(Dear readers: this is the second part of a two part post. Click here to see part one.)
Every week as SmallBizLady, I conduct interviews with experts on my Twitter talk show #SmallBizChat. This past week, I presented the first annual #SmallBizChat Live Telesummit. The goal was to give the audience the information to create a new plan for their business in 2010. After nearly a year of communicating in writing on this blog and using Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, I wanted to interview small business experts over the phone. I also wanted our followers to have access to some experts who do not use Twitter, but who have fantastic information to share. In today’s blog post, I have prepared a recap of three key points that each expert shared with us.
Allyson Lewis @allyson7minutes is a renowned motivational speaker and business coach whose focus is on productivity, specifically developing systems to change your life. Her book, The Seven Minute Difference, grew out of the workshops she has been teaching for the past five years. For more information, please visit Seven Minutes Inc. Allyson talked to us about getting more out of your day as a business owner.
Here are Allyson’s key takeaways:
1. Use a daily written plan of action. The average adult has a 7 minute attention span. Take 7 minutes to write down your top priorities for the day. Regain your passion by doing what is most important to you.
2. Get 7-8 hours of rest a night. Stop watching late night TV and sacrificing a good night’s rest.
3. She introduced the 5 before 11am rule. Allyson advises us all to make an exhaustive list of everything in our personal lives and business lives that needs to get done. Then she suggests tackling 5 tasks per day before 11am, if that’s too tough try do 5 a week. Just get rid of the list.
Michelle Villalobos @mivi is a business turnaround expert who teaches busy entrepreneurs how to improve their sales approach through networking skills, personal branding and word-of-mouth marketing. For more information, please visit MichelleVillalobos.com. Michelle talked to us about turning contacts into contracts.
Here are Michelle’s key takeaways:
1. Reframe the typical “elevator pitch” into an “elevator teaser.” Instead of a rapid fire 30 second commercial that describes everything you do, find the core of what you do and develop a tagline that encompasses your entire brand (if you can). Done properly, it will elicit the follow-up question, “that sounds interesting, tell me more.” One therapist who helps people get over their fears and anxieties described herself as “the couchless therapist,” which makes people want to know more.
2. Business card etiquette – Avoid “premature solicitation” – which is the act of handing out business cards before even saying hello. When you give someone a business card, it is all about timing. Your goal is to develop rapport and to connect with someone. The time to exchange business cards, more appropriately, is after interaction.
3. Follow-up is important. Michelle suggests offering a free newsletter signup to people in a follow-up email. And in the monthly newsletter have valuable tips and info, all focused on the needs of the customers.
Paul B. Brown is a long-time contributor to the New York Times and author of more than two dozen books, including the international best-seller Customers for Life. He is the author of Publishing Confidential: What it really takes to land a non-fiction book deal. Paul spoke with us about becoming a published author to build your business.
Here are Paul B. Brown’s key takeaways:
1. Once you have book idea, the first thing to do is to try developing an outline for the book, and then writing 2-3 sample chapters.
2. The title of your book should tell people exactly what your book is about. Do not be afraid to talk to potential readers about the book topic to get the right words to use in your book title.
3. A book proposal is what you need to approach an agent or editor to pitch your book. It’s fine to send a query letter first, but if there’s any interest, the next request will be to send a book proposal which is typically a 30-page document. Start working on the proposal before sending query letter, so that you can respond to interest.
Paul made a special offer to Telesummit participants – he will give out a copy of a book proposal that sold. You should email Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org and use “Melinda’s Telesummit” in the subject line. His offer ends 11/13/09 at 5pm Eastern.
Lisa D. Sparks @lisadsparks is an email marketing expert with nine years of experience developing and implementing marketing solutions for small business owners. Lisa taught us how to become email marketing rock stars. For more information, please visit lisadsparks.com
Here are Lisa’s key takeaways:
1. Typical open rate on email marketing is 22%. Be sure not use language in your emails that are triggers for spam filters such as: FREE, space available, special offer, only today, !!!, and ???
2. You should have multiple ways to build your email list for your business. Using an email sign-up for your newsletter/blog on multiple pages of your website is one strategy. You can also offer a special report in exchange for an email address. Conducting free monthly conference calls is another great technique to build your list. When you go to a networking function, be sure to ask someone who gives you a business card if you can add them to your mailing list.
3. Develop an editorial calendar for your e-newsletters and all of your auto-responders. Consider writing a year’s worth of e-newsletters all at once. Email should not be the only way that you communicate with your list – using video and/or audio and are nice ways to break it up.
If you missed the SmallBizChat Live Telesummit, do not worry! We are editing and packaging the calls to make them available shortly… so stay tuned.
I hope that after you read what these experts had to say, you will be ready to tackle 2010 with some inspiration and new tricks up your sleeve. Being in business is a spiritual marathon. Hang in there.
My co-host Cathy Larkin @cathywebsavvyPR and I presented the 1st Annual SmallBizChat Live Telesummit because it is our mission to end small business failure. We will be back November 2010 to do this again.
Please follow us at @smallbizchat and join us for #SmallBizChat every Wednesday from 8-9pm Eastern on Twitter. #SmallBizChat is the trusted resource on Twitter to discuss everything entrepreneurs need to know about launching and running a profitable small business.
How to participate in #SmallBizChat: http://bit.ly/S797e
For more tips on starting or growing your small business subscribe to Melinda Emerson’s blog at www.succeedasyourownboss.com