Best Books on Money, Personal Finance and Investing

What are the best books that you’ve read about money, personal finance and investing? I recently asked this question as a straw poll of friends (Facebook) and business associates (LinkedIn) generated the list below. Hopefully you find this list of best books on money, personal finance and investing helpful.

Continue Reading “Best Books on Money, Personal Finance and Investing”

Creating Breakthrough Shopping Experiences With Proven Traffic And Revenue Drivers

CPC Strategy recently hosted a series of webinars called the Q4 Digital Commerce AdTalks.

I had the privilege of presenting on the topic of, “Creating Breakthrough Shopping Experiences With Proven Traffic and Revenue Drivers.”

This topic catered specifically to ecommerce managers or store owners that want to improve the online shopping experience on their website.

Continue Reading “Creating Breakthrough Shopping Experiences With Proven Traffic And Revenue Drivers”

The Power of Public Commitment

Why does writing something down make us more likely to do it?

Robert Cialdini discusses this in this in his book, “Influence.” His research shows that humans have a desire to be perceived as consistent. If we publicly commit to do something and then act differently we can be seen as hypocritical or untrustworthy.

Writing something down is a public commitment of sorts. When you’ve written a goal you don’t have the luxury of “forgetting” the goal or of modifying it in your mind at a later time. Writing down your goal will engage your subconscious to act in ways that are consistent with that goal.

There’s a big group of people that advocate for SMART goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-Focused and Time-Bound. I think this is a great framework for goal setting. The power of a SMART goal is that you can imagine yourself accomplishing the goal. You can get a mental picture of yourself achieving the goal.

Maybe this is the first time you’re hearing about this idea. Test it out. Write a goal on a piece of paper and put it somewhere that you’ll see it everyday. Even better, tell your friends about the goal.

My wife and I have had great success in accomplishing the goals that we’ve written down. Maybe it is time for me to write a new goal…

Establishing Principles as a Framework for Decision Making

Establishing personal principles is an important but difficult exercise.

Our CEO was telling me last week that successful companies are able to grow and stay agile because they operate from principles. Companies that choose to operate from rules become rigid, bureaucratic and slow. I tend to believe that he’s right.

I also believe that the same thing is true in our personal lives. When we become principled people it is easier for us to make decisions. We can rely on the principles that we establish in our lives to aid our decision making.

The challenge with principles is that they don’t leave you with a direct answer. You’re left to think for yourself. You’ll need to ask yourself, “how does this principle apply in this situation?” Critical thinking is challenging and is an art (or science?) that is lost on our scrolling generation.

I really like the idea of establishing principles that are a framework for future decision making. I’m going to attempt this and see how it goes.

Making Old Things New Again

Hydro Flask is fascinating to me. 

The concept of having a container that keeps hot liquids hot and cold liquids cold is nothing new. I remember when I was a child that my Grandpa would take a Thermos full of coffee with him out for his day of work on the farm. While the aesthetics of the container were different the general idea was the same.

Somehow Hydro Flask has been able to become the cool “it” brand among hot/cold drink containers. They’re heavily invested in an expensive ecommerce system. They sell their products on Amazon. It seems like they’re “everywhere.” Many of my friends and family members now own them.

Seeing a friend with a Hydroflask makes me feel like I did when my friends all had iPods in middle school. I was a tad bit envious because I didn’t have one. When my parents bought me a Dell DJ (a different brand of MP3 player) I felt like an outcast. I’d imagine that’s how many people feel today when they have Hydro Flask alternatives.

So how does this all happen?

There’s a psychology behind human desire. There’s also a method behind the marketing madness.

  1. The first step in achieving brand awareness is to get a sales and marketing team that can help you get an inroads with a small, loyal group of customers. The target audience for Hydro Flask was health-conscious young adults. If we could get their marketing playbook they might have had even sharper segments like “crossfit athletes” or “backpackers and hikers.”

