Day 21. Sharing success.

Congratulations, you’ve made it to Day 21. Well done, that sets you apart from the majority.

What have you achieved?

As we complete the challenge it’s a great time to stop and reflect upon your achievements. The first one is getting to this stage! What would you describe as the your three greatest gains from the challenge? You may have learned something new. You may have developed some new habits. You may have a clear goal and a workable plan to achieve it. You may have found a new tool that has made life easier or more focused. Or your gains may be about the money you’ve made or the decisions you’ve taken, I would love it if you would share your achievements here or in the Facebook group but if you don’t want to go public then it would be great to get an email from you to glenda.shawley@thetrainingpack.co.uk

Celebrate your success

My mentee, Sarah Webb of justsayhi.co.uk has just won Best New Business  in the Hounslow Business Awards. I'm delighted to share her success and look forward to buying her a glass of bubbly.

My mentee, Sarah Webb of justsayhi.co.uk has just won Best New Business in the Hounslow Business Awards. I’m delighted to celebrate her success and look forward to buying her a glass of bubbly.

Success can be a great motivator. It puts a spring in our steps and a smile on our faces. It lifts the people around us, our family, friends, colleagues, customers, mentors, and suppliers. Who can you share your success with? Who will understand what it really means. I remember coming home one day thrilled to have won a big contract we were tendering for, my husband’s reaction was a somewhat unemotional, ‘Well done’ quickly followed by ‘how much money is it worth’ and then some minor domestic details. My bubble was burst! Yes my husband was pleased but he really didn’t understand what a big deal it was. My colleagues on the other hand shared my delight and the odd glass of something sparkling in celebration. They made all the effort really worthwhile.

Who are  you going to share your success with?  Who will understand what it has taken to get to this point? Who will be impressed? One of my goals for this challenge was to give you a means with which to generate your news story to get you some PR. (see Day 19), don’t miss out on the opportunity. Share your success with fellow challengers because if they’ve got to this stage they really know how much effort has gone in to your achievement.

ACTION: Celebrate your achievements. Don’t dwell on what is still a work in progress. When you have reached your financial target please send me an email and tell me how much you have raised. I won’t share your personal figure but add it to a running total made by all challengers and that will be my story!

Next steps, should you choose to take them…

  1. Share any insights or recommendations in the comments section here.
  2. Join the conversation on Facebook to gain support from the 21 Day Challenge community (we’ll be looking at some of the benefits of social media later in the challenge but for now being active on this page and on Facebook can help boost the way people can find you on the Internet.)
  3. Tweet this ‘I’m celebrating completing @Glenda_S 21 Day Make Money Challenge #21DMMC
  4. Stay focused on the goal and the vision and let us know when you reach your goal.
  5. If you would like to keep getting tips and ideas for growing business why not follow my blog ? There are new stories every Monday and Thursday.
Advertisements

Day 20. Taking action.

These action takers don't let excuses get in their way.

These action takers don’t let excuses get in their way.

If you have kept up so far you should have a plan by now but a plan is of no use unless you take action so that’s our focus for today.

Take action now!

One of the major differences between achievers and everyone else is that achievers take action. They don’t wait for everything to be perfect. They don’t wait until everything is in place. They don’t wait until they have done just a bit more training. They dive in! The learn as they go. They bring in help for the things that they can’t do themselves. Are you an action taker?

By now you should have an idea, a budget, a project management plan and a promotional plan so you are ready to take action. If you have implemented some of the tips from Days 8 and 9 you will be using some tools to help your productivity and you should be ready to take action.

ACTION: If you haven’t done it already plan what you are going to achieve in each of your Power Hours for the next week. Make your targets visible. Pin them on the fridge, make simpleology.com your home page, stick a post it on your computer!

Commit.

I don’t know about you but I break more promises to myself than anyone else. That’s why we need to make a commitment. I’ve published all these challenges because I made a commitment to you to post one a day for 21 days, I’ll let you into a secret, they weren’t all ready on day one, the plan was but there have been times when I’ve only been one step ahead of you! Going public with a promise will keep you on track. Selling tickets to an event or places on a course will make it happen.   So what are you going to go public with? Where are you going to go public? How about here in the comments section? What about making the commitment on our Facebook page or on Twitter?

Why not find yourself an accountability partner? Someone who will hold you to your commitments. Someone who will be tough enough with you when you wobble. You could use a friend or fellow business owner or you could get yourself a mentor. Whoever you choose be very clear about what you want to be held accountable for. Agree your objectives and your measures. What will happen if you don’t make your commitment?

Don’t give up now! Make a public commitment to what you are going to achieve and then take the first step. Good luck.

Next steps, should you choose to take them…

  1. Share any insights or recommendations in the comments section here.
  2. Join the conversation on Facebook to gain support from the 21 Day Challenge community (we’ll be looking at some of the benefits of social media later in the challenge but for now being active on this page and on Facebook can help boost the way people can find you on the Internet.)
  3. Tweet this ‘I’m taking action to make money on #21DMMC
  4. Join us tomorrow to when for the final day of the challenge.

Day 19. Using PR.

With just three days to go how is your Money Making Plan shaping up?

