March 30, 2011

Is Your Day 80/20?

Pareto Lives

Did you ever wonder where the 80/20 rule came from? The originator was Vilfredo Federico Damaso Pareto who lived from 1848-1923. It seems simple now but Pareto worked from the premise we spend 80% of our time on 20% of our progress. You can test it in every part of your life.

Marcus Buckingham subscribes to the theory that we should improve our strengths not work on our weaknesses. We’re told our entire lives that we need to work on those things we don’t do well. Imagine if all we needed to do was to work on those things we did do well.

Busy Busy

It’s funny to watch people complain about being busy and a full email inbox and too many meetings. Those are choices. Yes, we all have bills to pay but I wonder if we get some strange pleasure out of reminding others that we’re really busy. There seems to be no shortage of those conversations on the digital channels.

It's not easy to do but some of that time spent in meetings and doing email could be spent with your team deciphering strengths and the best way for every stakeholder to both enjoy their job more and spend their time more efficiently. You should also find one hour every week just for you away from everything to work on you.

How much of your day is wasted?

Kneale Mann

image credit: istock

March 28, 2011

False Expectations Appear Real

Eight Inches Between Our Ears

The human mind is a marvel of engineering we may never understand. We can run countries, survive 127 hours trapped in a cave or overcome monumental odds. Our brain can also keep us from succeeding, present obstacles that may not be there and create deep depression.

In business, you know that everyone in your company has a powerful force that can create magic and solutions. It can also produce damage and destruction manifested in subtle ways such as sick days, wasted meetings, lack of leadership, butt covering, that’s not my department and I didn’t get the email. I’m busy can quickly replace did you get the report finished while I’m not available can substitute standing by your decision.

Imagine for a Moment   

It’s been said that fear is a powerful motivator but as the saying goes it is often false expectations appearing real. So imagine, just for today all of those layers were removed. No more fear of failure, fear of success, fear of speaking out, fear of losing your job, fear of that client hearing that their idea won't work, fear of standing up for yourself, fear of (insert here).

Now imagine that same world where everyone took responsibility, owned the issues under their direction, allowed direct reports to honestly contribute to the process and stopped being fearful that someone may find out they don’t have all the answers.

What kind of day would you have in that world?

Kneale Mann

image credit: unknown

March 27, 2011

Sharing in a Narcissistic World

We are connected by no more than six degrees of separation. You may know someone who knows someone who knows me, done. And with close to seven billion of us walking the earth, that remains a fascinating reality.

Johannes Gutenberg was the person most attribute to the invention of the printing press around 1439. It revolutionized the world and allowed ideas to be spread faster between people across vast distances.

Connected by Thumbs

Depending on who you ask, the Internet is somewhere around forty years old. The look, feel and ease we see today began in the early 90’s. The ever expanding electronic web has revolutionized the world. It has allowed ideas to spread in an instant through computers and mobile devices. The digital world is more social. Or is it?

Mitch Joel has been studying the digital space and human behavior for more than two decades. He is the president of Twist Image - an award winning digital marketing firm in Toronto and Montreal and in his spare time he speaks all over the world, writes one of the best marketing blogs in the world and has a podcast and a book of the same name - Six Pixels of Separation. Mitch suggests we may not be as social as all the chatter suggests. He explained during his recent keynote at TEDx Concordia in Montreal.

Kneale Mann

video credit: TEDx Concordia

March 25, 2011

A Lesson from Zappos

Powered by Customers

In 1999, Nick Swinmurn approached Tony Hsieh and Alfred Lin at Venture Frogs about an idea for an online shoe portal. Nick grew tired of bad service and poor quality.

Tony was originally sceptical that the idea would work and almost deleted Nick’s original voice mail. Swinmurn discovered that in the U.S. alone, footwear was a $40 Billion annual industry. Lin and Hsieh agreed to give Nick half a million bucks in venture capital. Both became members of the company's board of directors. Nick became Chairman.

