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Sunday, March 01, 2009

Construction marketing: How to get rich fast (the slow way)

How tempting it is that you could just phone an 888 number, or send an email with your credit card number, and find the answer to your questions. You need business fast, and there has to be a way to make money quickly.

In fact, I felt some of those urges in the past week, when the financial reports indicated our business has reached a red line. But I know the real answer: Fast, quick money is possible -- I've earned it many times in the past 20 years -- but it only happens when you forget the get-rich-quick mind-set.

Perhaps the best example comes from my life's most fundamental experience. My living standards skyrocketed within two years at the height of the early 90s recession when I learned how to focus on what really matters in personal relationships, and forgot about the money. (We celebrated our 15th anniversary last November.)

Conversely, last week I enjoyed an entertaining get rich quick video on the Internet promoting greedy opportunity-seekers a course explaining how you could play an arbitrage game involving and Google Adwords to make some quick money. Just send the online promoter a few hundred bucks, and you will have your fast answer, the video promised.

Digging just a little further, I learned this arbitrage technique had worked in the past, but after several people got in the game at the same time, the opportunity has narrowed so much that it doesn't work any more -- except to those selling online get-rich-quick schemes. After all, if you have half a brain, you know that if the idea really works as promised in the online postings, you would just continue or expand your existing business rather than selling the secret to thousands of potential competitors.

Nevertheless, you may still wondering if you can get rich quick. You can, but you need to think slowly and selflessly. Here are my three quick money making solutions (and I'm not charging you a cent for the ideas here.)

Focus on what you can give, share, and how you can respect and help others, rather than how much money you can make (but do this in a community and environment of potential clients).

The reciprocity principal is powerful -- you reap what you sow -- but only is effective when you put aside your results expectations. You need to focus on sharing generously within the relevant community. Eventually, you will connect to the mega network and lead providers; and because your selfless reputation is so strong, you'll find you can in an emergency call on favours quickly. Often real money arrives really fast seemingly without effort when people phone or email you with business you didn't expect to receive.

Learn how to advertise systematically and effectively.

You may be successful with a quick advertising hit -- but more likely you will discover your successful advertising strategy through some trial and error. However, you can gain clues about what is likely to work through a combination of resources: Conversations with your current and previous clients (they will tell you what they like, read and watch), really good advertising representatives who will counsel you appropriately, and Internet forums and sites such as this blog can provide some guidance and assistance.

(See the free offer on the sidebar -- and note the previous point which explains why I provide this service. I will share ideas even if you are not anywhere near the market areas served by our publications. You might also wish to consult Michael Stone who has thought the advertising options through carefully.)

Once you have a successful advertising formula, you can moderate the lead-generating tap to provide enough business regardless of the economy. If you need more business, you simply buy more advertising.

Treat your current and former clients with respect and provide incredible, memorable service.

Last night (yes, at 8 pm on Saturday), a recent client emailed a request. I happened to be watching the hockey game on TV with the laptop in hand (alas the Senators lost in overtime), and could fulfill the client's request immediately and exactly as he requested, with a few clicks of the button. He emailed to thank me, noting how self-employed people are often on the job Saturday night -- and said he wishes to place a full page ad in the next issue. So I can now say: "I made money quickly at my computer while watching television." Sounds like one of those Internet get-rich-quick ads, doesn't it.

Remember, your employees represent your business all the time. Encourage them to think the same way about their work and their clients.

No, I don't expect employees to give up their weekends for the business and be on call 24-7. (We have a rule that it is okay to send emails over the weekend, but no one has to reply until Monday a.m.) But I know things are right when they connect, share, communicate and work with their clients in mind, while maintaining life balance. One employee is at a national conference now, for example, with his wife. It is something of a budget breaker expense that could be seen as difficult to justify in the current economy. But he is meeting with movers and shakers among the client base, and has reported between social events, meetings and dinners on the connections and business he has developed there.

So, you can can make money fast, but you will only succeed by taking the slow approach. Respect others, deliver genuine value, and respond quickly (including after hours when it doesn't sacrifice your life quality) and you will succeed.

You can test how I apply these principals by writing a comment or emailing me at

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