Academy of Small Business Blog

Helping Small Business Prosper

Only Two Ways to Find Sales Prospects

There are only two ways to find sales prospects. Most of use the hunter-gatherer approach. That's like early humans prowling forests to gather nuts and berries and animals. This approach focuses our marketing efforts on finding a constant stream of people to buy from us. Mass advertising...

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Selling Against the Status Quo

In each selling selling effort we compete with: the status quo (inertia); DIY, the prospect choosing to do it themselves; rival companies with products and services like ours. This email looks at competing against the status quo. This is where the prospect chooses to do nothing. Our...

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How Direct Marketing via Email Works for Me

I have run my own businesses since 1984. That first business effort reached an annual turnover equal to R50 million today. It closed in 1992 as the economy stopped before the 1994 elections... I built a new business presenting live training seminars to more than 30,000 small business owners from...

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The Real Art of Selling...

The real art of selling is the same as the art of conversation. When we talk to someone interesting we keep the conversation flowing by asking questions like: What did you do then? How much did that cost? Why did you choose that path? Who decided to go down that route? How did it...

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What does "best" really mean?

Some time ago I visited IKEA. Nobody can claim that their products are technical paragons of our age. Nor stylistic icons. But they offer a fine mix of product, service, marketing and selling. I had bought a desk from them with electric height adjustment six weeks before. The IKEA version...

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Email Marketing Works for Offline Ventures

Email marketing works for offline ventures. One morning one of my students shared my email-marketing course with her daughter. Her daughter ran an offline business that sold leotards and shoes to ballet schools. That same afternoon her daughter sent her first email marketing campaign. (It...

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Direct Marketing for Free (Almost)

Direct Marketing for Free (Almost). When I started my first venture in 1984 I read a book on finding clients. The author wrote that small firms cannot afford to outmarket big rivals. For every R100,000 IBM spent on marketing, he suggested, a startup might afford 50 cents. At the time I...

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One Thing Most Experts Don’t Know

Most sellers of expert services think that we clients buy their expertise. This applies to lawyers, doctors, accountants, and any consultants. But most of us prospects do not know enough: to tell a good tax return from a bad one, or to tell a clever motion in court from a bad one, or to...

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Building Stories That Sell...

People remember your stories long after they've forgotten you. I still have folk reminding me of stories I told in seminars 20 years ago. Store stories about the clients you have helped. Describe the problem they faced and the solution you offered. Describe how much money and time they saved. Or...

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Don't Sign Surety Contracts

Easter always brings back memories of the worst month of my adult life. At the end of May 1992 I was wrestling with a decision. Close my business? Or not? Most business owners face this decision. It was my turn after eight wonderful years. I did what I thought was the most honourable thing for...

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