Monday, November 30, 2009

The Next Year's Economy--how can you make it during this time?

Welcome back! I don't know about you, but the holiday time was very tasty and way too much! Mom fixed our favorites and lots of things she only fixes occasionally. Even just a bite of each was a lot.

And as the year begins to wind down, maybe you're asking yourself how will I survive next year? As things move further into the New Economy (and make no mistake it IS here regardless what any pundits have to say we have not and cannot return to business as usual) are you wondering what qualities and tools you can use to do better than simply survive?

This post marks the beginning of a series about people who are using the principles and qualities of the New Economy to succeed. Keep watching for ideas you can use, and doorways to even deeper instruction on how you can translate these concepts directly into YOUR business! Today, I'm highlighting an article that shares tools and patterns that have the power to take you beyond just getting buy. Kirstin Olsen is an author, consultant, and national opinion-maker as she works with powerhouses such as Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Kennedy School at Harvard University among many others. She has written an article about the skills New Learners need to do well in the New Economy. Guess what? They are the same skills you need as an entrepreneur in this market that is fresh, different, and waiting to recognized for it's existence.

Are you ready to learn what you need to succeed during the next year and beyond? Now's the time to consider how the same old advice IS NOT working. Once again, I saw multiple posts and releases today re-iterating the same old ideas. There ARE other options.

I know you're ready to new ideas, other directions and greater success. Here's a great place start. Please visit Ms. Olson's article--her New Learner tools are just what you need to be a successful New Economy Entrepreneur.

Wishing You Success and Heart,
Heidi Sue Roth

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pick a Niche...You'll be Rich. Is that True?

There's a saying that goes something like this "Pick a Niche and you'll be rich, without a niche life's a...beach." (I'm sure you get the drift of the saying.)

Is that actually true? This is an interesting business marketing rule that seems to beg to be broken. Over the next weeks you'll find information here regarding what's really happening out there in the market place regarding niches and niche marketing. These articles are the result of interviewing people who are out there and really working their businesses in this changing economy and market. You're hear what they've experienced and learned about niche marketing and their business.

We can already see the contrast around us: Coca-Cola (TM) is basically a non-niche product even if you include the sub-products for different demographics and tastes. Then consider the bomb of New Coke: an example of channel breakout failure! Contrast that with something like cordovan colored Kiwi shoe polish. The group of people left on the planet who polish their shoes on a regular basis and own cordovan colored shoes is definitely a more specific group. Apparently the market has room for both.

Over the next weeks I'll bring you the ideas, experienced perspectives, and new concepts to find your way through the changes that are already sneaking into the Niche Marketing world. That way, you can be ready instead of surprised by these shifts.

Heidi Sue

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Handling Niche-Market Exhaustion & Frustration

What do you do if you feel frustrated with either being part of someone’s niche market or trying to create your own niche market? It seems every person and product on the planet is trying to either gain a new niche, carve out a smaller niche for their own existence or just stick you into a niche. And yes, I agree, it can be really exhausting.

Start here when you go into negative experience or reaction on Niche Marketing: look to where this idea came from. The concept of niching as a marketing tactic that was taught and spread around the planet is about 60 years old. You won’t find a solitary event that indicates the advent of Niche Marketing. And in fact, when you really look into, people were practicing this kind of business approach for perhaps 100 years before that. What changed 60 years ago is that the approach of Niche Marketing became a business methodology that became accepted, expected, and taught as marketing success.

So it’s only reasonable that this methodology is getting stale. Nikoli Kondratiev discovered most economic waves have approximately a 60 year lifecyle (with fluxations of a bit longer or shorter). His calculations are incredibly accurate—even though other theorists are exactly sure why and continue studying this affect. On many levels, Niche Marketing is due for a change. So if you feel tired of being niched or working on your niche you’re in good company!

