5 Easy and Effective Ways to Give in Your Business

It seems that, at least in the US, the holiday season starts earlier and earlier, with Christmas cards taking over most of the card section of any store right after Halloween (if not before!).

And while it bugs me to hear holiday music over the store speakers while I’m shopping for my kids’ Halloween costume (because by the time Santa does visit, I’m quite tired of dreaming of a “White Christmas”), as far as planning on how to market for and during the holiday season for my business, it’s almost never too early.

One of my beliefs is “Giver’s Get,” in the sense that you are giving from a place of having no expectation of getting anything in return.

What follows are 5 ways that you can give in your business, feel really good about it, and reap the rewards from the Universe.

1. Thank your clients and customers.

An obvious one to do in this season of giving is to show your gratitude to your current clients and customers for their business. But you might be surprised at how few business owners actually take the time to do this.

It could be something as simple as expressing your thanks in a short email. Or you could send a thank you card in the mail. Or you could take it a step further and do something I’ve done in the past – send a postcard expressing your gratitude with a link to a special – and fr*e – gift to your VIP clients and customers.

Taking the time to say thank you goes a long way towards deepening that all-important relationship with your current clients and customers. If you do nothing else this holiday season, at least do this.

2. Give your ezine list a gift.

Your ‘pot of gold’ in your business in your email list of potential clients and customers. You should always be treating them well, but at least once a year, offer them a gift – no strings attached – just because…

For a few years, I offered a 12 Days of Christmas series to my ezine subscribers, where they received something of value that would benefit them in building their business once a day for the 12 days leading up to Christmas. This was a huge hit every year, and it was fun for me to come up with something new each day.

You don’t have to offer 12 gifts, however. Just one will do very nicely as well.

3. Give a holiday coupon.

As a gift to your list as well as to give you a boost in your income, why not offer a coupon towards one or more of your offerings. You could offer a 2-for-1 coaching session, or a 20% off discount for one of your ebooks or ecourses, or you could offer a special price for the month of December only on one of your programs.

4. Give your affiliates a gift.

Your affiliates are also one of your greatest assets in your business. Show your gratitude to the folks who have chosen to join your ‘sales force’ by increasing their commissions for the holiday season.

Ideally, your commission rate should be at least 25%. Why not reward them further for promoting your offerings by doubling their commissions to 50%?

5. Give yourself a gift.

And don’t forget yourself! If you haven’t already, hire a virtual assistant to help you now so you can enjoy more of your holidays. You’ll be so glad you did and you’ll never go back to being a lone ranger!

I’d like to invite you to choose at least two of these ways of giving in your business to implement this holiday season.

I’d love to know your thoughts on this – feel free to share them below.

10 Ways Showing Gratitude Now Can Increase Your Future Income

As we head into the season of giving, now is a great time to show appreciation to your clients and customers. Taking the time to give thanks to your clients will set you apart, increase loyalty, improve retention, inspire more sales, and deepen relationships that last long after the initial sale.

Here are 10 easy ways you can say thank you to your clients:

1. Greeting Cards

My husband often teases me that I should own stock in Hallmark for the amount of money I spend a year on cards. I love to send cards, for a specific reason or for no reason at all.

For business, you’ve probably heard of SendOutCards (and no, I’m not an affiliate or a distributor). I get a lot of cards this way, from colleagues, and it definitely deepens the relationship for me. And it is a super-easy way for you to do that with your customers too.

2. Personal Notes

I love to send personal notes too. I have specially designed notecards that I send when I just want to connect with someone after a particularly powerful conversation or coaching call, when someone makes an investment in working privately with me, when I’ve made a special connection with someone in person, or when a client just needs a little cheer.

3. Invitations

One of the things you can do for your top clients is to invite them to a special event just for them. It can be a lunch or dinner at an event you’ll all be at, or carve out a portion of your own live event to spend time just with them.

You can also invite them to special teleseminar, webinar, or LiveStream event where you offer them free content just for being your top clients.

4. Small Gifts

Flowers, books, a mug, or something more specific are all thoughtful gifts for clients. They can be sent for certain occasions or just because (that’s actually my favorite way to send a gift).

5. Gift Cards

These days you can get gift cards for almost any product or service. Some companies, like Starbucks, offer having your logo or business name imprinted on them. Other ideas besides coffee include restaurants, movies, bookstores, office supplies and online vendors like Amazon.

6. Referral and Affiliate Rewards

Even if your referral or affiliate programs offer a commission on each referral, sending a personalized note along with it will go further in encouraging your network to continue to promote your offers into the future.

7. Reverse Referrals

Whenever appropriate, refer your clients and customers to others whom they will benefit from. Making this a part of the way you run your business will come back to you ten-fold as it shows the Universe your belief in abundance.

