“You Cannot Save Anyone’s Business But Your Own”

“You cannot save anyone’s business but your own.”

These were the words given to us from our business coach. What do you think?

Here at RT Consulting, we are a digital marketing agency who offer marketing solutions for businesses to excel at reaching their customers. A business in any industry has a similar process:

  1. Start up idea
  2. Do strong research
  3. Build your business and marketing plan well
  4. Execute the hard stuff (with help)
  5. Measure efforts and adapt
  6. Repeat

We have done this process with other businesses and it has made huge returns on their investment with us. Some have failed. Marketing cannot fix a bad brand. Marketing cannot force what isn’t there. We invite conversation to build the brand out and connect with potential buyers. Social selling (buzzwords for sales) is when money is exchanged. A combination of marketing and sales and make a huge impact on any business. This is how businesses stay in business.

So why would our business coach tell us, “You cannot save anyone’s business but your own”? Because he is right.

Our prospects cannot be everyone with a start up idea. The struggling small business who cannot afford to hire someone for their marketing well is not a good prospect for us. The small business who wants to be big and can pay for a mutual exchange of services, this is what works for us. Instead of trying to fix or save anyone’s business, focus on improving yours to attract the right business and customers to serve.

6 Free Resources to Better Your Business

Where do you learn about better business? We have plenty of resources how to manage and grow a successful business. We can read a magazine, book, interview/meet with a thought leader, watch a video, read tweets, scan through blogs, and the list goes on and on. The internet is full of articles and video channels to close a deal, but who has time to sort through it all? We have found six resources to better your business.

  1. Watch Shark Tank on ABC. We love watching Shark Tank because it reminds of the David and Goliath story. We see smaller businesses try to get bigger so they ask for an investor to help them grow. This is a path some businesses may follow while others may find another way. Throughout the show, we are given tokens of wisdom from a “Shark” (self-made millionaires who grew their own businesses) of what not to do. We suggest watching a show a day or on your down time to write valuable business lessons from the pros.
  2. Subscribe to an industry magazine. We have many subscriptions because we are a marketing business. By following a number of magazines, we stay in tune with a majority of the industries we offer our service. Consider subscribing to a magazine in your industry. Magazines are primed to announce and share industry trends and happenings, so this is a sure way to stop on top of what is in the now with each issue.
  3. Subscribe to a company’s RSS feed or YouTube channel. We love Ted Talks. The company is consistently producing great work we aim to do in our own business. Instead of copying them, we put into practice what motivates us. By subscribing to their RSS feed, we get an e-mail of the blogs that appeal to us and can view them on YouTube for further application. This is a combination of the number one and number two resource.
  4. Follow a #hashtag. What’s a hashtag? We like to follow #BusinessTips, #SMM, and #HustleMuscle on Twitter. Why Twitter? Twitter has resources outside your zipcode where Facebook and LinkedIn are all within your “defined network”. Twitter is full of resources beyond your zip code. With that in mind, follow a hashtag and use it in your own content strategy. Soon enough you will find others using the same and form possible business connections.
  5. Download the app Perch. What is your competition doing? How well are they doing it? How are you doing compared to them? This app allows you to plug-in your competition and other top players in your industry and receive their online marketing efforts in a digest format. Instead of focusing on the outside, let the app do the work for you. A weekly digest of your competition’s happenings are sent to your email. This saves you research time and allows you to scan through anything.
  6. Join a networking industry group. We have joined a local marketing group called #theJOMM (Jacksonville Online Marketing Meetup). The second Tuesday of the month we meet at 7pm at CoWork Jax downtown. Every mo the we network and learn about the latest marketing trends and best practices. Each meeting provides us with valuable connections and lessons to apply to our business.

How do you find resources to better your business?

AM vs. PM

Oh mornings, why art thou hard to enjoy? And evenings, why do you keep my brain stimulated throughout the night? I have read many books in health and in business that say mornings are better for you while others say afternoons can be beneficial, too.

Working in the AM:

I had read somewhere one hour in the morning is equivalent to two hours in the afternoon. (I am finding this to hold weight to it.)

Less distractions. In the morning, I can scan through my e-mail, create and restructure my to-do list for the hours I have today.

Quiet time. Sometimes I need to pray or meditate on what is happening now. Now two hours from now or two months from now, but here in this moment. I tell myself to relax and be grateful for what I have before moving on.

Exercise. I keep hearing exercise is better in the morning. I read in a health magazine that you should wake up and start exercising before your brain realizes what you are doing. I thought it was funny, but now I’m seriously debating if I should start doing this.

“And there’s no better time to review and plan for [your goals] them and do your goal tasks than first thing.” Zen Habits

“Successful people…wake up early… 4:30 or 5:30am, early”. Entrepreneur Magazine

Photo credit: http://www.rgbstock.com/user/hisks Words: RT Consulting

Photo credit: http://www.rgbstock.com/user/hisks
Words: RT Consulting

Working in the PM (Noon or later):

Atmosphere changes. When the weather changes (in Florida), it gets hotter by the hour. By mid-afternoon I am turning on more fans and lowering the temperature to cool off in my office. Sometimes my office is a nearby coffee shop or park.