Once you understand that this type of thing works in waves, the next step is being aware of where the term even came from. It really comes from biological and ecological studies. The basic idea refers to the ability of living things to adapt in such a way that they optimize their usage of natural resources.

If you look at the research of how a biosphere interacts, you’d discover niching is different species tapping resources at different levels: right at ground level, say a foot off the ground, and others at even more different levels. In this way, there is greater distribution of both the resources and the species.

This is the problem and the solution. If an environmental shift of even small proportions occurs, any hyper-adaptations literally become the quality that drives a species to extinction. If you saw the movie “March of the Penguins” you saw this reality played out on the screen. Regardless of who or what creates that biosphere change (I do not endorse humanity wasting resources and continuing to abuse our own planet), a highly-specialized organism is at risk during changeable environments.

Yes, your business is an organism and can be viewed as its own entity—even if you have not incorporated to attain the defined legal status of entity. You don’t have to look very far in the business world to see this problem playing out around you. Right now you’re seeing the ongoing hyper-segmentation of marketing simultaneous with the failure of the long-standing structures created by this process.

How do you survive, or even thrive in the confusion? The most important point is one you’ve already heard from me. Be clear about your heart: why do you what you do? What is your passion? Check each and every activity in your day against this benchmark.

Does this specific action move me towards or away from increasing my passion? Even if you have things on your schedule that are not 100% about your passion and purpose, how can you be with each thing so that you do align it with some aspect of your divine drive? You can learn from just about anyone and nearly anywhere…how can this next experience be of benefit to your calling?

The other way to thrive in this arena is noticing when niching works and when it doesn’t. For example, you receive a marketing communication and you are part of the niche: do you like how it feels or not? What can you learn about how this person communicates niche?

Perhaps even more valuable in this shifting economy, when you experience niche marketing and you don’t like it—why not? What do you wish was different about this communication or experience? How can you adjust your communication to reflect what you learned?

With all the change-waves working in the world how we market is die for an upgrade. I’ll keep you posted as those changes make their appearance known! And get started now learning how to thrive during the change-cycles.

Wishing you Success & Heart,

Heidi Sue

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Are you making yourself an unhappy entrepreneur?

Good Afternoon!

If you've been watching you know that when I find useful information I believe it's only fair to pass it on. Today, I have an article I highly recommend. You may look at the title and go, what? That's not for me--I'm not buying a business. I still suggest you download & read the article. Since it's not very long, so you've got double-the-reason to get this information. If you're into reverse engineering or at least willing to consider the concept, you'll learn what to avoid so you don't end up an unhappy entrepreneur.

This article highlights quickly and specifically some of the common pitfalls you can meet on the Entrepreneur Path. While Dr. Hollerbach writes from the perspective of someone buying a business, she describes the situations that are serious problems whether you stand on the seller or buyer side of the transaction. And often, if it's your business with these problems, learning see them clearly can be very painful. Each big "OUCH!" on this list has a direct connection to something you don't want to do in your business.

The article is from the Taku Group. How to Not Buy a Business--Unless You like to Overpay for Risky Businesses with a Cloudy Future. In the article you'll learn three basic arenas where you need to be well informed and specific symptoms of when you don't know enough.

You absolutely need to know:
  • The real cash flow in your business based on appropriate accounting principals
  • Market conditions that relate to the value of your business
  • How personality impacts the success of your business

WHY are these things valuable to you?

The cash flow situation is basic survival. If you don't know, you're lost without a map in a dark, lonely place. You could end up without a business, facing bankruptcy, or worse with perhaps no idea how you got there. In addition, borrowing money and managing credit become an impossible thing. Please don't let that be you.

The situation with market conditions is far reaching: if you stay on top of how and when things move you can make changes before it becomes a painful problem. Minimum wage changes are a great example. Not preparing for this kind of adjustment can be devastating. If you only have 1 or 2 employees and you rely on them extensively, something this small can bring a small operation to it's knees. Likewise, someone new may come into your market segment--knowledge may not be direct power today but being informed is clearly how you can choose a powerful direction!

