Latest Updates

Monday, October 3, 2022

Are You a Victim of Quiet Quitting? Look in the Mirror for Answers.

Posted By: George Deeb - 10/03/2022

  The past year brought about several post-Covid workforce trends. The first was the Great Resignation, with an estimated 20% of workers pla...

 


The past year brought about several post-Covid workforce trends. The first was the Great Resignation, with an estimated 20% of workers planning to quit their jobs in 2022. Most recently the topic of "quiet quitting" has made headlines — it's a concept popularized on TikTok wherein employees do their work but don't go above and beyond.  To me, it's clear that these are both problems with the employers, not the employees. If employees were happy, respected and engaged in their jobs, they wouldn't feel the need to quit their jobs, either outright or in mindset while still employed. Here's how to diagnose if you have any problems that need fixing in your business and stem the tide of resignations.

Read the rest of this post in Entrepreneur.  

For future posts, please follow me on Twitter at: @georgedeeb.






Lesson #347: Do Not Apply a 'One-Size-Fits-All' Approach to Your Marketing

Posted By: George Deeb - 10/03/2022

  A common mistake that many companies make is using a “one-size-fits-all” approach to its marketing efforts.  Said another way, the company...

 


A common mistake that many companies make is using a “one-size-fits-all” approach to its marketing efforts.  Said another way, the company comes up with one marketing strategy, uses mass marketing techniques and the same messaging to everyone that sees its advertising.  Yes, that is a simple approach, and saves you time and efforts required to customize your messaging to specific sub-audiences.  But, if you are looking to maximize your return on marketing spend, that additional upfront investment in building customer personas (sub-audiences) and a customer journey flow (from upper funnel to lower funnel) will pay back in spades.  So, don’t be a penny wise in the short run and pound foolish for the long run.  The more you personalize your messaging to the exact target, and where they are in the buying process, the more it will help you put your marketing efforts on steroids.  This post will help you learn how to do exactly that.

What is a Customer Persona?

A customer persona is the sub-audiences of users that are buying your product or service.   If you are a consumer business, maybe that is men vs. women buyers, or older vs. younger buyers, or which target products they are most interested in (e.g., coffee drinkers vs. tea drinkers).  If you are a B2B business, maybe that is customers from one industry or another, or buyers at different levels of the organization (e.g., executives vs. lower level managers) or different size of companies (e.g., enterprise vs. small businesses).  Every single one of these sub-audiences, should receive marketing messages from you that are directly relevant to them.

What is the Customer Journey?

The customer journey is the path in which a customer researches, considers and ultimately purchases products or services.  A customer that is researching to figure out what it needs is typically upper funnel, a customer that knows what it wants and is considering various vendors or solutions is middle funnel, and a customer that is price shopping and ready to pull the trigger is lower funnel.   Why does that matter?  Your marketing messaging should be tailored to where they are in their customer journey.

Someone that is upper funnel needs to know why they need a solution in the first place, someone that is middle funnel needs to know your product is better than others in the market, and someone that is lower funnel may be stimulated by a promotional offer to save 10% if they purchase by the end of the month.  

And, the marketing tools you use to communicate with them will be different—from mass marketing tactics (e.g., TV, radio, print, search engines) for upper funnel down to one-on-one marketing tactics (e.g., emails, phone calls) for the lower funnel.  So knowing your customer journey and which media are best to communicate with your targets is a critical component to personalizing your marketing messaging.

What does Personalizing Marketing Actually Mean?

Personalizing your marketing means you need different marketing creatives for each sub-audience.  Let’s say you have three core personas and three stages of the marketing funnel, that would be a total of nine different creatives that need to be created (not just one).  And, in those creatives, use images and copy that actually will resonate with that sub-audience.  So, if speaking to men, use male models in your creatives.  If speaking to older people, put older people in your creatives.  If pushing a specific industry use case, speak to that industry expertise in your creatives.  If speaking to executives, promote the strategic benefits of your product, vs. the more tactical functionalities that would be better promoted to lower level employees.   You get the point—don’t spray and pray.  Be laser focused with your targeting and messaging, and good things should happen to accelerating your sales.

