Friday, April 19, 2013

Kool-aid Rehab Top Ten Things to Think About (if you can pay attention)

Referring to tiny fleas from my previous post has made me think of attention spans today.  I know, sounds like a miracle....but I really did give this next post some thought.

Challenge yourself! Try to hang in here and learn something!

To begin, working with flea-like attention spans (or is it  a gnat?) was one of the most shocking revelations I discovered on this journey.  It honestly never occurred to me that people who were busy in real jobs could be so completely disengaged in tasks, written or spoken but it happens.  Looking back, I know (again) this revelation sounds like a really 'dumb blonde' comment .... concluding,  I probably spent waaay too many years isolated from adults vacuuming and yelling at kids prior to returning to the business world in early 2010.

..... but I do still remember the days when you could write (or receive) a note or leave a message (remember those cute pink message slips?) well, way-back-when ..... I would also see those 'notes' and feel a responsibility to my company to respond (after all, they were paying me to represent their company).....  It's something that used to be called 'professionalism'.

A response might look like a quick email, fax .... or even a real telephone conversation .... but likely because of THE dreaded REAL 'pink slips' the world today appears to be spinning in a new orbit and this is not how business rolls anymore.  

People working in our tattered economy,  are ground-down to-the-bone, loyalty is a thing-of-the past and sadly, communication is deleted as though it never existed.  It's pure urban survival clusters!  No one really cares about 'action' (unless it involves $ for them).  Even if you now 'copy' a  boss or fellow colleagues ... they will also ignore you!
That my friend(s), is a reality and wide-eyed Entrepreneurs with a fresh 'dream' will be unable to understand this or even distinguish the thought.  Thinking the world is not like this, the innocent will be 'creamed' like a bare leg on a gravel driveway. 

It will begin with a burped ahhh! from a tall cool pitcher of Kool-Aid -- the 'newly excited' (like I was) are ready to create  something and start selling it.... IMMEDIATELY....

Their unharnessed energy could actually fuel a nuclear power plant but that's another story.  

Here  is the sequence;

#1. With the first 'spark'....also known as 'Plan A'..... a new Entrepreneur will begin by spending hard-earned cash in development of their new product, service or idea.  As if that isn't bad enough, time-spent is in another category TIME- devoted can be staggering because their brains will never turn off as they connect with people on this 'plan' - and many times (because you won't  have bags of money to deliver to them 'yet') the people they're connecting with are not very engaged or paying attention in the least.  It's a hard sell.... but the determination is palatable.  Products and support materials are developed anyway.....and it's very difficult to stop this process until you are charred beyond recognition.

#2. A new Entrepreneur will also 'think' that because of the Internet, 'social media' is readily available  (and 'free') -  and that this new product or service will catch-on like a newly lit firecracker propelling their unique business idea into stratospheric heights.  They will not connect the fact that like everything today, the web is also filled with flea-like attention spans and nothing is getting  promoted, shared or reviewed....and if it is, no one is reading anything.

#3. Because there are so many endless tentacles to 'The Great and Powerful Internet' it may be viewed as a fluid stream of consumer 'voices' with new ways to reach people.  'Interest'  in this channel of communication may even be the center of some plans.

The idea to spawn interest and get people 'talking'  through 'free product samples' given out like candy-mints, might even make perfect sense.   The idea will begin the 'smouldering' preview before 'it' lights and takes off.  A new Entrepreneur will be happy to comply- recipients will be thrilled to ask for more samples!

#4. Selling and Distribution 101;  A new Entrepreneur should have 'boots-on-the-ground' at some level to sell in any volume..... if not, just use the boots to kick their ass - cuz they aren't going anywhere otherwise. You need a clear distribution path and the internet is not the single answer!  To paraphrase a wise person from a prior post 'You can have a crappy product with distribution and you'll be OK... but a great product without distribution will be going nowhere fast.'   Distribution really is everything when selling something. (period)

#5.  'Plan B'....In the category of 'distribution' and a 'voice' for educating and telling the world about your brand through 'Shopping Shows';  hmm? sounds perfect .... A new Entrepreneur should learn upfront that shopping show buyers are next-to-impossible to reach (they can put a flea to shame!)  and note that every laid-off employee from those entities is now 'working there' but as an independent  'rep' with their hands out for a big % to make an introduction to a buyer for you.  It also should be noted if your brand is Made in the USA you are already at a disadvantage for pricing.  That's a fact.

