October 30, 2008
While we were in Kansas City, we stayed on the Plaza where there is hundreds of shopping and restaurant places within walking distance. So, we don't rent a car and get to enjoy the streets of Kansas City while we are there.
On every street corner, there are beggars holding out their cups asking the passerbys for change. Normally, we either try to ignore them or graciously say that we don't carry any change (which we don't - who does now with the invention of plastic and skymiles?); but, as one of my fellow Duct Tape Marketing coaches, Fiona, walked by a particular beggar, what he said made her stop in her tracks. Instead of saying, "can you spare some change?" he said, "do you have a down payment for a cheeseburger?" Her and the other coaches she was with stopped in their tracks and started laughing at his question. And guess what, they ended up giving him some change.
This is the perfect example of what Duct Tape Marketing calls a Talking Logo. It is basically a simple way to differentiate yourself from your competition. That way, you are the one that gets the change and not the guy on the other corner.
This concept works perfectly for small business owners. When you meet a new person on any given day, the most common question they will ask you is "what do you do for a living". If you answer with some general phrase like I am an accountant, a lawyer, a realtor, etc.; you have just killed the conversation. They already have or know an accountant, a lawyer, a realtor, etc. You are no different to them than the person they already know and you get stereotyped by your profession.
With a talking logo, instead of answering with a general answer, you use the following format: I + verb + ideal client + solve a problem or meet a need. So, for example, instead of me saying that I am a marketing coach, I would say: "I help small business owners triple what they make." Can you see how that would intrigue the other party to ask me "how do you do that?" Then you have engaged them in the conversation and can tell them more about you.
That is the goal of the Talking Logo, to IGNITE the conversation and prompt the other party to respond with the question: "How do you do that?" Once you can consistently get that response, you know that you've nailed it and you are on your way to differentiating yourself from your competition.
I wrote an article in the Main Street Business Journal today about this topic. Click here to read it.
-Troy, Utah's Duct Tape Marketing Coach
Quote of the Day: "There are many wonderful things that will never by done if you do not do them." - Charles D. Gill
October 28, 2008
Thinking of Starting Your Own Business - READ THIS FIRST!!!
Many people dream of owning their own business, and "being their own boss". What many of them don't realize is it's not your typical 9 to 5 job, in fact, it's much, much more.
Let me introduce you to a little activity we call "2nd work". Instead of getting off work and getting to enjoy the evening relaxing together, we get to "go back to work" - aka attempt to get SOMETHING done that we weren't able to accomplish during the day.
2nd work can involve a number of activities - normally everything that is easy to put off during the day. We will work on our marketing system, catch up on emails, post on the blog, finalize presentations, update our books, the list goes on and on.
It never ceases to amaze us how much you don't get done during the day. So much happens each day that it is just hard to keep up without regrouping at second work. One thing that we have started implementing into 2nd work is our daily planning meeting. Once we put our kids to bed, Troy and I will sit down with our planners, discuss the events of the day and then PRIORITIZE what needs to get done and what can wait. This planning meeting has really improved our thinking in "putting first things first" and letting the more unimportant things wait.
This "putting first things first" concept is straight from Steven Covey's book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. We are currently reading this book, along with Peter Drucker's Effective Executive, in hopes that it will help us become even more effective.
Once we can accomplish that - becoming Highly Effective, then we may finally be able to stop going to "2nd work". But, until then, we will keep on working away!!!
-Brooke, That Quickbooks Girl
Quote of the Day: "Once you say you're going to settle for second, that's what happens to you in life." - John F. Kennedy
October 24, 2008
For those of you that live in Utah have probably noticed that in order to save energy, ALL of the State Offices work 4 days a week/10 hours a day. Governor Huntsman initiated this back in the summer when fuel and energy prices were skyrocketing. So, everyone works Monday - Thursday and then have Friday off.
When we first heard about it, we were intrigued by the move and mentioned something to our employees about trying it out. They were up for it and so we tried it out for a week. Turns out, they LOVED IT! Even though 10 straight hours of doing accounting work doesn't sound too fun, they felt like they were able to get A LOT more done and really enjoyed having Fridays off.
So, thanks to the State for the idea, we are now more efficient, save energy and have happier employees! Win, Win, Win!!! Hopefully one day Troy and I will get Fridays off as well.
But now, every Thursday, when I leave the office, I say, "Have a Good Weekend". And this is the case not only for my office but for all of the State Employees. So, if you see more people out shopping and running errands on Fridays now, you now know why - because Thursday is the NEW Friday!
Have a good weekend!
-Brooke, That Quickbooks Girl
Quote of the Day: "The important thing is this: to be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become." - Charles du Bos
October 23, 2008
On Friday, October 24th at 1pm Eastern Time, you are invited to hear John Jantsch, Seth Godin and Dave Lakhani discuss why we need leaders more than ever and why that leader is YOU!
You'll discover and learn why it's more profitable, powerful and productive to be a leader rather than to sit back and do nothing. Plus, you'll discover why you already have the skills you need to make an incredible difference and how you can start leading right now.
Click here to register.
Can't make the live call? Go ahead and register anyways and we'll send you an email with a link to the recording.
Hope you can tune in!
-Troy, Utah's Duct Tape Marketing Coach
Quote of the Day: "What is the recipe for successful achievement? To my mind there are just four essentials: Choose a career you love...Give it the best there is in you...Seize your opportunities...And be a member of the team." - Benjamin F. Fairless
October 22, 2008
A really awesome company emailed me a "Marketing and Accounting Tips" newsletter today (just in case you didn't know or receive it - we are the awesome company that send these newsletters out bi-weekly). Because it looked so good (sorry, I'll keep the praises to a minimum), I actually took the time to read it and the article "5 Ways to Trim Overhead Expenses" peaked my interest. I have been noticing my telephone/internet bill from Qwest going up and up each month and have not found the time to call them yet.
