How to Not Become a 1-Dimensional Crankpot Entrepreneur

20 08 2013

Crabby entrepreneurSeveral years into my business’s growth, I had become a finely-tuned design machine:

I ate breakfast with my computer; spent the day networking, quoting, brainstorming, and designing; devoted free hours to program upgrades; analyzed sign layouts and logos during drives; talked business with my husband at dinner; laid out tomorrow’s schedule before bed; worked the wee hours on time-sensitive projects; and dreamed up design ideas overnight.

I was single-minded. I was driven. I was everything society had told me an entrepreneur should be. But I was…

BORING. And drained. And cranky.

In my push to become the ultimate business owner, I’d committed a cardinal entrepreneurial sin:

Forgetting that I am human. And I paid the price.

Galloping toward a goal with blinders on creates tunnel vision and narrow-mindedness. Spoiler Alert: There won’t be caviar and yacht club memberships at THAT finish line. Just complete and utter burn out.

A well-rounded leader creates a well-rounded business. Hobbies, volunteering, and other extracurriculars are more than “for funsies” – they’re also a rock solid way to bolster creativity, learn skills that your expanding mind will find use for in the workplace, connect you with a broader audience, expose you to unexpectedly awesome opportunities, and eliminate your inner ogre.

So, with all my heart, I advise you to drop the “24/7 entrepreneur” act like a hot potato, and become the human collage you were born to be. There’s no heroism in becoming a 1-dimensional, crankpot entrepreneur. Give yourself permission to occasionally “lose” the responsibility sheet that exists in every leader’s head. Explore. Enjoy. Engage…

Mortals must do what they are here to do creatively or they will become cranky.”  ~ Jill Badonsky. Yes, Jill. Yes they will.

Dawn M. Tomczyk-Bhajan  |  DMT Artistry, LLC   |  www.DMTArtistry.com

All content Copyright © 2013 DMT Artistry, LLC, unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved.





Rewind | BREATHE | Fast Forward

29 03 2013

Time outI’m about to impart a bit of Zen wisdom here. Buddha pose is optional.

Some of us live in the past; we usually call that “baggage.” (Sorry, past dwellers.)

Some of us live in the future; we often label that “forward thinking.” (Don’t toot your horn just yet, “to-be”ers.)

But in between rewinding to memories of what’s already been, and racing into events that have yet to be, there’s where we exist now: the present.

Now, there’s a time and a place for all three branches of living – past, present, and future. And I’m not going to go all “A Christmas Carol” on you in this blog. But entrepreneurs are a notoriously driven bunch – mulling intensely over past actions before surging ahead into future plans.

So today, on the brink of a holiday weekend, I feel compelled to share a little bit of well-worn wisdom that we all lose track of at some point or another:

PAUSE.

So simple. So essential.

A pause can be a vacation, a rare luxury for an entrepreneur, but it can also be as simple as sitting quietly for a few moments – mind parked in neutral – between activities. During those moments, you’re neither fretting over the previous activity, nor puzzling out the next.

You are simply existing.

If emptying your mind feels like a goliath undertaking, try focusing your attention on something instead – your thumb, an elbow, your breath… something completely innocuous.

You don’t need to be a yogi to work this technique. You just have to be human.

What’s the point? Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle if it doesn’t give you a chance to catch your breath, stop frantic thoughts, stimulate mental clarity, and/or help you keep things in perspective.

A few moments. Really. Please try it, and let me know how it works for you.

“Don’t just do something — Sit there!”  ~Anon.

Dawn M. Tomczyk-Bhajan  |  DMT Artistry, LLC   |  www.DMTArtistry.com

All content Copyright © 2013 DMT Artistry, LLC, unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved.





What’s in It for Me?: Determining Why People Buy

7 09 2012

It gives me very great pleasure to introduce today’s guest blogger – my dad and marketing wizard, Fred Tomczyk! Without further ado…

Why do people buy?As a Marketing Communications Manager, one of my jobs is to identify the messages we want to tell our customers about our company and our products. The usual goal, of course, is to move them towards purchasing one of our products.

