BNET recently posted a story about the success of Crumbs Bakery in New York City. The article is titled, “Startup Survival: How to Get Past the 3-Year Hump,” the point being that smart marketing makes for financial success.
The rational way to raise your gross margin is to differentiate your business by redefining your company as the only player in a specific niche, instead of being just another company among larger ones. Crumbs has distinguished itself by selling the world’s best cupcake. It leads with cupcakes, reserves the best merchandising space for cupcakes and displays cupcakes above the fold on its website.
If your company is the only one that can do what you do, then you can increase your margins. How can we help you solidify the idea that you are the only one who can do what you do?
To continue with our ideas about building confidence, BNET summarized an interview about building self-confidence and authority during presentations. The idea is that expansive poses (arms wide apart) practiced over a two-minute period before a presentation stimulates higher levels of testosterone, the dominance hormone, and lower levels of cortisol, the hormone associated with stress. Poses, such as crossing your arms make us look smaller, weaker.
A supporting idea is the act of physically occupying more space conveys many of the same benefits. Similarly, we work with our customers to help them use the largest format possible while respecting financial constraints to make the most confident statement. This really makes sense when we compare postcards of different sizes and how they look in a mailbox.
We usually respond positively to confident speakers and find them more believable and credible. How can we help you translate your great speaking skills and presentation to your marketing and mailing?
The Harvard Business Review shared some ideas in a blog post about “How Your Brain Connects the Future to the Past”.
A good memory can help you better navigate the future. In business, anticipating and negotiating future demands is an asset. A proactive brain uses details from past experiences to make analogies with your current surroundings. It then helps you determine where you are and envision future possibilities. We are all born with proactive brains, but these things can help improve brain performance:
- Give it a lot to work with. Create a richer pool of information to draw from. Expose your brain to diverse experiences and situations.
- Borrow from others. Find out as much as you can about others’ experiences by talking, interacting with, and reading about other peoples’ lives.
- Think about what you want from the future. Take time to reflect values and goals, both immediate and down the road. These will help guide your brain as it envisions future scenarios that may best help you achieve your objectives.
- Actively ponder future rewards or accomplishments. Emphasize rich, detailed thinking about long-term outcomes. This reduces the lure (and the danger) of instant gratification.
- Let your mind wander. Undisturbed time gives your brain the space it needs to recall and recombine past experiences in ways that help you anticipate the future.
The idea that letting your mind wander gives it time and space to help you recall and recombine is also supported in research we shared about learning and assimilating new experiences.
It is still January and many of us are still feeling fresh and optimistic about the New Year. Productivity author and expert David Allen offered some great advice and reasons to clear out your surroundings.
Want more business? Get rid of all the old energy in the business you’ve done. Are there any open loops left with any of your clients? Any agreements or disagreements that have not been completed or resolved? Any agendas and communications that need to be expressed?
Want more clothes? Go through your closets and storage areas and cart to your local donation center everything that you haven’t worn in the last 24 months or does not look or feel just right.
Want to be freer to go where you want to, when you want to, with new transportation? Clean out your glove compartments and trunks of your cars.
Do you want more wealth? Unhook from the investments and resources that have been nagging at you to change.
Do you want to feel more useful? Hand off anything that you are under-utilizing to someone who can employ it better.
Want some new visions for your life and work? Clean up and organize your boxes of old photographs.
Want to know what to do with your life when you grow up? Start by cleaning the center drawer of your desk.
You have to clear and organize your stuff anyway, right? Narrowing what you see, use and interact with down to what is really wanted, useful and desired is better.
What about your marketing messages? Is it time to let go of what is not working so you can focus on what is working to bring new customers?
We all have awful days. Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, shared many ways to deal with a terrible day.
- Resist the urge to “treat” yourself. Often, the things we choose as “treats” aren’t good for us. The pleasure lasts a minute, but then feelings of guilt and other negative consequences just deepen the lousiness of the day.
- Do something nice for someone else. “Do good, feel good” – this really works. Be selfless, if only for selfish reasons.
- Distract yourself. You may be much better able to cope with the situation after having had a bit of relief. Watching a funny movie or TV show is a great way to take a break, or re-read beloved classics of children’s literature.
- Seek inner peace through outer order. Soothe yourself by tackling a messy closet, an untidy desk, or crowded countertops. The sense of tangible progress, control, and orderliness can be a comfort. This always works for me – and fortunately, my family is messy enough that I always have plenty of therapeutic clutter at hand.
- Tell yourself, “Well, at least I…” Get some things accomplished. Yes, you had a horrible day, but at least you went to the gym, or played with your kids, or walked the dog, or read your children a story, or recycled.
- Exercise is an extremely effective mood booster – but be careful of exercise that allows you to ruminate. For example, walking can provide uninterrupted time to dwell obsessively on your troubles.
- Stay in contact. When you’re having a lousy day, it’s tempting to retreat into isolation. Studies show, though, that contact with other people boosts mood. So try to see or talk to people, especially people you’re close to.
- Things really will look brighter in the morning. Go to bed early and start the next day anew. Also, sleep deprivation puts a drag on mood in the best of circumstances, so a little extra sleep will do you good.
- Remind yourself of your other identities. If you feel like a loser at work, send out a blast email to engage with college friends. If you think members of the PTA are mad at you, don’t miss the spinning class where everyone knows and likes you.
- Keep perspective. Ask yourself: “Will this matter in a month? In a year?”
- Write it down. When something horrible is consuming my mind, I find that if I write up a paragraph or two about the situation, I get immense relief.
- Be grateful. Remind yourself that a lousy day isn’t a catastrophic day. Be grateful that you’re still on the “lousy” spectrum. Probably, things could be worse.