Lately I’ve been reading The Referral Engine (Amazon Affiliate) by John Jantsch, the author of Duct Tape Marketing (Amazon Affiliate). The Referral Engine is essentially about how to make your business a highly referable business to more easily generate leads that are likely to close.
I’m only part way through the book, but one of the lessons that stands out is the idea that most business operations fall into two general camps: wired businesses that utilize technology and social media, etc. and more traditional off-line businesses that are more person to person relationship-based. Here’s what I like about what Jantsch is getting across. Jantsch basically says that if you’re a wired business you need to find ways to develop more person to person interactions and relationships, and if you’re more traditional business you need to find more ways to utilize technology to help further connect. A referable business has a good balance of both.
These days one can use technology to help conduct their online brand communications toward the goal of generating and furthering business relationships, but we can’t forget that technologies are tools. There are still people behind the technology, and vice versa, people need help connecting further, farther and faster in today’s economy simply to keep up, so those who typically don’t want to embrace technology will find themselves left behind if they don’t.
However, the commonality here is that people run businesses. Technology can help you run your business and that’s a good thing, but it’s only a tool. Likewise, tools are good, but the real value in any business is the relationships created and maintained between people.
Posted By: Nick Venturella
This morning I simply wanted to make you aware of a new section on the Nick Venturella Media site. Introducing (Do It Yourself) DIY Education. This is an online book store (Amazon affiliate) with useful and empowering books that I’ve read and recommend for other business owners and creative entrepreneurs.
You don’t always have to be in classroom or have formal education to gather the knowledge you need to run your business. I’ve learned plenty from the books in this section, in fact, the majority of my business education came from these books and my application of their ideas...and yes, failing, reflecting and improving as I keep moving forward.
What I like about learning this way is that with each book I get to piece together my own self-paced curriculum tailored to me and my business.
Within this section I plan to feature one book each month, which you’ll see right at the top of the page. This month it’s Richard Branson's book, Business Stripped Bare (Amazon affiliate), which I also reviewed in the nickvmedia brand communications blog.
posted by Nick Venturella
Book review: Business Stripped Bare
I thought Richard Branson's book, Business Stripped Bare (Amazon affiliate), was a pretty good business book. Because it was a part autobiography/part ‘how to’ business book it had a genuine human quality that made it easier to relate to as a reader than some other business books.
I like how Richard Bransons thought process behind running a global brand like, Virgin, is to run it as a series of small businesses bearing the same overarching brand.
By running each area of the Virgin brand as its own business entity (Virgin’s airline, trains, financial businesses, etc. all running as separate businesses under one brand) Branson ensures enough revenue diversification to see through any one entity’s failure as the others pick up the slack.
Perhaps, it’s a concept he learned in his early days running Virgin Records. The basic concept is, a record label has several artists on its roster, some of those artists will sell well and others may not, but by having multiple streams of income spread across separate entities (in this case artists/albums) if all sell well things are really good, if one or two do not sell well it won’t sink the whole operation. The trick is to have the majority of artists sell well. Also, if the diversity of artists is enough to overlap audiences into new areas and vice versa it can create a great cross-pollination that can build brand loyalty, and certainly more profits. Branson understands this on a global scale with various business ideas and industries.
I like how Branson talks about adapting his businesses as their model evolves or is no longer viable. The example he gave was how Virgin’s music retail stores began to add films and video games to it retail product offerings because music CD sales were declining. Because of the audience the Virgin music retail stores served, I believe, was Branson’s catalyst for coming up with Virgin mobile (pay as you go mobile phones and plans that appeal to young tweens and teens). Essentially, if Branson can justify his interest in moving into a new market or industry with the Virgin brand he’ll adapt what he’s doing to move in that direction, and because Virgin is actually made up of a bunch of smaller business entities Branson keeps Virgin nimble enough to make such moves happen.
The Virgin brand itself is one of innovation and outstanding customer service/experience. I think that’s Branson’s general litmus test – any Virgin endeavor needs to meet that criteria.
Posted by: Nick Venturella
Humorous fun poked at a profession
by @neuideas, http://tpdsaa.tumblr.com/
So last week I came across this blog site called Things Real People Don't Say About Advertising, and its posts are fictitious ad images with humorous copy that pokes fun at the advertising industry by speculating the perceived mentality of the ad folks who create such advertising.
I personally think it's hilariously entertaining, being a marketing professional myself. However, I think there is some real value in these fictitious ads, here's how... If you're planing on running an ad for your company, go to this site and review as many ads on it as you can. It will likely give you an idea of what you might want to change about your own company's ads before you run with them.
Posted by: Nick Venturella
Download your FREE Basic Brand Building Kit
Annie Cat, made in Brushes app on iPhone
So here’s another iPhone Brushes painting I did (on New Year’s Eve, actually). This Brushes painting is of one of my cats.
What do these little iPhone paintings teach us about being creative entrepreneurs? To me, it’s a larger sense of enthusiasm, creativity, innovation and connectedness made possible by people using various tools to create and distribute their messages to specific audiences at a regular clip with little barriers to production and distribution - all with the idea of communicating toward building relationships.
My point is, if you’re a creative entrepreneur, or really are in any sort of business, I think it’s wise to take full advantage of the available tools to create and distribute your messages to groups and individuals with whom you wish to connect. Forget muddying it up by calling it social media or being intimidated by the technology of it all – these are simply tools to help communicate your messages to build (at least in this day and age) farther reaching relationships that you would not otherwise be able to engage in without such tools.
What's your favorite tool to communicate toward building relationships?
Posted by: Nick Venturella
Exercise your creative muscle
Winter tree at night by Nick Venturella, created on the iPhone
So I'm getting a jump on the 3 words I've chosen to help carry me and my various pursuits through 2011. I wrote about this in Nick Venturella Media 2011 plans.
Part of the reason I'm jumping the gun (not waiting until 2011 actually begins to start this) is because I'm excited about the new tool I got over the holidays - an iPhone 4.
Create is one of my 3 words, so I'm making an effort to create more artistic stuff - music, art, writing - as often as I can.
I'm excited to discover what I can do with the iPhone as a creative as well as communications tool. In my experience it's best to roll with that excitement and enthusiasm, that's when spontaneous creativity tends to happen.
Being a visual artist (among other things), the first app I purchased was Brushes, which allows you to use your finger as a paintbrush on the iPhone screen. It's great for creating small impressionistic-like little paintings, like the one shown in this post. I plan to share more artistic creations throughout 2011.
So why is this important? In business, and in life, it's important to stretch your creative abilities. Sometimes fun creative activities - even those that sometimes feel like they have nothing to do with business - can actually help foster your business creativity, clearing your mind enough to allow it to be open to innovative ideas and solutions that you may not have otherwise thought of. Being inspired breeds inspiration.
Be sure to take some time to have fun creating something on a regular basis. Creativity is a muscle that needs exercise to stay in shape.
posted by Nick Venturella