Here’s a simple way to approach this task.

Let’s start by talking a bit about how to select a message that has the best chance of stimulating sales.

The first thing you need to recognize before settling upon a message is why people buy your products or services. I emphasize the word “people” because whether you’re selling B2B or directly to a consumer, there is always a person making the decision to buy what you have to offer.

Recognizing that you are selling to a person, you need to ask yourself why your customers would want to buy what you have to offer. This is actually more challenging than it sounds. Everyone who is considering whether or not they should buy what you are offering is standing in front of you with a question written boldly across their forehead, just waiting for you to read it and give them the answer they need.

What’s that question? It’s simply, “What’s in it for me?”

What your customer is always asking is how will what you’re offering benefit them. This is really powerful, so let me emphasize this again. They want to know how the product or service you’re offering is going to BENEFIT them.

That word “benefit” is what it’s all about. It doesn’t matter if your widget has a two inch diameter while the competition only has a one inch diameter (the feature). It doesn’t even matter that that two inch diameter means you are stronger (the function). All that matters is the BENEFIT he will derive from the fact that your widget has a two inch diameter and is stronger.

For example, because of this larger diameter, which makes your widget stronger, your buyer will experience increased confidence in using your widget. This may even help him protect his employees. It might help him make more money, improve his customer relations, reduce risk or save time..

Whatever the underlying benefit, your customer will decide to buy your product because they see the benefits that answer their question, “What’s in it for me?”

Here’s a simple example: Two people bought wrist watches. They both say they bought the watches so they can tell what time it is. One of them bought a $20 no brand, while the other bought a $4,000 Rolex. Both watches tell time. So why would one person buy a Rolex while the other buys a $20 disposable watch?

It’s all about the benefits they were seeking.

The $20 watch buyer may be content with telling time to be sure she gets to her appointments on time. The Rolex buyer says he’s buying the same function, but he’s also buying several other benefits. He’s buying the feeling of prestige. He’s buying something he believes makes him look and feel good. He’s buying something that he thinks tells people, “I’ve made it!”

So, if you were selling a Rolex, would you talk only about the high precision manufacturing process? The composition of the metal? The spring tension on the watch band?

Or, would you explain to your customers how their friends will admire them? How good it will look on their wrists?

Use the following list of benefits (“Reasons Why People Buy”) with your products or services. Develop your list of deliverable benefits so you can use them with all of your communications tools – face-to-face sales, web site, ads, literature/flyers, press releases, signs, packaging, etc. Remember to differentiate between Features, Functions and Benefits. Then use your lists of benefits to answer your customers’ question, “What’s in it for me?” and increase your sales

Reasons Why People Buy
To Increase:
• Profit
• Satisfaction
• Confidence
• Convenience
• Pleasure

To Protect:
• Investment
• Self
• Employees
• Property
• Money

To Make:
• Money
• Satisfied customers
• Good impressions

To Improve:
• Customer relations
• Employee relations
• Image
• Status
• Earnings

To Reduce:
• Risk
• Investment
• Expenses
• Competition
• Worry
• Trouble

To Save:
• Time
• Money
• Energy
• Space

Next Blog: Just two weeks away. If you can’t wait that long, contact me! I’m always happy to talk smart business.

Found today’s topic fascinating? Me, too! Here’s a bonus TEDx video, “Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Action,” that makes a phenomenal compliment to what my dad wrote above. Thanks to Chris and Jenny of Body Within Personal Training for bringing this video to my attention!

Dawn M. Tomczyk-Bhajan  |  DMT Artistry, LLC   |  www.DMTArtistry.com

All content Copyright © 2012 DMT Artistry, LLC, unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved.





Purple Revelations: The Joy of Impermanence

24 08 2012

DMT Artistry LLC officeMy husband, who reliably radiates the patience of a saint, requires Netflix and a sleeping bag any time we select paint colors. Yes, I am one of THOSE people.

