Archive for June, 2008

One Secret to Creativity

June 19th, 2008

If you want to grow your bank account, you have to grow your brain. I think anyone can afford to buy a great business book to inspire you to develop new systems to grow your business. If not, go to your local library and check them out.

But one of the best ways to grow you mind, ignite your spirit, and really get yourself jazzed up about making things happen is by attending some sort of mastermind group. They take many forms from regular meetings with a group of locals, to short term meetings like conferences and conventions, but one of the most revolutionary ideas I’ve come across in this arena is the idea of having everyone meet on a cruise ship. Tim Sonefelt and Barry Mitchell pioneered this idea with their “Creativity at Sea” workshop where you pay one flat fee for the conference and you get EVERYTHING.

Talk about a cost effective event!

• No hotel expense (normally $120+ per night X 5 nights = $600).
• No meals as the cruise ship provide 24/7 gourmet dining (equivalent meals would cost $200 per day, but even at just surviving on fast food, you’re saving $30 per day X 5 days = $150).
• No lecture notes to buy. Tim and Barry made every speaker provide their lecture notes and then the guys printed and bound them at THEIR cost and provide them to attendees for FREE. At $20 each, times 10 or so sessions, that’s $200 you can spend on something else.
• No entertainment expenses. The cruise ship provides nightly entertainment as well as lots of daily activities for everyone.

I attended the first CAS cruise last year and was very excited to attend this one as well. Even as a speaker I pay to attend the event! Why? Because the guys want to keep the costs down for the attendees and because it is such a darn good value.

No kidding, I’m bringing my wife, my daughter, and my in-laws this time. It is simply too good of a deal to believe.


Conference: $395
Hotel: $600
Car Rental + Fuel: $250
Meals: $150 – $1,000
Entertainment: $200 – $400
Lecture Notes: $120 – $200

Total cost of trip: $1,715 – $2,845


Creativity at Sea: $600

You’ll never look at conventions or conferences the same way again!


Simple Sales Call Tool

June 11th, 2008

My last column was about taking action to grow market share during tough times. Let’s look a some real world ways to make that happen in a powerful way that doesn’t break the bank.

Let’s start with something cheap and highly effective. If you can’t (or won’t) do this, then any real effort will also be beyond you and you’ll just be one of those who lose market share while others take it from you.

The idea is simple and involves nothing other than materials you already own and a VERY modest investment of your time. There is only one specialized piece of equipment, but you probably already own that, too.

What you do is program your GPS on your next trip to find all potential clients between your current location and your final destination. This is done in different ways on different GPS models, but basically you select “FIND” or “GO TO” and there should be an option to select “Near my current route”.

You then select the type of business you want to target and use the trip as an excuse to drop in and leave a packet of information with those clients.

GPS units are getting very sophisticated. They can find schools, public libraries, country clubs, restaurants by the food they serve, hotels, convention centers, and a host of other categories.

Browse the functions on your GPS and see how you might be able to use this $200 investment to pay for itself in ways that you might have never imagined.

I might go into detail about how to handle the sales call in a future article. If you are interested let me know. There are different tactics for different markets, and for different personality types. But even if all you do is hand deliver your promotional material as you pass by you will be surprised at how effective this can be for your business.

Labels: GPS, sales


Growing in Lean Times

June 4th, 2008

I started performing magic professionally in a serious way in 1999 but my business really took off in the eleven months after the 9-11 attacks. While everyone else was complaining of lost jobs, a failing economy, and tight purse strings I was hiring family members to help me deal with all the business that was coming in.

Fortunes are made during difficult times and the difference between struggling to hold on and ramping up for rapid expansion is as simple as understanding that people don’t change. People want the same things they always did. People want to enjoy life, be comfortable, and continue life as usual. Oh sure, people say they want “change”. Politicians live selling “change”. But change for the sake of change is NOT what people want, people want consistency.

So, if you want to survive…forget that. If you want to GROW your business in the coming 12 months here’s how to go about it. Remain consistent. Demonstrate your strength.

You don’t need to slash prices, you don’t need to raise travel fees to compensate for rising fuel costs and you definitely don’t need to cut back on advertising. Instead, what you need to do is to keep delivering a quality product or service and work on demonstrating your strength.

How? Ramp up your marketing. Print and mail an extra post card. Run an ad in a magazine that you know your buyers read. recently reported that 47.2% of consumers say that magazines are more likely than other media to get them to do an online search compared to broadcast television (42.8%), newspapers (42.3%), and cable television (34.9%). The fact that magazine advertising is about the least expensive of those is just a bonus.

Review your web site. Does it inspire confidence in your ability to deliver? I’m not talking about inspiring confidence in your ability to perform the task you sell, but in your ability to actually DELIVER what you promise when you promise it. There is a BIG difference between a competent plumber who shows up some time on the day he said he would and a competent plumber who shows up at the exact scheduled time wearing clean clothes and a smile.

When times get tight, people notice the details more. They don’t stop spending money, they just stop spending it haphazardly. If you are at the top of your game you will GROW market share as your weaker competitors fall off the vine. The difference is about inspiring confidence and then delivering on that implied promise.

But I guess inspiring confidence will have to be the topic for another time.

By the way, I went to this new format for the newsletter where I send out a brief teaser to let you know what the article is about. If you want to read it, you click the link to come here and get the rest of it. Too many people were complaining about the newsletter getting blocked by their increasingly totalitarian SPAM filters and rather than edit what I want to say (or add a bunch of symbols to break up important words in an attempt to trick the computer), I figure I’d just try this and see how it works.

You will also be able to now access and review past issues easier as well as comment on articles