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Sunday, November 1, 2015
How I grew my business during the "economic downturn"

How I grew my business during the "economic downturn"

I am so blessed to say that my business is more successful than its ever been. Even after 16 years in business (April 26, 1999) I can say that I continue to be a successful entrepreneur (right on!).
How I grew my business during the "economic downturn" 
I have certainly learned my lessons and each day hasn't been rosy (call me and we can chat - do I have stories!). I can say I've learned so much, and used each lesson to propel my business forward during the "downturn."

My business growth is not out of the fear of other entrepreneurs. My clients don't come to me because I'm selling snake oil that will cure all their ills, as some have implied.  My growth comes from the passion, heart and soul I bring to my work and each client.
So, what else? What are the steps I took to grow?

  • I got serious, really serious, about my business. I listened and adapted. What were my clients really telling me they wanted? How did they want the services delivered?
  • I looked at my own marketing. How was I communicating about my business? What was I telling clients and potential clients about my business and how did that compare with what I offered? During times of change, marketing must be quick and agile - the one who is quick on is feet wins the race.
  • I worked hard. Really hard. Yes, I talk with my clients about balance. It is important to not let work overtake your life. And, there are times where you have to put your nose to the grindstone and make it happen.
  • I implemented every free and low cost marketing opportunity I could find. Social networking, in person networking (are you doing it, and are you doing it properly?), blogging, speaking, following up. A word of wisdom from my father, "people will always buy from people. Get to know your customers and let them get to know you."
Thursday, October 1, 2015
The intersection of marketing and coaching

The intersection of marketing and coaching

The intersection of marketing and coaching
When people ask what I do in my career, I naturally tell them I am a Business Coach and Marketing Consultant. It's often they look at me with a tilted head, trying to reconcile how those two components come together.

They are a more natural fit than you may realize. A good marketing plan cannot survive a poorly organized business that lacks passion. A well-organized business must have marketing to share its story.
How does each side of your business measure up?
Tuesday, September 8, 2015
What happened to real salespeople?

What happened to real salespeople?

Salespeople - I've worked with a few. As a young media assistant, then media buyer, planner/buyer and agency owner, I've talked with all kinds. The good, the bad, and the, well, really bad. 
I always felt that media salespeople got a bad rap. A dear friend and media salesperson told me once that media salespeople we perceived as just a tick above used car salesperson in terms of professionalism. This shocked me, as I, at that point in my career, had only worked with good ones.
Well, my friends, the day of the good salesperson is a thing of the past. Not only are good salespeople extremely hard to find, so is good customer service. 
With online marketing and "virtual" business prevalent in society, people forgot something: people do business with other people.

 My dad, Bob Zurbuchen, has been a salesperson for roughly 50 years. He's sold everything from pasta and Chevrolets to Fruit Stripe gum. He told me once that if you are in sales, you will always have a job because "people will always buy from other people." Even if you find auto insurance online in 15 minutes and save 15% or more, you will, inevitably, work with a person at some point.
We've forgotten about training. Teaching our teams how to work with people. What happened to treating the customer the way we want to be treated? Or, even still, treating them better than we want to be treated? Going out of our way to help the other person? 
When a salesperson requests and schedules a conference call with me, I expect them to initiate the call. It's not my responsibility to call them so they can possibly sell me something I didn't ask for. When I request information from a person who has sold something to me, I expect to get it. That's part of something called "service after the sale."
Let's put a new focus on customers - getting them, keeping them, and spreading a little goodness in the process.
Thursday, March 26, 2015
The Value in Values: How Who You Are drives What You Do

The Value in Values: How Who You Are drives What You Do

What are your values? 

It’s amazing the blank looks I get when I ask people that question. It’s that “uh oh, what do I say?” look, combined with “what does she mean by values?”

What exactly are “values?”

Our values are the core of everything we do – they shape what we think, say and feel. They are the foundation of our lives. However, if somebody asks us to define our values, we have a hard time articulating them.

We can all toss around a topic and share our opinion of it. Well, that opinion comes from our values – who we are and what we believe. However, truly defining them is something deeper. It takes looking at ourselves more closely, which may be a foreign – and somewhat frightening – task.

Our values are our principles, our standards, our morals and ethics – that rather complex code by which we live.

And when you lead a business that is born from you - from your personal values - knowing your values and who you are isn't just a nice idea. A strong connection with your values will help your business.

In order for us to know if our life is aligned with our values, we must first know what our values are. What are yours?
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Put your business where your heart is

Put your business where your heart is

Deadline, projects, proposals and reports. Each day is filled with a multitude of work tasks.
Instead of thinking of the things that fill your calendar, I'd like you to think about the things that fill your heart. 
Where do your passions lie? Working with children? Animals? Mentoring youth or entrepreneurs? 
Move your focus just for a moment. Donate your time and expertise. Create a team in your organization to support a charitable group.
Even if you feel you don't have time, do it. You will fuel your heart and soul with a new level of satisfaction that will carry you through the tasks.
Being open to business opportunities

Being open to business opportunities

When was the last time a business opportunity presented itself? It could be in the form of a new client, new venture or new employee. Was it recent or long ago?
Better yet, when were you last open to a new opportunity? 
I believe that opportunities show up daily. Maybe it's because I want to believe in the greater good of The Universe, or maybe it's because I'm open. 
I listen to my heart, my gut, and to people and things around me. I am thoughtful and considerate of events happening around me. And I love ongoing growth and change.
I spend time developing my gut instinct and intuition to be able to sort the true opportunities from the muck.
Stay open to the world around you, and you will perpetually be surprised and awed.  

Your daily legacy

Your daily legacy

Your daily legacy
Today was an incredibly busy day. Most of my days are busy, but this one was off the charts. Beginning with strategy calls, followed by two client meetings, connecting with an ill family member, rushing to my stepdaughter's holiday concert at school and dinner with the kids. The day was capped off by teaching cycling and back home to finish laundry and dishes. I mean, it was wild. 
At the end of the day, a great woman who comes to my cycling class said "you are just so cute." She went on to inquire about my life, and share other compliments. I was stunned to receive such a compliment at the end of a day such as today. 
On my way home, I reflected upon the day. Through the chaos, I managed to give of myself and connect with each person in a special way. Vendors, clients, family and friends all enjoyed the time we shared, and I was able to contribute to their life.
Every contact we make, person or business we touch leaves a legacy. Each day you are influencing the lives of others, even when you don't realize it. Are you doing your best? How can you do better?
People won't remember what you said, they will remember how you made them feel. 
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