Later that year, ShoeSite was changed to Zappos – which comes from the Spanish phrase "los zapatos". The company brought in $1.6 Million in 2000 which grew to $8.6 Million in 2001. By 2003, annual revenue hit $70 Million. Then $184 Million in 2004 and Zappos received another $35 Million VC that same year. Revenue doubled each year after that and reached $840 Million in gross annual sales in 2007 when they expanded their inventory to include handbags, eyewear, clothing and accessories. Zappos execs aimed to hit the $1 Billion mark by 2010, they reached it two years early.

The Buy-Out

In 2009, Zappos began entertaining the idea of being acquired by Amazon. Hsieh (now CEO) wanted to ensure the infectious internal culture wasn’t affected and the great customer service they had created was not compromised. Amazon assured the board that Zappos would remain independent and the very reason the purchase was attractive was why nothing would change inside the company. The deal worth $1.2 Billion in cash and stock options was finalized on July 22, 2009.

That sounds like a Cinderella story and from afar one could see it that way. But there were no guarantees it would work and Zappos could have crashed and burned a few times. Tony summed up the company perfectly when he said “Back in 2003, we thought of ourselves as a shoe company that offered great service. Today, we really think of the Zappos brand as about great service and we just happen to sell shoes”.

Canada No More

On April 1, 2011, Zappos will discontinue their Canadian website and distribution channels. On the surface, that could appear like a company that is no longer interested in a country of 34 Million people with the 9th largest GDP but that is not why they made the decision.

Here is the note from the company:

Hey, everyone. While we often have fun things to talk about in this space, we sometimes have less pleasant topics to share. We have made the difficult decision to shut down the site and stop shipping to Canada. One of our core values is to “deliver WOW through service”. That means the best selection of brands and products that can meet just about every individual’s needs as well as fast, free shipping and free returns, all at competitive pricing. Our Canadian customers know that we have not lived up to these service levels.

Product selection on is limited due to distribution agreements with the brands we sell in the United States. In addition, we have struggled with general uncertainty and unpredictability of delivering orders to our Canadian customers given customs and other logistics constraints.

We would like to thank our loyal Canadian customers and are sorry that we will not be able to serve you in the same way. Beginning April 1, 2011, we will no longer ship orders from Some of you may have electronic certificates with open balances. If that is the case, please be sure to redeem them prior to April 1, 2011. Of course, as always, we will still be accepting your orders placed from Canada and shipping to US addresses on Customers can always reach us 24/7 by calling 1-800-927-7671 or emailing

Chris Nielson, CFO/COO, Zappos Inc.

Eye on the Ball

I don't hold shares or have any other interest in the company. In fact, I have never purchased an item from them. I'm just impressed with their business model, success and guts to stick to it. And like many, I have been impressed by their ability to get product into customers' hands FAST and they have been committed to the social web.

This is not a company that is hiding, this is a company that is not able to deliver on their promise so they are being straight up with customers. And to prove it, Chris included his personal email address. It will be interesting to see how Canadian customers react. It will be equally interesting to see if a solution can be found.

What can you learn from Zappos and apply to your business?

Kneale Mann | How can I help?

image credit: shoeaholic

March 24, 2011

Encore: Don't Listen to Them

Opinions are Just Opinions

We enjoy receiving validation and positive feedback. No one likes others who are overly negative. We enjoy acceptance. Having happy customers is a good thing. Support of friends and family is important to us.

But when we begin to measure our success, or worse, our importance by the number of friends, followers, subscribers or connections we have on the social web, we can quickly lose touch with reality.

Our need to belong

The outcast at school or the frustrated idea guy who has run up against the wall of executives who “don’t understand”, feel the same way. It sucks when we're not accepted. Those who walk among us with skin like a cobra fascinate me. The rest of us do care what people think despite our weak protests to the contrary.

But when does that need become an obsession? Do we believe those who say they don’t pay attention to what others say about them? Can we do the same? Just imagine what it would be like if it was really that easy to be a renegade with blinders to others and blaze our own path. Let’s go for it. Who cares what they say. We’re not gonna listen to them.

