Your Business Model – B2B, B2C, or…

P2P BusinessSo … what kind of business are you in?

For most business owners, the question of business model is fairly straightforward. You are either serving other businesses (B2B) or you are serving consumers (B2C). As a business consultant as well as co-owner of a fine art photography business with my husband, I thought I had this all figured out. I knew where each of my business interests was focused.

What IS the difference between B2B and B2C?

As it turns out, surprisingly little. As I bounced back and forth between the two, I began to realize that there was not much difference between the way I connect with my business clients and the way I connect with those interested in our photography. But everything I read told me there ought to be. Dear Marketing Experts / Gurus / Mavens / Ninjas: I respectfully disagree.

What became crystal clear to me is that (more…)

Why I’m Celebrating 10 Years of Unemployment

Entrepreneur JourneyI’m going to get a little personal here today, I hope you don’t mind. But I’m celebrating a rather unusual milestone, and I’d like to share it with you, in the hopes that it will inspire you during these still uncertain times.

Ten years ago today, I fled corporate life for the last time.

Oh, I had been an entrepreneur off-and-on since before I was old enough to order an adult beverage, but somehow every so often I’d get lured back in to other people’s companies with promises of “opportunity,” titles, and, yes, a steady (and healthy) paycheck. I can assure you that none of the three was worth the price of my soul, which is pretty much what I had to give up each time I allowed myself to be persuaded to leave my happy little cocoon of entrepreneurship.

But on September 27, 2002, I left and never looked back. (more…)

Mining Data Like It’s 1849

“Thar’s gold in them thar analytics!”

With all the information so readily available to us, I’m always surprised to learn that even some of my most tech-savvy colleagues aren’t diligently tracking their online marketing efforts. There are so many things your fans, followers and subscribers are telling you by their actions (and inaction) – and getting the message is as easy as just paying attention! For instance … (more…)

Are You Blogging? Or Just “BLAH-ging”?

Charlie Brown's TeacherI posted an entry last week about making your blog the “hub” of your online marketing efforts – and it really seemed to strike a chord with many of my blog and eNewsletter subscribers. But the resounding question remains, “What am I supposed to blog about?”

Remember the sound of Charlie Brown’s teacher in the Peanuts cartoon specials? Yeah. You don’t want to be her.

In order to engage an audience on an ongoing basis (more…)

Creating Your Own Economy

Let’s hear it for those creating their own economy through online work!

Recent online articles from Inc Magazine, Kiplingers, and Entrepreneur validate what I’ve been saying for the last several years: location-independence is the way to go!

It’s not just the shape of things to come – it’s the shape of the way things ARE! I may have been the pioneer of this lifestyle among my own colleagues and peers, but this is clearly emerging as a worldwide trend and I believe it’s here to stay. Over the last couple of years, I consciously transformed my own business for location-independence, and now 90-95% of my business activities take place in the virtual world.

The intelligent use of available technology saves time, travel, and money – for both me and my clients. Here’s how:

TIME: No one needs to travel to a meeting. When a simple conversation will suffice, I utilize phone calls, email and conference calls. Does everyone at the meeting need to reference certain documents? In those instances, I prefer GoToMeeting, which lets us share documents on each participant’s computer screen. And I find Skype video calls to be a great way to conduct face-to-face (F2F) meetings.

Another benefit of the location-independent lifestyle is that, even with clients in different time zones, time itself becomes less of a factor. I can (and do) easily adjust my workday to accommodate my clients’ time zones and deadlines. My “office” is wherever my laptop and smart phone and I happen to be, and it doesn’t necessarily open at 9 AM and close at 5 PM Eastern. I can be on a conference call at 7 AM or working on a client project at 2 AM (typically not in the same day, of course!) – all the better to take advantage of a gloriously sunny afternoon by the sea, which I often do!

And working from home means never having to say you’re sorry you came to the meeting in your pajamas – although, if Skyping, I do recommend dressing at least the top half of your body 😉

TRAVEL: Like many service businesses, the services I offer cross geographical boundaries. I can as easily serve businesses and individuals here in the northeast as those in southern California; I can serve folks in the U.K. as easily as those in the States.

What does that mean to my clients? I no longer have to jump on a plane, train, or into an automobile to meet with them. No airfaire or train fare, no ground transportation, no hotels or meals. No gasoline, tolls or parking fees. And, of course, no time lost getting to the meeting (all of which is always figured into a professional’s fee, whether it’s itemized or not).

MONEY: In addition to the travel expenses mentioned above, let’s not forget the even bigger expense of hiring an in-house professional to do what I do. When you hire an employee, you take on the added expense of office space, furniture and supplies; office equipment such as a computer, printer, cell phone, etc – perhaps even a company car. And “salary” does not even come close to defining the true cost of hiring; there’s also the cost of health benefits, paid time off, payroll taxes, bonuses and a retirement plan to consider.

Am I a believer in the online economy? You bet I am!

So … what is your business doing to make it easier for prospects and customers to choose working with YOU?