Does Strategy Eat Culture for Breakfast or Visa Versa

We had a great knowledge share  by the legendary Monica Graham on what’s more important in a business - culture or strategy? - and came up with some interesting insites - or what I call “gems”

During the talk , I was thinking of the well known quote on thoughts and destiny 

  • Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
  • Watch your words, for they become actions.
  • Watch your actions, for they become habits.
  • Watch your habits, for they become character.
  • Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.


What you think about in your business becomes the actions you take, and those actions lead to your business habits, which go on to shape how you conduct business (your business character).

And that shapes your business destiny.... and ultimately your business culture.

As a business , we need  to be very careful about what you as a Business think about and focus on. 

In our BBG Thinktank that followed - facilitated by BBG facilitator, Judith Rose Max , the answer we came to after much discussion and collaboration was 

Leadership eats strategy and culture for breakfast 

Have you thought about where your business wants to be in 6 months, a year, or 5 years?

Have you thought deeply about how to get there?

Have you thought about what type of culture you need in your business in order to set yourself up for success next year?


So, the question to ask is 

What is leadership?


Join Maxwell says “leadership is about influence - nothing more - nothing less

Monica shared with us a McKinsey model on Influence - on how to change mindset and behaviour 

The 4 steps are

1 Role Model 

Your business is a reflection of you. 
If you think above the line - so will your team 
If you have a spirit of generosity - is wil your team. A leader will attract people who share the same values.

2. Fostering Understanding and Conviction

Show people that you care - capture their hearts - and they will share with you their minds.
It’s the soft skills, relationships and collaboration - the humanity - that will enable you to survive and thrive as a leader and ultimately as a business 

3. Develop talent and skills. 

In this crazy world of technology and Murphy’s Law” - things are changing at a rapid rate. With machine learning and AI providing the technology  providing  the “heavy lifting”  and “precision” - those that will survive and thrive will be those that will be able to learn how to learn. 

Your business will attract the brightest and best teams if you provide an organisation that provides and encourages continuos learning and training 

4 Reinforce with formal mechanisms 

  • Systems and processes are key 
  • Have formalised Onboarding sessions
  • Continuous training is key 
  • Have formalised accountability sessions
  • Share wins
  • Reinforce your culture
  • Get your team to use the tools that you have (Referron or hubspot or salesforce or Act ) . 
  • Reward and recognise outstanding behaviour 

Monica shared with us a video on 

“the importance of living above the line”





Monica spoke about the importance of teams having an owners mindset
  • Where cash is king 
  • Act now
  • Be accountable
  • Challenge and respect
  • Have clear discussions and outcomes and
  • Be fit for purpose 
So .... what were the main takeouts from the BBG Innovation team this morning ?





The Rise and Fall of the Sharper Image

The Bob Pritchard Column 

The Sharper Image was where you could purchase an electric nose trimmer, a motorized surfboard, and a bulletproof raincoat, then take a ride in a $1,500 massage chair while being serenaded by a bird-calling robot. This is the story of the man who founded this great kingdom — and how one flashy gadget ultimately led to its downfall.
 
Richard Thalheimer spent his youth working odd-jobs in the toy section of his father’s department store. He went on to study psychology and sociology at Yale University, where in his freshman year he sold enough encyclopedias to buy a brand new Porsche. In his early 20s, he started “The Sharper Image” a wholesale business selling paper and toner that would help people make good copies.”
 
 
While running The Sharper Image and going to law school he tried mail-order.  First, he needed a product. At CES in Las Vegas, a man was selling a “very similar” product to Seikos first-of-its-kind $300 fully digital watch, for $35 wholesale. He struck a deal with the vendor and bought a full-page ad in Runner’s World Magazine, offering the watch for $69. At a cost of $1k, the ad netted $10k in sales with $5k profit. He repeated this process, each time with better results and by the age of 27, he’d made his first million dollars. By 1979, he decided to launch his own catalogue of high-tech gadgets nobody knew they needed.
 
