All posts in March 2008

  • 21 Networking Hot Spots

    By: Shama Hyder Networking is still the number # 1 way to meet new prospects, get referrals, and build up your business. Here is a list of 21 networking hot spots: 1) Chamber of Commerce– A tried and true spot. 2) Any Business Journal Event- These are events sponsored by your local business journal. Think power breakfasts and educational seminars. 3) Meetups.com- There is a local meet up for almost every topic. Find one that you like or start your own! 4) Networking clubs- These exist for the sole purpose of giving and getting referrals. Hint: start by giving. 5) College alumni groups- You already share common ground! 6) Educational groups- Toastmaster’s, foreign language study groups, educational seminars. All great places to meet like minded individuals. 7) Civic organizations– Rotary, Elks, Kiwanis, Lions. Clubs named after animals. = ) 8 ) Cultural events– Museum showings, library book clubs, symphonies. 9) Charity groups- Volunteer to help behind the scenes. You may be surprised at all the great people you meet. 10) Trade groups or professional association- One place to learn about your company, your competition, and your clients. 11) The airplane– Get to know your seat mates. It’s great one-on-one networking…

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  • Top 5 Lessons I Learned While Building a Booming Coaching Practice

    By: Shama Hyder Earlier this week I shared how I skyrocketed my past coaching business in three months. In that post, I promised I would also share my top lessons. These are my nuggets of wisdom. 1) Your brand matters. “Branding” is not just a fluffy feel good word. It matters. It is what your business is about, and it is what sets you apart from the million other service providers. I didn’t realize exactly HOW important a brand was until I got into the business. Once I caught on, I changed everything. Do this right from the start, and you won’t have to slave over it after the launch of your business. 2) Don’t do one shot coaching-it takes time! When I first started coaching, I worked with clients one month at a time. BAD idea. One month is not enough to create lasting change- unless you are in a specialized field. In personal coaching, it isn’t enough time. If I could do it over, I would ask clients for at least a 3 month commitment. 3) Get FEEDBACK. No matter how amazing you are at what you do- get feedback and get lots of it. I thought some…

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  • 4 Reasons Your Prospects Don’t Turn into Clients

    By: Shama Hyder A perceived risk is the number one thing that stops prospects from turning into clients. Here are the top four reasons why people don’t buy: 1) Losing money- People value what they have more than what they don’t. Even if your services are spectacular, their money is more precious to them. This becomes especially true in tough economic times. You can overcome this barrier by fully conveying the value they will receive for their hard-earned cash. This is a bit easier if you are helping them increase their bottom line (marketing for example) than it is for relationship coaching or personal training. If your services don’t directly impact a client’s bottom line, you may have to work harder to convey the value. Testimonials can really help you do this with ease. 2) Scared of being stuck- Unfortunately, a few hucksters in business give the majority a bad name. Your prospects are scared of being stuck with something that doesn’t work for them and not having a way out. Many service businesses ask clients to sign up for a certain time period in order to deliver results and rightly so. However, this scares prospects into thinking they have…

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  • How I Skyrocketed my Coaching Business in 3 Months

    By: Shama Hyder As some of you know, I had my own coaching practice before I started After The Launch. One of the driving factors behind starting After The Launch was my success with the coaching business. I saw (still see) really good coaches struggling to make ends meet. Here is how I built a thriving coaching practice and later sold it: 1) I didn’t "jump in." I am a fairly methodical person and I like to do my research. I suggest all serious business owners do the same. Before I ever opened shop, I talked to other coaches, I created a marketing plan, and most importantly-I found a mentor. Jeannette Maw is a very successful coach. She was doing something very close to what I wanted to do, so I hired her to help me. It was the smartest decision I made. Very few people realize how tough it is to start a business from scratch-even if you are a seasoned entrepreneur. There is no alternative for human support. Having her support enabled me to reach further and feel safe doing so at the same time. 2) I had a model and methodology- A structure is one of the…

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  • 1000 True Fans or 10 Constant Clients

    By: Shama Hyder Recently there was a brilliant article by Kevin Kelly called 1000 True Fans. In it he argued, that to be successful you don’t need hordes of fans. He was talking about musicians and artists in particular. You don’t have to reach rock-star level to earn a decent living (100k).  All you need is 1000 true fans. True fans go out of their way to attend your concerts, buy your products, and evangelize to their friends. The same concept of fans applies to consulting, coaching, accounting- really, all service professions. You don’t need a list of 50,000+. You just need a few constant clients who love what you are about. So, 1) Decide how many is the magic number. 10? 100? 1000? How many adoring fans do you REALLY need to be successful? 2) Figure out how you can attract them by adding value and by being remarkable-to them anyway.