This is not about being arrogant, You can't walk on people. But to mix things up, let's stop asking for approval on our ideas so often. Do you think it can work? Can we do it?

Let's take the advice of the fine Dr. Seuss. “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.”  

Kneale Mann | How can I help?

image credit: travelperch
original post: Nov 2010

March 23, 2011

Finding Your Why Business

Focus on what you want and why you want it, not on whom you’re going to sell it to or how you’re going to sell it.

That is from an email a friend sent me last week. It caused me to pause and read the line a few times. I don't sell paint or fix your plumbing or solve your revenue issues in one meeting. The value I bring is tougher to measure in a world of instant wins and spams that claim to solve all your problems with a click of a mouse.

Clients and prospects don't care about my quarter century of experience, they have issues that need attention. And that remains the challenge when deciding what companies to approach in the first place.

Narrow the Focus

No matter if you run a publicly traded multi-national organization or work for yourself, you cannot be everything to everyone. You do some things well, you need to improve on other items and you are not tapping into the true power of your people and your network. Or perhaps I'm alone on this.

If you are unclear on what you want and why you want it, your customers, direct reports and colleagues will be unclear as well. And perhaps that is where we slip up when trying to grow business?

I'm often called a social media guy. In reality, I'm a help clients build a stronger business guy. I'm a work with clients on business, marketing and digital guy. If that requires two cans and a string, so be it. My focus is not what Kneale Mann thinks you should do but rather what you want and why you want it. We all have the same tools to choose from and it's not about what we can do but rather what we will do.

Find the Quiet

Our day is full of chatter and meetings, opinions and deadlines, politics and stress. We aim to please while we lose ourselves in the process. I have earmarked some time this week for a business spring cleaning to assess and focus on why I want what I want. If I can't keep refining that, I am useless to my clients and prospects.

Big company or sole proprietorship, it is imperative to have an honest look under the hood. You may discover the reason you're doing all this in the first place.

Do you know what you want and why you want it?

Kneale Mann | How can I help?

image credit: dailymakeover

March 21, 2011

Do You Have Great Songs?

Guitars Are Not Enough

The business world can be overwhelming. You work hard, you strive to improve and help others yet the hill can be rather steep. Add in the digital world and it can feel like a losing battle. For all the opportunities there are obstacles. In a world where the playing field is evened, it is tougher to stand out.

I hosted a social media strategies workshop a couple of weeks ago and outlined that it takes much more than a website or web presence.

How Do You Cut Through?

How does your content find an audience? How do you find clients? How do you get paid? How do you sift through the virtually endless content? It takes perseverance and there are no instant wins or we'd all take them.

The journey is as personal as each of us but simply showing up is not enough. We have to read, listen, contribute, collaborate and have great songs.

Good is Not Enough

Of course we're not all musicians but it is imperative we have the equivalent of great songs to offer or the best we can hope for is to be average, pretty good, the norm.

When MySpace exploded onto the scene, it was touted as a place for every indie artist to find a home and millions of a adoring fans. The major music labels and corporate media were no longer necessary to carve out a successful career. It was heaven. It was a gold rush. Opportunity increased, fame not guaranteed.

Not So Fast...

Songs may be a product or a service but someone needs to see value or all the tools in the world will mean nothing. So the item that should receive a lot of your attention is writing great songs (building great products, offering great service). As Seth Godin often says; doing it cheaper and faster is simply not enough.

How's your repertoire?

Kneale Mann | How can I help?

image credit: flickr

March 20, 2011

Fast Trains and Square Cereal

To the cynic, marketing people simply find different ways to apply lipstick to said pig or create need where it wasn’t before or trump up positive collateral to make lame stuff look desirable. Marketing, to some, is a four-letter word. After all, we don’t like when complete strangers make us act differently or buy things we don’t want or need, right?

