How To Stop Writing Rubbish Stories

When you think about telling great stories relating to your business, what happens?  Are you spoilt for choice?  Or have you drawn a blank.  If it’s the former, congratulations!  If it’s the latter, don’t worry, you’re in great company and help is only a few sentences away. Most of the businesses I’ve worked with think they have no stories; or certainly no interesting ones anyway.  Even the ones who know they have a story or two to tell, come up short if I ask them for ideas four or five.  So what’s behind it?  Is it a confidence issue, or a lack of belief in themselves or their business?  Actually, I think it’s because they’re too close.  And if you struggle to find a good story to tell every week, I reckon that could be your problem too. When you’re too close to your business, you can’t see what everyone else sees.  You can’t see all the amazing things your product or service does, you start to take it for granted and the shine begins to tarnish a little.  If you used a solid gold teapot to brew your tea every day, you wouldn’t just end up with impressive pecs (!): after a while you’d have a diminished sense of it’s worth as well.  To see your stories,  you need to take a step back and look at your business with fresh eyes. It happens to me too.  I can sit down and feel a bit stumped for a story.  So I employ a range of techniques, depending on the circumstances and how much time I have.  I might take...

The Three Virtues Of Planning Ahead

First things first: I am not renowned for planning ahead.  My sisters, were they to read this, would find it highly amusing that I’m offering advice on planning.  But just because I’m not good at it, doesn’t mean you wouldn’t benefit from it.  So I’m going to go ahead, despite their sniggers 😉 There are, as the title suggests, three key benefits to your business of planning your blog posts in advance.   Message Clarity It’s so much easier to stay on message when your blog posts are planned in advance.  When you blog from week to week, you often find yourself scrabbling around, looking for something to write about.  Which often means that it bears little resemblance to what you wrote about last week or the week before.  When you plan out your posts, you can ask yourself how closely you’re aligned to your blog strategy and make adjustments where necessary.  Your message can be clearer and more focussed, and it’s easier to get the right mix of posts by type and topic.   Build Your Brand When you know what your blog posts will be, it’s easy to use them to build your brand.  You can plan to blog about particular local, national, or international events, and build interest in your post through social media, your newsletter, and even the posts leading up to the event you’re blogging about.  Knowing what you’re going to be writing about let’s you build interest in your blog and awareness of your brand, before your post has even been published.  It also gives you time to think about how you’ll promote...

Why ‘Why’ Has To Be Part Of The Plan

Earlier this week I signed up to The Brainy Girl’s Guide To Business, just so I could get hold of a copy of their ‘Amazing Business Plan On A Page’.  It’s a free download when you sign up, and it’s fab!  Everything you need to keep you on track on one page, what could be better?  (There’s a link to where you can sign up at the bottom of this post)  Part of the deal is that you get some guidelines to help you create a great plan, and get the most from it.  Number Two is about your Big Why.  It’s very important to your plan, because “knowing why you’re pursuing your business goals is crucial to your success” and “your Big Why is the thing that’s going to motivate you to keep going no matter what”.  Now I don’t know about you, but I think something that’s crucial to my success deserves some consideration, so despite the fact I’ve already given my Why a great deal of thought, I decided to give it some more. I’ve blogged before about my Why, but I don’t happen to think it’s an entirely static subject.  I think that while your overall raison d’etre may stay the same, it’s feasible to interpret it in different ways over the course of your (business) life, and as you gain more experience, chances are that it’ll go through several iterations.  For me, stories are it.  I just love stories.  I love songs that tell a story, I’ll get sucked into any TV programme that has half a story, and if I’m reading a good book...

Why Serving Is The Best Form Of Stalking

When I was young I was taught not to bother people.  People are busy, I was led to understand, and wouldn’t want to be bothered with my nonsense.  Maybe it was because I talked a lot, or because I asked a lot of questions, but I suspect that it’s just what my parents knew about adults and children.  However that belief has followed me into adulthood, and if I want to call someone out of the blue I usually don’t, in case they’re working, or having their tea, or doing their shopping, or putting their kids to bed.  I text first, or I send a message on Facebook.  Unless it’s my mum.  The person who taught me not to bother people gets a ‘phone call at whatever time, so I’m not sure how that’s worked out for her 😉 But here’s the snag.  Last week I was at a networking event, listening to sales guru, Brendan Walsh, of Hawthorn Business Group.  And he was telling us that 80% of sales are made where the salesperson (which let’s face it, these days is most of us!) made contact with the customer five times or more!!  So to make more sales I have to bother people more than five times?!  My mother’s going to have kittens!! So how can you make sure you have enough contact with your potential customers without feeling like a stalker?  Or appearing to be one?!  It’s hard to do business with people who’ve taken an injunction out on you… Well, here are my three easy solutions.  Let me know what you think in the comments below,...