Put me in a paint department with my artistic soul and perfectionist tendencies, and Mother Theresa could be forgiven for bolting for the door.

So, when it came time to choose colors for my in-progress office, I did everyone a favor, and went it alone. Interestingly enough, it took less then 15 minutes for me to leave with my liquid treasure.

Which got me thinking…

The way I see it, my office colors are the epitome of impermanence… the exact OPPOSITE of how I view DMT Artistry’s re-branding. My office colors can be changed in a few hours with a gallon of paint and elbow grease. But I’ve given myself the expectation that my new DMT brand must remain consistent across materials, locations, and time.

That’s a Mt. Everest order. Every brand evolves – even for the big guys, like Pepsi and Xerox. It has to. Stagnation means death.

It seems to me, then, that the “get-it-right-the-first-time” mindset is one of the primary sources of entrepreneurial quicksand. In an effort to make it right the first time, make it work perfectly the first time, make it a raging success the first time, we set ourselves up to be the deer in the headlights.

Impermanence is not only less intimidating; it’s more realistic. It reduces waffling over decisions. (It should NOT, however, be used as an excuse to be, think, or act in a mediocre fashion. We already talked about mediocrity in last week’s blog.)

Tell me, what decision have you been postponing for ages because the fear of “getting it wrong” is looming, piano-like, over your head? I challenge you to recognize that an incorrect decision is workable – you’re rolling your eyes, but I’m quite serious, you can always always correct your course to wind up on unexpected, opportunity-packed avenues – but going nowhere is not.

Come on, fellow entrepreneurs – let’s take this business world by storm!

Next Blog: … will be written by a guest blogger marketing guru, who’s been a DMT go-to guy for inspiration, motivation and valuable support – my dad!

“Nothing endures but change.”  ~Heraclitus

Dawn M. Tomczyk-Bhajan  |  DMT Artistry, LLC   |  www.DMTArtistry.com

All content Copyright © 2012 DMT Artistry, LLC, unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved.

 





A 15 Minute Fix for the Productivity-Challenged

25 05 2012

Infinity time spiralMy project load is vast and all-consuming enough (thank you, new and loyal clients alike!) that I’m going to step away momentarily from the next DMT Artistry, LLC rebranding adventure – logo redesign – and attend strictly to my clients.

However, that won’t prevent me from imparting a piece of productivity wisdom that I learned ages ago from my father, and resurrected from my memory files only a few short years back.

I know for a fact that I’m not alone in quietly pipe dreaming that I could multiply myself 10 times over. SOMEONE needs to tackle all those career, social, family and life obligations that strap on army boots with cleats and gleefully trample our schedules and our sanity.

Happily, 15 minutes in the morning can solve our dilemma.

The Extreme To-Do List Makeover

Before you stride purposefully out the door on your mission to make something of your day, grab a sheet of lined paper and jot down all of the “to-do”s on that day’s agenda. Getting them down on paper not only helps unload your brain burden, but also jogs your memory about tasks that might otherwise have slipped through the cracks.

If it’s a long list, consider labeling each “A”, “B” or “C”, according to its level of importance. And if you’re really in the spirit, pre-estimate how long each task will take.

Now, write out the hours of the day, leaving 4 lines between each hour. You’re going to plan your day out in 15 minute increments.

Yes, you read that right… I said 15 minute increments. Blocking tasks off in hour-long lumps is not remotely helpful, because it’s rarely remotely accurate. The more detailed you are, the easier it will be to follow your schedule.

It can be difficult to start blocking when you see all those blank lines staring you in the face, so start by scheduling the easy things for which you can already answer “when?” and “how long?” – i.e. shower, breakfast, drive to work, lunch, drive home, dinner, favorite show, bedtime, etc. You’ll be surprised by how much time these must-do minutia require!

Done? Good. Now you’ll see your free hours broken into manageable chunks. Start with your most important “to-do”s, make your best estimate regarding how long they will take, and write them in where they fit best.

