Successful Marketing For Introverts\work At Home

In my experience I have seen many levels of introvert and extrovert. Let me share some of my own.

* Invite me to a party — I’d rather have a root canal
* Have me speak about something I’m passionate about in front of a group of people — I shine.
* Put me in a “casual” networking group — root canal please.
* Put me in a “structured” networking group where I can ask for what I need and help others at the same time — I’m in heaven.

We all have our levels of how we interact, the environments where we thrive and the environments where we are extremely uncomfortable. I have seen many people go into business for themselves, myself included that would rather give up their dream than to market their business and themselves. I was almost one of those statistics. I almost QUIT my dream until I discovered the secret.

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrases for successful marketing, Find Your Passion; Market from your Passion; Marketing from Within, etc. This is actually correct, but there are a few more steps. Too many times we focus on things we can’t do (weakness) versus the things we can do (strength). The most common phrase I’ve heard is “I don’t want to feel like I’m selling.” Then we have this belief we’re supposed to market from the standard marketing box; cold calls, networking groups, speaking, knocking on doors, etc. NO! You don’t need to jump directly into the marketing box first. Get out of the should(s) and they can’t(s). Step into what you do well and what you enjoy first, then, open the marketing door.

The Secret

1. Give yourself permission to redefine marketing to fit your style.

Example #1

A program participant was very good at her profession as a lawyer but was very uncomfortable with marketing. I have clients brainstorm and write down their strengths and passions. She expressed she had very few on her list. It doesn’t matter how many are on your list as long as you pay attention to what’s there. Some people have 30-40, others have 5-10. She chose her top 3.

Out of her 3 the main passion and strength on her list was one-on-one conversations. We then began thinking of who might be good strategic partnerships for her business. She was thrilled she could not only market from her favorite and most comfortable approach, but also choose her favorite environment, which happened to be in a cozy coffee shop. However, that wasn’t all that was holding her back. She had never given herself permission to call one-on-one conversations marketing. Once she redefined marketing to One-On-One Conversations, she left saying, “I feel like I’ve had a black cloud lifted off my head.”

2. Give yourself permission to market from your comfort zone.

When she gave herself permission to market from her comfort zone she began taking more steps naturally. Two weeks later I turned around at my networking group and there she was. She was enjoying herself because she gave herself permission to redefine marketing to fit her passions and strengths AND she allowed herself to market from her comfort zone. I have seen this so many times. Once you give yourself permission to stand in your comfort zone, it’s amazing how you will naturally evolve towards expanding your marketing. It becomes FUN and Exciting!

Example #2

Look at what you already have. All you need to market may be right in front of you with your most comfortable group of prospective clients.

A Life Coach I met had a horrible fear of marketing but really believed in his chosen profession and didn’t want to give it up. Through the process described above most of his fears disappeared. But he still found himself hesitating. He had identified his best client but that first step of where to begin seemed too big. In asking Bob about his past profession and contacts he realized not only would they be a perfect client but he knew a large number of people he could comfortably approach. Bob did several things.

1) Gave himself permission to redefine marketing to fit his style.
2) Gave himself permission to market from his comfort zone.
3) Identified a market he had come from and was comfortable.
4) He became so energized with his approach he is making cold calls speaking from the passion of his business.

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Strategic Partnerships – What Can You Offer That Will Allow You to Grow Your Business?

What could you offer your strategic customer and partner that would allow you to grow your business, and at the same time benefit from their market knowledge? Surprisingly, the answers are pretty straightforward.

1. As a small enterprise, make sure you get exclusivity for your product or service.

When pursuing such a partnership, your partner must be willing to grant you some form of exclusivity for your efforts. This means that if you develop a product for your customer and partner, then they must guarantee to only use your product or service as part of the agreement. You in turn, will offer what you can to help them reduce costs. You must offer them an incentive to pursue the partnership and grant you the exclusivity you need to make the agreement work.

This could be preferential pricing, favorable payment terms, engineering and service capabilities, business knowledge, and even labor. These services would not only be offered to your customer and partner, but could also extend to your customer’s customers. Anything you feel could help your customer benefit from the partnership must be considered. These partnerships are the ultimate give and take. If you needed some incentive about how successful these relationships can be for small enterprises, then consider that most automotive manufacturers have extensive partnerships throughout their entire supply chain with smaller and more flexible businesses.