Rory Sutherland describes himself as the fat bloke at Ogilvy. Rory is a funny dude who has a serious and humorous look at intrinsic value versus subjective value. [video]

Kneale Mann | How can I help?

visual credit: TED

March 18, 2011

Removing Clutter and Distraction

Focusing on the Need

Someone asked me a while ago whether I was necessary to a client’s business. Water and food are necessary, the rest are choices. I can bring 25+ years of marketing and media experience to a client’s business but only if they want my help and realize it won't happen instantly.

If you take the social channels at face value, many claim they can solve all your problems with the purchase of their book or click of a mouse. Solutions can be buried somewhere between good intentions and snake oil.

Sign Up and Never Read

I was sifting through my in-box yesterday and realized that I was creating clutter by joining upwards of 100 different services, clubs, email blasts and news sites. Over time, I have subscribed to these services only to glance when the daily email comes in and never read it. Volume has replaced need. So I will unsubscribe to all of them in email form and go back to digesting the content through my reader. Quantity replaced quality and it all became white noise.

The average Facebook user has 130 friends and has joined 80 pages or groups. How much daily interaction happens after the "like" button is pressed? Something caused you to do it in the first place so there may be good stuff, or not, and if not, dump it. The onus is not on you to stay but for them to give you reason to want to stay. Could we see a social media diet plan in place over the next few years? Less will become more while we focus on actual connections rather than collecting numbers.

Ready Shoot Aim

So often we feel we’re going to miss something so we create clutter instead of progress. Companies adopt a new imitative for fear the competition will get a leg up. Someone on Twitter self proclaims some tactic and it makes us wonder if we should adopt it. Every one of our profiles on the social web has a counter on it and the numbers begin to distract us as if they are actually important.

In business, there will always be someone doing better than you and always someone doing worse than you. The critical issue to keep in mind is what is important.

Other than food and water, what is necessary to you?

Kneale Mann | How can I help?

image credit: majed

March 16, 2011

31 Ideas to Succeed Online

All too often our impatience gets the best of us and we want to see results faster than they can be achieved. With almost two billion of us reading, consuming, sharing, publishing, writing and connecting online, there is a lot to digest. We can easily wonder why our content isn't resonating with others fast enough. It's human nature, it's our need to belong. Here is a list of ideas you may want to keep in mind when navigating the vast digital landscape.

• Be yourself
• Learn from others
• They are people
• Your priority doesn’t make it their emergency
• Don’t be a bully
• Platforms alone mean nothing
• Be helpful
• Treat others with respect
• Work your butt off
• Don’t just sell
• No website is a magic bullet
• Connect don’t collect
• Have realistic expectations
• Write and publish daily
• This stuff takes time
• Don't be rude
• Read more than type
• Numbers are irrelevant
• Say hello
• A channel is just a tool
• You are always on the record
• Assume nothing
• Manage your time wisely
• Get to know them
• There are no quick wins
• Don’t expect others will make you rich
• Be human
• Give more than take
• We are all experimenting
• Seek others with your interests
• You are never done

What Did I Miss?

Kneale Mann | How can I help?

image credit: peacelove

March 15, 2011

Lose Control and Grow

Change is a concept that seems to drive us, win elections and create stress. We hear the word and feel two immediate and visceral responses: things will improve for us and everyone will change but us. We think change will bring about success.

Change Cannot Be Measured

You can’t grab yourself a nice cold refreshing tall glass of change. Your closet cannot be filled with long sleeved hand sewn change. Driving to your next appointment won’t happen in the comforts of your brand new two-door Change. But we love the idea of it, the non-committal nature of talking about it. "They need to change." "We need to bring about change." "Change is gonna come." It all sounds good.

To most, change is about control and standing still while others make the shift. You may be one who thrives on change but be careful when you want to instil it on others. They too may like the theory but will define it to fit their own convenience.

Concept Meet Reality

Some love change and make a run for it while assuming their competitors won’t react. That rarely happens. The competition is not apt to surrender their hill. They may make a mess of things and bring you victory, but the chances they will remain in their box is a dangerous assumption.