Be sure to block off free time to relax, nap or have fun. We don’t want you comatose by the end of the day!

Take this schedule with you and refer back to it frequently throughout the day. Modifications will be necessary. No big deal. You have placed yourself in control of your time.

And that’s the key – putting you back in control of YOUR TIME. Productivity will follow like a faithful pet.

For anyone using a Franklin Planner, this system may seem familiar. But if you find your productivity slipping, check yourself to see just how diligently you ARE using that planner!

I challenge you, readers, to try this at least once, and report back with how it impacted your day.

Now, if you’ll pardon me, I have a website build scheduled for the remainder of the hour…

“Much may be done in those little shreds and patches of time which every day produces, and which most men throw away.”
  ~Charles Caleb Colton

Next Week: Topic to be determined

Dawn M. Tomczyk-Bhajan  |  DMT Artistry, LLC   |  www.DMTArtistry.com

All content Copyright © 2012 DMT Artistry, LLC, unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved.





How to Brand a Business: A LIVE Demonstration

14 03 2012

Buckle up... I'm about to show you How to Brand Your BusinessToday marks the beginning of something unexpected. Something exhilarating. Something BUSINESS-changing.

For over two years now, I’ve been working with entrepreneurs and business owners who are no longer satisfied with half-hearted business and mediocre marketing. They’ve trained their sights on extraordinary success, and their questions and ideas have been the ongoing inspiration for this blogsite.

But starting today, rather than simply TELL you how to re-brand your business into something remarkable, I’m going to SHOW you how to do it.

DMT Artistry, LLC has long been overdue for a brand evolution. We are no longer an infant company testing the waters. Our growth has exceeded expectation. *pat on back*  But the time for admiring my handiwork-to-date has passed.

Now it’s time to give that growth direction.

Over the coming year, I’m going to take you through the elements of branding / re-branding your business, starting from the ground up, and using DMT Artistry, LLC as a living, breathing example. I’ll walk you through absolutely everything – from the importance of a Mission Statement, to the re-design of a logo, to the structure of pricing, to social networking with purpose, to re-making an online presence, to how you present yourself, right down to the miniscule minutia that create consistent and memorable marketing.

Learn from my successes – and my mistakes. There’s no point in tripping over the same stumbling block twice.

If you’re just launching your business, way to be in the right place at the right time! This demonstration is as much for the new entrepreneur, as it is for the rejuvenating business.

And I expect to benefit from this adventure as much as you do. I can hardly be an inspiration and a resource if my own business is stagnating.

Since I’ll be blogging about my experience in what amounts to “real-time”, I invite you to do your own re-branding right along with me. Feel free to comment and ask questions as we go. This will be YOUR resource. Help me make it what you need it to be.

This weekly blog series is going to combine the best of adventure and hard work, fun and professionalism, success and turning “oops” into “a-ha!”

So, if you’re ready to ride…

“Buckle up, Buttercup.”  ~Belinda Anderson

Next week:  “Ground Zero: The Perfect Mission Statement”

Dawn M. Tomczyk-Bhajan  |  DMT Artistry, LLC   |  www.DMTArtistry.com

All content Copyright © 2012 DMT Artistry, LLC, unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved.





The Hardest Easiest Thing You Must Do to Succeed

28 10 2011

Be yourself.Before you ask whether I’ve recently sustained a closed head injury or just completely spaced out on grammar, let me point out that my post titles – unusual as a rule – always make sense by post end. This one will be no exception… you have my word.

So let’s dive right in: What IS the hardest easiest thing you must do to succeed where so many other businesses fail?

Difficultly simple: Be yourself.

That means, understand who YOU are as an individual and a business owner, as well as your personal motivations, and cling to those babies like coral on a reef.

You’re nothing without knowing yourself. Your business can only survive so long on the recommendations, expectations and demands of others before it implodes like a black-hole-forming supernova. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if your business decisions satisfy the world’s population, your community or your mother (no offense)… if you have to become something you’re not to make it happen, your heart can’t and won’t be in it.

