Getting the Most Out of Your Advertising Dollars: Old Vs. New Media

SIBP-1When you’re running a startup or a small business, every dollar counts. This is particularly true when it comes to your marketing budget. There have never been more ways to reach potential customers, and there have never been more companies vying for your advertising dollar. Between old media advertising (print, TV and radio) and new media advertising (online display ads, AdWords, video marketing), it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the options.

It’s also easier than ever to get lost in the weeds. So let’s take a step back, and talk about the fundamental problem that advertising aims to solve. For most companies, the deeper question really isn’t “What’s the best way to spend my advertising budget?,” but rather “How can I drive more sales to my business?” Continue reading

Ep. 078 – Five Easy Ways to Stop Vibrating, Part 1

IMG_2329Few things are more frustrating than finding yourself in a rut, spinning your wheels rather than making meaningful progress. One of the biggest ruts for entrepreneurs is never having enough time. The trick to getting back on track is realizing what’s a legitimate use of time, and what’s simply “vibrating” in place.

To get out of that trap, host and business coach Tom Ryan has created a simple, five-step process. Joined by co-host Jason Pyles, Tom explores some great ways to reclaim your time and your energy without sacrificing your business momentum. Continue reading

Ep. 077 – The Work-Life Balance and Seven Signs of Vibrating, Part 2

SIB-Blog-2Are you really constantly overworked as you build your new business? Are you truly too overwhelmed to make time for your personal life? Or are you simply obsessing over the tiny details, “vibrating” in place rather than generating forward momentum?

In today’s episode, host and business coach Tom Ryan wraps up his “Seven Signs of Vibrating” list. If you answer “I’m busy … but it beats the alternative” when someone asks how you’re doing, you need to listen to this podcast. Continue reading

Demystifying The Sales Process: Closing, And The Dangers of Skipping Stages

IMG_2329 You’ve already done the hard work of finding your prospect. You’ve reached out to them. You’ve done your homework to qualify them. You’ve asked about their needs. You’ve confirmed their ability to purchase. You’ve identified the decision makers, and brought them in on the discussion. You’ve answered their questions, discussed their business case, and presented your recommendation.

Now for the moment of truth: The close. Continue reading

Ep. 076 – The Work-Life Balance and Seven Signs of Vibrating, Part 1

SIB-Blog-1Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is one of the biggest problems for entrepreneurs. The more dedicated you are to the business, the harder it can be to have a rich life outside of the office. When you’re that busy, can be hard to find time for the personal stuff.

Or maybe not. Are you really that busy with meaningful, business-related tasks? Or are you just “vibrating” in place, seeming busy and active, but actually accomplishing very little? Host Tom Ryan and co-host Jason Pyles explore this idea and more on today’s show. Continue reading

Demystifying The Sales Process: From First Appointment to Close

SIBP-1It goes without saying that your first meeting (or appointment) with a prospect is important. This isn’t just some lead you’ve cold called. This is someone who has made it through that all-important first step in the sales motion, and who has at least a fair chance of becoming a client or paying customer.

During the course of that first conversation, you’ve concluded that they could be a great fit for your product or service. Not only does it seem that they have a bona fide need for what you’re offering, but you believe they also have the ability to buy. They’re a truly qualified prospect. Now it’s time to meet with them to confirm your suspicions. Continue reading

Ep. 075 – An Interview with Brian Walker, Part 5: Creating Work/Life Balance

Brian Walker

Brian Walker

One of the biggest challenges faced by any business owner, and by startup founders in particular, is creating a balance between your working life and your personal one. According to AE Marketing Group founder Brian Walker, “The work/life balance is probably the hardest aspect of owning a business.”

In this final segment of the interview with Brian, host Tom Ryan and co-host Jason Pyles discuss the many personal stresses and challenges of running your own business, from knowing when to check email to finding the right balance of traits in new employees. Continue reading

Ep. 074 – An Interview with Brian Walker, Part 4: Brand Narrative and Messaging

SIB-Blog-2Brand perception is a huge factor in a startup’s long-term success, and getting that brand narrative right isn’t something you want to rush. As AE Marketing Group founder Brian Walker recalls, his company didn’t even have a website for most of their first year of business, opting instead to build the fundamentals of their business over their online messaging.

But does that mean that your online branding isn’t important? Hardly! In part four of this five-part interview, host Tom Ryan and co-host Jason Pyles talk with Brian about seeking out customer feedback, knowing when to “fire” a customer, the importance of your brand’s online reputation, and much more. Continue reading

Demystifying The Sales Process: The Sales Pipeline

IMG_2329In my previous post, I sketched in the basic steps that make up the sales process. Turning those steps into a repeatable process that can scale with your business needs isn’t as complicated as you might think. It’s a linear, straightforward system, often fittingly called a sales pipeline.

Much like the sales process itself, a sales pipeline is best looked at as a series of individual stages, each with a specific purpose. You can also think of it as a series of filters, each of which is designed to ensure that only the best-fitting prospects make it to the next stage. To accomplish this, each stage is defined by a series of rules and criteria. These rules define what a legitimate sales opportunity looks like. Continue reading

Ep. 073 – An Interview with Brian Walker, Part 3: C-Suite Relationships and the Trouble with Hype

SIB-Blog-1As the founder of the Chicago-based AE Marketing Group founder, Brian Walker, knows a thing or two about building a sustainable brand. Surprisingly, hype-generating advertising and marketing isn’t always the best answer. In fact, Brian claims it can be a distraction from the important business of building the brand narrative.

In part three of this five-part interview, host Tom Ryan and co-host Jason Pyles talk with Brian about building C-Suite relationships, big mistakes young brands make, the problem with the MVP approach, and much more. Continue reading