  • Answering your eZine Marketing Questions

    By: Shama Hyder 1. Do I need an eZine? Aren’t there a lot out there already? The short answer-it depends. It’s a great way to keep in touch with the people who enjoy what you have to offer. But only do it if you can provide quality information. I have seen some great eZines that really add to my knowledge, and others that seem like never ending ads for everything under the sun. If you feel like what you have to offer will really help your target market, go ahead and get an eZine started! The trick is to be honest with yourself without being overly critical. 2. What is the best way to manage my list? Don’t manage it through outlook or your own email provider. Not unless you have a list of 10 or fewer. There are some programs out there that can make it very easy to create forms and send out regular broadcasts. Constant Contact and Aweber are two popular programs. Aweber is what I use. I absolutely love it and recommend it to anyone who needs a list management program. 3. How many times should I reach out to my list? This is a hard…

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  • SOBCon ’08- Biz School for Bloggers

    By: Shama Hyder My friend and colleague Liz Strauss is doing it again! She is hosting the conference of the year for bloggers who want to get to the next level. Here is what they are saying: Part seminar, part conference, part deep networking event, SOBCon08 is even more about YOU! We’re bringing back what you valued last year, and we’re adding more depth, more coverage, more opportunities. Take a look inside. Here’s some of what’s at SOBCon08 for you this year. Enjoy Entertainment & Open Comment Night before the information flow begins. Build an actionable plan of working models presented by experts who use them. Share ideas and forge working relationships through the unique integrated team-based approach. Show your expertise in the speedspeaking event that invites attendees to present their best practices. Be part of the most incredible group of participants any conference has ever known. They are calling it, Biz School for Bloggers. It’s good to know the business of running a great blog whether you blog for money or entertainment. Check the schedule. No term papers are required. Whether for love or money, if you blog for readers or community, you’re in the business of blogging. This…

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  • Dear Shama….A Coach In Trouble

    Dear Shama, After years of working in the corporate world, I decided to strike out on my own. As a coach. I researched a lot of professions but this stood out for me. It just felt like my calling. I researched professional organizations and even got my certification from a well known coaching association. They did a good job going over the ethics and history of the coaching profession, but nada when it came to marketing. The advantage of being in the corporate world was that I never had to market myself. Clients came to us because of our big name. Now, I feel like I am drowning in a pool of coaches. How do I distinguish myself? Do I have a chance of making it in this field? -Coach in Trouble in Dallas Dear Coach in Trouble, First things first. You do have a chance of making it. Even better, you are more likely to succeed because you are open to getting help when you need it. The question you are asking is a very important one, and one that I wish more coaches and professionals asked themselves. How do I distinguish myself in my field? Marketing works best…

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  • The Top 5 Things I Learned at SXSW

    By: Shama Hyder I just wrapped up my first South by Southwest (SXSW) conference ever and aside from being a bit overwhelmed and tired, I am truly excited. One, it has inspired me to blog more and continue sharing my expertise. Two, it allowed me to meet some amazing folks. Here are the top 5 things I learned at SXSW 2008. 1) There are some amazing people in my field- I sometimes take this fact for granted, but one of the reasons I love what I do (marketing) is because of the people I get to interact with, and SXSW was no exception. I got to meet some phenomenal bloggers and colleagues. Here were some of my favorite people at SXSW: Jonathan Fields– This was the first time I met him. Jonathan is not only a fantastic writer but also a warm hearted individual. His blog is a very good reflection of him. If you subscribe to it, you will see exactly what I mean. eMom– eMom, also known as Wendy Piersall, is a passionate entrepreneur. She is planning some groundbreaking things to help parents succeed as entrepreneurs and I sincerely wish her all the best. It’s rare to run into…

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  • How to Give a Great Talk

    by: Shama Hyder Giving talks is a great marketing strategy. It can help identify you as an expert in your field, allow you face time with potential clients, and help you get your message out.  But what does it take to give a great talk? Here are 5 ways to help you get a standing ovation… 1. Go beyond the basics The basics are what your audience already knows. And yes, this step requires knowing your audience. If you really want to capture attention, go beyond the familiar. Just think about all the times you have been bored by a speaker because you already knew what they were talking about. Don’t be that speaker! If you are covering a familiar topic, find ways to make it more interactive. Don’t be afraid to innovate. Shaking things up is better than boring. 2. Build up the buzz before you talk At SXSW, the panels that filled up the fastest were the ones that people already had a fair idea about. Friends told friends, and before you knew it there wasn’t enough room to sit down. The next time you give a talk-build up the buzz. Recruit a few audience members, give them…

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  • Giving as a Marketing Strategy- What Willy Wonka and Chris Anderson Have in Common

    By: Shama Hyder What do Willy Wonka and Chris Anderson (editor and chief of Wired magazine) have in common? They both believe in giving as a marketing strategy. Willy Wonka gave a free tour of his chocolate factory, garnered lots of free publicity, and in the process got people to buy tons of his famous Willy Wonka chocolate bars. Chris Anderson shook things up by writing a recent article in Wired magazine called "Free! Why $0.00 Is the Future of Business." The brazen idea? Giving away products and services can actually help your business. It’s actually not that wild of an idea. Here are 5 principles behind giving as a marketing strategy 1) Altruism is not out the door- Just because you leverage giving as a business strategy doesn’t make it less wholesome or any less whole hearted. There is nothing wrong with altruism serving dual purposes. Now, you can argue that some people give only as a means to get. In which case, people will see through it pretty quickly. True givers will always stand out. 2) Free creates demand- Sounds odd, but it’s true. When Gillette first introduced the art of shaving at home-no one was buying the…

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