The personality piece is the least obvious to most new business owners. I cannot tell you the number of small businesses I'v watched struggle with this factor failing to achieve additional success and growth. Your successful business may be a big boost to your sense of self. Most people who grow something from nothing to any level of success heavily invest their own blood, sweat and tears (and money). Or maybe you and a key employee have done so. If you want more time off, want to reach more clients, or simply want to make more money, you must sidestep the reality of a 1 to 1 relationship between you and your business.

Shifting or maintaining your internal, personal reality so that your business is NOT your identity is a large key to succeeding. Furthermore, it's the path to finding your way to more free time along with more focus on what moves you. If you are sure your business cannot survive without you, you're right! That model is not sustainable for anyone. Just as Dr. Hollerbach's article reflects how hard it is to deal with this kind of business owner during a sale, I promise you it's hard for everyone else to deal with your lack of separation between the business and your personality on a daily basis. Just as a hyper-involved parent suffers when a child breaks free, you're setting yourself up for hardship and more likely failures if this is the only way you know to relate to your business.

So? Are you going to download the article? Of course you are: Go on! Have a great day! Dr. Hollerbach's style is easy to read and direct. You'll find it well worth your time.

Wishing you Success & Heart,
Heidi Sue

Friday, November 6, 2009

Asking, and Receiving an abundance...

Are you doing the asking you needed to develop and maintain your business? If not, I want to inspire you with what's possible when you ask.

I recently had the opportunity and challenge to ask some people for assistance with a variety of projects and challenges currently on my plate. As a very independent female who enjoys feeling competent, asking for help is not one of my native virtues.

I have been completely blown away by the responses when I have simply asked. Each contact involved being very honest about the individual challenges. Likewise, to be okay with myself, I had to own that I needed help and acknowledge that there was always the potential to be told no--and be committed to not holding anyone emotionally hostage if they did say no.

What happened? Blessing beyond anything I imagined and the resulting magnitude of gratitude I feel at all the different ways people have said yes, they want to support me. Consistently, my network has been over-the-top amazing.

So what could happen in your business if you just asked for the opportunity to support someone with your work? With your gifts?

Did you ever think that by not asking to serve someone, they are missing out on the opportunity to co-created their growth, healing and well-being?

I continue to dare you to ask. No, I double-dog dare you!

Ask you you can serve. Ask how you can support. When someone describes their need for exactly what you do, ask if you can tell them a little bit about working with you.

Ask and you shall receive is true. Ask and you shall serve is just as valid.

Have a super weekend!

Heidi Sue

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Power of Your Truth

Happy Thursday!

Is anyone else out there having an interesting week? Last week I had the opportunity to meet some very unexpected financial impacts. Sometimes breakups are messy and surprises might happen.

I bet you've experienced unpredicted money stuff at some time in your life, too. Like grief, there's a process to owning and accepting these events. When you're willing to learn, money is the perfect reflection of your life lessons. Whatever money-reality stubs your toe is a pattern that happens elsewhere in your life. (You can bet I'm looking closely into this for myself as this experience unfolds.)

And there's still something that's true. The power of your SuccessHeart is still available, still real-- even in the midst of these experiences. I know it beyond a shadow of a doubt. It's happening daily in my life--nearly every hour.

I've written before about tapping into your mission for life, your calling for your work to the deepest extent you can. Your ability to feel and articulate your mission is a direct reflection of your success. It's impossible to under-estimate the value and power of doing this.

How do I know? Because I have both witnessed and experienced how people respond when the vibration of your work is a match for their needs. When's the last time you had conversations in less than 24 hours and found that 4 people took the next step in working with you? This may be setting up an appointment for a follow up, making a down payment, or whatever the next step is. Does this happen because I'm so great at conversations? Sure, I've got some skill in that area--and that's not the deciding factor. People don't buy a sales pitch. They want the connection, the support, the quality of the conversation.

