Four Important Tips for the Gift Business Owner

I have just read a blog post from one of my favorite  Internet Marketing people on the web.  It was a “end of the year Kick Butt” type of post.  And it really made me think.

Many of the things that she said applies directly to me because, in addition to gift baskets, I am also in the Internet Marketing niche.  Some of what she said applies to many of you as well but some of it doesn’t.

In this post, I am taking some of what she says that applies to all of us and expanding on it to make it specific to our own industry hoping that it will make you think.

The 3 Types of Business Owners

There are three types of people operating gift basket businesses.  The first are those who are making money hand over fist and are loving every minute of operating an extremely successful business and living a happy life.  These are very rare — almost extinct — so rare that I haven’t met a single one of them.  If you know such a person, please introduce me to him or her.

The second type are those who  have seen some success and are anxious to ramp it up and create a larger business while maintaining a happy life.  If this is you, you’re looking forward to what this year has in store for you and are anxious to get started on it.

The third type of business owner are those who continue to struggle in this business and haven’t found their way to success yet – and you’re probably a mix of hopeful about the rest of this year and dreading that it’ll be yet another year just like the last one.

If you’re one of the rare first type, you can quit reading here.  You don’t need to know anything more.  You’re already the expert that should be sharing with everyone else in the industry.

But if you’re the second or third type — or even someone just starting out , hopefully these tips will help.

TIP #1:  The most important thing that you can do is to continue learning.  There’s always something new to know — some area of knowledge that can be expanded.  I take time out of every busy day — even if it is just 10 minutes to learn something new.  I read a blog post, a chapter of a book, or even a sales page to see how it is constructed.  I’ve discovered that doing this one thing not only helps me learn what works, but also helps me avoid things that don’t.

TIP #2:  Decide where you want to go and how you want to get there. In other words, plan for your success.  But always plan with an open mind.  Brainstorming can bring out ideas that you may have clustered in the deepest recesses of your mind.  Pull them out and see how viable they might be.  Sometimes we have to step out and take chances.  Of course, you can do this at any time of the year but the beginning of a new year is a good time for new beginnings.

When creating plans or system, it is essential that you  look at the reality and individuality of who YOU are. My goals, my strengths, my weaknesses, and my habits aren’t anyone else’s. So someone else’s system isn’t going to work for me.  Learn from others.  But create what works best for you.

TIP#3:  Zero in on a segment of the industry that you are passionate about, that you feel you can be successful selling products for.  The advice that “you can’t be all things to all people” is partially true.  For most of us, we can’t.  Only the big boys who have deep pockets for marketing and paying for ads can go broad, selling a bit of everything, and succeed.

TIP#4: So you’re an introvert.  I am too.  But I’ve learned that for success, you have to network  with the right people – your customers, sure – but also other marketers in your industry and in other niche industries. Networking means getting to know people on another level.  Just reading Facebook posts in gift basket groups isn’t enough.  You have to put yourself out there and participate — asking and answering questions, sharing what you know, and learning from others.  A warning, however.  You can be too social on social media.  Control the time you spend and it can be a valuable tool to growing your business.

Your extended network and colleagues are rich sources of support and insight when tough challenges need bold solutions. Soliciting their input can make a huge difference in your success.

As an online friend of mine, Tiffany Lambert, says:  “This is not a solo journey. It can be, but it’s a helluva lot better when you’re part of a community that’s thriving.”

TIP#5:  Discover the best tools for growing your business and learn how to use them more effectively.  Some of you are so afraid to spend any money on tools and resources that you will never be the success that is possible.  Or you might be the type of struggling business owner who wastes a lot of money buying stuff you don’t need or will never learn how to use. I see a lot of that.

As for tools and resources, quit being a bad shopper. If you buy anything — coaching, a book,  or a class or even have someone build your website — make sure that it is worth the money. Then actually USE it.

Have you started a blog but tell yourself that it doesn’t work for you and have left it feeling like a thirsty traveler in the middle of the desert?  Be truthful with yourself if this is you.  What do you really know about operating a successful blog that actually gets traffic and leads people to your products?  Like anything else, a blog is not a “build it and they will come” project but it can be one of the more powerful marketing tools that you can use.

The same is true of any marketing platform.  I could be email marketing, Facebook Live, networking, Instagram, Pinterest, or anything else.

Many of you will fail again – for the next 365 days.  You will start the year with good, but  intentions, work on it for awhile but like most New Year’s resolutions, interest will fade and you will go back to doing the same old thing or doing nothing at all.

But a few of you are going to take this to heart. You’re going to realize that spending a year altering your ways so that you can finally build a formidable business is going to be worth the discomfort of doing things differently.

Those are the people I’m focused on. I see it every year – a few shining stars rise out of the muck because they finally get it. It’s not some secret – they’re just finally willing to lay the right foundation and get out of the chaotic fast lane of get rich quick schemes and focus on value.

The rest of you? Well…
Will you be here next year?

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