Today we’re going to consider how you can use Public Relations to raise awareness of your money making venture. In essence what we want is for other people to do the promotion for you without being paid!

Referrals and recommendations

One of the best ways to generate interest in your money making venture is to get existing customers and people in your network to recommend you. Some will do so without being asked, others may be willing but need prompting. Think of ways that you can encourage referrals and recommendations:

  • Ask for them, include a note on receipts (e.g. if you are happy with your purchase tell your friends, if you’re not tell us)
  • Thank people when they pass on a recommendation, send a card, write a letter, call them, thank them publically at a networking event. If the lead turns into significant business go a bit further by sending flowers or taking your recommender out for a meal
  • Set up a recommend a friend scheme perhaps with a money off voucher for both the new customer’s first purchase and for the introducer, or formalise it into an affiliate scheme
  • Use your networking events to make it clear what kind of referrals you are looking for
  • Produce some marketing material that those willing to recommend you can have  to pass on to their associates

Media coverage

Advertising can be very expensive and is rarely as effective as an article in a publication read by your target audience. If you have a big budget then you can appoint a PR consultant to get you into the media but this can be expensive and results are not guaranteed. You can improve your chances by choosing your consultant carefully. Make sure that they specialise in your area of interest and that they have contacts in the relevant media; ask to see examples of the coverage that they have got for other people.

There is a lot you can do yourself with a bit of time and effort. Remember that journalists are not there to do your advertising for you but to produce stories of interest to their audience. This means that, to get news coverage, you need to have a story not a sales pitch. Surveys are often popular, can you turn your market research into a story without disclosing confidential information or giving away your competitive advantage? Can you celebrate your launch? Are you breaking new ground with your idea? Are you doing something unusual? Can you create a story? Take a lesson from Richard Branson who makes stories when he needs press coverage e.g. by dressing up as a Maharaja and riding an elephant or by abseiling down a building when Virgin Atlantic is opening a new route.

Daiva, Ursula and Yemi from our Hounslow Enterprise Club had their new businesses featured in the local press this week.

Daiva, Ursula and Yemi from our Hounslow Enterprise Club had their new businesses featured in the local press this week.

Turn your story into a news release and send it to named journalists who write on your topic in publications that target your market. Do your homework, Don’t be tempted to blanket mail all journalists, they will bin your release. Think carefully about possible media, you may have success on smaller publications produced on a shoestring than in the mainstream. Think about your local media, small special interest magazines, company newsletters, customer magazines, student media, local radio, smaller TV channels etc. Click on this link for more about how to put a news release together.

Remember to keep an eye on your target journalists in your Twitter stream. Are they requesting help with stories? If you can’t help do you know someone who could? Reply to the tweet with an introduction. Re-tweet the message, Compliment them on interesting articles. Share some knowledge or information that will add to the article. Build a relationship.

A word or warning. Unlike paid for advertising or advertorials you will have no control over what a journalist publishes so be especially careful about what you disclose in an interview. Off the record conversations don’t always stay that way. Don’t tell a journalist anything you wouldn’t want to read about! Remember a journalist’s primary interest is a good story.

ACTION: How are you going to incorporate PR into your promotional plan? Devise a system for getting recommendations and referrals and/or develop your story into a news release and send it to at least one journalist.

Should you be running an event?

This one isn’t low budget! However running a launch party, an open evening, a party or some other event to which you can invite customers, prospects, journalists, local dignitaries and perhaps celebrities can go a great way to creating a buzz about what you are doing and get you some press coverage. This 21 Day Make Money Challenge has been a PR activity for me and whilst I’d love to see more of you commenting, tweeting or joining us on Facebook it has got people following across the world which was one of my objectives.

If you are going to do an event make sure you are clear about what you want to get out of it, set a SMART objective. Set a budget and think what you can do for that money. Get the word out early and often to make sure that people come; there’s nothing worse than having the press and a local dignitary as your only attendees! Ask your friends and family for support if need be. Consider bringing in a professional events planner if your budget will allow.

Think what message you want people to take away. Will you deliver a speech? What do you want the press to write about? If you want a celebrity or local dignitary to say a few words brief them about what you want them to say. Do you need business cards, fliers, brochures or a promotional gift for people to take away with them?

Don’t just do an event for the sake of it. If you are raising money for charity have lots of ways in which people can donate. If you are doing it to win new customers or raise your profile tell your guests how they can help you. Then go and have some fun!

Next steps, should you choose to take them…

  1. Share any insights or recommendations in the comments section here.
  2. Join the conversation on Facebook to gain support from the 21 Day Challenge community (we’ll be looking at some of the benefits of social media later in the challenge but for now being active on this page and on Facebook can help boost the way people can find you on the Internet.)
  3. Tweet this ‘I’m working on my PR on @Glenda_S 21 Day Make Money Challenge #21DMMC
  4. Join us tomorrow to when we’ll be taking action.

Day 18. Using off line marketing.

If you listened to some experts you might believe that the only place to be is online but this isn’t true. Yes there are opportunities to make money online but it can be easier to cut through the noise when we do what others are not doing so today’s challenge is going to consider some offline marketing activities and tactics.