He set out to find the most unique products on the market, things that other people didn’t sell, things nobody had ever heard of. The first catalogue contained 25 items, including the first cordless phone, answering machine, and car radar detector. He focused on the features that made the products exceptional. The first year, sales topped $500k; the second year, they reached $3m, and soon, the catalogue was being sent to 3m people around the world, at a cost of $1.4m per mailing. A dozen orders were being processed every 60 seconds.
 
He expanded into physical retail. By 1985, The Sharper Image was grossing $100m in sales with no outside capital or debt. The Sharper Image IPO’d at $10 per share  Then came the ‘90’s recession. The Sharper Image tried to switch gears by selling more “socially responsible” products but sales fell by 28%. Staff was cut by 20%. Stock tumbled to $2. And the company posted a loss.
 
 
Thalheimer was unusually involved in minute decisions earning him a spot on California Magazine’s Worst Bosses in America list. He decided to step back from day-to-day operations and go back to his roots: Finding wacky, one-of-a-kind products. At a “hippie street fair” in San Francisco, he found a blue gel shoe insert, the first of its kind. They became the company’s best-selling product, adding 50% to their sales figures. Then came the Razor scooter and they sold a million of them in the first year.
 
He then began to design and patent his own products so margins could be higher. He assembled a team of engineers and designers and formed Sharper Image Design to make gadgets in house. The team churned out some 300 patents and 100 products.
 
They put all of their resources behind a noiseless air purifier called the Ionic Breeze.  It became a smash hit. But Consumer Reports ranked the Ionic Breeze dead last in a feature on air purifiers, deeming it “ineffective.”  Thalheimer sued and lost.  Cost $525,000. Three years later, Consumer Reports struck again, alleging that the Ionic Breeze actually emitted harmful amounts of ozone. Once again, he sued and lost, costing millions of dollars in store credits and refunds.
 
In 2006, a group of outside shareholders, Knightspoint, snapped up 13% of the company. Thalheimer was fired and forced to sell all his remaining shares for a sum of $26m, a fraction of what his holdings were once worth. Knightspoint set to work recrafting The Sharper Image into a general electronic retailer, like Circuit City or Best Buy.
 
Stock plummeted to 28 cents per share. Within a year, The Sharper Image declared bankruptcy, closed down all 183 stores, and laid off 4000 employees.
 
Thalheimer now runs his own gadget site, aptly named RichardSolo.com, and has taken up investing. He says his net worth is “3-4x higher” than when he got pushed out, and that his studies of the stock market have earned him beefy returns of between 50% and 100% per year.
 

What are the lessons you have gleaned from this story? 

 

Take care of your Team

"I quit!"

I had been promoted to my first management job for my performance as an individual contributor.

Within 6 months one of my best developers came to me with a resignation letter. We always had a great working relationship with her when I was a developer myself.

I was shocked.

I asked her - why ?

She said she feels unappreciated, not valued, not seeing the big picture and no prospects for career growth.

They had not sent me to management classes, but this was the best management lesson I ever received.

Prior to this resignation, my focus was on projects and problems, and helping those who needed help.

She never needed any help, and her projects were as on time as a Swiss watch.

In her case, I missed several boxes from the diagram above: involved, mentored, appreciated, valued, on a mission. For sure I valued and appreciated her, but I never took the time to show it.

After a long conversation, I convinced her that I am learning to be a leader, and that she just gave me a great lesson, and then I asked her to give me another chance. I was humble and appreciative.

She gave me another chance, and stayed on. We worked together for many more years.

---

In addition to the points to the diagram above I would add that employees stay when
1) we create opportunities for them, and give them opportunities to grow
2) take risks for them
3) treat their problems as our own
4) stand up for them
5) treat them fairly
6) stay honest with them
Do you agree ?

What is your micro - motive ?

Dark horses: the people who triumph against the odds, the winners nobody saw coming

They are a diverse group of humans but have a common thread - dark horses are fulfilled.”

