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Wednesday 14, December 2010

What's in the newsletter

I can't believe that the Christmas is almost here. For me it was a year that began with a long-dreamed of exit from corporate life and finishes with a new business healthily growing - oh, and all Xmas pressies bought - online! What about you?

Every now and again I try and get my mind OFF business but when I went to see the Social Network the other night (finally) I realised that there were at least five things I could learn from the movie that relate to small business:

5 things to learn from Social Network

1. Tolerate uncertainty
When Zuckerberg created Facebook he says (in the movie) quite a lot at the beginning that he doesn't know yet what it is. Doesn't know what it can be. He has a sense that what he needs to do is get campuses on board but after that - he's not sure.

This is backed up by Sean Parker (and more on him later). However, in contrast, Saverin (and boy, my heart went out to that guy for a few reasons), is keen to go and get advertising revenue - now.

I'll be honest and say that while it's something Facebook clearly does today, back then I think it would have been premature. And even taking into account that Saverin had a small personal stake financially in Facebook at this time - and that in fact he was the only one who'd put up actual dollars - it strikes me that the drive to turn it into something is fueled by an inability to be at rest with uncertainty.

While I'm in favour of a plan and a big picture - I also believe that sometimes you need to dwell in ambivalence - and a path forward will become clear.

2. Be fast (and preferably first)
Leaving ethics to one side, you've got to admire Zuckerberg's ability to see the opportunity and then take a relatively short amount of time to build and  launch the site.

In fact, all told, from about November 25 of 2003 to February 4 of 2004.

In contrast, where is ConnectU now, the site Zuckerberg was alleged to have copied, owned by his competitors Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra?

3. Be focussed
While there's a balance between being so focussed you ride roughshod over everyone else and just being focussed (see #5) one thing Zuckerberg DID display was an incredible focus on the goal. He was unrelentingly "I'm going here and you're either with me or left behind".

4. Be attuned to the target market

There's a great scene in the movie when Zuckerberg is working in some computer lab and a friend comes up to ask him what he knows about a girl he's interested in. "Is she seeing anyone? Does she have a boyfriend", he asks.

The penny drops for Zuckerberg, who's obviously always attuned to opportunity. The site is almost ready for launch but he realises in that moment that the missing ingredient - and the thing that will add magnetic attraction to the site - is basically sex.

Sorry, I mean relationship status. In a shot he's off and implementing it.

5. Be fair
Now while I don't believe everything I see at the movies (see bonus point #6) I have to say that Zuckerberg seemed a million miles away from fair in this movie. In fact the guy came across as an unethical scumbag to be perfectly frank.

OK so he's insanely wealthy and super, super successful. He's still a guy who basically stole an idea, treated his best friend like crap and was a vindictive jerk to the girl.

Can you be ethical, fair and still successful? I think so.

6. Don't believe everything you see at the movies
I was intrigued by the Sean Parker (Napster) character who appears in the movie as a kind of greedy, on the make, super salesman.

I was intrigued enough - and judging from Google instant others were too - to find out where is Sean Parker now. And after a few searches I read an article by Vanity Fair that seemed to say that he was a lot nicer than you'd think from Aaron Sorkin's portrayl.

Is the same thing true of Mark Zuckerberg? I'm not sure and will probably never know. But I will learn what I can...

Tim Pethick and Chris Brogan on storytelling for business

I was trawling through some of the information on Kochie's Business Builders this morning and discovered this video on marketing being about storytelling.

nudie-creator Tim Pethick advises some small business owners on how to use stories in their marketing.

"Even if I'm a customer myself," he says, "I still need the story to tell others." (OK I paraphrased.)

Then, reading Chris Brogan's blog a little later, I came across this post on storytelling for business where Brogan says:
 "Stories are how we learn best. We absorb numbers and facts and details, but we keep them all glued into our heads with stories."
Are you telling your story?
I'm a big believer in the fact that in a competitive market place one way to avoid futile competition on the basis of price is to build your authentic story. After all, people want to buy from people - even online.

In a recent webinar I attended with Marketing Experiments this statement rang true:

"People don't buy from websites, they buy from people. They personify it, give it a voice and have an internal conversation."
How are you telling your story? Is it clear - even on your website? Is it written in a way that reflects you - and suits the customers and clients you're targeting?

Telling your story needs one of the small business owner's essential skills I mentioned last week!

If you want to work out what story you should tell (as well as be a great communicator) then perhaps you should get off on the right foot - with our Right Foot small business marketing intensive.
 Ten simple steps to crystal-clear marketing - and more profit

Would you like your marketing to be crystal-clear and simple? And generate better quality enquiries and more profit into the bargain?

In ten simple steps and two intensive days our small business marketing intensive will help you do both – and make sure your business growth plans take off on the right foot.

You’ll not only walk away with:
  • A clear understanding of essential marketing concepts
  • The outline of your simple marketing promotions system
  • An easy-to-implement action plan

But in our two days together we’ll help you:

  • Target the right customers so you don't waste time and money.
  • Define your perfect customer's problems so your offers are precisely pitched.
  • Develop a rock solid brand position that sets you apart and is perfectly matched to your target customer.
  • Create an endorsement and referral routine to maximise your greatest untapped asset.

Enrol now to save $300.

Special offer

Save $300 if you book in before Feb 22, 2001 into the Right Foot - the small business marketing intensive, running over two days on March 23 and 24.

What's On

Santa's Online Marketing Secrets - online 1pm tomorrow.

Last session!

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