You can create that just like I can. You may need to master some skills to get where you want to go. But crazy, mad skills without the focus, without the heart behind your work creates stress for you, your body, your life. You've heard and watched many people who had success and no heart some day come to their senses!

Have you found your core calling? The deepest reason for doing what you do?

If not, come one! Find it--and find an amazing door to changing your life, the lives of your clients and increased success.

Have a great night!
Heidi Sue

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The “Give Up” Test

Sometimes, a quick and “dirty” test can get you started on an amazing journey. Today, I challenge you to do the short-version of The “Give Up” TestTM. While I use a more developed form of this tool for Life-Purpose coaching, the short-version is great, too!

Until you’re pushed, you may not have any idea what you would or would not give up. This experiment came from a year when I had anemia so bad I could hardly do anything. I’d sleep 13 hours a night and have to rest after even the most basic tasks. Choosing what to include and what to leave out of my life at that time was a huge surprise. The things I was completely unwilling to give up were an unexpected revelation. Now that I’m recovered, I’m still creating more room for those things in my life that I discovered I literally couldn’t live without. Testing what you’re willing to give up is a short path to honing in on your passion and by correlation, your success.

The quick and dirty version of this is to write a list: include everything you want to do and everything you feel you need or have to do. Once that’s done, go back to the top and consider the first item on your list. Would you be willing to give up this item if you can have anything else? If so, is that something else on your list? If not, add it to the bottom of your list. Compare those things again. If you could actually have the thing you prefer, would the impact of giving up this other commitment or dream be worth it? Are you willing to pay the price for giving up this one item on your list?

Each time you cross something off the list as worth giving up for another item, put a hash-mark next to the item that “Won” the competition. (It’s fast and easy to simply use the four-lines with a diagonal line counting system we used at kids.)

Work your way through the entire list until you get down to a noticeably smaller list. Don’t stop until you’re down to no more than ½ of what you started with. It’s even more valuable if you can give up all but a ¼ of what you started with. Now, the deeper part of this process comes out. Begin to decide which if any of the remaining items you are willing to give up and deal with whatever the impact giving up this thing would create, in order to keep something else on the list.

Your first thought may be you’re not willing to give up anything that remains. Keep going. Until you’ve compared each item on the remaining list to every other thing left and found you’d actually feel heartbroken, depressed, or incredibly sad to loose an item, don’t give up on the process. Instead of thinking about really hard, focus on how feel when you imagine not having or achieving this item. Thinking may just take you in circles here. Feel your truth!

If you’re like me, you may find that there is still more on your list than seems like it will fit into your life. That’s okay. Look at how much more is possible when you notice what matters to you the most? Those activities, dreams, or wishes that leave you feeling devastated when you contemplate not having them in your life bring you that much closer to connecting to your passion, your mission, your calling.

What are you willing to give up so you get what you want? The real secret is how much of what you want is hiding behind all the extra stuff that is just routine or not even that important.

I dare you! Do less of what you think has to be done and more of what you’re called to do!


Heidi Sue

P.S. Drop me an email if you want a complete version of The “Give Up” TestTM

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Define what you want to Create your communication

Have you cross-pollinated the focused techniques of Internet Marketing? Regardless who you read or listen to, the basic idea is that every email, every page, every communication should point the recipient to one action. Focus on the specific step you want your reader to take.

This is also true for business communication in general. If you go into a meeting or a telephone conversation without a specific result in mind, that’s exactly what you’re going to get! Nothing specific—or more likely you’ll get nothing at all. The principal of pick an outcome and plan to create it is another TOP Success Strategy. (No, I don’t know how many we’ll have at the end of the cycle, so wait for the summary article!)

Most of us are so busy we don’t have time to drive aimlessly through our business activities. Sure, hop in the car and cruise around for a break, out of curiosity, or because you’ve got a great convertible. When you’re aimless about your business activities, you pay the price, but it gets worse than that. Your clients pay the price.