  2. Each and every individual sale that you make in the early stages represents a massive opportunity. Hydro Flask had an opportunity to get customer feedback to improve future iterations of the product. More importantly, they were able to get testimonials from their customers. A good testimonial is a much better sales and marketing tool than anything a team could cook up in a board room. 

  3. These early interactions with customers will reinforce the idea that your brand and your company cares about its customers. If I feel like a company cares about me and wants good things to happen in the world then I’m much more likely to subtly begin promoting them. I’ll bring my Hydro Flask with me instead of carrying an old water bottle. I’ll subconsciously place it on my desk, logo out, for everyone to see. I’ll also start talking about it with all of my friends.

  4. Once an early customer begins to become a “brand evangelist” then most of the hard work is done. Hydro Flask can spend less money on traditional advertising because people are aware of the brand. We already know that its cool because our cool friends have them. The brand identity that is established online is aligned very closely with the type of person that we WANT to be. Fit, healthy, athletic, etc. 

If you run a business that sells “commodity” products then it would be a good exercise for you to think about how you can do this in your own industry. What group of very loyal customers can you go target? How can you provide a product and an experience that they’ll enjoy? How can you treat them to ensure that their experiences with your brand are worth sharing?

Here’s the power that awaits if you can unlock this key.

  • Apple sells products that people love that are inferior to other computer companies when you compare technical specifications.
  • Amazon’s website isn’t winning any design awards and can be hard to use at times.
  • Beats Headphones often receive lower reviews than other over-ear headphones.
  • Coke doesn’t objectively win taste tests over other soda brands.
  • Southwest Airlines is often more expensive than other airlines.

Establishing a powerful brand is the result of customer experiences with your company. These experiences turn into “word of mouth” marketing like reviews, social media sharing and one-to-one discussion. This free marketing creates a strong perception of your company in the mind of another consumer that overrides their logical propensity to evaluate your product by different means. Therefore, in many purchasing decisions it is better to be the most well known brand than it is to be the option with “better” features/functionality.

Blogging Too Little

The problem with blogging too little is that you don’t give yourself enough “at bats” to become a great blogger.

Over time I’ve started and stopped blogging many times. I’ve been critical of the things that I wrote. I’ve deleted or hid many blog posts from the past.

There’s a certain fear that some blog posts aren’t “good enough.” If the post isn’t good enough then somebody that reads it may never come back again.

Unfortunately, this limited way of thinking has been paralyzingly. Instead of writing, editing and getting better I’ve stopped writing altogether. 

I aim to blog more. I read a lot of blogs. I read a lot of books. I watch a lot of YouTube videos. I have things to say about them and I’d like to start doing a better job of sharing them.

If you’re reading this I have one request for you. Be patient with me. My writing isn’t perfect. I haven’t narrowed my focus to a specific niche/topic yet. However, I’m making an effort to do this more frequently and I hope that you reap the rewards of my labor.

The Ultimate Sales Machine: Turbocharge Your Business with Relentless Focus on 12 Key Strategies

The Ultimate Sales Machine:
Turbocharge Your Business with Relentless Focus on 12 Key Strategies

Synopsis

Chet Holmes had a long career working for billionaire Charlie Munger and later as a sales trainer and author. His training sessions or workshops would cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. Many of the tactics and strategies that he would teach in those workshops has been distilled into The Ultimate Sales Machine. Continue Reading “The Ultimate Sales Machine: Turbocharge Your Business with Relentless Focus on 12 Key Strategies”

B2B Ecommerce

Selling products and services to businesses can be highly lucrative. So why not do it online?

B2B Ecommerce is growing very rapidly. However, I’ve found that many businesses haven’t fully considered what it would look like to take their sales process online. This guide will give you the what, why and how of B2B ecommerce.

What is B2B Ecommerce?

B2B Ecommerce is the marriage of the following two concepts.

B2B

B2B is an acronym that stands for Business to Business. Generally speaking this refers to the process of one business selling goods or services to another business. The customer in this case is not an individual or a consumer. The customer instead is another organization.

Selling to businesses represents a large opportunity financially Continue Reading “B2B Ecommerce”