How to Keep Your Cool When Trouble is All Around

When crisis strikes, stay cool and stay on your toes – Stay Frosty.

That is the first of four steps to surviving a crisis from author Jim Moorehead, an attorney and co-founder of a crisis management practice at a Washington law firm.  Moorehead has written the Instant Survivor: Right Ways to Respond When Things Go Wrong.

In times of trouble or in times when trouble turns into a crisis, you must resolve to survive and you need to have a cool head. Check your emotions at the door and face the facts. Moorehead advises people to bravely diagnose exactly what the problem is. The first step is to write the problem down. It helps you to get away from your first, emotional reaction, which is: Why is this happening to me?

Moorehead advises readers to dissect the problem, asking themselves which parts they own and can control.  He gives the example of a person whose spouse leaves them. They don’t own the spouse. They can’t control what the spouse does but the crisis the abandoned spouse faces is likely to leak into many areas.  “Crises don’t obey boundaries,” Moorehead writes.

“Without help,” he says, “there are too many crises, too few full-fledged survivors, and an expanding population of walking wounded on the professional and personal fronts.” Moorehead draws on firsthand accounts and anecdotes to inspire and encourage his audience.

Here are four action steps to help any individual prevent and tackle life’s hard and soft crisis in an organization:

STAY FROSTY: Remain calm and focused when a crisis begins
SECURE SUPPORT: Tap into your network of personal and professional contacts
STAND TALL: Take full charge of your response
SAVE YOUR FUTURE: Prepare for post-crisis success.


6 Ways to Grow Your Small Business

When Fortune magazine interviewed leaders of large and small firms, they received a few pieces of advice on how to grow a business. Perhaps some of their formulas could become growth-growing points in your small business.

* Find an edge over competition. Look at your industry’s biggest cost and time constraints and focus on those areas of your business.

* Describe your business in 1-2 words. Own a phrase that illustrates your product or service. Then Google it to see if you have chosen the right one. A beverage company used “enhanced waters” for example.

* Focus on one measurable priority for your company, not a dozen. For 90 days, focus on one problem area of your business.

* Control your cash flow. Construct a business model that fuels your growth without the need for outside financing.

* Use blogs, white papers, YouTube and Twitter to align your marketing materials with the phrase you own.

* Make changes faster. The fastest-moving companies huddle daily to drive their priorities.

What Can Small Business Marketers Learn From Obama?

1. Leadership skills – he put together a great team for his campaign and motivated his people all the way.

2. Never give up, believe in yourself, even if you have no reason to do so, polls did not always predict Obama as a winner.

3. Presentation skills – Obama is one of the most self-confident speakers I have seen. Practice!

4. Social marketing – get away from ads to building online communities, just like Obama did.

5. Viral marketing – get people talking about you.

6. If you can’t get to young consumers otherwise, send them a text message or an email- speak their “love language”.

7. Focus and create  technologically savvy email campaigns.

8. Don’t be afraid to make fun of yourself – Obama joked about his bad performance during the first debate.

9. Supportive spouse or partner is always a blessing – keep your spouse and partner happy.  Have you noticed the smile on Michelle Obama’s face?

10. Humble beginnings don’t always mean humble lives – with hard work, passion and dedication small business owners can beat the odds, just like Obama did.

Small businesses marketers need to keep learning – new technologies have changed the “game” of marketing.

Twitter Strategies for Small Business

It may seem that a lot is being said and written about Twitter, but it may be good to revisit the basics.

  1. Make Twitter a part of your marketing strategy – Social Media Marketing System. Do your research and determine whether your business could use free social networking tools such as Twitter and Facebook for market research, customer service and/or reaching your target market.
  2. Improve your professional skills, products and services by paying attention to what your competitors, potential clients  and current customers are raving or complaining about.
  3. Learn how to educate and inform your target audience,  share information about the articles, products and opportunities that your followers/fans may find useful.
  4. Person handling tweets/posts/fan pages for your organization should be familiar with the web and web-based tools.
  5. Make it your goal to become an “informer” who has the potential to be a “trust agent” – someone who is an expert and has an ability to influence other people.
  6. You only have 140 characters for one tweet, use them wisely.
  7. Avoid words and phrases that may attract unwanted followers/fans.
  8. 100 loyal followers/fans/subscribers who look forward to reading your tweets/posts may be worth more than 1,000 random followers.
  9. Learn to use Twitter/Facebook/Blogs as your company’s online reputation management tool.
  10. Don’t waste your time if you don’t have a social networking strategy.

Brochure, flyer or white paper?

I have never been a big fan of tri-fold brochures that attempt to convince me that I should buy a particular product or sign up for a certain service.   These marketing materials tend not to be persuasive enough due to the fact that information has been crammed into a limited space.  The customer benefits are not always obvious, contrary to emotional appeal – nice images, unusual fonts and unique paper may catch my attention, but not for long.

White papers appeal more to me as they provide logic through facts, statistics and quotes from end users or industry experts. They are not flashy, but usually filled with facts.  For me, they are much more informative. I consider writing a good white paper a real art form as the author has to be a good researcher, persuasive essayist and a marketer all at once.  At the same time, a good balance between the right amount of facts, images, quotes and often industry terms has to be achieved.  Case studies tend to focus on customer stories and testimonials whereas white papers add a touch of credibility through unbiased information.

High quality content is becoming increasingly important as people crave useful information and have access to growing number of information channels before making buying decisions.  All marketing materials, including white papers should educate; therefore we all need to become avid readers and dedicated students to continuously improve our writing skills.