2. Think of what you can offer that your potential partner might need, and then set out a plan to negotiate a deal.

Let’s assume you are working with a customer that you feel could be a potential partner. As an example, you might be working with an equipment manufacturer and have a key and essential part that they have trusted with giving you the majority of their volume requirements. You are a valued supplier to them, but do not have all their business. In order to close the loop, you offer preferential pricing, volume discounts, engineering and service capabilities, and in return, you require all the volume. While a number of these companies are in the business of making and selling equipment, they may not be interested in supporting the smaller residual spare parts that go into these machines.

Doing so would force them to hold inventory of spare parts, and then send a service technician out to service these customers. If your company provides some of these essential parts, your business might be ideally suited to fill this role, and may be able to provide a vital service for your partner. The strategic partnership secures your business, and in return, your partner saves on price, service, and warehousing costs. You secure more business, and increase your market share. There are a number of possible scenarios that could work in your favor. You might expand your offer provided your partner exhibits your company logo, contact information, and specifications on their equipment and brochures. The idea is to increase your visibility within the market place and ultimately grow business. It’s a relationship that can be beneficial to both parties and can help grow your enterprise.

Two for Tea? Considerations for Successful Strategic Partnerships

Have you ever noticed or read about companies such as Google, HP and Facebook and their ability to simply consumer smaller companies, seemingly for their technology or other resources? These acquisitions are often in the millions, if not billions of dollars. Oddly, in some cases, it doesn’t seem as though the parent company is much better off – which, unfortunately, is often the case.

The truth is, just like starting a business, most of the time when two companies merge, under whatever circumstances, neither company is better off as a result. Inc. Magazine reports in an article that a third of Google’s acquisitions have failed. Forbes reports about the failure of HP’s recent acquisition of Autonomy; one would think that a company of this size, achieving its status through acquisitions, would have expertise with the process, as Cisco Systems has demonstrated.

As a business leader, you probably realize that there are two ways to expand your capabilities in the marketplace – grow it at home or go fishing for it. While growing it at home will ensure that the product conforms to the way that your company operates, a company that is already delivering the solution may be appealing because they typically have expertise in delivery and a market that they are selling to.

A strategic partnership – in its true sense – allows your company and your strategic partner to benefit from a shared vision to deliver a product (service) to the marketplace that combines both of your expertise. It would be like a private school working with an internet broadcasting company to offer online home school. Both companies would benefit s a result of the partnership.

The challenge, it seems, finding the company to work with that will be a great partner for your company. It goes back to the saying, “just because it looks and quacks like a duck doesn’t mean it is a duck.” A company that appears, on the surface, to be a good strategic partner may not share your vision, which may result in a lopsided partnership that only benefits one company or the other. This can be the foundation for everything that goes wrong in the partnership.

Like in Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A), there are a number of factors which you will want to take into consideration as you are building the relationship:

1. Share the vision – both companies need to have a shared vision for what the goals and outcomes of the partnership should be. Here is the thing – that means that all cards must be on the table, and you must be honest with one another. If communications fail, the partnership will fail. If vision isn’t united, walk away.

2. Be realistic – there may be a great opportunity to work together, but as mentioned, there is a great chance that the relationship could fail. You need to determine how much you can afford to invest (read – are willing to lose) into the partnership. If you cannot commit enough for the partnership to work, walk away.

3. Set your framework – Your framework, for all intents and purposes, your framework defines what you need to accomplish and under what parameters they can be accomplished. You are thinking strategically about your business; your new partnership needs to contribute to your company strategy. There will be all kinds of opportunities that will take your eye off the goal – which could potentially put you into a place where you are unfamiliar, which could ultimately lead to your failure.

4. Be committed – Certainly – life and business continue, and you typically can’t get off the bus for a little while to work on the partnership. However, if you wish to accomplish something, you must move, intently, toward making it happen. At the same time, you need to get that from your partner. Keep in mind that different personalities have different “paces.” Answer for yourself “can I work with this person?”

5. Exit strategy – know under what circumstances you will need to walk away. This might look like a revenue, profit, product delivery, market reach or any number of criteria. This goes back to understanding the risk. One activity that continues to make businesses impact personal lives is when business leaders don’t know when to retrench, take a step back, then move forward with a more strategic approach.

6. Have an agreement – While the legal community would call it a CYA policy (Cover Your Assets) – which it may contain, having an understanding of roles and expectations written down provides accountability to each company to a) provide structure and b) to help to measure the success of the venture.

7. Plan to learn – success or failure of the engagement will provide an opportunity to learn more about your competencies, refining your capabilities as a strategic partner and refining your ability to choose a great partner.

Strategic partnerships can be extremely beneficial to helping your company expand capabilities and increase market share. They shouldn’t ever be gone into haphazardly. As an extraordinary company, finding new ways to serve and reach your market is your primary goal and responsibility.