So, I picked up the phone today and called them about my service. Turns out that since I signed up (a year ago) they have upgraded their internet to a 5 x faster speed - and right now it is being offered for a LOWER price than what I'm paying for my slower DSL. And, for upgrading my speed (and downgrading my price), I was able to get 2 months for FREE!!!
I was also able to cut a $50 MONTHLY charge that just "happened" to show up on our bill. It wasn't even a Qwest charge, it was from one of their partner companies that is trying to take advantage of the fact that most people don't read their bills or look at their accounting reports very carefully.
All in all, it never hurts to pick up the phone and call a vendor to see what they can do about your price and/or service. Many credit card companies will lower your interest rate if you just call and ask them. A few minutes on the phone can save you hundreds of dollars over time.
So, start becoming proactive today and don't wait for others to act for you. Good luck and I would love to hear about ways that you have trimmed your expenses lately!
P.S. - If you don't have accounting records to look at and review - you've got bigger problems on your hands then some overhead expenses! Call or email me and we'll talk about it.
-Troy, Utah's Duct Tape Marketing Coach
Quote of the Day: "Your goals are the road map that guide you and show you what is possible for your life." - Les Brown
October 21, 2008
Brooke and I love watching the TV Show, The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch on CNBC. It's a great educational show about small businesses and always motivates us to do better.
Tonight's show was a great one that talked about the reality of our economy and how it might be getting worse before it get's better. We have certainly seen this come true in our area, Southern Utah. Many business owner's take this as they should give up on their "dream" of owning a business and go back to working for somebody else. Donny talked about how it's not about giving up the dream but "adjusting" our businesses to fit into this economy.
Brooke and I always talk about this concept - we can either complain about the economy and do nothing about it or we can look at the current situation and find an opportunity with it. We really need to take a look at our businesses and find out WHAT we can do to make them better and really flourish in today's economy.
We have done this in our own business - with rising energy prices and rising costs in doing business, we have taken our company paperless and are now doing the same for our clients. It has made a huge difference!
First off, we have saved TONS of gas for us and our clients - we have been driving around less picking and dropping off documents and instead of scheduling face-to-face meetings and trainings, we have done a lot of them over the phone using Remote Access software, such as Log Me In.
Secondly, we have cut our paper and ink costs to 1/4 of what they were before. We have done this by investing in dual monitors so we can review everything on the screens without having to print them out. It's amazing how much paper, ink and time we were wasting prior to going paperless!
Lastly, we now scan and email more documents and have stopped printing and mailing unnecessary items.
These are some of the steps we have taken to ADJUST our business to today's economy - what are some steps you have been implementing?
Quote of the Day: "The chief factor in any man's success or failure must be his own character." - Theodore Roosevelt
October 21, 2008
We just got back from a business trip in Kansas City, Missouri (note that it is NOT in Kansas - you'll get in trouble for saying that there). We were there for the Annual Duct Tape Marketing Coaches Gathering. Brooke was the only Coach Spouse there and I was so glad that she was! I love owning a business with my wife, especially when we get to travel to events like these and really take in the information. I call Brooke "the sponge" because her brain can hold SO MUCH information.
But seriously, it is so beneficial to have a spouse at an important business conference because then you can discuss things when they are still fresh in your head. There is NO WAY that I could explain to her everything that went on without here being in the room. I like to attribute it to the "Master Mind" principle - and who better then the person closest to you - your spouse!
Have any of you had similar experiences with your spouse contributing to your business?
Quote of the Day: "You can't be truly successful with other people if you haven't paid the price of success with yourself." - The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, page 185
October 16, 2008
Welcome to the Affordable Business Solutions "Couplepreneur" Blog. We are a husband-and-wife team that focus affordable and effective marketing and accounting solutions that help small business owners build great businesses. Because we are believers in the "Master Mind" principle introduced by Napolean Hill's Think and Grow Rich book, we have tooled ourselves wiht the best marketing and accounting resources/companies in the nation.
On the marketing side, Troy is Utah's Authorized Duct Tape Marketing Coach. Duct Tape Marketing, also known as "The World's Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide", is a book and a company created by John Jantsch around the concept that marketing is a SYSTEM, not an event. The Duct Tape Marketing system is customized for each small business and gives them the tools, resources and plans for marketing and building their company effectively. It is the most comprehensive marketing tool out there and we are excited to be a part of this amazing community, company and brand.
On the accounting side, Brooke is a Certified Quickbooks ProAdvisor in the St. George, Utah area. She focuses on really helping small businesses truly understand and learn how to utilize their numbers in making better business decisions. Quickbooks is the clear dominating leader in the small business accounting world and for good reason, they have the tools to make your accounting most effective in today's world. And with the help of Quickbooks and other technology, we are now able to help our clients get numbers on a much faster turnaround - even as quick as the next day. Talk about better decision making!
And lastly, being small business owners ourselves, we truly know (and live) the struggles, challenges, opportunities and dangers that most small business owners face. Being married, raising children and building a business are not easy tasks in themselves and are even more challenging when combined together. We would like to discuss some of these topics and would love feedback/comments and also your stories and examples of what you are facing and how you are coping in the ever-changing world we call small business.
Troy Braithwaite, Utah's Duct Tape Marketing Coach
Brooke Braithwaite, That Quickbuicks Girl
Quote of the Day: "Human beings are perhaps never more frightening then when they are convinced beyond doublt that they are right." - Laurens van der Post