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I was at a networking meeting the other day, talking about marketing strategies and what we can do to improve our business visibility.

At that point, we found out that one of the participants just experienced a couple of severe challenges in her personal life. Suddenly that business stuff didn’t feel so important. She needed our immediate compassion and support.

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Your company is absolutely unique. So much so that nobody else on the planet is able to do what you do.

Except, of course, that your products are so similar to the competition that people have a hard time recognizing the difference.

By the way, this tension is a universal experience. Read the rest of this entry »

decade ago, Simon Sinek popularized the idea of marketing your products based on a powerful story. And that story starts with WHY.

  • Why your company does what it does.
  • Why you created this product in the first place.
  • Why your product will make the customer’s life so much better.

That last one sounds a lot like expounding on your product’s benefits, right? But traditionally, “benefits” stop soon after the purchase, quite short term. Instead, we’re talking about a much deeper transformation for customers, something they may even struggle to articulate.

And that’s only the last step in telling your story to customers.

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We’d like to think that customers buy our products because they’re so impressed with its features and functions. The problem is that this totally ignores other factors in the purchase decision.

The truth is that there are a lot of other elements, many of which can work in your favor if you just communicate differently.

When was the last time you vowed that “I’ll never work with that company again” after getting burned? Or when you’re looking for products, you think, “Hmm, I don’t think I’ll look at things from that company”?

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Your team is able to deliver much more than it does today. You yourself also have wonderful potential within you.

You probably see sparks of brilliance that come out now and then. But they seem so random! Making this a regular occurrence — even predictable — seems an insurmountable task.

It turns out that there are a number of useful things that help create the environment of sustainable productivity and creativity. But first you have to admit that everybody is different. What excites you is not the same as others on your team.

Each person has his or her own thinking, his or her own heart, his or her own desires. And don’t think that it’s good to just hire people who do think like you — that’s a recipe for disaster. That’s how you end up with an Enron. Read the rest of this entry »

Every person, every group has its superpower. In fact, it’s probably right under your nose and you don’t even recognize it.

Sometimes it’s a stunning differentiator in your product or service. That unique advantage that nobody else can touch.

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I was talking with a gentleman last week who happened to be traveling through Fort Collins and picked up my business card. It turns out that he was out here from the west coast because he has a desire to move to Colorado at some point in the future.

Perhaps. Maybe. Some day.

Being a coach, I had to ask him how serious he is about this. And, honestly, he didn’t really know. It’s just something he’s been pondering.

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There are lots and lots of people who are affected by your company. Even if you’re a super small business, you still have yourself, your family, customers and partners.

As you grow, you’ll include employees, their families, and an ever-growing array of people to whom you deliver value.

This is why the concept of “stakeholders” is so powerful. Typically we’d talk about shareholders, but that’s a really limited view of success and impact. Focusing too much on shareholders is dangerous, and can lead you to some really unbalanced decisions.

My best clients realize that their business also contributes to the larger community. I’m not just talking about charitable donations, either. They’re making a powerful difference to peoples’ quality of life and helping to solve larger problems. Read the rest of this entry »

Photo by Joshua Rawson-Harris on UnsplashCompanies market their products. They market the customer benefits.

They rarely talk about their deeply held values, as if that’s not relevant or interesting. But younger parts of our population are placing more importance on the company that stands behind their products.

We older folks do that, too, by the way. We just don’t tend to be quite as vocal about it.

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A new business concept is spreading around the world. You might know it under the labels “conscious”, “mission-driven”, “values-based”, “socially conscious”, or “benefit corporation.”

But it’s really not that new. In some ways, it’s a return to the days when businesses were an integral part of the community–not just treating them as consumers from which money is to be extracted.

Milton Friedman captured our current philosophy of business pretty well back in 1970: Read the rest of this entry »

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