But, being yourself should be easy, right? I mean, all you really need to do is… well.. exist.

Alas, as any high school student can tell you, existence IS crushing pressure to be someone else.

Peers, mentors, customers, loved ones and even yourself are constantly heaping expectations, on top of advice, on top of demands in an effort to mold you into who they think you should be. It’s rarely malicious, just part of the whole human gig.

This is where setting personal goals, designing plans, making internal check-ins and building a core identity come in handy. They help define the founding ethics, values and purpose that make you YOU – regardless of the other changes you and others make in your life – and help you ‘remember’ who YOU are in the midst of all the inter-relational chaos.

When you’re solid on who you are, your business has a rock-hard foundation to build on, and success suddenly becomes a very viable option.

“I yam what I yam.”  ~ Popeye

Dawn M. Tomczyk  |  DMT Artistry LLC  |  810.923.4582  |  dawn@dmtartistry.com

All content on this site is Copyright © DMT Artistry, LLC. All rights reserved.





Choking on Butterflies: The pretty v. practical compromise

4 08 2011

Choking on butterfliesI saw someone choke on a butterfly once – my husband, in fact, though we were dating at the time. It was on a mountain biking expedition that this kamikaze Lone Ranger of the insect world fluttered headlong into my husband’s unsuspecting mouth. It wasn’t pretty… for either him or the butterfly, but it sure made for a memorable date!

Businesses choke on butterflies daily. Only their butterflies aren’t winged insects. They’re the fluff and glitter and show that bedazzle their customers into a purchase. They’re the colors, and sounds and snippets of wittiness that draw attention to what you do or sell.

As humans, we’re all susceptible to the influence of beauty, whether that beauty be a gorgeously arranged display, a stunning store model, a picturesque shop location or a brilliantly designed ad. And, visual beings that we are, this facet of marketing is critical.

Where problems arise is when a business focuses too much on its “butterflies”, and not enough on its content. No matter how flashy your marketing may be or how exquisitely your store may be laid out, if there’s no substance to your offers or no real purpose behind its presentation, there’s nothing to keep your customers coming back. And at that point, you’d better be prepared with the Heimlich maneuver, because your business will be choking on butterflies.

DMT Challenge of the Week
Take a look at the layout of your store and your marketing materials and techniques. How much of it is pure show, and how much has a practical foundation for the betterment of your business? How much actually gets across your company mission?

Be ruthless. Cut the fluff. And remember, more customers isn’t necessarily better. Your time and your resources should be dedicated to the visuals and activities that bring you the RIGHT KIND of customers for repeat business.

DMT Artistry gets to the heart of your message, so that your marketing is both visually stimulating and purposeful. Call us to learn more!

Dawn M. Tomczyk  |  DMT Artistry LLC  |  810.923.4582  |  dawn@dmtartistry.com





Fo’ Shizzle My Nizzle: The marketing language gap

28 07 2011

Ah. The Great Cultural Divide. And I’m not necessarily talking about geographical culture either.

Did you know that every business on the planet – whether it’s 1 person or 1,000 – has it’s own culture? It’s true!

A business culture forms from a way of speaking, a set of ideals, a way of doing things…

And where culture forms, language is hot on its heels. Your business’ language consists of shared lingo, attitudes, processes, interests, missions, experiences and more. It’s a way of communicating that is unique to your company and to your industry.

And when your customers speak that same language, the results are… magical.

Unfortunately, many business owners lose sight of a maxim that’s as true to marketing a business as to personal self growth: “This above all: To thine own self be true.” They warp their cultural language to conform to some ideal market they want to target.

Guess what. Capital N – O… NO!!

It’s not the market that defines the culture, but your culture that should define your target market.

Think of it this way – a Porsche dealer would hardly use mommy talk to promote it’s 911 GT2 sports car. And you sure as shootin’ wouldn’t hear street slang used to market a Ford Aerostar minivan. Each of these cars has its own micro-culture, and to market them any differently would be a disservice to all involved.