Build a database

Every marketing expert will tell you that you need to build a database of prospects and customers and who am I to disagree? There are a number of different ways to do this but you need to make sure that you operate within the data protection legislation in your own country, typically this means making sure that you have the recipients permission to contact them.

I think people are becoming more reticent about handing over their details because we are all struggling with the amount of information we are bombarded with. We therefore need to make sure that we offer something of real value in return for someone’s contact details and that we keep offering them value to retain their interest. It’s probably easiest to collect names and email addresses in return for an interesting e-book or a valuable report but then the only means we have of staying in touch is by email. It is very easy for someone to unsubscribe once they’ve taken advantage of your free offer.

A direct mail letter may get more attention than an email.

A direct mail letter may get more attention than an email.

What we really need is someone’s mailing address. One way to get this is to follow up your free online product with an offer of a sample or a physical product, for example a CD or DVD or a book (but remember that you’ll have to pay postage so the lighter the better). Another option is to rent a mailing list. Check that the company you are using is reputable and that they collect data legally. Typically mailing lists are compiled from membership lists, magazine subscriptions, company information etc. so it should be quite easy to be very specific about the kind of contacts you want. For example you should be able to refine a request by, for example, location, job title, type and size of company or interests of an individual. So if you are very clear about your target market you should be able to purchase a mailing list of people who fit your specification. Think carefully about what data you would like to pay for. Given that it typically takes eight or more approaches to turn a prospect into a customer it can be a good idea to purchase a name and mailing address together with email and phone number so that you can vary the methods by which you follow up your approach.

A word of warning, a mailing list does not belong to you so you can’t add the names to your database unless you get a response from a name on the list and then you can add that person to your database. Mailing lists are typically sold for single or multiple use. If you buy for single use you can only mail that list once, it will be seeded with names to catch you out if you use it more often. A multiple use list will usually specify how many times you can use it over what period. I recommend buying a list for multiple use as you will rarely make a sale on your first contact.

Another way to build your list is to run a competition in which entries have to be accompanied by the data you want to collect. Do be careful to check that you are operating your competition legally. If you decide to sponsor a competition in a newspaper or magazine make sure that your agreement with the publication allows you to collect entrants’ contact details otherwise you may find that the data belongs to them.

ACTION: Decide on at least one action you will take to build your mailing list.

Crafting your message

Whether you are going to send direct mail letters to named individuals, brochures, fliers, postcards or any other print material there are a few things that you will need to consider when producing your material:

  1. Focus on your prospect and their needs, If you really understand your target market you will be able to ‘speak their language’.
  2. Use your headline to gain your prospect’s attention. A question will make them think. A question that helps them ‘feel the pain’ is even better.

    This postcard has worked well for one of my clients.

    This postcard has worked well for one of my clients.

  3. Rub a bit of salt in the wound so that your prospect is really intrigued by how you can help them.
  4. Show how your solution will help them.
  5. Make sure your copy is benefit rich. Too many people focus on features not benefits. Turn your features into benefits: ‘We offer one hour delivery slots’ (feature) ‘so you don’t have to stay in all day waiting for us’ (benefit); ‘our trousers are teflon coated’ (feature) ‘so you don’t have to iron them’ (benefit). Make sure that the benefits you describe are the ones that are most important to your target audience.
  6. Use testimonials and guarantees to make a purchase less risky.
  7. Make sure you have a strong call to action preferably appearing at several points throughout your communication. Use action verbs: Call, visit, ring etc.
  8. Consider offering a time limited incentive to take action now. Make this really clear.
  9. Check that you use ‘you’ much more frequently than ‘we’. Customers are not interested in your history but in what you can do for them.
  10. Resist the temptation to put your business name at the top of the page, a prospect isn’t interested in who you are until they are interested in what you can do for them.
  11. If you are writing a letter use a P.S. to encourage your reader to take action now. The PS might be the only thing they read unless you can make them realise that they could be missing out if they don’t read the whole letter.
  12. Long copy outperforms short in most tests. In other words longer letters allow you to work on your prospect’s emotions and make them want to take the action you want them to take. Remember people buy with their emotions far more frequently than they buy with logic.
  13. Consider using photographs to grab attention and to appeal to your target. If you can find a photo to increase emotional connection so much the better. Take a lesson from charities who show the suffering that they are trying to relieve in order to persuade their targets to support them.

ACTION: Draft one letter, brochure or flier and test it on a small sample of your target market, if it works send it to more people, if it doesn’t change one thing and test again.

Networking

I can’t write a challenge about off line marketing without mentioning networking. There are plenty of people who will tell you that it doesn’t work but I’m not one of them. I believe that networking with your target market will work but it may take time. Networking is about building relationships so never go for the hard sell and be as generous as you can. This post is long enough without me writing reams on successful networking so I’m just going to direct you to some articles on my regular blog:

http://thetrainingpack.wordpress.com/2013/06/13/a-networking-conundrum/

http://thetrainingpack.wordpress.com/2013/04/11/if-networking-doesnt-work-its-your-own-fault/

http://thetrainingpack.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/how-to-make-networking-work-for-you/

http://thetrainingpack.wordpress.com/2011/02/21/12-top-tips-for-networking-success/

Next steps, should you choose to take them…

  1. Share any insights or recommendations in the comments section here.
  2. Join the conversation on Facebook to gain support from the 21 Day Challenge community (we’ll be looking at some of the benefits of social media later in the challenge but for now being active on this page and on Facebook can help boost the way people can find you on the Internet.)
  3. Tweet this ‘I’m busy developing marketing ideas on @Glenda_S 21 day make money challenge #21DMMC
  4. Join us tomorrow to when we’ll be working out how to generate PR.

