Dare to Explore

Resting on a long weekend Monday for me means letting my mind explore.

A business idea has been brewing in my mind for a few months now and so far I have prototyped it, did some initial interviews with vested parties (groups that would use the service) and gotten back some great questions, feedback and support. Of course there are opinions from the consumer end as well, and not all were approving.

Some comments:

  • This isn’t for me
  • This isn’t for the XYZ market
  • I could see value for this for ABC market, but not the mass market
  • How long will this last, the market won’t be hot forever

All these points are well taken, but here’s the positive spin on it.

  • Great – it means it’s not for you but for somebody else.
  • Great – not for XYZ market means it could be for ABC market – a product/service should have its lovers and haters or else you would be sadly, nothing.
  • Great – as long as there is a way to make the service profitable for a niche market, it’s still a win.
  • Sure – but when is it hot forever? I can apply this comment to every single business out there but hey, we’re all still working every day right? Might as well work to earn all that we can so that when the market isn’t hot anymore we can feel safe from all that we have saved, earned from NOW until then.

So – if you have an idea, at least explore it. Talk to parties about it, do your research, and commit to a small investment that would tell you whether the market would respond to your proposed product/service. A small pilot would do, but it still takes time and effort. The point is, don’t stop at the first negative comments that are thrown at you, get the service out there and see what the market says to a tangible product/service.

If they hate it – move on. If they love it – keep at it. You might have hit something big!


Beware Overpromising

We have all heard it a millions times. Seriously.

One of the rules of marketing is to underpromise and overdeliver, and it is always amazing to me how some salespeople overpromise in order to close the deal or inflate the value of their “network”.

I have an acquaintance who would inflate details and overpromise what they can deliver in order to close deals or give the perception that they are more connected than they are.

For example, an angel investor in their words might become a venture capital investor. $10 million in capital might become $100 million with their framing.

This is setting yourself up for no repeat business, because you will always underdeliver, leaving customers disappointed and wanting to look elsewhere. It is people like these who give marketers and salespeople a bad name of overpromising.

If you are currently utilizing this practice, I urge you to rethink whether this will bring you sustainable wealth and revenue streams in the long-term; my speculation is that it will not.

Who’s Going to Stop YOU? 

The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who’s going to stop me.

There are many things that once seemed impossible until you did it. Yes – YOU did it. 

A 6-hour hike, a promotion, negotiating a raise, lose 10 pounds, start and grow a company…whatever it is, the only thing stopping you from getting it done is you. 


Yesterday You Said Tomorrow.


We have all done it. Procrastinate. Yesterday you said tomorrow. Tomorrow you will say the day after. Why do you procrastinate? Because you are afraid of failing? Or maybe even… afraid of succeeding?

Whatever it is, own it. If you don’t do it. Somebody else will.

Sales Success Tip: Pitch Outside The Box


There are always standard ways to do things in any industry, so when you take it one step further, people notice.

Case in point, my agency was asked to quote for a website redesign project. I knew my relatively small website design portfolio would be my weakness. My specialty is in social media marketing and brand building, so what could I do to show the client we are the best choice?

Let’s take it one step back and consider the standard quoting practices. It’s usually a short summary of what the client is looking for (project scope) and then a bunch of numbers (the budget) to tell the client what they have to pay for deliverables.

I like showing my client prospects what we can do for THEM, something relevant to them and not a portfolio of our other works – because who cares? It’s not relevant to their profitability or brand. So I created a mock up design of the landing page I envisioned for the client’s website redesign and provided a brief competitive analysis illustrating why I chose that specific branding direction for the client.

Usually mock ups are not provided until after contract signing, but who cares about the standard way of doing things? I care about how I can make the client remember us and notice that we work harder and take their project more seriously than our competitors. It worked and we left a positive impression with the clients.

Key takeaway? Do more than what’s required, go further than needed, and show people you truly care – it will make a difference in your success in the long-term.

Do Your Customers Rave (or Rage) about Your Product?

What the Marketer Saw - Does Your Customer Rave or Rage about You?

What the Marketer Saw – Does Your Customer Rave or Rage about You?

You want your customers to have an opinion about your product – whether they hate it or love it. You probably want it to be the latter but either way, a middle of the road product is exactly that – going nowhere. Stagnant. Nobody gives a sh*t.

Here are a few brands I rave about:
– my gel nails (no joke) I get at least one compliment on it per day. I spend $40 and I can keep my nails, No chipped nails, for one full month.
– Zara: the best brand to integrate fast fashion trends into your wardrobe, whether it be casual or work wear. Yes I work as a stylist, no Zara is not a designer label, and yes I tell everyone it’s my favorite store.
– The Truffle meatball spaghetti at The Italian Kitchen on Alberni Street. Enough said.
– Pinterest. Admit it we can all stay on there for days scrolling through photos if we didn’t have to do more “life” things like eat, work and sleep. (Luckily for me a lot of my work is on social media).

From my examples above, evidently my passion lies in food and fashion; the key idea is you want your brand to energize your customer – when they talk about you their eyes come alive, they do an incessant amount of hand waving as they talk and tell everyone from their mom to their friend’s friend about how great you are.

Is it doing that?

How to Lose a Customer (Banking Version)


Given my past business in online currency exchange competing against the big banks, you may think I’m biased when I discuss the matter of bad service at a bank. However, there is a silver lining, where I switch my business over to a bank that does deliver on its promise.

Let’s start with the bad news, the bank is an example of how to lose a customer. This big 5 bank markets itself to be focused on small business accounts, with a competitive business account offering. when I first started my business the low priced business account and security of a big 5 bank spoke to me and I opened my account with them. Flash forward 3 years later they have done nothing for me in terms of small business service. They are basically earning (a minimal amount of) interest on my business earnings sitting in their account. I had tried several times to meet with my account manager, which kept switching and I wasn’t really sure who could give me advice I could trust; none of them seemed convinced of their own service offerings, and didn’t have any good ideas on helping me manage my free cash flow and how to grow my wealth.

Now let’s talk about the good news – the bank that will now get ALL of my business – TD bank. Their small business manager took care of opening my account, setting up my business credit card, setting up my business investment account, all in one meeting. He knew his numbers, knew how I could benefit and knew what mattered to me as a small business and analyzed my business needs based on the types of expenses incurred. I felt safe placing my hard-earned money into this bank because I sensed there was real expertise there. Honest to god most bankers have the level of financial understanding similar to a first year finance student. Would you trust them with you money?

What’s the key takeaway if you are managing a brand or doing marketing for a corporate brand?

Deliver on your marketing promises.

It’s as easy as that. The first bank failed to deliver on their promise to take care of small businesses because of the lack of knowledge at their account manager level to make value-add recommendations. Delivering on a brand promise is a combination of every touch point with the customer, it has to be consistent. I cannot stress that enough. Having a great product but bad service that is inconsistent will take you halfway with the customer (and they will drop you).

Think about this and see if there are any touch points with the customer you can improve on!