What Can You Expect to Happen from Personalization?

With every layer of personalization, you can expect to increase your conversion rate, and ultimately your sales.  So, as an example, let’s say the one-size-fits-all approach allows you to convert 10% of your leads.  Layering on the customer personas may allow you to convert 20% of your leads.  And further layering on the customer journey messaging may allow you to convert 30% of your leads.  The better you sharpen your pencil, the higher your resulting revenues will be.  Any good marketing agency can help you here.

Tracking Is Critical

Setting up the customer personas, journey and creatives is only part of the exercise.  The other part is tracking the results from each of those sub-audiences.  So, when setting up your campaigns, tracking URLs or other conversion metrics, make sure the appropriate tagging and tracking is in place, so that your CRM can easily see how the different personas are performing at driving sales.  You may learn that each persona behaves equally the same, and deserves equal attention.  Or, you may learn certain personas are outperforming others, and needs your oversized attention and budget, redirecting efforts away from your other underperforming personas.  So, in all cases, the devil is in the details, and you need to be tracking and optimizing everything.

Closing Thoughts

The concepts presented in this post are “table stakes” in the marketing world, and it amazes me how many early stage companies have absolutely no clue here.  If you are not doing it, you are potentially wasting a lot of your marketing dollars.  Or at a minimum, not driving an ROI as high as you ultimately should be.   So, either hire a strong marketing team, or engage a strong marketing agency, for your business.  They can help lay the groundwork here, and ultimately tee you up for maximum marketing success.   Good luck!!


For future posts, please follow me on Twitter at: @georgedeeb.




Monday, September 19, 2022

[VIDEO] How to Develop an Exit Plan for Your Business

Posted By: George Deeb - 9/19/2022

I was recently interviewed by the  Atlanta Small Business Network  (ASBN), an online "television network" serving the small busine...


I was recently interviewed by the Atlanta Small Business Network (ASBN), an online "television network" serving the small business community, about how to develop a flawless exit plan for your business  I thought this video turned out great, and I wanted to share it with all of you, to see if it can be helpful to you in getting your businesses sold in a timely fashion and at the valuations you are hoping for.  I hope you like it!!



The embedded video player didn't give me the option to change the size of this video.  But, if you want to see a bigger version, simply click the expand size button in the player above, or feel free to watch it on the ASBN website.

Thanks again to Jim Fitzpatrick and the ASBN team for having me on the show.  I look forward to our next interview together.


For future posts, please follow me on Twitter at: @georgedeeb.

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Lesson #346: How to Manage a Virtual Team

Posted By: George Deeb - 9/08/2022

I have previously written about how COVID has changed the workplace forever .  Before COVID, companies were not fans of virtual employees, a...


I have previously written about how COVID has changed the workplace forever.  Before COVID, companies were not fans of virtual employees, and thought they needed to be in one place for them to be managed and contributing as part of the team.  But, once virtual work became required in the wake of COVID, they quickly learned “hey, the staff seems to be doing just fine working remotely”, with revenues still coming in as normal.  Which was great for the workers looking for the flexibility of working from home, and now preferring to  work virtually going forward.  The real problem is: how do you truly manage a distributed workforce over the long run and still build your desired team performance and culture.  This post will help you learn exactly how to do that.

Learn What Your Team’s Desires Are

This does not need to be a one size fits all situation for each of your staff members.  Some people love virtual work (e.g., not commuting, working in pajamas).  And, some people prefer working in the office (e.g., break from the kids, socializing with friends).  So, the key is learning which path your team members prefer, working virtually or working on-site.  It is important everybody’s needs and goals are aligned for the long term, for it to be successful for all parties.