People want value. They want help, impact, results. Curiosity with a purpose is completely different than just wide open curiosity. If you’re not honed in on results, clients vote with their feet, their pocketbooks.

I want to be clear that sometimes the result or outcome you’re focused on is simply continuing the conversation. Say you meet someone for the first time and you’re not sure if they are a good match for your service as either a client or a referral partner. The reason to have the conversation is obtaining permission to keep talking. So adapt your questions and responses accordingly.

As the conversations continue, maybe your objective becomes signing someone up for a program or package. You’ve found out they have a need you can meet and they are someone you’re actually willing to work with (work is more fun when you have clients you like to work with). So once again, you focus your curiosity and conversational skill on creating the experiencing of both the need for and the outcome of working with you.

If you don’t know what outcome you want while connecting with this person, it’s easy to be distracted, to communicate in a way that confuses your listener, and undermines your desire to serve.

The next time you’re going to pick up the phone or enter a meeting, pick one thing you want to get out of the process. Even if you have smaller goals, articulate out loud or on paper that single over-arching objective of the event. Then focus all your attention on listening for clues regarding that objective and responding to questions that also lead that way. Let the others wait, rest or fade away.

In this world of information overload, choice proliferation, smaller resources, and compressed time, your focus will be appreciated and may very well make the difference between moving forward with a new client or treading water until you’re exhausted.

Pick your single objective for each encounter and then design your actions and words to move in that direction. You might find out the other person or people don’t agree: information just as useful as getting what you desire. Whether you need to make a list for the event or can hold it in your head, choosing a single outcome is a fast, simple way to boost your success.

Wishing you Success & Heart,

Heidi Sue

Monday, November 2, 2009

Riding the Wave

Transition is the name of the game right now. Some economic indicators seem to be good news. On the other hand, some social patterns seem less inspiring. And even while the whiplash of news and information progresses, miracles and tragedies both happen on a community level.

So our current climate begs the question: Can you ride the wave? Even more pointedly, WILL you ride the wave?

Just about everyone I've spoken with over the past couple weeks has been in the midst of confusing, simultaneous experiences. "Yeah!" for one moment, and then crushing, "Ooww!" the next. When transformation of anything is happening quickly, we have the opportunity to dance with the unknown. Will the next thing lift you up? Will it drop you low? What can you do in response? How will you choose to authentic, strong, flexible? What does it mean to support your clients when you ride the maelstrom?

There is not a single answer to give or factor to calculate in this environment that's true for everyone. Except for one thing: how commited are you? How dedicated are you willing to be?

If your work and your professional independence are not a match for your core, SuccessHeart calling, this trial by extremes may reveal that mis-match. Accepting that and changing accordingly is completely appropriate.

On the other hand, if you know beyond a shadow of a doubt what your work is and that how you do that work is equally important, you get to explore the depths of your commitment, willingness and ability to trust Source to catch you when the wave crests over you. Those tumbles can be intense with lessons learned that have the potential for unimagined transformation.

Is money a challenge? Transform your relationship to it and see everyone respond in kind.

Is taking care of yourself a challenge? You can learn to value yourself and your gifts to create another kind of transformation wave.

Are you tired of doing a familiar dance with a long-term-relationship? Decide to change your steps, the music or both.

Or notice and ride your own wave of transformation.

Regardless, the question is will you show up with your board and other gear, and commit to the process of exploring riding the waves of your own life?

Or will you stay on the beach, just talking about surfing. The real test of success is heading out and picking yourself up again. The more waves you ride, the more likely you are to succeed. It's time to enjoy the economic wind in your hair, the sting of social expectations in your face, and the sense of your own feet and balance on the board of your experience.

Can you ride the wave? Will you ride the wave?

See ya' out in the surf...

Heidi Sue