Finally… Small Business Marketing Made Simple

As most of our faithful readers know, this company was founded as a marketing consultancy. Marketing strategy is and always been our core competency. And, although we’ve done quite a bit of strategic work over the years that has been focused more at leadership and overall performance, in the last 24 months or so, we’ve been doing more strategic marketing work than ever before.

In fact, the work we’ve been doing has been so effective and is in such high demand — particularly among small business owners — that we’ve been forced to bring a shift to our business. Here’s an idea of what I mean:

“When David told me that I could start using the internet as a primary method for marketing my Neurology practice and obtaining new patients, I didn’t believe him. I did not understand the power of the Internet in reaching thousands of people daily with information about my business and services we provide. However, having prior experience of working with Dave, where he made outrageous claims that I didn’t believe, I proceeded with designing a completely new website and blog site.

His predictions came true, where now my Internet presence is responsible for a large number of new referrals. The initial investment cost of the project was rapidly recouped and as an ongoing service, my website has added significant revenue to my annual bottom line. Within 6 months of implementation, I was ranked on the top four pages of Google. Almost 50% of my new patients were (and are) coming in after finding me on the web. I was a busy physician when I started down this road – but I was able to use the techniques he showed me to make my business even more successful. With the excellent response to the website, I have been able to cut our yellow pages advertising budget by fifty percent. David is a skilled IT person and is very knowledgeable about marketing and creative uses of the Internet.”

– V. Daniel Kassicieh, D.O., founder of Sarasota Neurology, P.A.

One client (with a well-established business) multiplied revenues by a factor of 5 just last year alone!

We’re having such tremendous results that we recognize the need to share what we know. The good news is that any business person can implement these strategies right away.

So… I have 2 critical announcements to make.

  1. Effective January 1, 2008, we have no longer been offering any consulting services not related to marketing. The epiphanyconsulting.net site will be redesigned (when we have time) to reflect that change.
  2. We are formally announcing that we are not accepting new Epiphany Marketing clients at this time. The EpiphanyMarketing.com site has already been changed to reflect this fact. We will continue to evaluate new strategic marketing projects only from existing clients and Epiphany Marketing subscribers on a first-come, first-served basis.
  3. This means that the best way to access what we know is to participate in one of our training programs. A new round of these is starting up shortly.

Consider this your personal invitation to join me and my good friend (and client) Michael Pink on a conference call this Thursday or Friday. There are currently 4 time slots to choose from, but a couple of them are already nearly full (we can only accommodate 200 callers on each call), because Michael has been inviting people through his blog. We will consider adding additional slots if these fill up completely.

Here’s where to go sign up for these important calls.

I look forward to talking with you very soon!

Syesha Mercado Tears it UP!

American Idol Season 7 is already proving to have its ups and downs. Tonight, many of the AI 7 girls seemed to be struggling with an illness and their performances reflected it.

But Syesha is definitely one of the UPs of this season. And, even though this is a business website, I must say we’re cheering the Sarasota girl on (as we mentioned in our earlier post on Syesha). We won’t even hold it against her that she moved to Miami! 🙂

Tonight’s big performance featured Syesha’s high-gear vocal over Paul Jackson Jr.’s sizzling guitar work. And, since it’s our first chance to vote, Syesha gets ours! Even the judges agreed that she’s one of the most talented young ladies in the competition.

Keep it up, Syesha!

Syesha Mercado – Making Sarasota Proud!

Congratulations to Syesha Mercado on her progress in Season 7 of American Idol!

Syesha is a hometown girl who graduated in 2005 from the Booker High School Visual and Performing Arts Center (VPA).  Evidently, she was a great student who served on the Student Council and managed a 3.4 GPA while participating in a variety of productions through her high school career.

Since her departure from Booker, Syesha has been no stranger to reality television, appearing on the ABC series, “The One.”

Syesha: thanks for doing such a great job and representing!  We’re rooting for you here in Sarasota… and voting — as soon as we get the chance!

Winning in the New Economy

China. India. The increasing decline of the dollar. A globally integrated economy like never before in the history of the earth.

These are some of the signs of the kind of large-scale sweeping change that is not only coming… but is here today.

Evidence of this includes the recent trillion-dollar single-day losses on global equity markets due to the fraudulent trading activity of one 31-year-old French futures trader. Thankfully, it was Martin Luther King Day here in the U.S., and our equity markets were closed. The Federal Reserve jumped in with the largest emergency rate cut in 26 years, and followed it up with another large cut at its regular meeting the following week.