When you try to be something you’re not, be prepared to be called out.

Please don’t misunderstand me. There is an element of genius in being able to adapt your communications to make different customers feel welcome, special and comfortable. But the point is this: Hold true to the core culture that makes your business the unique success that it is.

This Week’s DMT Challenge

PART I: Take a look at the website home pages of some of the corporate giants – Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart, NASCAR, McDonald’s, choose-your-own. Look at the colors, the images, the content and the layout. These are companies that have spent bookoo bucks and quality time defining the culture of their company. Do you think their websites succeed in getting the right message across?

PART II: See if you can define some cultural features of your own company or the company you work for. What’s your company mission? How does your staff interact with customers? How do they interact with each other? What’s the dress code? What are the most popular topics of conversation?

PART III: Now take a look at your own website – or any other marketing materials. Again, look at the colors, the images, the content and the layout. Do they communicate what you’ve defined above?

Incidentally, for those who are curious, “fo’ shizzle my nizzle” means something along the lines of “Most definitely, my African American brother.”

Is DMT Artistry the “bees knees”? Fo’ shizzle my nizzle. Let us prove it to you.

Dawn M. Tomczyk  |  DMT Artistry LLC  |  810.923.4582  |  dawn@dmtartistry.com





Giving Up Your First Born to the Unappreciative: A Business Truth

11 05 2011

Letting go of your "baby"As a parent, there is no one prouder of your children than yourself. And as a business owner, there is no one prouder of your product or service than yourself.

This is as it should be. Properly placed pride makes the business world go ’round. We’ve all experienced a staff that takes no pride in what they do or sell. It’s a first rate disaster.

However, being proud of what we offer puts us in the uncomfortable position of taking every “no thanks”, “not interested” and “meh, it’s ok” to heart. Our work is a labor of love – or a labor of determination, anyway. It is, in essence, our “child”. We’ve put so much of our time, energy and selves into our businesses that a negative response is bound to feel like a personal affront.

Artist types are best known for “this-work-is-my-baby!” syndrome, but don’t be deceived. A car salesman is just as likely to take rejection personally as a composer; a heart surgeon as a graphic designer; a plumber as a culinary genius.

Stop and ask yourself if YOU have ever been taken aback by a dismissal of something you are particularly proud of. If you haven’t, check your body for a door to a microchip processor.

Heaps of horrendous feedback probably means something’s amiss, but the occasional lackluster response is something else entirely.

Since we, as business owners, can’t afford to be derailed every time negativity mows down our tracks, here’s how to keep yourself operating strong under less-than-optimal feedback:

Pre-Approval
When possible, before you even put your product on display or show your client your handiwork, get some honest feedback from a person whose opinion you respect and trust. If there’s something negative to be said, better to hear it from them first, and have the opportunity to make a change!

And if it’s really stellar work – and your client is simply not the appreciative type – you’ll have already received your accolades, which will make letting go that much easier.

Past Successes
It’s a brilliant idea to regularly review your past successes and favorite client testimonials. This helps you remember why you and your business are a success, and puts the occasional poker-faced client in proper perspective.

This isn’t vanity. It’s affirmations. You have succeeded before. You are succeeding now. You will succeed again, with or without that particular client’s rave review.

Exercise first
A little exercise goes a long way toward mellowing your internal and external response to negativity. If you can’t throw a couple stair climbs in before giving up your work to an unappreciative audience, go immediately after.

Be a Success
The more sales you make, the less wrenching it is to lose one to a half-hearted buyer.

Bear in mind, there will always be a little tug on the heartstrings every time you let a “child” go to an unappreciative home but, of course, business is business. Realize that they are showing their appreciation simply by choosing YOU.

The parent of more brainchildren than the old woman who lived in the shoe:

Dawn M. Tomczyk  |  DMT Artistry, LLC  |  810.923.4582  |  dawn@dmtartistry.com