Working on the road has its advantages. As location-independent entrepreneurs, it’s easy and cheap to attend fun conferences like Blog Paws, an annual pet blogger gathering that’s helped us grow our Tripawds community and my Etsy shop. Each year we leave the event with awesome ideas and tools, like these two books that can help you run a great business from your RV.
Build Your Zombie Army with Peter Shankman
Peter Shankman’s book, Zombie Loyalists: Using Great Service to Create Rabid Fans is one of the best tools we took away from Blog Paws.
We’d didn’t know who Peter was before the conference, but we’re definitely familiar with his work, including the founding of Help A Reporter Out (HARO). His Blog Paws keynote rocked da house and left everyone awestruck. Peter’s approach to building a Zombie Loyalist army is helping us grow our business. Here’s how we’re doing it.
Go one step above crap.
We consumers all suffer from what Shankman calls “service crapitis.” It’s a disease that starts with lame businesses that take us for granted and treat us like crap.
From cell phone companies to car mechanics, we are so used to crappy treatment that if a business serves up just one little “better-than-crap” experience on a regular basis, we’re going to exude Zombie-like loyalty to that business, tell all our friends and together we’ll grow a zombie army for that business.
“Imagine if you could make your customers so in love with you, so amazed at their experience with you, each and every time, that they’d have no choice but to tell the world how great you are? They couldn’t even conceive of going to your competitor, because they’ve been so programmed to shop with you. They don’t just come back; they brings friends. Lots of friends. And they do this … Every. Single. Time. Remember, we know this about zombies: they feed in packs. Once you’re a zombie, you rarely do anything alone.” — Peter Shankman
How to Build a Zombie Army
As small business owners, if we can treat our customers just one step better than crap, we’ve just laid out a path to success. Shankman gives excellent examples of how we can get there:
- “Reach out to your customers and say hi with something of value to them without selling to them.
- Give them something that they can’t get anywhere else – an experience that only they can have, and yes, can brag about if they so desire. (And chances are, they will desire.)
- Check in on them, not in a creepy/stalky way, but in a way that makes them recognize that you understand how important they are to you.
- Be top of mind. It worked for Barry Diller.
- Empower your employees to do this. Every single one of them!
- And finally: serve up a steaming platter of BRAINS: Bring Random Amazement Into Normal Situations.”
Serving up BRAINS is as easy as showing interest and kindness to your customers (a free goodie, recognizing a special event or just saying “hi”) will go a long way toward building your army. BRAINS keeps customers happy and bragging about how special they are to your company. They’ll tell their friends and build your army. Again and Again.
Much of Zombie Loyalists is geared helping larger companies learn how to take a deeper look at their processes so they stop serving up crap. But even those of us with no employees get plenty of take-aways from the book.
In fact, we mirco-entrepreneurs can grow our Zombie Loyalist armies faster and better because we are the only ones responsible for creating exceptional customer experiences. It all starts with one small step: imagine a world with no more service crapitis! With Shankman’s direction, we can end this terrible disease. Buy his book. Now. And tell a friend.
Grow Your Business, Leave a Legacy
At Blog Paws, Kathleen taught a course called “Your Message, Your Mission, Your Movement; Discover How to Build a Profitable, Purpose Driven Business.” Her best-selling book “Power Up for Profits” tells how.
Power Up for Profits is geared toward women entrepreneurs, but even guys will benefit from reading it. If you read it all the way through, you have no more excuses for failure: Kathleen drops all the right tools in your hands to help you make your business succeed. Use them and you’ll improve lives and leave a lasting legacy.
One of Kathleen’s specialties is creating and marketing information products (think, e-books, webinars, etc), which makes this book perfect for anyone who wants to run a business from their RV. No matter what kind of business you run, Power Up for Profits tells why and how to:
- Identify your market
- Identify your expertise
- Position your expert status
- Package your expertise
- Market and sell
You’ll learn why it’s so important to be consistent in applying these concepts, and the suggestions are simple enough for the most novice start-up owner (but still beneficial for experienced entrepreneurs). If you fail at your endeavor, it’s because you didn’t put her strategies into practice.
“Our life’s work often resides within an obvious passion.”
What I especially love about Kathleen’s overall approach is that she takes a spiritual approach to achieving business success by teaching us how to honor our life’s work without feeling guilty about making money from it. That notion rings so true with me! I always used to feel somewhat guilty about making money from our Tripawds community and I think that guilt may have prevented our success during our first years. Not anymore. Kathleen’s approach toward shedding this guilt has set us off on the right direction to financial success.
“If you believe in what you do, you owe it to your market to let them know what you offer. To not do this is a disservice to your market.”
Buy Power Up for Profits and watch your location-independent business take off!
If you have a favorite book that’s helped your business grow while living on the road, let us know about it!