2012 – Challenges and Opportunities for Your Business Career

 

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The era in which we are living will be written in the history books as an era of great change. Technology has already become a crucial part of our lives and now, a powerful change is taking place in the economy and employment fields.

The population has grown and many people reach age 40 and over. These people, who have accumulated a great amount of experience and knowledge during many years of work, become more expensive for the companies which employ them. Many of them find themselves jobless.

This is not a passing trend. This is a constant shift which will probably continue during the next decades.

It is very simple to replace a person with a machine these days. Take the bank teller, for instance, who is almost completely replaced today by the ATM. The cashier at the supermarket, the guard at the parking complex and many other professionals slowly disappear. There are even smart shopping carts today, which replace the cashiers at the supermarket and provide the customer with an incredible shopping experience.

Academic studies are losing their prestige and importance in the business world. Anyone can get into college these days and graduate with a fancy degree. Hundreds of thousands of people specialize in the same field and cannot find a job.

Those who find a job, reach age 40 or over and lose their employment, remaining with many habits acquired over the years. At this point, when no other workplace opens its doors to them, They have only one choice left: reinvent themselves.

We live in the entrepreneurship era, the era of small businesses and start-ups, the era of creativity and initiative. A person who has lived all her life as an employee must acquire new habits in order to become a successful entrepreneur. This is a survival tool, An existential necessity, no less!

The question is: can a person, who has lived all her life as an employee, become a successful entrepreneur? Moreover, can this person use all the knowledge and experience she has accumulated throughout her life at this new stage?

There are two main ways for using your existing knowledge and experience: you can sell it or turn it into a technological product. You can offer advice based on what you have learned or package your knowledge as a book or website. The technological version can be an application for smart phones, software for PC’s, or a service offered through a website.

The smart thing to do is not to rest on your laurels, but rather to constantly learn new things. This is the only way to ensure your survival in this ever-changing world.

People are motivated by fear. If your knowledge and experience can offer a solution to one of these fears, you can easily create a product or service. Many people sell their knowledge and make a fine living by it.

The best example is the story of David DeAngelo, a rock musician, who couldn’t find work in his field of choice. He decided to use the tremendous knowledge he has acquired through the years about dating and relationships and has become one of the most famous experts on the topic. He has been selling his books, courses and workshops for millions of dollars.

The change we must undergo focuses on the knowledge we have accumulated and the habits we have acquired throughout our lives. We need to learn how to package our knowledge and experience and how to change our habits in order to fit the world of entrepreneurship.

You don’t have to sit at home for a year or more any longer, send thousands of copies of your CV, receive rejection after rejection, and feel how your self-confidence and your quality of life become worse and worse. Becoming an entrepreneur offers you the advantage of using what you already know and have. You can start down a new path, which can bring with it great satisfaction and allow you to achieve many goals.

Everything we have been familiar with is changing: the fields of marketing and advertising are different, universities are slowly shutting down, many professions are disappearing and others sprout out of nowhere. Did you know there are people who work as Social Media managers these days? They manage the presence of different companies and businesses on different social networks in order to promote their businesses. There was no such profession ten years ago. Today it is one of the most sought-after expertise.

Reinvent Yourself Or You Will Disappear

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In the last eight years, I have been pointing out in my lectures, courses, workshops and articles that the large industries will merge in the near future and decrease the number of their employees, because technology is slowly but surely replacing manpower. What seemed fictional or unthreatening twenty years ago is a tangible threat for employment these days. The earth’s population has been rapidly growing and many people graduate from universities and colleges with excellent grades. and still, technology is slowly but surely replacing human effort and work.

The facts speak for themselves: there are hundreds of thousands job seekers, hundred of thousands of unemployed people, and large companies have decreased the size of their manpower. The different markets change constantly and become a fertile ground for competition. The saddest fact of all is that more and more people find themselves fitting the title of Overqualified; people aged 40+, who lose their job and cannot find a new one.

I say again and again in my lectures: this is NOT a temporary concept or a passing trend. I worry that almost every person who gets to age 45 will find herself without a job. (Perhaps 80 percent of the 40-50 age bracket will become unemployed.) These are excellent professionals who still have plenty to offer and contribute. I meet tens and hundreds of people in this situation every month; people who have lost their jobs, meet rejection over and over again, but still hope to find a new job. I find it hard to believe they will find a job at the same level and with the same salary and benefits as the one they lost, if at all!!!

This is an era of entrepreneurs. I see the sheer number of start-ups opening around the world, the small businesses swallowed day in and day out by the large companies, which purchase them for millions of dollars. This is definitely the flourishing time of small and mid-sized businesses, of entrepreneurs and independent thinkers.

Every person has knowledge she  acquires throughout her life. The people who find themselves unemployed at age 45, have a few options of what to do with their knowledge: sell the knowledge as information through teaching, consulting, etc; turn it into an electronic product, such as an application, an Ebook or a website, and sell it; or simply abandon the entire accumulated data and reinvent themselves. A person who works for 25 years and loses her existential security finds it very hard to reinvent herself. She finds herself in a tough, discouraging place, without professional support for making the necessary change. We must also remember that working under someone else for over 20 years becomes a habit and a way of thinking. This person will need to change her entire thought process in order to become a successful entrepreneur.

The year 2012 is a turning point for the entire world. The world of marketing and advertising has changed. Businesses and industries which used to sell programs for thousands of dollars, now sell the same programs, and even more advanced options, for relatively small prices – less than $50. A program or application which costs $14 is considered pricy today. Anyone can write a book these days, upload it to Amazon, sell it by themselves and market it with no help. There is an entirely new profession these days: the Social Media manager. People are hired for the sole purpose of managing the Facebook page or any other social website presence of businesses and companies in order to generate more customers.