A balance between the day’s schedule and daily happenings. The way my meetings are set up, I bounce from meeting to phone conference and vise versa with enough time in between to eat or review the upcoming meeting’s agenda. This “block” of time should increase my productivity but it sometimes distracts me. While I’m eating, I am thinking of something else or see my notifications from various apps.

Less caffeine + more H2O = more restroom breaks

More phone calls + technology use = more recharging time aka “down time” to read or make notes.

Are you jealous of Mad Men’s Don Draper taking an afternoon nap? “Afternoon naps can increase creativity and boost productivity.” Huffpost Healthy Living

There’s a science behind the temperature and lighting (by daylight or florescent) that affect us in the long run. Buffer Social

I’d love to have your feedback! How do you do your mornings? How do you like working in the afternoons? What works best for you?

5 Questions to Ask When Hiring A Contractor

When I propose to people and business owners as a Marketing Advisor for RT Consulting, I ask a lot of questions. I have hired a handful of contractors to help me with client projects. Hiring a contractor can be beneficial to both parties to reach the goal in mind. Success does not happen overnight, but asking the right questions can get an idea if this partnership can get you there.

20140402-105434.jpg

1. How can you help me?

Ask open-ended questions so the contractor can talk about what he or she has observed during the meeting. If the two of you just met, be weary of the answer to this question. If he or she has done research on you beforehand, listen carefully; otherwise let them ask you questions to help them accurately answer you.

2. What experience do you have working in [fill in the blank] industry?

In a perfect world, everything would be simple. In a perfect world, every industry would be marketed and advertised flawlessly. The reality is not every industry is the same. Each industry may have similarities but it stops there. Advertising for a personal trainer is far different from advertising for a finance advisor.

A contractor with direct experience in your specific field is beneficial. If you (the prospective client) are willing to spend time and coach the in’s and out’s of your industry it will cost you at your own expense.

3. How are your communication skills? Give me an example of how we would communicate before, during, and follow-up for meetings?

A contractor is excellent at telling you about his or her communication skills, but the proof is in the pudding. If he or she says they are available anytime and doesn’t pick up the phone at 10am, 4pm, or 7pm, then something isn’t right.

4. How many other projects do you have going on now?

A contractor should never reveal how much “work” he or she is doing at the same time. Your project and business is important. Make sure you receive the answer you want to hear. If you are looking for work to be completed per week or bi-monthly communicate it.

5. What is your biggest success? Biggest failure?

Contractors can talk about their successes all day long. The experience doesn’t come without failures along the way. If the contractor can show you his or her failures, do you see his or her character? Did he or she take responsibility? How was the situation turned around?

There are plenty of question that can be asked when hiring a contractor. These are the top five I have found useful when considering to hire someone. What are some of the questions you asked when hiring a contactor?

How To Build A “City”: Growing Your Small Business Into A Global Brand On A Not-So-Global Budget

City - Robert FF How To Build A “City” Establishing an effective presence online for your company can be approached as a city planner would map out a schematic for a town’s layout; Needed are a firm infrastructure, reliable communication systems, sturdy connectors, and a populace within it to ensure the various tasks are conducted properly.  Organically growing your business can approached in a similar manner and for  a relatively low cost.  As a business owner or leader, you are both the city planner as well as the mayor and must think and act as such in order to become and remain relevant and effective in your “city” in order to ensure the health of the world at large.  An effective presence locally will be the seed of the ultimate goal:  A successful global presence.

An Oasis in the Desert When Bugsy Siegel envisioned what would eventually become Las Vegas, the world’s gambling Mecca, no one else could see a beautiful city of lights and dancing fountains in the middle of the unrelenting Nevada desert.  Siegel, one of the most notorious gangsters of all time, like Walt Disney after him, clearly saw down to the tiniest detail what he wanted to build.  He fastened an idea in his mind and never deviated from it.  This is what one must do when planting a foothold in your local market for your business.  Even if there are literally dozens or even hundreds more in the same industry, find a gap, regardless of how minute, where you can differentiate yourself and become a resource for your customers.  There are literally hundreds of different soft drinks, dozens of automotive brands, and countless makers of clothing, yet each one is able to compete with others in their field by being unique and giving to their customers something that others cannot.  It sounds simple (and it is, in principle,) but clearly picturing a goal is not only an effective way to reach your goals, but it’s been proven to improve performance of professional athletes and other successful people achieve their ideals.

Building Your “City” Laying the groundwork for any city requires solid infrastructure, which could also be looked at as the skeleton and musculature of a city; it gives the city its shape and provides support and protection for the remainder of its components.  As you would needs roads, an electrical grid and a water supply, your business also needs a firm branding foundation to rest upon that will serve as the bedrock for your brand.  This requires congruency across Social Media platforms, advertising, and any other touchpoint where the public comes into contact with your brand.  This congruency, i.e. maintaining a seamless message and image horizontally across all marketing interfaces.  Congruency is key and this seamless message serves as a primer; a base coat on canvas for you to create what you envision. The “bridges” of your city, the necessary connectors that you need for growth and expansion, are the relationships you’ll build along the way with like-minded individuals and organizations that complement you and your work.  It’s MUCH easier to cross a river by way of a bridge; and it’s equally easier to grow yourself and enhance your work with healthy, challenging business relationships.

About the Author:  Robert Eleazer is the Marketing Coordinator for the Sellin’ With CC Team of Keller Williams Realty Jacksonville and an alum of East Carolina University.