In their work, social scientists Todd Rose and Ogi Ogas have identified some critical elements of fulfillment — including a fascinating factor that they call micro-motives. 

And this small but mighty trait could be the clue to your best self. Here’s how you can find yours.

What you desire — and what you do not desire — what is your motive? Your why? This defines who you are in a unique and deeply personal manner. When you do activities that match up with your desires , your journey will be compelling and satisfying. But if you misjudge or ignore your motives, your progress will be plodding and dreary, or you may abandon the road altogether.

What floats your boat - puts the wind in your sails — not what someone else thinks should get you going. That’s why knowing your micro-motives is a crucial element of the dark horse mindset. 

Just ask Saul Shapiro.

When Saul encounters a wobbly wheel on a shopping cart or a tilted picture frame, his mind is drawn to manipulate the components until they are square and right.
Saul has a seemingly unusual micro-motive: he likes aligning physical objects with his hands. When he encounters something awry, like a wobbly wheel on a shopping cart or a tilted picture frame, his mind is drawn by an invisible pulley to manipulate the components until they are square and right. You will not find the urge to align things on any list of universal motives, yet for Saul, this desire is genuine, potent and deeply personal.
One of Saul’s most fulfilling memories from college was when a design professor instructed the class to carve a sphere out of a block of wood by hand. Saul became obsessed. After chiseling a rough sphere, he placed it in a bag that he carried wherever he went. All day long, he put his hand inside the bag to feel for uneven spots, then used sandpaper to smooth them. The act of eliminating imperfections filled him with gratification. When Saul turned in the sphere, it was so perfect that his teacher refused to believe he hadn’t used machine tools.
You might be thinking, that’s nice … but what profession could harness this micro-motive? 

One possibility is orthodontics, where the central task is aligning people’s teeth. Another possibility is electrical engineering, which is what Saul chose. He was hired as an engineer to tackle a tough technical problem: creating a physical interface that would convert an electrical signal on an old-style copper wire onto a laser signal on a newly invented fiber-optic cable. It required precisely aligning a semiconductor chip the size of a grain of sand with a fiber the width of a human hair, and the alignment had to be precise within a fraction of a micron.
Saul ended up being successful, and his interface was widely adopted throughout the telecommunications industry. It also made his employer a fortune, while Saul received only a small bonus. This disparity led him to question his role. “I would see guys with MBAs making presentations, and they were making much more money than me and getting to run the company, too,” he says. “I started to think to myself, Maybe I should be one of those guys.”
So he abandoned a fulfilling engineering career and moved into middle management. 

But his collection of micro-motives was not compatible with his new role; he did not enjoy supervising others and he was not interested in networking, presenting his ideas to others, or persuading them of his point of view. His most potent micro-motives — working with his hands, tinkering with gadgets and mechanisms, doing math calculations, working alone, and aligning objects — were largely neglected as a manager.

Saul spent the next 16 years going through ups and downs — but mostly downs — as a middle manager at media and tech organizations. By his late forties, he could no longer get hired yet he couldn’t return to his previous career because his engineering knowledge had become outdated. At the age of 53, he was working part-time at H&R Block doing people’s taxes for $10 an hour. Not only was he unfulfilled, he was not making much money, the reason he had switched careers in the first place.

One thing that still meant a lot to him was being his own boss. Since he didn’t want to start a business from scratch, he met with a franchise broker who told him about affordable franchises — such as employment agencies and elder-care agencies — that were available to purchase in New York City.

One surprising franchise caught Saul’s eye: upholstery repair. Even though he had no experience with it, he recognized that success depends on one’s ability to align fabrics and patches, a process he knew he’d enjoy. He’d be able to use his hands and immediately see the fruits of his labor. He could do jobs from home so he wouldn’t have to own a shop, and he could work by himself so he wouldn’t need to oversee employees.

