Whether it’s about how to use social media, getting through the early dark days of a startup, or about marketing your business, getting advice can help you succeed.
The video below contains success tips from 11 business leaders. It was shot at ICON14 in Phoenix, Arizona. ICON is the Infusionsoft customer conference that attracts 3,000 attendees, most of them small businesses or serving small businesses like yours and mine.
I was there on behalf of Small Business Trends capturing some “man on the aisle” interviews from presenters and attendees.
And out of all the success tips, what’s my favorite? Well, it’s from Clate Mask, CEO of Infusionsoft, who sat down and talked frankly about the brutally tough early days of the company he co-founded over a decade ago. Infusionsoft, which got $54 million in venture capital from Goldman Sachs, bootstrapped its way for years before earning that large injection of growth capital.
Mask says that in the early years, every single day was a struggle for survival. And while cash flow and business experience matter, the real secret, he says, “starts in your head with your success mindset, attitude and positive thinking.” This is what gets you through the struggle.
Below is the video (accompanied by a brief recap of key quotes):
Tip 1: In Social Media, Be Where Your Customers Are
“Know where your customers are hanging out online. You don’t have to be everywhere. Be where your customers are … and communicate with them there.” – Laurie McCabe, Partner SMB Group, SMB-GR.com
Tip 2: Never Stop Networking. Don’t Give Up
“Never stop networking, never stop pushing. It’s easy to give up when everybody around you … is telling you ‘you can’t do it’. You have to be around positive people. Then push on.” – (Starts at 1:08) Tom Force, Owner, ICE Keytags
Tip 3: Twitter Provides Powerful Market Research
“Twitter is the best thing that ever happened to small business owners. You can listen to your competitors or customers, and they don’t even know you’re listening.” – (Starts at 2:01) Melinda Emerson, Author of Succeed as Your Own Boss
Tip 4: It’s all About Mindset and Positive Thinking
“Our first three years were brutally tough… every day was about survival. Then I remembered a lesson from my father. Your mind is everything, yet it’s not what you know, but rather how you deal with it. It is about your mindset and positive thinking.” – (Starts at 2:43) Clate Mask, Founder and CEO, Infusionsoft
Tip 5: Wearable Tech Keeps You Fit
“The ‘wearables’ tech trend is keeping people fit, keeping them active, and keeping them in toe with their fitness goals.” – (Starts at 7:10) Tishin Donkersley, Editor in Chief, AZTechBeat.com
Tip 6: A Handwritten Thank You Note Will Wow Customers
“One simple way to ‘wow’ customers is thank-you cards — a handwritten note, a thank-you card saying ‘thank you for buying from me’.” – (Starts at 8:09) Ramon Ray, Technology Evangelist, SmallBizTechnology.com
Tip 7: Share Information on Facebook That is Great for Your Customers
“Having a Facebook presence as a real estate professional is vitally important. Buyers and sellers are there. Make sure you are sharing information that is great for the consumer, not just real estate people.” – (Starts at 9:09) Bill Harney, CEO, Keeping Current Matters
Tip 8: To Get PR, Offer Yourself up as a Thought Leader
“If you are a local small business, look at local media for PR. Read those publications, forge relationships, find out what types of stories the journalists are covering, and offer yourself up as a thought leader on a topic.” – (Starts at 9:49) Laura Collins, PR at Infusionsoft
Tip 9: Put Processes in Place in Your Business to Ask for Referrals
“Put processes in place in your business that ask for referrals. And make sure the customer experience is above expectations.” – (Starts at 11:21) Jonathan Graves, President, Graves Organization, Inc.
Tip 10: Your Sales Pipeline Should Qualify Leads at Every Step
“You need to set up a process to convert the most leads possible. Put them in a sales pipeline … and add checkpoints to determine those who are qualified, versus those who aren’t.” – (Starts at 11:52) Justin Roberts, Infusionsoft Expert, Infusionsoft
Tip 11: Entrepreneurship is Lonely. Reach out to Mentors and Peers
“Entrepreneurship is one of the loneliest professions in the world. The entrepreneurs that are really successful reach out in networking groups and peer associations — or just to one person. They need that thought partner.” – (Starts at 13:00) Jeff Mask, Vice President, Infusionsoft
For more success tips, see The Seven Stages of Small Business Success.