2 Days to A Strategic Marketing Plan

In four weeks, small business owners, marketing professionals and direct sales representatives will be converging in Utah and online at my 4th Annual Marketing Blueprint Workshop.  I created this event because so many of my clients and friends were struggling with marketing planning for the new year.  What I created is a workshop where you come and walk through each module for a step-by-step marketing plan.

Give me two days, and you’ll leave with a strategic and effective marketing plan PLUS you’ll learn tips and trends that are specific to marketing in 2017.

Every year I share some core exercises to help you create your messages, campaigns and budget, but each year I also share what’s new in marketing, social media and getting media attention.

It’s never the same event twice.

Don’t take my word for it.

Check out this video of past attendees and what they think of the Marketing Blueprint Workshop

You can join us LIVE or LIVESTREAM wherever you are in the world.  Register here:  use code: speakmichelle for $100 off live or livestream

http://marketingblueprint16.eventbrite.com

I’d love to see you on the list!

A Pattern for Raising Up Little Peak Performers

“All kids need is a little help, a little hope and somebody who believes in them.” - Magic Johnson

People often come up to me after hearing the keynote version of this book and ask, “How can I help my kids get this information now, so they don’t have to wait until they’re 30 or 40 to have the tools for success?”

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we lived in a world where all adults, regardless of whether or not they had kids of their own, shared the responsibility to raise up peak performers? How would our society and economy change if the generations after us were driven, positive, and success minded?

Before I continue, I can’t help but mention that no goal, no amount of preparation, and no tradition will do more to help raise good kids than huge doses of love and presence. It’s a good reminder to us all, myself included, that you can try and force goals on kids, but if they don’t know they are loved, peak performance won’t matter or be a priority for them. If nothing else, show an abundance of love to all the kids in your life. Be present when you’re with them by putting away your phone and technology and actually talking about what they want to talk about. Listen. Share. Keep your commitments.

I’m no parenting expert, and I fully acknowledge that my children are young and I still have a lot to learn about raising them. That being said, I’ve had the opportunity to evaluate my childhood, and chat with friends about how to raise good kids. I’ve certainly tried some things that have failed, but I have found some effective practices parents and humans alike can implement as we take on the important responsibility of building up the world’s youth.

I call these practices “anchor points.” In nautical terms, anchors are used to connect boats and vessels of any size with the land beneath a body of water. Anchors provide stability and keep vessels from moving with the wind or current. Similarly, these practices I’m sharing will help our youth find stability by anchoring them to the things that matter most. In the midst of the storms of life and winds of the world, these practices provide a much needed foundation that children and teenagers crave in their lives.

If you picture a boat anchor, you’ll realize that each one typically has a minimum of two stabilizing points. For the anchor to be effective, at least one of these points must be positioned correctly and make a deep connection to land. With that in mind, I’m sharing more than one practice with you. I believe each one is effective in teaching the practices of peak performance, but some may be more suited than others to connect with your children, or the children in your life. And if you try several anchor points, at least one of them is bound to stick, right?

POSITIVITY
As a parent, a teacher, or an influencer, changing the future starts with YOU being a happy and positive person. Nobody likes a “Debbie Downer,” and children pick up on negative tones and attitudes, even when they aren’t directed at them. Avoid conversations at the dinner table and around little ears about your distaste for current politicians, or the frustrations of dismal pocketbooks. Watch what you say about how much you hate your work, or the problems you’re having with the neighbors. I don’t discredit the very real frustrations of these issues, but consider the consequences of all the negative talk around impressionable children and teenagers. Do you want them to be doom and gloom all the time? Do you want them looking for the worst in others or themselves? Create conversations that are inspiring and uplifting and help them look for the good around them.

Though some might argue we’re not doing kids any favors by giving them rose colored glasses, I say negativity abounds, and they look to parents and influencers to see how we respond to these circumstances. You can share facts and you can share truth, but you can also powerfully share that despite the challenges of life, happiness and positive thinking is a great way to weather the storms. Love life and they will want to do the same.

If you want your kids to be happy, successful, and performance driven adults, teach them how to respond so they can find joy in the everyday. Ask them at the end of the day, “What was the best thing that happened to you today?” Create a practice around acknowledging the good. This question works well at the dinner table or when you’re tucking them into bed at night. At the beginning they may have a hard time pinpointing something, but as time goes by they’ll be trained to LOOK for the good throughout day, and will often beat you to the question when they have great things to share.

Don’t forget to share your wins from the day, too! Let them see you putting positivity in action.