Day 17. Using social media

With very few exceptions I believe that every one trying to make money should use social media. If your prospects go anywhere near the Internet when making purchasing decisions then you should be on social media. Yes I know it can be time consuming and fraught with danger but those things can be managed. So today I’m going to invite you to develop a social media strategy.

Which channels should you be on?

Infographic from mashable.com using data from Pew Research

Infographic from mashable.com using data from Pew Research

I’m not going to suggest that you go mad and get active on every platform especially if you are not currently active on any but, if you are not already active on social networks, I do want you to experiment. As with all marketing you should go where your customers and prospects are but you can also use the networks to find suppliers, journalists, employees, freelancers and collaborators and to keep an eye on what your competitors are up to. Don’t tell me that your target audience are not on social networks because some of them will be, even my nearly 90 year old Dad has a Facebook account! One survey found that 32% of over 65s use social media and that number is likely to continue growing, so which platform to choose.

Facebook: Love it or hate it you should be on Facebook, it is by far the biggest platform with over 1.15 billion users of whom 40% are said to be in the 45-54 age range. This is interesting since the perception is often that Facebook has a younger user demographic. With Facebook you can have a personal page where you encourage your ‘friends’ to engage with you; you can control how much information different people see with the way you set your privacy settings. You can also have a business page which you invite people to ‘like’ your page which then has them receiving information you post. You can also set up groups within Facebook where members can connect with each other, discuss issues and share items of interest, Click the link at the bottom of the page to be taken to the 21 Day Challenge group. I’d love you to pop along and ‘like’ the Training Pack’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/TheTrainingPack

TwitterMy personal favourite! It is a micro blogging site so you tell your story in 140 characters which you ‘Tweet’ to your followers. Your followers can then retweet your messages to their followers which can extend your reach considerably. Twitter enables you to share links to websites, blog posts, booking media and more. It is very well used by journalists looking for quotes or people to feature in articles. Twitter makes celebrities and industry notables much easier to contact than any other medium, replies aren’t guaranteed but many do engage with their genuine fans. It would be great if you could follow me on Twitter at @Glenda_S

Linked InIs generally seen as the professional site and is used to find employment, professional services contracts and/or employees. Again Linked In has interest groups which you can join and contribute to to enhance your online profile and establish your expertise. If you are selling a product or service in the business/employment arena then you should have a Linked In profile at the very least. I’m on Linked In as Glenda Shawley, I’d be happy to connect with you there.

Pinterest is a very visual medium where you ‘pin’ images to boards with a suitable comment. It is especially useful if you are selling a product as you can upload images and links to your sales pages. I also find it useful for developing vision boards such as the one recommended on Day 2 of this challenge. I also like the fact that I can support my clients by posting images of their products or services too. I’d love you to follow my new business Pinterest account at www.pinterest.com/thetrainingpack Have you visited the Pinterest board I set up for this challenge yet?

Google Plus: I have to confess that I’m still getting to grips with Google Plus but I can see it has the potential to be a really useful tool. The big advantage is that it integrates effectively with other Google services such as You Tube and it certainly helps with search engine optimisation. You can post messages, pictures, videos and more to the site and organise your connections into circles so that they only receive the most relevant of your communications. The Hangouts feature within Google Plus allows you to have online meetings with a small group using your computer’s webcam so this would be a great bonus for trainers, coaches and others working remotely.

You Tube: is the second biggest search engine after Google so you should be on there! You don’t have to film yourself or even do a voice over if you don’t want to. You can make your PowerPoint presentations into videos as I did in Days 15 and 16 of this challenge, you can make an Animoto video as I did on Day 2, you can record testimonials from your customers as Valerie Smith of Viva Videos did for me below or you can film an event, product demonstration, talk or anything that takes your fancy.

Instagram: is another visual medium where users can share photographs and videos. One way to use Instagram would be to get your customers to take photos of themselves using your products, attending your events or gathering information for you. With their permission you could share those photographs in your marketing activities.

Managing your communications

It is essential that you manage your social media engagement or there is a chance that it will take over your life. I know that you will come across people offering to manage it for you but whilst that has its uses I don’t think you can abdicate all responsibility yourself. The most important thing is to have a strategy, or strategies. You may have a different strategy for each network, for instance you might use Twitter to connect with journalists, Facebook and Pinterest to sell product and Instagram to engage with your customers.

ACTION: Choose one or more social networks that you are not currently using effectively and decide what your objective will be for being there. Who do you want to engage with e.g. prospects, customers, suppliers journalists etc.? What do you want to achieve, is it to build your prospect list, to sell £x amount, to get press coverage or something else? Integrate this with the marketing plan you started developing on Day 15.

Here are just a few tips for the most widely used networks.