In 2013, Saul opened an upholstery-repair franchise in Manhattan. He mastered the trade, and now he does repairs for Broadway shows, TV personalities and Times Square hotels. “People who know me best would agree that I’m happier now than with anything else I have done with my career,” he says. “I enjoy what I do almost every day and I’m financially secure. In the end, I figured out how to align my livelihood to my nature.”

Saul discovered his micro-motives by enduring years of jobs that didn’t suit him. For better or worse, most of us won’t have such trials to inform us. Fortunately, you can take advantage of an instinctive activity that you perform every day to grab hold of the micro-motives buried inside you and hold them up to the light. We call it “the game of judgment.”

Your goal in playing the game of judgment is to use your instinctive reactions to others to zero in on these live wires and attempt to trace them to their source.

How many times over the past week have you judged someone — a colleague, a talking head on cable TV, a stranger in the checkout line? Well, you’re going to use these unfiltered reactions to learn something about you. 

Your micro-motives are composed of deeply rooted feelings, which include subtle preferences, frank desires and private longings. 

Your goal in playing the game of judgment is to use your instinctive reactions to others to zero in on these live wires and attempt to trace them to their source.

There are three steps to the game of judgment. 

  1. First, become aware of the moments when you’re judging someone. We all do this all the time. It’s human nature to react to others, whether it’s a mail carrier, police officer, massage therapist, neighbor, store clerk or someone on a magazine cover. Develop an awareness of when you’re doing it, so you can consciously attend to your reaction.
  2. Second, identify the feelings that emerge as you judge someone. How do you know when you’re on the scent of a micro-motive? When you have a vivid reaction. It doesn’t matter whether it’s positive or negative, celebratory or condemnatory, the feeling just needs to be strong. Remember, you’re trying to get in touch with your authentic emotional core.
  3. Third, ask yourself why you are experiencing those feelings. Remember: be honest. The physicist Richard Feynman said it best when he warned, “You must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool.” Focus on what you would like if you had their life … but also what you would hate. For instance, if you watch a celebrity interview and find yourself thinking, “How can anyone be truly happy when they are chasing riches or fame?” then you know that money and acclaim are probably not powerful motivators for you.

On the other hand, if you reacted to the story of Saul Shapiro by thinking, “Come on . . . the guy’s an upholstery repairman. Let’s not pretend he’s successful!”– you’ve learned something valuable about your micro-motives. Status and acclaim matter greatly to you. That’s fine; own it. To attain fulfillment, you must be true to what lights your fire — whatever that may be.

When you’re judging a debt collector, try to determine which gets your heart thumping faster: the process of tracking down deadbeats, or the act of making them pay?

The most difficult part is resisting the sense that there are some motives we should be driven by — such as money, or helping other people. This can cause us to suppress or downplay our own micro-motives. The game of judgment can help you break the spell, as long as you are attentive and specific. If you are favorably judging a park ranger, you may initially think, “Being outside and around nature all day would be great.” Or, judging a debt collector, your reaction might be, “Oh boy, I’d love tracking down deadbeats and forcing them to pay up.”

Don’t stop there. Keep sifting through your feelings until you’ve gone as far as you can. For example, with the park ranger, you might also realize, “Even though being outside would be great, it does seem like a lonely job. I don’t think I could handle the daily isolation.” Now you’ve identified two potential micro-motives: the desire to be around nature and the desire for steady social engagement.

Or, when judging the debt collector, try to determine which gets your heart thumping faster: is it the process of tracking down deadbeats, or the act of making them pay? Is there something about catching people who are trying to avoid being caught that energizes you? Or is it something about being an agent of fair play and administering justice when nobody else can? When it comes to knowing your micro-motives, the details always matter.

Keep in mind, the purpose of the game of judgment isn’t to coolly assess the merits and deficiencies of other people. It’s not about them at all. The goal is to use your intense emotional responses to ferret out the hidden contours of your own desires. You’re both the player and referee in the game of judgment, and only you can know for sure when you’ve traced one of your micro-motives to its fullest depth.

