How to be a better negotiator

How to be a better negotiator

There's no doubt in my mind that one of the reasons small businesses fail is an inability to market/sell their product. So many business go through the same curve: Market their product, get really busy, realise there's a lot of activity but no profit, put prices up, lose business, fail. Many of these failures could have been avoided if (1) the original business structure was better and (2) the people within the business were better negotiators/sellers. It's easy to give a product away c … read more
What is a win?

What is a win?

I read a lot of articles about negotiating / sales where the term win/win is invoked. We should seek a win/win resolution. It's only a good sale if there's a win/win. And so on and so forth. Now this is all good and well, and I certainly agree that both parties have to feel good about the outcome if there is to be a long-term, fruitful relationship. But here's my issue - what constitutes a win? All of the win/win promoters talk as if a win is a concrete, definable thing, but it's not. A  … read more
You reap what you sow

You reap what you sow

Ok, so taking a little diversion this week. As much as everything I talk about has lessons for selling and business built into it, this week I'm talking about parenting. Last week I saw a video on mindfulness which, if I wasn't such a schmuck I'd be able to add a link to (I did look for it, but my Google-esque hunting powers notwithstanding, couldn't find it). The gist of the video was, you reap what you sow, and if we don't start teaching our children mindfulness, and how to take care of th … read more
How to market a consulting firm

How to market a consulting firm

I have to say, consulting businesses are hard. After 20 years of running a creative agency (a consulting business itself) marketing consulting businesses can be hard. First of all, the people running the business either know it all, or know nothing. Second, they're time poor and tend to want to abdicate responsibility for the work, which frankly doesn't work because any good campaign is a partnership and the people in the business have expertise that is needed to effectively marke … read more
Easy is a fairy tale

Easy is a fairy tale

Sorry to break the news to you, but it's true. There's no silver bullet that will drive your success. But the good news is there are lots of bronze ones. Any successful strategy will have a complicated mix of many elements. There's nothing in the human experience that is solved simply. It's all hard work - at least the meaningful stuff is. One of my favourite sayings is "The further you get from a problem, the easier it seems to fix". This is also true if you don't know what you're talki … read more
Which is worse? Awful or ordinary?

Which is worse? Awful or ordinary?

I had someone ask me the other day for advice on starting a business. Amongst the range of things I spoke about (yes, I like the sound of my own voice) I told them to not be a cheapskate on the stuff that matters. And you can believe me when I tell you, the original marketing collateral you get (brand, website, brochure, business cards) are as important as what you wear to a client meeting. Though the complete lack of thought, or lack of investment, that some people put into these things is  … read more
Big data and bad decisions

Big data and bad decisions

Now before you go setting your hair on fire, data is good, data is great, I’m a fan. But here’s the thing, we’ve always known that numbers can tell you anything, and that’s back when we were talking about small numbers. So what sort of whopper lies do you think Big Data can tell? History is littered with individuals who looked at the numbers and went on to make moronic decisions. Napoleon springs to mind. Alexander the Great too. In more recent times the execs at  … read more
Sharks aren't the only creatures that die if they don't move forward

Sharks aren't the only creatures that die if they don't move forward

Ok, I'll start by apologising to all of you who have the same irrational fear of sharks as I do. Maybe I should have used one of the animated ones from A Shark's Tale. But then I probably would have been sued like that tradey who used the superman icon as his logo - it didn't end well for him so perhaps I'm best to steer clear of the Hollywood crowd. Anyway, I digress. Today's post is supposed to be about going backwards (and sideways, and round and round, and in some cases, not moving at all). … read more
What's in a name?

What's in a name?

Firstly let me say, the image above was about the least offensive one I could find when I did a web search for 'bad business names'. That should tell you something straight off the bat. But this blog isn't about bad names per se, it's about the process of naming a business, and what's important, and what's not. Like most things in life, a lot of what you should do in marketing makes a lot more sense when it's articulated to you by a professional. If you're left to your own devices, and y … read more
How to make your TV ad completely suck.

How to make your TV ad completely suck.

Before I go on my rant, let me just say that TV ads have their place, can be highly lucrative for clients and deliver massive reach. Good. Now that I've covered that, let me just say that I don't personally like them. And that's ok. Today's technology provides me with loads of different ways to avoid them, so everything's cool. I can start watching the football an hour late so I can fast forward the ads. I can watch rewinds of Will & Grace when the ads come on, or I can just watch Netf … read more