Which ever network you decide to focus on be active, spend at least 10 minutes a day taking part. Engage people in conversation. Be interesting. Use any insight tools they have to see when your audience is most engaged and be there then, this often means first thing in the morning, lunchtime, just before close of business and maybe evening.

Use a tool like Hootsuite to manage posts in advance across a number of platforms. For instance if you are organising an event you’ll want to make promotional posts across your different networks at different times of the day, you can use Hootsuite to schedule these in advance. This is particularly useful when you have a very busy day, you remain visible on social networks without having to find time you don’t have!

Facebook: building a following takes time, watch what other people are doing successfully and think how you can adapt their ideas to suit you. Photographs tend to be more popular and readily shared than words. Join in conversations, be encouraging, share tips. Many users, especially in the ‘craft’ sector run contests open to people who ‘share’ and ‘like’ their pages, they draw a winner when they hit a predetermined  target for number of likes. Facebook has an enormous amount of data about their users which allows them target your advertising very precisely, you can give it a try by putting a cap on how much money you want to spend a day or for the campaign.

Twitter: Build your own followers by following other people who meet your strategic objectives, many will follow you back. Use the search function to find people. Re-tweet messages for people you’d like to build a relationship with and whose messages would be of interest to your followers. To make seeing important messages more easily create lists and add the people you are following to these so that you only see their messages. For instance I have a list of journalists so if I’m looking for a PR opportunity I will click on that list to see if there are any suitable requests there.

Use the # function to find and join conversations that meet your objectives. For example #bizitalk will find people talking about business; #London will find people talking about London. Use Twitter to drive invite people to open events and to drive traffic to your website or blog. A word of warning, Twitter has some controls in place to keep things personal this can be a disadvantage if you follow a lot more people than follow you back. It tends to kick in for the first time when you follow 2000 people whilst your own following is a way off that number.

Linked In: make sure that you have an up to date professional profile and look for, and then participate in groups that allow you to demonstrate your knowledge and personality but be very careful about making an overt sales pitch, they are generally frowned upon in Linked In.

ACTION: Take the channel that you set objectives for and start building your following and posting interesting content. Use the comments function here to tell us how to tell us how to find you on your chosen channel and then follow the other people who list their details here or in our Facebook group. Connect with me using the links above and I’ll follow you back (unless Twitter still has me in jail!)

Recommended reading

I can’t cover all there is to know in one, even rather long, challenge. I suggest you use the link below for plenty of quality content which will answer many of the social media questions you are likely to have. Why not post some questionsin the comment box or in the Facebook group and see if we can share expertise with other challengers.

http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com

Next steps, should you choose to take them…

  1. Share any insights or recommendations in the comments section here.
  2. Join the conversation on Facebook to gain support from the 21 Day Challenge community (we’ll be looking at some of the benefits of social media later in the challenge but for now being active on this page and on Facebook can help boost the way people can find you on the Internet.)
  3. Tweet this ‘Now which social network am I going to try to grow? #21DMMC
  4. Join us tomorrow to when we’ll be considering our offline marketing.

Day 16. Should you be blogging?

This blog about a controversial advertising campaign was one of my most successful.

This blog about a controversial advertising campaign was one of my most successful.

Did you start to think about how you are going to market your money making venture yesterday? Did you consider blogging? Today we’re going to think whether a blog would be useful to you.

Why blog?

If you need to be online but don’t have the budget for a purpose designed website then a blog might be the answer. You can run a website and blog for very little or even no money. A blog is particularly useful if you need to demonstrate your expertise and reach out to a global market.

A blog will allow you to build a following and track where your visitors are coming from and what they are reading. You can promote engagement with your prospects by encouraging comments and polls as well as integrating your posts with other social media channels. To be most effective you will need to post articles on a regular basis and keep on subject.

Successful blogging

There are millions of blogs online which makes it really difficult to get your voice heard. However there are a number of things that you can do to improve your chances:

  • be really clear about the audience you are writing for (this should be the same as your target customer)
  • be consistent in what you write about, e.g. if you are wanting to recruit people to your diet programme write about healthy food, if you are raising money for charity write about the work of the charity and the problems they are solving
  • be regular, commit to posting on a regular basis to build your readership. Try to post at least once a week, twice is even better but if you can’t manage that write at least one post per month
  • develop your voice, let your personality shine through. People buy people, not everyone will like you but that’s OK. If you’re too bland you’ll win few readers. Don’t be afraid to be controversial or to write about controversial subjects. I always get more engagement on my blog when I write about a topic where people have strong opinions.
  • use other social media to drive traffic to your blog
  • comment on other people’s blogs from your blog account, choose people whose audience is similar to yours
  • seek opportunities to write guest posts especially on high traffic blogs targeting your audience
  • promote your blog on your business card, email signature etc.

Setting up your blog

In most polls WordPress emerges as the clear winner of the most popular blog host contest but some swear by Blogger, others like Posterous and Tumblr is growing in popularity particularly for blogs with high visual content. My personal favourite is WordPress which is easy to use, integrates well with You Tube for uploading video and gives great insights into where visitors are coming from and what they are reading.

If you haven’t set up a blog before this video might help to get you going on WordPress.