Change Your Recruiting Approach

If you prefer to evolve to a virtual team for the long run, you will need to change your recruitment approach.  Your job descriptions need to clearly be speaking to a virtual office and remote team.  That will weed out the candidates that don’t want to be working remotely.  And, on the flipside, many candidates are now actively seeking out remote positions, as many of their current employers have reverted back to in-office work, and they want to keep the virtual work they were doing.  Many are willing to even consider a pay cut, to enable that flexibility for them.

You will also need to figure out where the employees are geographically located.  Some companies have said the employee can be located anywhere in the world, if they have the right skills.  Which opens up a lot cheaper talent pools in Eastern Europe and Asia.  But, others have tried to keep hiring in one central location, so that it would be easier to get the team together in person, whenever that may be needed (e.g., for annual meetings, weekly happy hours, easier training).  If you are a small company, try to keep it centralized, especially to simply payroll tax filings in one state.  Once you are a big company, you will need to throw out a bigger net to find new workers from a broader geographic region.

Provide In-Person Options for Those That Want It

May companies are offering a hybrid approach.  Let employees come to the office, when and if they ever want to.  The result of that is losing the 10,000 square foot office with dedicated desks for each worker, and instead, replace that with a 5,000 square foot office with shared work-stations, similar to what you would see in a shared office workspace, like WeWork, where employees would reserve a desk or meeting room for the day, as needed.  This is sometimes referred to as a hoteling model.  The good news:  your home office rent costs just got cut in half!!

Replicate or Keep In-Person Activities for Team Building

Restaurant Furniture Plus engages a virtual work force that is largely based in the Cleveland, Ohio area.  They recently launched a new fun committee which plans monthly in-person events in the area (e.g., happy hours, bowling parties).  This helps to break the monotony and loneliness that comes from working in your home, and does a great job of reinforcing the fact they are all part of the team.  Without events like this, “out of sight, out of mind” can set in, which doesn’t help with team building.  

If you are truly a virtual business with staff located across the country, in person events becomes much harder and cost prohibitive, so you will need to figure out how to replicate the above with “virtual events”.  In the wake of COVID, several new service providers are offering virtual team building events (e.g., trivia nights, murder mystery parties), which you may want to consider for your business.

Managing and Cheerleading Becomes Twice as Hard

As a serial entrepreneur of in-person companies, I loved walking up and down the aisles, seeing what people are working on, patting staff on the back, taking them out to lunch, or whatever.  You lose all of that with a virtual company, but those things are still equally important to your success.  So make sure you have good analytical reports that can help you see which employees are doing well vs. goal, and which ones are struggling.  Provide compliments and employee awards virtually.  Set up virtual lunches with your team to talk about anything other than work.  Etc.

Culture Building Becomes Twice as Hard

It’s hard to build a “one for all, and all for one” culture when you are never seeing your peers in person.  Worse yet, it is much easier to hide, and ignore having difficult conversations, when someone cannot easily tap you on the shoulder and take you into the conference room to talk about it.  You still want your staff to become loyal to the company and have their peers’ backs.  So, you need to keep emphasizing your team’s cultural values, and make sure all staff are living by those same standards, even while working from home.

Avoid “Zoom Fatigue”

In a virtual company, the only way to have group meetings is by web video (e.g., via Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Google Meet).  The problem with web video:  it can be tiring, hurting your eyes, and it can be easy to tune them out, with cameras turned off, or you seeing staff doing other work while the meeting is in progress.  Only schedule meetings that are absolutely needed, keeping them to a minimum.  And, let the team know, when you do have them, they are important, and they need to be focused on.

Closing Thoughts

I actually love the move to virtual workforces.  I think it will make businesses materially more efficient, saving them from spending on unnecessary costs.  And, it will make most staff members materially happier with the increased flexibility that comes with working from home.  But, for it to be a success, it is important you follow the high level guidance above.  Having run a virtual business for the last four years, it certainly has presented some challenges.  But, we have learned from them, optimized for them and has resulted in us scaling our business to new heights, with an engaged and loyal team.  Good luck replicating this in your own businesses.