What does all of this mean to business leaders — particularly small-business entrepreneurs? How do we navigate the unfamiliar waters we now find ourselves in?

All of these topics and more are the subject of an event taking place at the end of this month called, “Winning in the New Economy.” The list of speakers reads like a virtual roster of Epiphany Consulting business partners and clients. Included in the lineup are Eric Beck, founder of the Total Integration Program, my good friend Jeff Timpanaro of Oberata Consulting in Houston, Blain Wease of Provincial Development in Nashville, TN, and Juan and Sharon Restrepo of REIPtheRewards.com and Home Rescue Solutions here in Florida.

The event is being held at the exclusive Pelican Preserve in Fort Myers, Florida and will be a mixture of keynote-style sessions and workshop-style sessions. You should expect to finish the day with a working strategy in hand, well-equipped to chart out a course for the future even through the murky waters of change.

All the details, including online registration, are available at the event website.

By the way, if you’re interested in hearing more about it, Eric Beck was my special guest co-host today on the Friday Wrapup Podcast. We talked quite a bit about the transitions we’re all facing and the identity crisis it seems to have created on multiple levels. Hear the “Identity Crisis” episode here.

Florida Amendment 1 – Voter’s Guide

Well… the post title might be a little on the ambitious side. I certainly can’t claim to cover every aspect of this proposed amendment in this setting. However, there are a couple of key points worth considering.

Lots of Hype

First of all, there has been a lot of fluff on both sides of this issue. Here are some bottom line facts for you:

  • Amendment One is a tax cut.
  • The taxable basis for your home’s value — if you already have (or qualify for and ultimately receive) the homestead exemption — will be reduced by $50,000 rather than by the current amount of $25,000 if the amendment passes. This means that no matter what the millage rate in your area, your property taxes will be based upon a lower number than today.
  • Amendment 1 is opposed by Florida’s unions: the teachers, the firemen, and the AFL-CIO. These are the people whose jobs are dependent upon your taxes. They have been threatened with job cuts and salary reductions if it passes, so it’s no wonder that they’re campaigning against it. See my previous post on Amendment 1 to learn what the Sarasota School Board did to threaten its workers.
  • Amendment 1 is a tax cut.
  • Some people argue that Amendment One represents insufficient tax reform, and therefore it shouldn’t be passed. This is a little like going to the emergency room with a broken bone showing through your skin and having a doctor tell you, “We can stop the bleeding, but your bone will still be broken.” Naturally, you stop the bleeding first (in case you’re medically challenged, it is possible to bleed to death). Then, when the bleeding has stopped, you figure out how best to help the bone heal.
  • Did I mention that it’s a tax cut?
  • Florida’s housing market has been having a hard time lately… or hadn’t you noticed? One massive deterrent to purchasing a second (or different) home as a Floridian is the “hit” you’ll take on property taxes due to the change in the assessed value of the property you purchase. Amendment One allows you to take your “Save Our Homes” property tax limitations with you to your next house. This makes the property tax situation a little less painful. It can make a substantial difference on a given transaction. More people buying houses means a better housing market. A better housing market means all those Realtors (R), mortgage brokers, title agents, property insurance salespeople, builders, remodelers, home improvement stores, et cetera all do better. They, in turn, spend money with your small business, big business, tourist attraction, theme park, and — yes — they pay more in taxes.
  • Amendment 1 could actually result in more revenue to local governments and even the State government, but it will happen naturally because people choose to spend money rather than having it squeezed out of them through exorbitant property taxes.
  • But… all of that being said, Amendment One is still a tax cut.

The Bottom Line on Amendment One

I’m not a big fan of President Bush’s performance in office — not at all. That being said, I’m going to steal from a page in his final (can anyone say, “Thank God!”?) State of the Union Address. If you want to pay more in taxes and those schools, fire departments and local governments to have more money, they accept checks and money orders. (Some of them probably take Visa, too.) Go ahead. Send it to them.

But do it because you want to do it. Don’t do it because a revenuer assessed it from you.

Oh… One More Really Important Detail

The January 29th Presidential Primary is your only chance to vote on Amendment One. Get out there and vote, will you?

Amendment One: Sarasota Schools Use Scare Tactics on Teachers and Staff, Distribute Propaganda

Parents of Sarasota County students can expect to get this little gem (no doubt paid for by our already poorly spent tax dollars) today when their kids come home from school (assuming that it survives the trip home).