ACTION: Think whether a blog would be useful as part of your promotional strategy and if the answer is yes, set up your blog. Write your first article and share it in the comments here and in our Facebook group. We’ll share the links and promote your blog on Twitter too.

Next steps, should you choose to take them…

  1. Share any insights or recommendations in the comments section here.
  2. Join the conversation on Facebook to gain support from the 21 Day Challenge community (we’ll be looking at some of the benefits of social media later in the challenge but for now being active on this page and on Facebook can help boost the way people can find you on the Internet.)
  3. Tweet this ‘I’m thinking about blogging #21DMMC
  4. Join us tomorrow to when we’ll be working out how to use social media to promote sales.

Day 15. Developing your promotional plan.

Welcome to the third and final week of the challenge. By now you should have a plan and a budget and be ready to start selling. We’re going to spend the next five days looking at how you are going to find and win customers for your money making project.Today we’re going to start thinking about your promotional plan, you’ll probably want to add to this as we cover different marketing activities in the following days.

First things first.

There are a number of things we need to think about before you can develop your promotional plan. On Day 3 you identified your target market, how specific were you? Did you really drill down until you had a narrow but deep niche of potential customers? If not I suggest that you take another look. The more precise you can be the better. When you know exactly who your target customer is it is easier to find them and speak their language. Try and build a picture of your target in your mind’s eye, give her a name and a personality, then you’ll be able to have a conversation with her when you start promoting your offer.

On Day 5 you researched your competition. What did that tell you about where your offer is different? How is your offer better than your prospect’s? Why should customers buy from you in preference to your competitors? You need to understand this in order to communicate it to your prospects in a persuasive manner. Some people refer to this as your USP or Unique Selling Proposition, others as your points of difference.

What problems are you solving for your prospects? How do those problems make them feel? What would life be like for them if their problem was solved? These are the messages your prospects need to hear. This is what you should be promoting.

N.B. If you are doing this challenge to make money for a good cause you will need to find an emotional reason for your prospects to connect with that good cause. You might have to make them feel guilty, sympathetic or sad.

Remember people buy more with their emotions than with their reason!

ACTION: Be specific about your target market and the problems that you will be solving for them and identify how your solution differs from your competitors. Write this down.

Developing your promotional plan

Nobody can buy a product or service that they’ve never heard of so your promotional plan needs to be focused on raising awareness and desire in your target audience and then getting them to take action and buy.

Here’s a template for you to use to scope out your promotional plan. Be clear about which target market you want to sell to, if you have more than one you may wish to focus on different groups in different months. Set your self a clear objective for what you want to achieve each month. Your objectives might include:

  • a sales target
  • number of signups to your mailing list
  • number of downloads on a free product given in exchange for names and contact details
  • number of enquiries
  • number of hits on website
  • number of people booking a trial session

As you will see all of the objectives should be very specific and measurable, they should also be achievable and have a deadline. So set yourself a specific objective for each month. You might find this example helpful.

ACTION: Complete at least the first two columns on the marketing plan template. You might also like to start thinking about activities that you could do in the remaining columns but I’ll have more ideas for those in coming days.

A quick lesson in marketing.

 

Next steps, should you choose to take them…

  1. Share any insights or recommendations in the comments section here.
  2. Join the conversation on Facebook to gain support from the 21 Day Challenge community (we’ll be looking at some of the benefits of social media later in the challenge but for now being active on this page and on Facebook can help boost the way people can find you on the Internet.)
  3. Tweet this ‘I’ve started work on my marketing plan with @Glenda_S #21DMMC
  4. Join us tomorrow to when we’ll be thinking about blogging..

Day 14. Planning your cashflow.

We’ve worked out our budgets and considered where the start up money will come from so now we just need to make sure we have cash available when we need it. More businesses fail because they run out of cash than fail because they are unprofitable. Profits are important but you need cash to keep your money making venture afloat.

Completing your cashflow forecast

Download your cashflow template and get planning.

Download your cashflow template and get planning.

Predicting your cashflow is not an exact science, whilst there are some entirely predictable incomings and outgoings others are less easy to forecast. One of the things that I’ve found in 21 years in business is that money goes out sooner than we would like and comes in later than we wanted. The challenge is managing the bit in the middle! Today I want you to have your best shot at predicting what your cashflow will be for your money making venture. Click here to download a template to help.

Completing your forecast:

  • start by changing the dates to reflect the period you are covering including the months at the top of each column
  • next fill in your known, fixed expenditure e.g. if you pay a fixed amount for electricity each month put that amount in to the relevant boxes
  • now take a look at your project plan and your budget and enter your budgeted figures for marketing etc. in the months you expect to spend the money
  • if you need to buy raw materials, how much will you need to buy and when? Remember this expense may be spread over several months as and when you need more supplies
  • now calculate when you can expect to receive the income from sales and in what amounts. How long is the gap from buying raw materials to receiving payment for finished goods? Be realistic. If you buy your raw materials in month 1, make them into product in month 2, even if you sell direct you may not receive payment until month 3 and then you probably won’t sell all that you have produced in the first month. It may therefore take you four to six months to cover your investment in raw materials. This can be even longer if you are selling via a third party, especially large companies who are notorious for having 60 or even 90 day terms to payment of invoices.
  • check that you have forecast your income and expenditure in all areas

If you are using the template without adding any rows or columns your totals should calculate automatically, are there any minus figures? These are the months when you run out of cash.