For future posts, please follow me on Twitter at: @georgedeeb.


Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Lesson #345: Swap 'I' for 'We' in All Communications

Posted By: George Deeb - 8/17/2022

The words you use in all of your work related communications can  have a major impact on how others perceive you, as a leader.  And, as entr...


The words you use in all of your work related communications can  have a major impact on how others perceive you, as a leader.  And, as entrepreneurs, it is really easy to put yourself in the middle of it all, on a pedestal, as the person that founded the company.  But, as you all should know by now, you are not building your business by yourself, and credit needs to be shared with all, to keep everyone feeling respected and motivated in their day-to-day efforts as part of the company.  That all starts with removing the word "I" from your vocabulary, effective immediately.

Defining "I" vs. "We"

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the word "I" is speaking to one's SELF, possessing a personal INDIVIDUALITY.  And, the same source, defines the word "We" as "a GROUP that includes me".  Notice the stark difference between the two:  using the word "I" makes it sounds like you are building your business by yourself, and using the word "We" clearly tells others that you are part of team, that is equally invested in building your company's success.  

What Does that Means For Your Communications?

Unless you are a solopreneur working by yourself, ditch the word "I".  And, even then, you are most likely working with other outside partners (e.g., investors, bankers, accountants, lawyers, contractors, agencies) in some capacity.  And, they too want to feel like they are doing their part to participate in your success.  So, you too need to swap "I" for "We" when working with anyone that is involved with your business.

What Communications Are We Talking About?

ALL communications need to be amended to remove the word "I".  Verbal conversations by phone, written communications by email, corporate materials that describe the efforts of the business . . . basically everything.  You should set up a "swear jar", that every time you communicate with the word "I", you have to put a dollar in the jar.  For some of you, you may have just found your capital source for your next fundraising needs!!

What is the Result?

Making this change will have a lasting impact on your team.  No longer will you be at risk of being perceived as an out-of-touch egomaniac.  Instead, you will better motivate your team, instill a sense of self-worth into your employees committed to the company's success, and promote long term loyalty to your business.

Who am I Speaking To?

You need to look in the mirror, as I am speaking to YOU.   Take a look at your last few emails written to your team.  Do you see the word "I" anywhere in there?  You most likely do!!  Stop doing that!!  Before you send out your next corporate communication, proof-read it first to make sure the word "I" is nowhere to be found.

Closing Thoughts

For entrepreneurs that have been at the center of the worlds for years on end, this will be a really hard bad habit to break.  But, if you are religious about removing the word "I" from your vocabulary, your team will take notice, appreciate you including them in your COLLECTIVE success (not your INDIVIDUAL success) and want to work hard WITH you (not FOR you), as a leader that knows the importance your team has in building THE company (not YOUR company).  As you can hopefully see now, the words you use with your team really matter.


For future posts, please follow me on Twitter at: @georgedeeb.



Friday, August 5, 2022

[VIDEO] How to Protect Your Startup From Copycat Competitors

Posted By: George Deeb - 8/05/2022

  I was recently interviewed by the  Atlanta Small Business Network  (ASBN), an online "television network" serving the small busi...

 

I was recently interviewed by the Atlanta Small Business Network (ASBN), an online "television network" serving the small business community, about how to build defensible barriers to entry for your business.  I thought this video turned out great, and I wanted to share it with all of you, to see if it can be helpful to you in developing your own "competitive moats".  I hope you like it!!



The embedded video player didn't give me the option to change the size of this video.  But, if you want to see a bigger version, simply click the expand size button in the player above, or feel free to watch it on the ASBN website.

Thanks again to Jim Fitzpatrick and the ASBN team for having me on the show.  I look forward to our next interview together.


For future posts, please follow me on Twitter at: @georgedeeb.

Strategy

General Business

Marketing

Sales

Fund Raising

Red Rocket is a featured contributor on entrepreneurship for many trusted business sites:

Copyright 2011- Red Rocket Partners, LLC