The game of judgment can take some time to get the hang of, but it’s far more reliable and effective than standardized tests of motivation. There are hundreds of career tests that employers and guidance counselors use to evaluate the motives of employees and students each year. Despite what their creators may insist, these tests are not designed to help you identify your unique pattern of motivations, but rather to determine how closely your responses resemble those of the “average professional” in a given field.

Standardized assessments of motivation are doomed to misinterpret or ignore one of the most important facets of your micro-motives: the presence of contradictory motives, such as the desire to interact with other people and the desire to be alone, or the desire to conform and the desire to rebel. When you are committed to embracing the diversity of your micro-motives, the most antithetical of them can be reconciled, harnessed and consolidated into a unified sense of purpose.

Excerpted from the new book Dark Horse: Achieving Success Through the Pursuit of Fulfillment by Todd Rose and Ogi Ogas. Reprinted with permission from HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Copyright © 2018 by Todd Rose and Ogi Ogas.
Watch Todd Rose’s TEDxSonoma talk here:

TEDx Talks
15M subscribers
The Myth of Average: Todd Rose at TEDxSonomaCounty



Try watching this video on www.youtube.com, or enable JavaScript if it is disabled in your browser.
 
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Todd Rose is the director of the Mind, Brain and Education program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he leads the Laboratory for the Science of Individuality. He is also the cofounder of Populace, a nonprofit organization dedicated to transforming how people, learn, work and live. He is the author of the best-selling book "The End of Average."
Ogi Ogas is the director of the Dark Horse Project in the Laboratory for the Science of Individuality at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Best
Ivan
Ps feel free to download my business card https://members.referron.com/bsivc






When People say things about you

When people say things about you  - don’t let those words control you! 
True power is sorting back and observing things with logic! 

The power s restraint .... 

Breathe and allow things to pass!

Who struggles with this? 



How to grow a CEO



Any discussion of CEO succession planning has to start with a single fact: Most companies do a good job of developing internal candidates. According to one recent analysis, more than eight in 10 executives who are appointed to the top job came from within the organization. Internally appointed CEOs tend to stay in the role longer, and often perform better, than externally appointed candidates. For those reasons, internal candidates remain the preferred choice of corporate directors by a wide margin.

But while most companies do a good job of developing CEO candidates, a handful do a truly amazing job of it, producing a disproportionately high number of CEOs relative to their peers. Among the companies in the S&P 1500, General Electric produces nearly 25 times the average. IBM? Nearly 20 times more. Procter & Gamble, Honeywell International, HP, General Motors and United Technologies all produce at least 10 times more than average.

Earlier this year, we looked at 2,180 CEOs around the world to see where they worked during their careers. This analysis—which looked at the CEOs of every company listed on the S&P 1500, FTSE 250, DAX 30, EURONEXT 100, Hang Seng 50 and Nikkei 250—resulted in the identification of 42 CEO Academy companies spread out across the globe. But when it comes to developing talent, they are all world class.
The fantastic CEOs these companies produce—and the large volume of them—are not the result of good luck or happenstance but of a commitment to a set of activities designed to continuously identify and develop tomorrow’s leaders—activities shared by a select group of other high-performing organizations around the world and which are adoptable by other companies that want to improve their own internal pipeline of potential CEO succession candidates. 

We call these organizations CEO Academies—and their reach and impact in the marketplace are substantial.
So what do CEO Academy companies do that enables them to develop such a strong pipeline of future leaders? They understand the value of people, they look outside and inside for advice and best practices, and they maintain a strong focus on the future. We found seven major lessons from the tactics consistently applied by this group:

1. Find Everyone’s Value: CEO Academy companies embrace diversity and inclusion (D&I) to develop tomorrow’s leaders and avoid simply cloning today’s executives. 

2. Make Development Democratic: CEO Academy companies push their entire workforce to grow and develop, not just high potentials or other identified groups. 

3. Seek Out the Best: Successful companies bring in outside perspectives. CEO Academy companies do the same, looking for best practices in leadership development from outside their own organization. 