In Kool-Aid Rehab....the bell-curve has peaked  (to bring you more challenges)......  and the sound of big business will begin to ring flat as you 'get real'.....

#6.  After a splashy website launch the term going 'live' will have a new meaning too.  A new Entrepreneur will quickly be on to 'Plan C';  Elevated Public Relations - (err, I mean Mountain Climbing without working legs) think here;... editorial PR mentions with flea attention-spans. (not a good combination)

#7.  A new Entrepreneur will also be developing distribution strategies in the way of possible Retail stores.  I know (again), they are physically disappearing ... but some still think it is a lucrative business stream.  To note: The fantasy that Retailers 'will come-calling' is another fallacy.... be aware too, that even when you are waving and standing on a buyers desk for an order, you are not guaranteed anything - especially in our fried economy.  In today's times, it is high-effort, very low minimums and stocking fees.   Also lots of bitching if you start selling directly from your website - wholesale accounts don't like that.

#8. In 'Plan C'...a new Entrepreneur just may be skilled enough to break-through the clutter and competition for precious National-level publicity. (Becomes more of a miracle with each day!)   The result, people are not  always happy about your new exposure and will begin to think of ways to sabotage your business for their own advancement.    It's what I call the 'Dr. Oz wanna bee's) using your platform and hard-earned communication channel to tell everyone how alert they are after knit-picking your site/brand/product or service like feisty crows on fresh road-kill. It's the unfortunate collateral damage to this effort.

#9. For messaging and claims;  If you are a big established company making product statements about your brand which are connected to an impressive network media buy (and a team of lawyers) you'll be just fine....even if the cheerful disclaimer says when taken;  'may result in sudden death'.    Another one, which just 'kills' me is Christian Mingle for 'singles' to find the match that 'God intended for you'  (really?!) that's quite a claim.

But for the weary Entrepreneur selling an un-ingestible harmless product which has never seen commercial airways you may be at significant risk ..... It may begin with an unsolicited comment from a very satisfied customers in their own '1st amendment voice' .... which will then be questioned and face unimaginable scrutiny. Warning;  The bored 'Dr. Oz Wanna Bees' are on patrol to give unsanctioned 'Tattle Offices' something to do.  Everyone embraces the drama ..... all in the spirit of looking like they are busy and on surveillance to 'protect' consumers.  Oh, what would we do without 'them'...?

 #10.  For setbacks like communication product statements;  make sure you don't go out on a limb here because it will cost you in the way of money and time.  The more successful you become the higher the risk.   It really is an eye-opener!  But that's business today.... be careful regarding all which is said.... because the 'crazies' (everyone looking for high-profile notoriety) will come-a-calling and make this process harder than it already is.


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About Me- I'm everywhere!

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anywhere and everywhere, USA, Illinois, United States
I'm a sassy, very distracted older mom...with lots of wild stories (and rants) about my family and life...Daughter 20, college student, sassy, unpredictable, violin playing, animal enthusiast...Son, 17 video addict, Chess playing-star / trombone player...husband (old, tired, chronically stressed and impatient, but a good sport nonetheless) The underbelly of life for me; I’m a bright eyed ‘entrepreneur’ – just now completing Kool-aid Rehab a frightening 12 step process to figure out what I am doing with my life. On the home front, we have a gang of animals that keep the place lively too! 'Emma', dirty ungroomed Sheepdog, 'Lollipop' a smart Border Collie/Chow Chow also referred to as 'Daddy's Little Fatty', 2 cats; one eyed 'Winky' and emotionally disturbed- beyond crabby ....'Babycakes' (it's complicated,) 1 bird 'Tutu', and finally 'Templeton' (a.k.a. Little Shit)- a teeny dog who loves to 'run' .... more trouble than all put together and dumb as a stick. but we love him! :)