Discourse and Improvisation ON Entrepreneurship And…

February 22, 2007

FIFO and LIFO

Filed under: It's just business — dionea @ 1:48 am

I’ve been flailing. So completely overwhelmed by the stack of stuff to get done, I haven’t been able to push myself to do much of any of it. Rather than stepping back or stepping away, I feed the cycle: longer hours trying to work, longer hours getting even less accomplished. Meanwhile the stack just continues to grow.

Although I’d like to say I’m a devotee to GTD (David Allen’s Getting Things Done),  I find his mechanical prescriptions unworkable for me. What generally does work is translucent color plastic folders, variable in number and contents, one per each current project, topic, or activity, stacked on the corner of my desk. Ideally those folders should only contain current working projects. Not shelved, dead, or completed ones. Similarly I use email folders, also variable in category and contents, to store copies of related project emails.

The reality is I have trouble decreeing a project done, dead, or nearly dead. So that stack of colored folders grew and grew until it was about 8 inches of pure psychic burden. The email stacks also grew, as I peeled off the top-most in a LIFO fashion (Last In First Out), and could never dig my way to the bottom.

So I stopped. I stopped responding to almost everything, and put an added delay in to what I absolutely had to respond to. And I flipped the stack, and started tackling it from the bottom up (First In First Out).  That 8 inches is now less than an inch. And, much to my amazement and surprise, there were only about three notes to self on opportunities I may have sat too long on, most everything else could be filed or tossed.

Just as importantly we took time today for a strategy and planning meeting, which help reset my sights a bit further down the road. I know I was focused on the space right in front of my feet.

Is it enough? We’ll see. For the moment I at least feel better about where were headed and how I’m going to be able to get there.  And I have a nice surplus of translucent colored plastic folders.

February 6, 2007

Too Much Wasted Marketing Money

Filed under: It's just business — dionea @ 2:38 am

I’m still shaking my head over a meeting with a trade-pub ad sales rep last week.  A big part of her pitch was the results from subscriber surveys. A simple question: which of these companies have you heard of? One of the companies on the list is a competitor, so I have a pretty good idea how much print advertising they’ve done. After years of advertising on a fairly regular basis, their awareness level is less than 10%. With some back-of-the-envelope calculations I’m estimating that they spent at least $9, and possibly more than $18 per person who’d check a box saying “I’ve heard of this company”.  That’s not a lead, that’s a modicum of brand awareness.  Given their price point, they’d have to do the impossible and convert as many as 1 out of 28 of the barely aware into paying customers to just cover their costs.

The ad sales rep pointed to their ramp in awareness as a selling point. I didn’t have the heart to point out the mathematical errors in her assumptions.

No thanks, we won’t buy print ads.

Too Much Marketing

Filed under: It's just business — dionea @ 1:46 am

I am not a professional marketer. I come to marketing out of necessity, and bear a long-lived dislike of being marketed to. I’m the type that goes a bit out of my way to avoid the onslaught: adblock in my browser, automatic image download turned off in email; an early adopter of Tivo, the Colorado No Call list, and the Direct Marketing Association’s junk mail opt-out list; and a long-time listener of NPR. I hang up on telemarketers  and close the door on solicitors, hopefully politely. I cut any and all sales pitches short.

I am not alone. I suspect that most of our target market either behaves in a similar fashion, or just ignores 99.9% of what they see.

It’s all just too much. We’re inundated,  and we’re just not going to pay attention any more.  Which of course raises the stakes for those trying to get our attention — hence stunts like the recent brouhaha in Boston. It feels like we’re in a swimming pool full of children all screaming “Look at me!” “Look at me!”.

But without marketing, buyers will never know about the availability of what’s for sale.

So rather than scream for your attention in every way possible, I let one question drive my marketing decisions. If you have the pain that my product cures, where do you look to find the salve?

More later…

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