4. See the Whole to Know the Parts: CEO Academy companies give their up-and-coming employees a range of experiences, not just deepen their functional expertise.

5. Establish a Leadership Language: CEO Academy companies create a common understanding of what it means to be a successful leader in their specific organization.

6. Do Not Just Plan for the Future—Create It:CEO Academy companies use succession planning to identify up-and-coming future leaders.

7. Leaders Develop Leaders: CEO Academy company leaders consider people development a key priority and spend their own time on it—not just in a classroom, but day-to-day.

These CEO Academy companies have created a model that works for them, and it is one which can be adopted by other companies looking to boost their internal talent pipelines.


Four Methods of Establishing Your Business’ Credibility & Demonstrating Your Expertise

This was a great article I read yesterday - perception is everything and you’ve got to look the part. 
When people buy - it’s seldom about price! 

Enjoy

Best
Ivan
Ps feel free to download my business card https://members.referron.com/bsivc




Written by ANDREW T DRAUGHON | Filed under TRAFFIC



Growing up, you were probably taught not to judge a book by its cover, right?
Here’s the deal, though…
This “golden rule” doesn’t apply to the rapid-fire world of marketing and advertising.
(Sorry, mom and dad!)
The truth?
Appearances matter. Period.
Oftentimes, appearances matter a whole lot more than we’d care to admit.
And this is especially true for marketers who feel “not quite there” in terms of their advertising ROI.
Hint: if you’re not satisfied with your conversions, it might have quite a bit to do with how you’re presenting yourself.
What do I mean by that?

Uncovering the “hidden price” of presentation


Here’s a classic story that illustrates the sheer power of presentation for marketers.
A true story, too.
Flashback to the 1970s.
Wide-eyed newlyweds Mel and Patricia Ziegler decide that they’re going to travel the world.
Unfortunately, there’s something holding them back from their big adventure…
Money.
Strapped for cash and frustrated with their dead-end gigs at the San Francisco Chronicle, the Zieglers decide to ditch the grind and go into business for themselves.
Oh, and they also decided to start their world tour too, despite having near to nothing in their pockets.
Throwing caution to the wind, their travels eventually bring them to Australia.
While in the bush, Mel picks up a local, outback-style jacket for a couple of bucks, which he eventually brings back to the States.
The Zieglers were so infatuated with Mel’s “safari look,” they decided on a whim to start up their own clothing company.
They had no business experience, by the way.
No fashion background. No investors, either.
Just the bizarre idea to sell safari garb.

Sounds like the makings of a disaster, right?


Not so fast.
After all, the disco era was in full swing and that “Saturday Night Fever” world of polyester was a pretty miserable time for fashion, but a window of opportunity for our couple in question.
Going “all in” on the safari craze, the Zieglers visited a surplus store in town and spend the bulk of their cash on a shipment of paratrooper shirts that cost around two bucks each.
They sewed elbow patches onto them, stitched up the bottoms, and figured they could sell the shirts for profit at a local flea market.
During their first sale, they charged $6.75 a pop and sold four total.
Yeah, you read that right: a grand total of four units sold.
Not a great start for their new venture, to say the least.
Dejected but not defeated, the couple decided to try something different during the following weekend’s flea market.
Patricia decided to make a few quick alterations to their inventory.
She belted the shirts, rolled up the sleeves, and put a sign on the table that read “Short-Armed Paratrooper Shirts.”
Oh, and one more thing:

The Zieglers also doubled the price of their goods

And guess what…
They sold every single shirt.
All of ’em. In one day.
In an instant, the Zieglers experienced the irrational power of presentation.
They saw firsthand the concept of perceived value, based on price, and price alone.
Crazy, right?
Who in their right mind would double the price of something at a flea market of all places?
But with the exact same product and subtle change in presentation, their shirts doubled in value.
Piggybacking on the success of those initial sales, the Zieglers continued to sell safari shirts and eventually decided to open a small retail store.
Their success grew and grew (and they eventually sold to The Gap in 1983).
Their brand was called…
Banana Republic Travel & Safari Clothing Company.
Yep, the same Banana Republic you’re familiar with today (even though the safari theme has been phased out).