8. Customer Appreciation Days

Pick one day a year to designate as a Customer Appreciation Day to celebrate your clients. Make a special offer only to them and make a lasting impression.

9. Host Events

Host a gathering at the next event where your clients and customers are likely to gather. A Tweetup is a popular way to connect with both current and prospective clients and they are super-simple to set up and cost you nothing but a bit of time. You can also hold a virtual event anytime you want to bring your clients and customers together.

10. Life Events

Weddings, baby showers, major moves, book contracts, big speaking gigs, TV spots, or any other major event warrants an acknowledgment. A nice card or personal note, or even a quick phone call, will make you memorable for sure.

I’d love to know the ways you show appreciation to your clients and customers. Please share them below.

The Simple Way to Practice What You Preach

As I’m wrapping up a slew of private retreats with clients this month, it’s become clear that it’s time for me to get focused on practicing what I’ve been preaching – or more specifically, to put myself through the same intense process and plan that I take my clients through.

This thought popped into my head several times during the retreats, but really came to the forefront of my thinking over the past week or so, as I’ve been making some very big decisions in my business that’s going to majorly shift things going forward.

So, here’s what I’ve noticed that’s going on with me in my business that I’m hoping will shed some light for you as well:

Problem: Not taking action on a particular task.

If you’re finding yourself low on energy around moving forward on a certain project or idea, it pays to take a look inside for the reason why.

I believe that everything is energy. And when I’m stuck – *especially* when I know what to do next – there’s something wrong inside that’s blocking forward movement. Because, after all, I am all about taking action.

Solution: Ask yourself…

1. What’s one thing I coach my own clients on that I can apply to myself?
2. What’s one way I show others how to operate their business that I can apply to my own?
3. What’s one method I teach that I can implement more fully in my own business?

In other words, how can I practice what I preach more thoroughly?

The answers to these simple questions are the key to getting unstuck and moving forward.

I’d love to know your thoughts on this below…

10 Take-Away’s from Ali Brown’s SHINE 2011

I had many light bulb moments during my three days in Dallas at SHINE this year, and I wanted to share with you 10 of my top take-away’s:

1. Opportunities come through people, not your computer

Think about that for a minute. Yes, you can build good relationships with people over email and social media. But when it comes to the really juicy opportunities, those are going to come through meeting people and spending time with them IRL (in real life). That’s one reason why it’s so important to get out there at least a couple of times a year.

2. BLT – Believe, Like, Trust

We often hear and I say it myself – that people need to know, like and trust you before they will buy from you. But I liked this version better – that people have to BELIEVE you, like you and trust you. So the more YOU you put into your marketing, the more authentic you are, the more people will get to believe, like and trust you, and the more sales you’ll make.

3. When you are yourself, you have no competition

Enough said.

4. No Plan B

If you have a Plan B, then just do Plan B. Otherwise make the commitment to Plan A, with no other option.

5. Your best ideas don’t come from sitting at your desk

My best ideas come to me in the car. Or sitting on the dock in the early morning of summer. I created this business under a palapa in the Turks & Caicos. Where do your best ideas come to you? When you’re stuck or need to hit the refresh button, go where your best ideas are able to pop into your mind.

6. You’ve got to be comfortable with being uncomfortable

Being an entrepreneur will bring up all your stuff. 🙂 Most of the time, that’s going to make you uncomfortable. You have to be ok with that and recognize that it’s just an indicator that you’re moving through whatever you need to in order to grow and reach the next level. If you can remember that, it’s actually pretty exciting, isn’t it?

7. Balance

I always say there’s no such thing as balance, that there’s an ebb and a flow but no such thing as balance. So it was empowering to hear two of the speakers say the same with their own spin:

“Life if not about balance; it’s about resilience.” and “Balance is for ballerinas.” 🙂

8. Eat that frog

You may have heard this idea before – to do the thing you most do not want to do first. Eat that frog and get it over with. Once you do, your energy is free to work much more productively and enjoyably on everything else.

9. Focus on your zone of excellence

If you’re still trying to be all things for the people in your market, I’m going to make a coach’s request that you make a commitment to stop that right now. Spend some time focusing on who your ideal client is and what is the ONE thing that you LOVE to do in your work with that ideal client? Start re-designing your message and your offerings around that.

10. Business happens at the bar

…or on the shuttle from the airport, or while waiting in line for the restroom, or when you step outside on a break for some fresh air. If you’re taking the time away from your business and your life to attend a live event, then you need to be talking to people, engaging with them, and letting them engage with you. Let me be clear – I don’t mean selling to them and I’m not fond of the word networking, but just talk to people, have a conversation. The best business relationships I have were built from a simple chat over a drink.

I’d love to know which of these resonates with you. Please leave your comments below…