Dealing with a cash shortfall

If you are going to run out of cash there are a number of options for you to consider:

  • be less ambitious with your sales targets in the early stages so you can reduce your raw materials costs and, possibly, your labour costs
  • go for slower growth
  • increase your prices
  • offer customers an early payment discount
  • take a bigger deposit
  • invest more money in the beginning
  • ask your bank for an overdraft
  • review other expenses and either cut them down or delay them until you have the money
  • negotiate a trade account with your suppliers to give you longer to pay for your raw materials
  • if you are selling to large companies who are slow paying you could consider factoring where you sell the invoice to a factor company. Typically you will receive payment for around 80% of the invoice amount with the factoring company retaining the other 20% when your customer eventually pays the bill.

The one thing you must not do is bury your head in the sand! If you run out of money you may be trading illegally and you will certainly spend your time fending off creditors. Your bank is less likely to help you if they think you are not on top of your finances but they may well be helpful if you go to them with a well organised cashflow forecast when you ask for an overdraft or loan.

ACTION: Complete your cashflow forecast and amend your plans if you have a problem with a lack of cash.

RECOMMENDATION: The Training Pack uses www.kashflow.com to manage it’s finances. This is a user friendly book keeping and accounting package designed for use by the small business owner with no accountancy training but also accountant friendly. It is a cloud based package so accessible any time any where. If you would like to try it you can sign up here. You will save £1 per month and I will make a little bit of money too! I am not an affiliate for many products but this is one I am very happy to recommend, it makes managing my numbers so easy.

Next steps, should you choose to take them…

  1. Share any insights or recommendations in the comments section here.
  2. Join the conversation on Facebook to gain support from the 21 Day Challenge community (we’ll be looking at some of the benefits of social media later in the challenge but for now being active on this page and on Facebook can help boost the way people can find you on the Internet.)
  3. Tweet this ‘I’m working on my cashflow forecast as part of @Glenda_S’s money making challenge. #21DMMC
  4. Join us tomorrow to when we’ll be starting work on our marketing plan.

Day 13. Financing your plan.

How did you get on setting your budget yesterday? Did it show you what level of investment will be needed to get your idea off the ground? For example are you going to have to invest in raw materials or marketing before you sell anything? Are you able to finance that amount yourself preferably without getting in to interest payments on your credit card? If not then today’s challenge is designed to get you thinking of different ways in which you could raise the investment needed?

Sadly money doesn't grow on trees so you may need to read this page to find other options!

Sadly money doesn’t grow on trees so you may need to read this page to find other options!

Financing equipment

I’m starting with equipment because it is a capital expense and, as such, tends to be viewed differently by lenders and the tax authorities. By now you should know what equipment you need and how much it will cost but do you need to buy it? Have you checked out recycling sites for example www.freecycle.org.uk or http://www.londonreuse.org/for-business/ there are probably similar sites in your locality? How about posting what you are looking for on Twitter, Facebook or Gumtree? You may not be lucky but if someone is wanting to get rid of what you want it would be a win-win. Look out for charities in your area that take other people’s cast offs, restore them and sell them to others who need them and in doing so provide employment opportunities for those in need.

Do you need to buy the equipment or could you lease it? Would leasing save you money? The sums may well depend upon how long you need the equipment for and what length of agreement you can negotiate but it is worth exploring.

If you do decide you have to buy do you really need new? It’s often possible to make considerable savings on items which have hardly been used. Ebay would be a good place to start looking.

If you are buying it can be worth talking to your bank to see if you can arrange a loan. A loan is usually a lot cheaper than an overdraft. However if you are buying for a business you may need to produce a business plan before the bank will consider you. Lenders are often more comfortable lending to finance equipment purchases because there is something to secure a loan against. For more ideas see the section on ‘Raising Finance’.

Using other people’s money

This is not as underhand as it sounds! Could you set up an account with your supplier which would enable you to pay in 30 days or more? This would allow you to convert your raw materials into product which you could hopefully sell before you have to pay the invoice. If you can settle the account with a credit card you may get up to 30 more days before you have to start paying interest on the money. Just make sure that you remember that this bill will need paying before you spend the money on other things and be aware that a supplier is unlikely to deliver further items if you haven’t settled their last bill.

Should you be taking payments, or at least deposits, from your customers before you buy in raw materials? If you are providing a bespoke service then this is almost certainly the case. Make sure that you have a clear contract or terms of business to protect both you and your customer.

Could sponsorship be an option? Your sponsor will probably want to know that what you are doing is consistent with their values and typically that it will reach their target audience. They should want to use their sponsorship to generate positive PR, such as media coverage, for their organisation and will probably want their name and logo to be highly visible in whatever you do. Typically sponsorship is an option for charities, events and not for profits but it could be an option worth exploring.

Raising finance

If you can finance your money making venture yourself then this is the quickest and easiest way to get going. If not, do you have friends and family who would be willing to back you? You really shouldn’t expect them to do this for nothing! Offer them a share in your profits, a decent rate of interest or a free service in return for their support.