Why marketers need to dress themselves up


The takeaway here?
You don’t want your business to look like something that you might come across in the proverbial bargain bin.
Instead, we want to be the premiere display on the mannequin.
While some marketers might romanticize the idea of the shaggy, flip-flop clad entrepreneur that breaks all the rules, 99% of businesses owners could benefit from dressing themselves up, so to speak.
I’m not talking about a full-blown marketing overhaul, either.
You don’t have to play a character to be an effective marketer.
You can still be you.
At the same time, ask yourself…
What are you doing to signal you should be taken seriously by your prospects when they spot you online?
Because if you’re not establishing a perception of value, you’re going to have trouble attracting the right kind of prospects (let alone getting paid).
The good news?
Dressing up your business is arguably easier than ever with the tools and tactics available today.

A step-by-step guide to “looking the part”

Reality check: the Internet is maturing and your prospects are savvier than ever.
In response, your online presence needs to look reputable and authoritative at every turn.
Facebook. Email. Your blog. You name it.
No tricks, no gimmicks.
Just a clean-cut look that’ll help you impress your prospects and score more business.
Now, let’s dive into the specific steps you need to take to make it happen!

With your website, you have literal milliseconds to subconsciously grab the attention of your visitors and send a message that screams…
“Hey, I’ve got exactly what you’re looking for!”
First impressions count, and your website’s design and imagery represent the crucial initial contact between you and your prospects.
But if your site looks like little more than a generic template riddled with stock images from 2005, you’re not going to “wow” many visitors.
Now don’t get it twisted: templates are awesome for getting started and sometimes we have to get by on freebies at first.
Yet you can’t afford to look like every other business on the block if you want to stand out.
And while acquiring creative assets like a custom logos and banners might have cost an arm and a leg a decade ago, they’re dirt cheap for marketers today.
Services like Fiverr and 99designs are lifesavers for business owners looking to dress up their websites on a budget.
Offering up a competitive marketplace of designers, you can source everything from site headers to featured banners and everything betwixt and between for next to nothing.
Want your very own minimalist logo à la Apple or Nike?
Yeah, you can get that, too.
Given that many projects start for as little as $5 on these platforms, the ROI for these sorts of assets is absolutely nuts.
For what you might spend on a few trips to Starbucks, you could totally take your site out of “template mode” and into professional territory.
Not a bad deal, right?

As information consumers, we’re all incredibly visual.
We’re serial scanners.
Here at EMP, you might notice that we brand each and every one of our blog posts with nifty images (like the ones you see above).
These graphics not only serve as branding tools, but also are designed to pique the interest of our followers on social media via the included text.
Creating your own custom-branded graphics for your headers, blog posts, and social content is a subtle yet significant piece of appearing “top-shelf.”
Again, rather than relying on generic imagery, you can cement your brand identity and signal you take your business seriously.
Think about it…
Nobody wants to work with an amateur.
Now, I know what you’re thinking…
“I’m a marketer, not a graphic designer! Am I supposed to shell out for this stuff each an every time I write a blog post or come up with an offer?”
Fear not!
Thanks to tools such as Canva, you can actually create your very own imagery for absolutely free.
Facebook banners. Blog images. Email headers. The works.
Canva provides a series of image templates that you can totally customize based on your brand’s color scheme and tone.
The free version allows you to choose from a myriad of fonts and other creatives, representing the perfect tool for those of us who aren’t exactly artistically inclined (myself included).
Once you’ve created a few graphics, you can easily roll out your own templates time and time again, which are synonymous with your brand.
Definitely beats the heck out of stock images or plain text!