Like scaling, we can’t control the speed and intensity of change. But we know that standing still rarely creates growth so we venture out while expecting a return on our investment. Lawyers document it, accountants tally it and doctors examine it.

Cause and Effect

If you eat cheeseburgers and sit on the couch, there is a pretty good scientific chance you will gain weight and over time clog your arteries. If you work hard and focus on your goals, there is a better chance of success than tweeting all day about being busy. Blogging and podcasting may help but only to a point. There are some things we can do that will accelerate results in our favour but none is guaranteed.

There are millions who have started companies with great plans and solid ideas only to see bankruptcy. There are some who have lucked into successful ventures. But most of us fall somewhere in the middle. We want things to change but under our rules and our guidelines. And whenever you include anything or anyone outside of your own mind, the grip must be loosened or collaboration becomes a challenge.

Can we experience change, release control and find success?

Kneale Mann | How can I help?

image credit: flickr

March 13, 2011

Community: What's In It For Them?

When speaking with people about their business, I’m often struck by how often the existence of an omnipresent group is brought up. The marketing is this, the suppliers are that, they don’t follow, they don’t buy. We do good work and we want others to notice and appreciate it. We want return on our investment.

Will You Change?

But we are looking at the situation strictly from our perspective. We want others to change and shift to fit our model. I have prospects, clients, event participants often ask “will it work?” They don’t like the answer “it all depends” because they want a guarantee or a quick win. It’s not what you can do, it’s what you will do. I can’t do that part for you.

We have been on this earth for hundreds of thousands of years and despite some claims, there are no guarantees. There are too many moving parts and the most important part is us. My treadmill will not get me into shape by collecting dust in my basement. New clients will not find me by osmosis without my effort. And Twitter will not create a community on its own. It takes hard work, a concentrated effort and focus.

Lead the Followers

Derek Sivers is a fascinating guy who is a musician by heart who has developed a growing independent music community called CD Baby by accident.

We often think that we need to stand out in front when we lead, Derek offers another angle to consider. After you watch this three minute video, you may get a whole new perspective about how you nurture relationships. [video]

Kneale Mann

visual credit: TED

March 11, 2011

Encore: We Are Cross Media

You are More Advanced Than You Realize

If you look at the ways in which you navigate conversations you will soon realize that the tools become irrelevant.

In the course of a day, you may talk to people in person, over the phone, through texting, on Twitter, with a Facebook or regular email and perhaps even (though rare) a hand written note.

Look at Your Next Meeting

Some people have their laptops, others are using their smartphones, some may be taking physical notes with a pen and paper and the lead is using PowerPoint to go over the project. During breaks, the discussion continues with actual conversations and the culmination of the group experience will hopefully be a better solution.

Technology became a catalyst not a prominent player. Note what happens when the power goes out and you will quickly find out how well we can communicate void of virtually any technology.

Selecting the Medium

If someone sends you an email, you will probably respond via email. But how often has that long tail conversation switched media? Suddenly the dinner plans are discussed on the phone, a group invite may go out through an electronic calendar reminder and the restaurant website is accessed to make the reservation.

Note how much you use technology as a crutch versus how often it simply accelerates your work, your business, your relationships, your social networking and you.

Kneale Mann

image credit: easypurl
Originally posted: September 2010

March 10, 2011

SXSW: 24 Years and Going Strong

Every March, thousands gather in Austin, Texas for the annual South by Southwest Music + Film + Interactive Festival (SXSW). It started in 1987 as a music event featuring hundreds of bands along Sixth Street playing showcases and it has grown into a world renowned event. It draws music fans along with media professional and major consumer brands to the lone star state’s capital for ten days of shows, panels, speakers and new product demonstrations.

This year, there are over 2,000 artists playing more than 90 venues, thousands of media pros and the who's who of the digital world. The entire event begins tomorrow and runs until March 20th. Work has kept me away again this year but I vow to make it to the 25th anniversary. If you are there or are going, have a blast, If it's your first visit, planning your time will be critical.