We mustn’t follow trends only, but we should understand the direction of the market. If you only follow trends, your competition will increase and you will not be able to shine over your competitors. If you note the trends and invent a new strategy, you will leave your competitors far behind you.

I worry that without understanding these new developments, people won’t be able to survive in the next 20 years. They won’t disappear from the world, but their income will shrink and their buying power will decrease. The competition will grow and many people will find themselves in a lower class.

People should use their skills and talents, create new initiatives, start small businesses, offer services of different kinds. The problem is that many don’t know where to start.

There is no place for guesses, no space for dreams or unfounded hopes. You must take decisive and precise action, based on knowledge of how to start a start-up or small business and how to reinvent yourself.

I want to wish you and yours a happy new year, full of joy, abundance, and good health!

Opher Brayer

Related articles

How Can You Brand Yourself?

A topic which I have been pondering for years is becoming more and more important, both for business people in particular and all people in general: the personal branding of each one of us.

Even if you are the “talent” that everyone is searching for, your life won’t necessarily become easier. How many people know about you? How many people remember your name? How many have heard about your successes? How many times was the credit for these successes taken from you?

In the past branding was the result of the work of a public relations office or a business which wanted to promote a product or service. Today, people all over the world understand that in order to stand out from the crowd and be special and in order to be remembered in the networking world, they must brand themselves in such a way that will differ them from everyone around, competitors and others.

Personal branding is, indeed, an individual and unique thing for every person, but there are several tools one can use to create a buzz and interest. First, I suggest that my clients find their hidden asset, which is not the profession or field, but rather a skill a person acquires with time. I mean, not the “what”, but rather the “how”; the way in which the person reaches his goals and uses his hidden asset in different fields, utilizing it in the most effective way.

When considering personal branding, you need to ask “in relation to what situation do I wish to brand myself?” and “who is the target audience of this branding”, because the branding changes according to circumstances, audience and time. But is this a fact? True, the skills you may show at the office will differ from the ones you may show at a social event, but, since our focus is not what skills you have but rather who you are, the longevity and suitability of your branding may fit and hold in different circumstances, audiences and periods of time.

How can you brand yourself?

A short questionnaire can help each person find their hidden asset and use it for personal branding.

1. Write down what, in your opinion, makes you special in your professional field?

2. Ask six people, three with whom you worked in the past and three with whom you have been working lately, and try to engage what they think is your strength, what makes you special, what makes you stand out.

3. Compare the answers and redefine your relative advantage and your personal talent.

4. Write down three answers to the following question: If this is the definition of my branding, what can it offer me?

Even if you are exceptionally talented in your field, don’t be complacent! You must build your personal branding systematically and appear unique in the field. Aspire to be “the purple cow” in a herd of brown cows.

The uniqueness will clarify to others the value you can offer them.

You know me, I market very little and manage to create, and not incidentally, high demand. If a person gives the following answer:

– How is work?

– Working hard… You know how it is?!

Imagine a person who answers instead:

– working smart… You know how it is?!

If we receive the first answer, we may feel empathy toward the replier. If we receive the second one, we may think “What an arrogant SOB!”

But the actual question is directed at you: Do you work hard or smart?

Three months of work in front of cameras got me one only program on TV. I added a short marketing effort and managed to land hundreds of potential clients. Meaning, 40 hours of work with the production company and the person I coached created for the next quarter almost $ 300,000.

So you tell me, is that working hard or working smart?

OK… I am a little bit arrogant. So what? Is that so bad from time to time?

If you fail at planning, you will plan your failure.

The calculated work of the last  months has started me on the right foot toward my new projects. If you wish to learn or be part of them, just say the word.

So have a great day.

Opher Brayer

How to Achieve Good Relationship Marketing

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After reading an in-depth and fascinating research by Professor Patricia Sorce about Relationship Marketing, I realized that there is a higher level approach to the subject then what we already know. It has to do with the Hidden Assets of personal relationships, networking and The Value System. I decided to take some time and think about how to help companies implement all the different integrals together, in order to succeed in achieving a good relationship marketing service.

After looking back at some of the companies I worked with, I noticed a pattern. At the beginning they all had good personal relationships, both internally between the employees, and externally with the costumers and suppliers, but once they grew and expanded they no longer managed to keep such personal relationships.

I was wondering what happened along the way that caused this, and I reached the conclusion that once a company expands it has more difficulties, basically due to time consumption and complacency, in keeping up close and friendly relationships.I read in the book

I read in the book “Blink” that most doctors being sued for malpractice are the less kind and empathic ones to patients, rather then the ones that are empathic but actually make mistakes. The reason for this is that patients do not want to sue people they like. A research presented in the book showed that empathic doctors spend, in an average, three more minutes with a patient then the ones that are less empathic. Also, the empathic doctors listened more to what patients ask, and answer with respect to that. This emphasized how more empathy and three additional minutes make so such difference.

I think that the same goes for Relationship Marketing. By paying more attention to your colleagues, asking questions and really caring for your customers needs and wished, you could maintain a good and close relationship, one that will promise loyalty and some times even new friendships. The worst that could happen is that you will miss a few more minutes in life, though I actually think that you will gain time. After all, maintaining a working relationship with an existing client will cost only 10% (time and money) from trying to recruit a new one.

What is your approach to Relationship Marketing? How does your company maintains Relationship Marketing between employees and clients?

Opher


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