This one might seem like a no-brainer, but is easy to overlook when everyone’s an amateur photographer thanks to their smartphones.
Simply put, a high-quality headshot represents major marketing firepower.
Perfect for your site headers, opt-in banners and email signature, including photos of yourself throughout your marketing is low-hanging fruit for making a personal connection with your prospects.
And while there is no such thing as the “perfect” photo for your business, here are some tips that’ll get you pretty damn close based on the psychology of photography:
  • When in doubt, put on a smiling face (but don’t squinch)
  • Literally dress up for your photo (think: collared shirt versus your favorite concert tee)
  • Don’t go overboard on editing, filters, and color
  • Torso shots from the shoulders-up are ideal
Again, it’s all about perception and value.
A high-res headshot signals that you’re putting effort into your appearance as opposed to the random selfie you took in front of your shower curtain.
Capisce?

Even if your online presence is clean-cut from a visual perspective, there’s still one last hurdle to overcome.
Skepticism.
No matter what you’re saying or selling, your prospects are skeptics.
And they have every right to be.
In order to seal the deal, you need to provide that final knockout punch that not only proves that you look the part, but can also walk the walk.
There’s no “right” way to show off your credibility, and doing so is probably a lot easier than you might think.
  • Have you produced positive results on behalf of a client or customer? Ask for a testimonial and plaster it on-site.
  • Has someone ever complimented you via Twitter or Facebook? Slap a screenshot on your latest blog post.
  • Recently publish an amazing piece of content? Link to it in your email signature for your list to see.
When you’re able to provide concrete proof that you’re worth working with, a light bulb goes off in your prospects’ heads.
You look the part. You talk the part.
No red flags, just results.
That’s how you score business that runs like a well-oiled machine.

What does your online presence say to your prospects at a glance?

Recall the key to increasing your earning potential isn’t always about what you’re selling, but rather how you present yourself.
It starts by understanding what message you’re sending to prospects and how you can fine-tune it.
For the Zieglers, all it took was a bit of a price hike and a snazzy slogan.
Simple, but sometimes that’s all it takes.
Your prospects have no shortage of options when it comes to who they buy from.
If you want to attract the best products, you need to step up your presentation game.
Because until you consciously communicate trust, value and respectability that go hand in hand with being a legitimate business, you’re going to be stuck in the flea market.
And with the tools and tactics outlined above, you can stand head and shoulders above your competitors in terms of how you’re presenting yourself.

Are you making the most of your first impressions?

Once you’ve given your business the proverbial “makeover” it deserves, a significant question still remains…
How do you get significantly MORE prospects to see your new “dressed up” online presence (so you can convert them into customers like a boss)?
Good question!
Because you’ll need a proven system to generate eyeballs and impressions, grow your audience, and send super-targeted traffic your way.
And if that sounds like something you might be interested in, you’re in luck!
Here at Elite Marketing Pro, we’ve put together a step-by-step tutorial that reveals our exact advertising process in a 100% FREE online workshop, hosted by none other than Tim Erway, our co-founder and CEO, who’s responsible for generating over 30 million dollars in online revenue (and counting).
You’ll discover how you can put together a profitable ad campaign in just 10 minutes a day with as little as $10 in initial ad spend.
In fact…
We’ve used the exact formula to turn a $10 test campaign into $141,246.30 in sales.
And Tim will show exactly how we did it.
(Including a few timeless strategies the likes of John Deere, Michelin, and Jello used to make millions.)
So if you haven’t registered yet, what are you waiting for?
Pick a time that works for you to attend Tim’s traffic workshop right here.
Here’s to your success!
 
Andrew Draughon
Director of Content
Elite Marketing Pro



ANDREW T DRAUGHON

Andrew Draughon is the Director of Content at Elite Marketing Pro. Yet not long ago Andrew was hauling shingles and hanging drywall for paltry wages in the frigid winters of upstate Pennsylvania. Making the decision to never wake up before sunrise in sub-zero weather again, Andrew moved to Florida, discovered his passion for marketing, and has been working via his laptop ever since.