According to a source from inside the school system, this 2-sided 4-color (read: expensive to print) flier was distributed today to teachers and staff of the schools along with a memo threatening salary reductions and staff cuts next year if Florida’s Amendment One passes during Tuesday’s Presidential Primaries. The School Board is pressuring its staff to vote “no” and shifting blame to voters and the State legislature for its financial woes.

The flier itself masquerades as a balanced look at the issue, but ultimately threatens the local taxpayers (parents) with additional tax increases in the future which it says will be needed to “maintain revenues.”

Well, guess what? We, the voters and property owners in this County have something to say about your revenues. And ultimately we aren’t interested in whether you “maintain” your revenues — we want you to be accountable for the lack of performance we see time and time again. More money will not solve the fundamental problems entrenched in the bureaucracy.

One good thing: the flier encourages people to get out and vote. Let’s do it Tuesday, January 29th!

Congratulations to Sarasota-based Copytalk

Copytalk, LLC, the developers of a dictation service for mobile professionals, received the 2007 Industry of the Year Award from the Economic Development Council of the Manatee Chamber of Commerce. The company is another shining example of the high level of innovation that exists within the Sarasota area.

I’ve actually had the opportunity to work with the company’s dictation service after recommending it to several clients in the past. It’s a great service for sales professionals, financial consultants, or anyone else who conducts meetings — whether face-to-face, by phone, or virtually — and needs to maintain notes or remember to take action based upon the results of those meetings.

How Copytalk Works

It’s really quite simple: you walk out of a meeting, and you dial a number. You talk. It listens. A short time later, an e-mail arrives in your inbox — or the inbox of the person(s) you specify — and your notes are typed and ready to be pasted into your CRM, personal information manager, customer/prospect database, or even printed and filed (does anyone still do that?). I’m not sure about what all the technology is behind the curtain, but I think Copytalk has some elves that listen to your message and do all the typing.

If you’ve never invested in dictation services before, the monthly fee can seem a little high. However, when you consider the lost opportunity cost of missing an important detail in a meeting — you know… the sort of detail that you remember 5 minutes after the meeting, but can’t begin to conjure up just one hour (or one meeting) later — it can easily pay for itself the first day of the month. My clients who have used the service have experienced significant improvements in productivity, effectiveness, and the overall quality of the service they in turn provide to their own customers and prospects.

The company was founded in 2000 and, by all appearances, has been experiencing steady growth ever since.

“The selection of a business to be honored as Industry of the Year is a difficult process,” said Nancy Engel, Executive Director of the EDC. “Our judges were looking for a balance of sustained company growth, adding new professional jobs for our workforce, contributions to the community, and likelihood for continued growth and expansion. Copytalk stood out as far exceeding our expectations in each of those areas. We are very fortunate to have Copytalk in our community and look forward to their continued success.”

Congratulations, Copytalk, on this well-deserved recognition!

Missing Sue

Update: The Wealth Alliance Group has set up a special memorial site for Sue Riek.

Wow. I am truly in shock. Some friends just let us know about the passing of someone very special.

My wife, Jill, and I first met Sue Riek in February of this year at an internet marketing conference in San Antonio. Sue had an eBay business and was there sharpening her skills and expanding her knowledge base. She and my wife and I all joined the Wealth Alliance Group and have spent the last few months working together under the tutelage of Debra Thompson. During that time, we got to know her — not as well as we would’ve like, but quite well, given the fact that our only interactions were via e-mail and by participating on conference calls.

I had the privilege of seeing Sue again in July at another meeting in Atlanta. It became so clear to me what a treasure she was — loving and sweet, sincerely generous. She had her digital camera with her and we had a new friend snap some photos of the Wealth Alliance Group members that were present. Sue was gracious enough to allow me to snag the photos from her camera’s memory card. I posted them here shortly after they were taken.

As an example of her generosity, check out Sue’s blog. Here, she posted a story about the blessing she received when Dave Lakhani did something honorable… and she just happened to be the recipient of his good deed. It couldn’t have happened to a better person.

We’re going to miss you, Sue. Until we see you again…

Christian Business Podcast

Well… sorta…

I’m honored to have been invited to participate in a new weekly podcast from ChristianBusinessDaily.com.   It’s called the “Friday Wrapup” and it’s partly about business — but it’s also part news, part commentary, and part “who knows what else.”

The first episode is a little wild — probably something to offend the sensibilities of most.  Nothing off-color, naturally, but your politics might be a little riled up by the time it’s over.

My co-host in this new feature is bestselling author and sales trainer, Michael Pink.  We’ve planned on roughly 30 minutes per week.  You can subscribe via iTunes, snag the RSS feed, or visit the site.

I’m looking forward to feedback on this!