Marketing Innovation by Alan Weiss

When in doubt what to write, quote someone else! It never fails to read Alan Weiss’ blog and one last week I thought was awfully good. I think you will agree. Economic times can be tough for many right now, but as always Alan puts a realistic spin on it. I hope you enjoy…


Copyright © 2008 Alan Weiss. Visit the original article at

My wife and I were driving to workout this morning and she mentioned a minor technical problem she was having sending email to board members on one of her endless committees. We discussed it and she told me that—I am not making this up—one organization had hired a former Israeli rocket scientist to help part-time with the IT work

I asked if she thought his credentials were sufficient for the kind of extensive help she needed. We drove on in silence.

But, it got me wondering about a great idea. In this “tough” economy, why wouldn’t a technological expert offer his or her services for one hour a week to the two dozen or more major non-profit institutions in the Greater Providence area? If you charged $100 per visit and showed up for one hour each week, that person would undoubtedly resolve issues that were burning up scores of volunteer and employee hours, which could be used for better purposes. (Don’t worry about value based pricing for the moment, I’m just demonstrating how you can make money to put bread on the table AND forge long-lived, potentially value based relationships.)

If a dozen organizations hired you, and this is an activity that a donor or board member might readily sponsor, that means that you would earn about $1,200 a week or $60,000 a year, for less than two days of work per week with no overhead other than local transportation. In addition, there would be spin-off business with board members, other organizations, faculty, non-profit managers, and so on. You could use value based pricing there, since you wouldn’t be obligated to give your special non-profit rate, and perhaps move into six figures in total. (If two-dozen hired you, that’s $2,400 per week or $120,000 per year for a little more than half your time.)

My point is, whether or not this would work—and I believe there is a huge market for it from watching my wife’s activities and those of others on boards on which I serve—there are myriad opportunities to find and expand business in any economy. I’ve seen people who travel to homes to clean pets in vans, and others who clean up pet waste in yards.

I’ve seen corporate coaches move easily into individual career counseling as people are laid off, and teachers become advisors for home-schooling systems. Whenever the economy suffers, the self-help market expands in inverse proportion. What services and offerings do you have or can you create that add value to people in that market and with those needs?

My admonition is that there are opportunities all around. You can consider yourself a “victim of circumstances” or lucky to be flexible enough to continually turn out lemonade.

But here’s the tough part: It’s your call.

© Alan Weiss 2008. All rights reserved.

The Answer is in the Room

I just returned from a very successful Boot Camp in Seattle yesterday. Thank you to those who attended…we had a lot of fun.

One thing that never ceases to amaze me is how important the group sessions are. Anyone who instructs or facilitates knows this fact – the answer is in the room. In other words, usually a question can always be answered by another attendee in the room. There was a question yesterday in the Boot Camp about PowerPoint and a couple different Campers had great suggestions and resources they were able to share with the group.

I encourage all of you to find a group of like-minded individuals to form a Mastermind Group. Regardless of how formal (or informal) you want to be, you will find your peers to have great knowledge. I just recently started up a Mastermind group with four other associates and it has paid dividends just in the short time we’ve been together.

Remember…the answer is in the room.


P.S. I’m planning two more Boot Camps in 2008. Make sure you get in on the fun. Here’s what one boot camper wrote – “Dan makes his class feel at ease…he really sets up attendees for success. I found the material on storytelling very valuable. I did re-tool my elevator speech and feel it is more effective.” Thanks for your kind words. Next time, will you join us? More to come…

Seattle Boot Camp

I’m very excited about my upcoming Seattle Boot Camp. There are now 19 participants for this all day event. The variety of the members will make this a great opportunity for all of them to learn from not only me but each other.

The opportunity to learn…Hmmm.

Have you ever run across someone that just wasn’t coachable? Makes you wonder why. To be humble enough to admit you aren’t the repository for all answers sometimes can be hard to do. How coachable are you?

I’m still amazed at how much one session with my mentor returns to me. I hope I’m doing the same for the people I mentor. Just the opportunity to advance your skill will end up improving the condition of others you are set to help in your career. It’s actually a wonderful ripple effect.

As long as you are willing to learn and be coachable.

Are you?


P.S. If you’re reading this on Monday, here’s your chance to see how coachable you are. There is still room to register for my boot camp. I can take 5 more. Why don’t you be one of them. To register, click here…

Are You Enthusiastic?

Just this week, I had the opportunity to meet with several budding entrepreneurs. I gave them a presentation on speaking in business. I was really inspired by their attitude to learning. After my presentation, several participants came and asked me tons of questions on how to improve themselves. It was amazing the enthusiasm they had and the desire to learn and improve.

Just think if we attacked our careers with the same enthusiasm as we had when we first got started. Too many times, we can get discouraged, disgusted, and just plain tired. That’s the time we need to remember what it was like AND how we felt in the beginning.

One of my mentors, 2000 World Champion of Public Speaking Ed Tate (there’s that word mentor again) told me that he has a way of reminding himself about being positive. He wears a rubber band around his wrist and every time he gets a negative thought, he snaps himself around the wrist. In a sense, he “snaps” himself back into the positive mind frame.

You may not want to go to that extreme, but find something that works for you. Keep your personal and business spirit fresh.


P.S. I’ve recently started a mentoring/coaching program for business professionals who want to improve their speaking and presentation. Because of my schedule, I’m limiting the number to ten people. If you want to get more information on how you can become one of those ten, please call me at 360-271-1592 or e-mail me at

Staying active on the blog trail

OK…I admit it. I’ve been very inconsistent on my blogging. It seems this Rotary online auction has taken a great deal of time and effort. Don’t get me wrong…it’s very important and I urge you to help support our cause by clicking on the link.

All of a sudden, I’ve now remembered one of my goals is to blog every day. Funny how getting away from January 1 can make you forget your goals. I need to re-commit.

What about you?

Are you behind or lagging on some of your goals? Take the time today – March 6 – to re-commit to your goals and see if it doesn’t energize you.


Do you compete in Toastmasters?

If you are in Toastmasters, you have probably had the opportunity to compete in a speech competition. That time of year is now rolling around again for the International Speech Competition which will crown the 2008 World Champion of Public Speaking. Each year, more than 25,000 Toastmasters vie for that title. Last year, I won my district competition and competed at the Region level. This evening, I’ve been working on my contest speech for this year.

Why is competing important? Well, if you’ve ever been an athlete, you know the value of competition is that it prepares you for challenges the world throws at you. You learn discipline, teamwork, perseverance, courage, and poise, to name just a few. When you compete in a speech competition, you gain valuable experience for life too.

Think about the next time you have to give a huge sales presentation. How about your next huge job interview? Or, do you need to give a eulogy at a funeral or memorial service of a loved one? When you compete, you face a great deal of pressure and must rise to the occasion. It actually prepares you for some of the pressure-packed scenarios I just mentioned. Just as in sports, competing in speaking can reap great benefits for you and help prepare you for life’s toughest speaking moments.

If you are eligible, I recommend you throw your hat into the competition ring, either for the speech or evaluation contest. You will gain valuable experience and have fun, too.


P.S. If you want to gain some more valuable presenting experience for business, my boot camp is just for you! The early bird special expires on Monday, so sign up today at