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John Fifford, publisher of "Indy Smallbiz"

When change happens, change.

This is a continuation of my  interview with John Gifford, publisher of “Indy Smallbiz.Indy.” John purchased a newspaper in 2008 and almost immediately realized that the present newspaper format was not where he wanted to be. With that in mind, John moved on to creating his “tribe” of people and what he calls  his “Boutique Marketing.” 

John you really had to take a leap,  how did you know what to do?

I didn’t know what to do but if you want to know what to do just ask your customers.  Unfortunately if the customer wants something different, no one wants to listen. We talk about customer service but it really begins when you start to listen to what customer’s want and then develop a model to make it happen. I was also looking for something that was exhilarating and I really liked. So my strategy was to rule out what I hated and focused on what I liked and what I felt I could do.

I started  Simon Sinek’s  model from his book, “Start with Why.” All organizations and careers function on 3 levels. What you do, how you do it and why you do it.  The problem is, most don’t even know that “Why” exists. In other words, ask yourself, what drives you? This is the impetus that will get you going in the right direction. 

Wilbur Wright was looking for a way for man to fly. He broke it into parts solving one problem and then on to the next. I identify with Wilbur Wright’s motivation: I like to solve problems. The problem I am solving now is how to use a publishing site as an “attractor,” both for readers, as well as authors. By helping  the authors to share their expertise online, readers will be drawn to their expert skills for meeting their business needs. Add a cross-promotional approach in which the authors promote each others’ articles via social media and email lists and you add a targeted increase in readers – readers that count, those who are already customers of other authors’ businesses. Deepen the connection with Radio indysmallbiz.com programs hosted by the online authors and you are talking about a tightened bond through another means of communication, one that can provide immediate interaction between listener and host (otherwise known as author on the online publishing site).

See what is driving you; what really motivates you. I invented a new shoestring at age  5 , later on in my varied and checkered career I went on to work out a complex delivery model that needed to be solved for social services, and have been solving problems ever since, but until a little under a year ago I didn’t clearly identify to myself what was really driving me and motivating me.

Life is all about finding solutions. It sounds like the next phase will be very exciting and I’m glad to be a recipient of John’s problem solving mind and ideas for the future.

Lisbeth Calandrino is an award winning author, trainer and blogger. She is  author of the book, Red Hot Customer Service, 35 ways to heat up your business and ignite your sales. Lisbeth can provide customer service/ sales training using the principles of her book at your place of business or through video conferences.

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