If you’re going for a gold medal in raising peak performers (and I hope you are!), ask a powerful follow up question, “What did you do to make someone else happy today?” This helps them become more aware of others. Start now to instill in your children that they have the ability to influence the happiness of others. Teaching them to be service minded will also make huge deposits in their own success bank.

When children approach you with negative commentary, help them reframe their thoughts. Use this approach with negative body image and self-esteem issues as well. They may not always love your help reframing, but in time, they will do it for themselves and will naturally look on the positive side of life.

Having a special family word, phrase, or activity will help provide an anchor point to remind your kids to reframe and practice positivity. This could be as simple as saying “reframe” or some other trigger word to help them get back on a positive note, or it could be a more interactive activity. I took a class where the teacher required us to say ten positive things about ourselves (or others) for every negative thing we verbalized. This not only helped eliminate negative talk and stress the importance of speaking positively, but it also gave an opportunity to seek the positive. Kids will find great things about themselves and others if they are encouraged to look for them.
Finally, help children choose happiness. I remember sitting down with my very young children and talking about how happiness is a choice. Now when they are being ornery, talking back, or are upset about something I said “No” to, I simply say, “Choose to be happy.” It doesn’t work 100% of the time, but it does remind them that their negativity is a choice.

GRATITUDE
Take it one step further and help your kids express gratitude for their blessings on a regular basis. Ask them to tell you two things for which they are grateful. Help them find a simple notebook to keep every night. If your kids are too little to write (like mine are) have them draw pictures of the things they appreciate.

My children are growing up with more than I had when I was their age. Though I have a great deal of gratitude for our current circumstances, I want my children to know and understand that other kids don’t have the same things. I don’t want them to take the things they think are normal for granted. We have real conversations about kids who don’t have beds, or heat, or even a home. We ask our kids every night for two things they are thankful for. They express them to us, and also express them in their prayers. It’s been a huge blessing for my kids.

On a humorous side note, my husband told my kids about cultures and history where the bathrooms are outside and people had to bundle up in the winter to go use an outhouse that didn’t flush. Of all the things we’ve told our kids, this one seems to have staying power. My son thanks God in his prayers every night for an indoor toilet!

Plan: The 4 Letter Word in Business

Plan.  For some of us it’s a four letter word.  Though some parts of my business, I’ll admit,  are a little fly by the seat of my pants, I’m pretty serious about my yearly planning.

Here’s how I do it (This is how I plan for my businesses, in another post I’ll talk about how I handle my personal annual planning through an exercise I like to call New Years Roles & Goals):

I start with a look at financials and see if I’ve met my money goals.  I dig deeper and then look at how many new customers I acquired the previous 12 months and look especially at the percent of repeat customers.  I look at customers that have been previous customers but didn’t order at all last year.  This provides me a whole lot to look at and spend most of my review time here.

Next, I look at where I spent my marketing dollars and track my return on investment for each of my ads, events, networking groups, etc, individually.  (If you don’t currently track your return on investment for your marketing dollars I suggest you make this a priority this year.  It’s very enlightening.)  When I was studying marketing back in college, I learned that your marketing efforts over time should yield a four times return on your initial marketing investment.  In today’s marketing, you should be excited if you can get a two times return on your investment.  That’s why it’s so critical to see if your marketing dollars are, in fact, turning into qualified leads and customers.

Then, I review my processes and see what can be streamlined, outsourced or delegated.  This is my favorite part.  I get serious about what I want to focus on and what I can have someone else do.  This is where I get empowered in my personal goals and what I want to spend time on in the coming year.

Finally, I set some goals.  I make a vision board, and I post both where I can see them everyday.

This quarter, I’m rewriting my business plan from start to finish.  When I started Doodads 15 years ago the internet wasn’t nearly as beneficial as it is now.  The internet has completely changed how I interact with suppliers, place orders and involve employees (who work from home!).  So, I’m starting with a clean slate to see what I come up with.  I’m excited and scared at the same time.   Send chocolate. ;)

If you haven’t done so already, you’re probably saying, “This is too much work!”  Planning isn’t meant to be daunting, but it’s meant to be thorough.   And it’s meant to provide you a clear view of the past so you can move forward with confidence.   In time, your planning will become something you crave instead of something you curse.

I believe in the adage (that some credit to Benjamin Franklin, though the internet wasn’t clear on final credits) “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”  So my charge to you: it’s not too late.  If you haven’t already done your annual review, make plans to do it now.

I know that this isn’t the only way to plan.  How do you do it?

Until then, happy planning!