Some helpful links below.
Music + Film + Interactive + Business + Schedule

Kneale Mann

Also published on social media today.

March 9, 2011

Encore: Connect Don't Collect

This is Social Media, Right?

I’m not a shopper but once in a while I get the urge to venture out for that item I’ve researched about online. I used to buy a lot of music and I would lose an afternoon flipping through thousands of vinyl albums ending the outing with a handful of new treasures.

I try to do this at least once a week. I like to find out more about these people who followed me back and see why we’re connected.

Just stop writing on a wall or tweeting for a moment and read some profiles, click on a few websites, allow yourself the fun ride of learning more about those around you. Then go back to home base and click through another profile.

The Power of Us

I have lost count the number of people who ask me “what are you up to lately” while it is explained in one form or another on over twenty social media profiles. They simply didn’t take a moment to find out for themselves. And I'm guilty of doing the same.

Take the time to find out the magic that may be behind those associations. Sift through someone’s pages, discover how they portray themselves online and you may even get a business idea or two. You may even want to contact them in person.

Connecting at the Speed of Light

Find a moment and move outside of your tight circle of real friends and examine what others are up to and you will discover some very cool people. You may even lose track of time doing something fun.

There is endless chatter about sustained engagement and two-way conversations but are we really doing it? Pick five people in your network whom you don't converse with on a regular basis and get to know them. Collecting all those albums was a pointless exercise if I didn't listen to the music.

Stop and look through their profile, visit their website and read their bio. You will meet some interesting people you didn't know you already knew.

Kneale Mann

image credit: letstravel
originally posted: October 2010

March 8, 2011

International Women’s Day

We have been on this earth for a long time. We have built things, created things, lived together, fought against each other, overcome turmoil and unthinkable odds, yet not all “man” was created equal. Well, according to some "men" they were but we are forgetting the smarter, brighter, more talented gender.

It is possible that the last few years of economic turmoil could have been avoided, wars could have been averted and we'd all be in a much better place if women were running the joint. When you look at North America's largest corporations, equality is not something that springs to mind. Thousands of years of evolution and we still need discuss this. How sad.

Today is the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day.

These are the countries that honor Women's Day: Canada, Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Ecuador, Estonia, Dominican Republic, Denmark, France, Greece, Hungary, Finland Iceland, India, Italy, Israel, Laos,Latvia, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Malta, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Seychelles, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Sweden, Spain, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, , Zambia. It’s a long list, but it’s not long enough.

Read about the history of International Women’s Day here.
Check out the hundreds of events scheduled around the world here.

Tell her you love her. Tell her you care. 
Tell her about much you appreciate her. 
Now get out of her way, she has work to do.

Kneale Mann

image credit: flickr

March 7, 2011

Scaling Your Business

"Anything you build on a large scale or with intense passion invites chaos.Francis Ford Coppola

I seem to have several conversations daily surrounding the same topic – scaling. There are millions of bright talented experienced business owners who want to grow their companies save a couple of crucial issues – time and money. There is no concrete way to control the speed of scaling but often it feels like it's not happening fast enough. Some days it moves at a snail's pace.

You want to grow your revenue line and you know in order to do that you need extra help but you can’t afford the extra help because you are too busy working on the current revenue stream. And you can't seem to grow the revenue because of all the prospecting and meeting and selling and trying to get your current client work done.

Sound Familiar?

This is an issue that has faced business forever. Others with much less money or experience have solved what each of us faces which perhaps makes our concerns even more annoying. We love to hear stories of people born of meagre means to fight and claw their way to a successful career.

We know we can do it but its a mix of our impatience and some pedestrian items we need to corral. Scaling is a challenge for everyone from sole proprietors to c-level executives of corporations with a global footprint.

Here is a list of things to think about (I know I do) when you look at how to scale your business...

Find the Quiet
Anyone who knows me, knows I have a busy brain. That does not always mean I’m getting it all done, sometimes quite the opposite. Busy doesn’t mean progress. Find those moments where you can shut it all off, listen to some music, put your feet up and clear your mind.