Could you bring partners into your venture? Of course if you do they will expect a say and a return on their investment, are you prepared to share your decision making and your profits?

If you are planning to start a business in order to make your money making target then there are other options for raising finance but they have both advantages and disadvantages. You will need to produce a business plan which shows that your business is viable and you will probably need to prove that you have made a decent investment in your business yourself. Why should they risk their money if you won’t risk yours?

Here are some of your options for raising finance for a business:

  • a bank loan: in the UK there is some government backing to help banks take risks, if the bank turn you down ask if they would consider you under this scheme
  • crowd source funding: a relatively new way of raising finance usually from smaller investors in return for shares in the business. You set your goal and don’t get any of the money until you get the backing for all of it. One example is http://www.crowdcube.com/
  • venture capital: this is where a person or organisation with money backs businesses that need it in order to make more money. Venture capitalists will be looking for scalable businesses from which they can make a decent profit. They typically want to own a significant proportion of the business and to sell their share in around 5 years.
  • business angels: rather like venture capitalists but perhaps a bit less aggressive! Whilst a business angel will want to make money out of your venture they will typically share their skills and experience with you and may take a longer term view about making a profit.

ACTION: If you need to raise finance decide which three methods you are going to go for in order of preference and prepare your case. Set a deadline by which you will ask for the backing, add it to your project management plan unless it is already there.

Next steps, should you choose to take them…

  1. Share any insights or recommendations in the comments section here.
  2. Join the conversation on Facebook to gain support from the 21 Day Challenge community (we’ll be looking at some of the benefits of social media later in the challenge but for now being active on this page and on Facebook can help boost the way people can find you on the Internet.)
  3. Tweet this ‘I’m working out how to finance my money making venture #21DMMC
  4. Join us tomorrow to when we’ll be putting together our cashflow forecasts.

Day 12. Budgeting.

Welcome to Day 12, the first of three days on Managing Finance. Don’t groan! (I’m talking to the right brained amongst you now, who probably would like to get on with being creative and building relationships!) You wouldn’t expect a Making Money Challenge not to address managing finance would you?  I know from most of the courses I run that financial planning is something that doesn’t come easily to everyone so I’ve broken it into three steps that build on the work you’ve already done on Days 6 and 8. Today we’re looking at budgets, tomorrow at raising finance and on day 14 planning cashflow.

Those of you who looked at my Prism profile will realise that I’m in with those who would rather do most things that manage finances and I am not an accountant so I’m going to keep this as simple as possible. If finance is something you find difficult to get your head around I recommend Cash Flows and Budgeting Made Easy by Peter Taylor published by How to Books and available on Amazon, it is written in an easily understandable style with plenty of examples. (I am not getting a cut from sales of this book!)

Why budget?

I’m sure that I don’t need to tell you how easy it is to spend money! Holding on to it is much more difficult. Budgeting for your income and expenditure introduces a bit of discipline and control. It helps with decision making too, when you know how much you have available it is much easier to decide whether or not to buy.

Typically in a business you would set an annual budget but for this challenge you might want to set a budget specifically for the activities and duration of the challenge. What you are doing is working out how much you will have to sell and how much you will have to spend to achieve the amount of money you have set as your goal.

Setting your budget

Setting your budget.

Setting your budget.

If you worked out your break even on Day 6 you probably have most of the figures you need already, we just need to map them into a budget and then check that they make sense. Here’s a template to allow you to do just that. This is an Excel template so if you have any difficulties downloading it please contact me via the comments section below or in the Facebook group.

The template is editable but if you add extra rows you may need to redo some of the formulae to ensure get the right totals. You will see that I have numbered certain items where you may have more than one expense e.g. raw materials. I suggest you change these so that they reflect what you need to spend money on. Enter these figures in the budget column. Once a week, or once a month if that is more practicable, add your actual income and expenditure into the actual column. The variance column should calculate the differences automatically, allowing you to see where you need to sell more or cut down expenditure.

If you worked out your break even point on day 6 it should be relatively easy to work out how much you need to sell to achieve your money making target. Of course we didn’t factor in overheads such as administration and marketing into these calculations so you may find you need to sell more to cover these costs in order to make your target. Remember that if you need to sell more your direct and variable costs are likely to increase too.

You can use the template for any period you choose. One budget to cover the period until your deadline for making the money may be enough because we’ll be working out a monthly cashflow forecast on day 14 but you could do a monthly budget if you feel it would help you.

When you have put in all the figures does your budget total equal the money making target you set yourself? If not what do you need to increase or decrease? Is this realistic? If not, what needs to change?

ACTION: Complete the budgeting template and check that you are on track to make your money making target.

I’ll ‘see’ you tomorrow when we work out your options for raising any finance you need. Happy number crunching!

Next steps, should you choose to take them…

  1. Share any insights or recommendations in the comments section here.
  2. Join the conversation on Facebook to gain support from the 21 Day Challenge community (we’ll be looking at some of the benefits of social media later in the challenge but for now being active on this page and on Facebook can help boost the way people can find you on the Internet.)
  3. Tweet this ‘I’m working out my Money Making budget on @Glenda_S’s 21 Day Challenge #21DMMC
  4. Join us tomorrow to when we’ll be looking at how to raise finance.