.

Sometimes that little voice in our heads which analyzes every aspect of our day actually holds us back from embracing that little bit of happy.

Todays Exercise: Be unabashedly enthusiastic about something that makes you smile or makes you happy. Share it on Facebook. Show the people you work with. Allow yourself to laugh a loud appreciative laugh and bear a big stupid grin.

It’s these little moments of happy that help you live in a mindset of happiness, no matter what is going on.

Now, enjoy this picture of an adorable yawning rabbit.



Visualize what you want. Now, go get it!

The next time you feel a little “I can’t” coming on. Remember this.


Have you made up your mind to be happy?


Abraham Lincoln once said, “most folks are about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” Those words ring as true today as they were when he said it. Mindset is an integral part of success. Whether you believe in Law of Attraction or not, your attitude makes all the difference in the world when it comes to the outcome of any human relationship (business, romantic, platonic or otherwise). When you drag yourself down with negative self-talk, second guessing yourself or continuously compromising – you chip away at that happiness. Try this instead, reframe the situation! You may be going into a negotiation. Make up your mind that the outcome will be happy, a win-win. By framing the negotiation as a collaborative versus combative affair, you can disarm a potentially contentious discussion.

Today’s Exercise: Do you have something important to bring up? Make up your mind to be happy and have a happy outcome before the discussion starts. Maybe you have to bring something up to a business partner or even your spouse. Take a moment. Take a breath. Visualize the outcome you want.

How did it go? Did you walk into the situation calmer? Did calming yourself down beforehand and resetting your mind toward a happy outcome produce different results than if you would have walked in with anxiety?

Get some free coaching on it by commenting below.

Need more help? Contact us!

Is your little voice a genius?


What Works clients are often found scribbling madly in their Genius Books. That’s what we call that little journal you keep by your bed. You never know when that little voice will deliver inspiration. In the case of my dad, Wayne, his genius time hit in restaurants. He would be sitting there having a meal and BOOM… IDEA! As a result, his pockets, the center console of his truck, crammed into books, were hundreds of ideas about what could be built and how he would build it.

That little voice resulted in a motel, some apartments, more than a few city contracts and a lot of toys bought as a result of the material rewards they brought. But writing it down isn’t enough – you have to take action. Stare at those little notes all you want, checks won’t show up in your mailbox unless you do something to make them show up.

Today’s Exercise: Locate your scribbling, your great ideas. If you don’t write them down, START! It doesn’t have to look pretty. Scribble every time that little voice speaks, on whatever you can grab at the time. Collect them over a week’s time and next Friday, look at them. REALLY look at them. What can you take action on? What would make a good short, mid-term and long-term goal? Pick ONE thing and start taking action.

That little voice can work for or against you, friend. It can also talk you down. It can tell you that the government shutdown makes it impossible. It can tell you that you don’t have enough capital, you aren’t smart enough, you don’t have enough education or experience. As much as those ideas pop and give you that adrenaline rush we all crave so much, it can stop you before you start.

Need some help prioritizing those scribbles or want more ideas on how to make that little voice work for you instead of against you?

Reach out to us! We’re here to help.

Don’t you dare think of quitting!

This is one of my favorite motivational poems. Rather than fill you with fluff, it allows you to address your situation and correct your mindset before proceeding toward a solution.

– Diane Dye Hansen, What Works Lead Coach


Give a Man a Fish
What costs less, learning to do it or having it done?


If you’ve read the story about What Works, you know that our firm used to be all about taking over the reins – being an installed executive, doing your email programs, web sites, marketing plans and marketing campaigns for you. Can we still refer you to people who can do it for you if you need it? Absolutely! We do that every day. But what we really prefer to do is coach you on HOW to do it. “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” That old Chinese Proverb is actually very true.

Think about it. If we teach you What Works for your unique situation, than you have the power, the knowledge, to continue forward and repeat that process if your issue should ever recur again. However, if we say – “here, let’s just do that for you, charge you this nifty one time fee and its done,” what’s the result? Sure, its done for you. The issue has been handled – THIS TIME. However, the next time you need something done, you are stuck in the mud. At that point you look for a new solution, a new vendor,  or a new whatever.  Why look for something new over and over again when you can participate in the development of your own trusted, tried and true tools? At What Works, we give you the tools to be unstuck.

Today’s exercise: Think of past situation where something “stuck” in your business. How did it get there? Where did you shift things to unstick it? What guidance would you give yourself now that it’s unstuck? Did your solution teach you how to fish or was it a Band-Aid to get past temporary pain?

When you see an issue, you need to fish for lasting solutions or rush for a quick fix?

Tell us all about it in the comments below and, if we can help, contact us.