Be Honest About Your Effort
We can usually find external fault in the slower pace of our business growth. The truth is, we need to look inside to ensure we are doing all we can. That’s usually where the slowdown is occurring.

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
We all do it and it is a complete and utter waste of time. We can claim that numbers and stature and position don’t matter (they don’t) but we make them far more important that they are, stop shaking your head, you do so.

Ask Often and Always
This is where most businesses fall apart. I know I see my work slow down when I stop asking for business. We get timid, we don’t want to appear to be selling, but without sales there is no business. Find your way. No ask, no business.

Get Help
Small business, large corporation, c-level executive, sole proprietor, no one makes it on their own. No one. Ever. Surround yourself with a mastermind group of people from all walks of life with two purposes – to tell you the truth and to offer advice.

It’s Not Their Fault
When played properly, life is a team sport but we need to own our part.

Find the Decision Maker
How often have you had discussions with someone who can’t make the sale for you? Why would you try and sell to someone who isn’t in the position of buying? We've all done it far too often.

Be Clear About Your Offer
Elevator speech, website, social profile, in-person meeting, if you don’t believe what you are then no one will. Often companies get stuck or worse go backward when they begin to get unclear on their offer. Qualifying the sale is essential too. There's no sense talking to anyone - decision maker or not - if they're simply not interested.

Decimate the Naysayers
They are everywhere. Stay away from them. Delete them from your life. They will do absolutely nothing but derail you. Advice is fine, negativity is destructive.

Walk a Mile
This is not about comparing yourself to others but rather learning from others. Find people who have gone through what you’re going through. This is why some of the best hockey coaches are former hockey players. This is precisely why the most successful people have mentors.

Take it Offline
The online social networks are wonderful for finding like minded people along thought silos void of geographical limitations. Get on the phone, book a coffee or lunch, get out of the office and meet people in person or hear their voice. No social networking tool is more powerful than human interaction.

Be Sure You Want This
Follow your gut. Find the quiet. Get help. Listen to yourself and learn what you want.

What Did I Miss?

Kneale Mann | How can I help?

image credit: webtrafficroi

March 5, 2011

Mining the Bucket List

We all have a list, whether it resides in our minds only to be viewed during those private times when we want to let our dreams fly or actually written down somewhere. This is not about winning a lottery or becoming fabulously rich, at least not for me, but it is a list of items you want to accomplish before you die. It sounds ominous. It was a charming film with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson. But we all have one. Some call it a bucket list, perhaps a better title is the someday list. Someday we’ll get to that, someday we’ll achieve that.

I want to do more traveling, work with fascinating people, help where I can with whatever experience I can bring, see Europe, visit Australia, try zip lining, do a lap in an F1 car and many other things. Some excite me, some terrify me but all make me feel alive when I think about them. But it’s all pie in the sky without action, without a plan to actually accomplish the items on the list.

Life Gets in the Way

We get caught by the often self-induced emergencies in our day. We say things like “Wow, that was a tough week, so glad it’s the weekend” but we barely ever give much credence to the finality of life. We are not going to be here forever. We will not get it all done. We spend far too much of our precious time wishing and hoping for some day that never arrives.

Our minds take us on a banal journey of tasks and deadlines. We have to make our quarter, hit the numbers, beat the other company and launch the initiative. And to borrow from the Bard, it’s all a bunch of noise signifying nothing. The one emotion we all feel, consciously or subconsciously, is a need for purpose in our lives. All of this chatter about followers and connections, this portal or that interface means the square root of nothing if we can’t feel it right in our core and make human connection.

TED Returns

One item on my bucket (or someday) list is attending the TED conference in California which is on this week. Some of the brightest and most fascinating people – on stage and in the audience – attend this exclusive event. Admission is $6,000. Admission for TED2012 will be $7,500. I know a few people who have attended and all say without hesitation it is worth every penny.