The Plastic Bag Principle

Finding Happiness and Success (FOR Deseret Digital Media Media Sales Connect Event)

This summer I got to speak at Deseret Digital Media in Salt Lake City.  About 15 years ago, I used to work for KSL/KCSG Television, so it was awesome to be back sharing success principles to the now sales and marketing teams of all of the Deseret Digital stations and properties.

They asked me to share The Plastic Bag Principle, which is a portion of my Make It Happen keynote.  They wanted 45 minutes of happiness principles for life and business.  It was a treat!

Three Keys To Successful Small Business Ownership

An Elevation of Business

This month I’m celebrating 18 years as an entrepreneur! I started my first business when I was 19, a promotional products company that imprints company logos in things like calendars, pens, mugs and t-shirts. While it’s a small portion of my annual revenue (with speaking and consulting taking center stage), it’s still running and has run “in the black” every year since it’s inception.

Doodads has been my “training gym”, if you will. It’s the place I made a lot of mistakes, had a lot of wins and I have been able to apply what I’ve learned to Startup Princess, to my professional speaking career and to the other small business owners I consult every year.

Here are the three things that have made all the difference in my businesses over the years.

1. RELATIONSHIPS MATTER. In a digital world, its still about networking and connecting. For my promotional products company 95% of my business each year comes from repeat customers or referrals from those repeat customers. That number is the same in my speaking business. You want to build the kind of relationships with clients, vendors and business professionals that help you grow your business year after year. Schedule time to build relationships, attend networking events, and to make sure your current customers know that you value them. Do you have a system in place for client retention? Do you have a strategy for networking events? Connecting with clients, connecting with other entrepreneurs and also connecting with leaders who have gone before who can mentor you to the next stage of your business – all of these relationships are critical.

2. A principle I call PLASTICITY. Plasticity is the process or art of being moldable. The willingness to take information and coaching so that you can reach new levels in your business. I’m a book junkie and a live event junkie – I always want to be at the top of my game, the top of my personal development and top of my industry, so I invest in knowledge every year. I also invest in a coach or mentor. Though I may be a coach myself, I always want to be leading in my industry, and I want to have the latest in education, accountability and growth in my business.

3. MARKETING CHANGES – Keep Up. As much as I wish the marketing plans and tools I used 18 years ago worked today – they don’t. Back then, Social Media didn’t exist (I’m not that old!) and websites were still just in development (and about $20,000!). I’m grateful for successes and advancements in the marketing landscape, but here’s the thing, trends change every year. There are new ways to connect with clients, while balancing traditional outlets that still provide value. It’s like a dance, keep some of the classic moves, but you need to add in something new so you don’t look like you’ve only learned the waltz.

Sure, I could go on and on about needing consistent graphics and branding; hiring good people and keeping them; making sure your profit and loss statements make sense and aren’t ignored…I believe in these things, too. But what I know is whether you’ve been in business for 18 months or 18 years, what’s KEY is keeping your business and your life in a state of growth and development. Keep learning, keep growing and keep applying what you learn for greatest success. I do that with the help of a good friend, Tiffany Peterson, who has been a paid mentor of mine, turn good friend. She was also one of our Startup Princess Fairy Godmothers! Every year she produces a powerful event that addresses these three KEY small business and sales principles and I’m grateful to be included in the speaker line up for the fourth year! I’ll be talking about the tweaks your marketing strategy needs to stay relevant in your industry and to stay effective as you share your message with new faces for new revenue.

Elevation meets the needs of building quality relationships, growing and learning, and keeping up on the latest in marketing strategy. What I love is the way Tiffany takes you through personal development AND business development and shows you how our mind is interconnected with my results. I loved reading about success long before I ever started reading about business, and I can tell you that both are critical to making your business thrive.

If you can join us and other entrepreneurs from all over the country and throughout the world, register here.

If you can’t join us – we’ll miss you, but the challenge is the same. What can you do in the next three months to improve your business relationships, to grow in your industry and to improve in your marketing? Make sure these goals are at the forefront of your mind and you’ll be able to grow and uplevel your business (and your life)!

Power Women of NSA

As a member of the National Speakers Association there are some sub groups to connect and mastermind with other like minded speaking professionals. This year – new group formed and they impressed me with a consistent, classy design. From the promotional lanyards to the printed flyers – it was awesome. Also, the dozen women that were in charge of the event for the day all wore black and white (I noticed)! Here’s the truth, folks, access to graphics is easier than it’s ever been. Whether you hire it out or DIY, remember that if your printing all these things anyway, you may as well make them (and you) look good. Nice work Power Women of NSA! – Michelle ‪#‎influence16