From TED2011, French artist and TED Prize winner JR talks about how he has tried to make the world a better place.

Kneale Mann

visual credit: TED

March 4, 2011

Why Social Media

What's In It For Me?

I’m looking forward to working with a group of about a hundred people next weekend for my social media strategy workshop.

The executive director of the event was gracious enough to give me access to the list of attendees and I sent out a questionnaire. My goal is that each participate can pick up a few actionable ideas they can implement immediately.

There is no shortage of theory. Many assume everyone gets all this digital stuff. Some do, some don't, some are working on it, some are afraid to ask. And that includes small, medium and large companies. The exploration continues for all of us.

Human Networking

The essence of online social networking is what you bring to the equation. The choices of tools and sites can be overwhelming. No one has mastered them. It is an evolution for everyone. We are all cobblers in one way or another. I see far too much smugness on the social web from self-anointed experts touting everyone should be at some level. There are no levels, we are all learning. I have colleagues who are mortified that I still use Blogger while Seth Godin and David Armano grow large strong communities on TypePad. If it was about software, we'd all be rich.

This will be a workshop with professionals who have jumped into the social web and want some advice on how to navigate it better for their situation.

Here are some questions that came back from participants

• How can social media transform an organization?
• What are the limitations?
• How can I earn a living where standards and payment of content is low?
• What social networking sites should I consider using?
• How can I use social media more efficiently?
• Is the expense of reinventing my business worth it?
• How do I manage the time it takes to use social media?
• How can I find a new revenue stream?
• What can I do so social media doesn’t run my life?
• How important is blogging to my business?
• Where can I go to get information about sites and terms?
• How can social media best create new relationships?
• What's next?

What would you add?

Kneale Mann

image credit: noupe

March 2, 2011

Finding the Quick Wins

Don't Wanna Wait

A large cheeseburger with condiments is approximately 600 calories.  An hour of high impact aerobics for a 200lb man will burn about 600 calories. A slice of pumpkin pie is about 350 calories. An hour of ice skating for the same man will burn about 340 calories. We know we need to eat better, work out more and take better care of ourselves but (on average) we don’t do that. We eat the cheeseburgers and the pie then get acquainted with the couch.

Once Not Enough

One blog post on a brand new site may get a handful of visitors – aka your friends – and hardly seems worth the effort. Three posts a week for three years may gain new clients as well as thousands of visitors and connections all over the world. That’s 468 articles. That’s a lot of work and discipline.

If you have a Twitter account that follows 39 people and has 24 followers with an average of 5 tweets a week, it is doubtful you will get much out of the experience. If you spend three years engaged in the channel several times each day, you may see new business, new contacts, more help and a large connected active network of colleagues and friends. That’s about an hour a day or 20,000 tweets or just over 1,000 hours.

Open for Business

Unless you have won the lottery, have rich parents or are independently wealthy, you need new business all the time. It’s admirable to see some who as many clients as they will ever need but they represent the minority. The rest of us need to build our business every day. Not for a week, not once in a while, but every single day.

We want the customers now but can have trouble seeing the long term benefits of a sustained effort throughout the year. We wonder how these available channels can help us without realizing our contribution is critical to the equation. We want the quick wins to sustain our revenue line forever.

Downside of Now

As a marketing and media strategist, I am asked daily what I can do for a company right this moment. Can I increase revenue, improve product lines, enhance messaging and advance the customer base, today. No I cannot. This stuff takes time. If you are in business, you have made some mistakes and enjoyed some victories but neither happened in a day or a week. It would be arrogant for anyone to claim they can help you improve in those areas in a short amount of time. You may want to find some quick wins but they are fleeting and impossible to scale.

Humans are not built for strategy or long-term thinking. If things are bad, we want them to be good, right now. If money is tight, we want money, right now. If someone promises that this campaign will help us get us out of this slide, we are happy to listen, right now. We want the burgers and the pie without the waistline.

Which is better a quick win or sustained business growth?

Kneale Mann

image credit: jupiter
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