In this article, we’re going to talk about how to take a hard look at your current resources and get the most out of them to maximize resources in your small business (time, energy and money). This can help your capital go further and increase your small business profit margin.
Recognize the Obvious
Sometimes when you are too close to something, you can’t make out the big picture. You need to step back and really take a hard look at the resources you currently have in front of you. You are surrounded by opportunities that can boost your career and help your business become more successful. It’s often a good idea to have an objective observer give you feedback. This could be another successful entrepreneur or a business coach.
Don’t sit around waiting for breakthroughs you need to create them yourself. A breakthrough is merely a new way of doing things or finding a new thing to do for the same or better results. You should be having regular brainstorming sessions and encouraging your team to come forward with breakthroughs or ideas any time they have them.
Some great examples of breakthroughs are:
- A health and beauty company discovers a side effect of a product that can be re-marketed and sold.
- A company creates a roll-on deodorant inspired by the shape and size of a ball point pen.
- The founder of Nike poured rubber onto a waffle iron and created the most innovative and successful running shoe ever.
When attracting or strategizing for a breakthrough there are some key objectives you need to keep in mind. They are:
- Look for the hidden opportunity in every situation.
- Look for at least on cash windfall for your business every three months.
- The more value for your client, the better your breakthrough.
- Create multiple streams of idea to find the best breakthroughs.
- Effective breakthroughs remove all risk or resistance.
Face the Facts
Before you can put your breakthroughs to work you need to face the facts of the processes and systems that are not working for you and work to correct or get rid of them. System analysis is a good way to do this. Once you have a listing of your strengths and weaknesses, you need to compare those to the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors.
There are some great questions you can present to you and your team to get a handle on where your business is right now. They are:
- Why did I first start this business? Why am I in this industry?
- What products/services did I offer then? Which were the most popular?
- Why are my customers/clients buying from me right now?
- How did I generate new customers/clients then?
- Which of my marketing efforts were bringing in the best results?
Once you’ve got some answers to these questions, you’ll know better how to approach your weaknesses.
Here are three more ideas to help you maximize resources in your small business (time, energy and money):
Reveal Your Business’ Soul
Every business has a soul and you likely felt it the strongest when your business was just starting. It’s that passion, newness and momentum you had at the very beginning. Sometimes that can get lost along the way as your business gets stagnant and set in its ways. You have to break out of that rut and get back to your business’ true soul.
The philosophy of putting your client’s needs above your own is the true key to success. You need to serve your clients not sell to them. They want to build a relationship based on trust, not a used car. Add to these responsibilities your ability to solve problems, handle special situations, be a friend to your clients and focus on offering valuable, high quality products/services. Only then will you get back to the basics and find you have more resources than you thought.
From Breaking Even to Breaking the Bank
One of the classic and most used ways to attract clients is to offer them a ridiculously low price on their initial purchase and lock them in for future purchases. You see this approach with movie or book clubs and even credit card companies who offer lower interest rates for the first six months.
Essentially, you are offering them a deal on their first purchase and then you offer them back-end and add-on products along the way. These are naturally higher prices and will bring them in to more of an intimate relationship with you and your company.
Stand Up and Stand Out
You need to stand out from the pack among your competitors. They only way you can do this through consistency and value. You do this by discovering what your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) is and perfecting it. Here are some tips to help you find and develop your USP:
- Look for unfilled needs in your industry.
- Use preemptive marketing.
- Use a technique that is clear and to the point.
Here’s the last set of three proven principles to help you to maximize resources in your small business (time, energy and money):
An Offer They Can’t Refuse
The secret to success is to stay ahead of your competitors- maintain the competitive edge. To do that you need make it easier for your customers/clients to say “yes” rather than “no”. You do this by eliminating all the psychological, financial, physical, emotional and other road blocks they may have.
You can take the risks for them by offering warranties and guarantees that make the customer feel more confident in you, your business and your products/services. You also must be serious about your offer and follow through if a situation does arise. The quickest way to the bottom is to play games or take back a warranty or guarantee.
Would You Like Fries With That?
It’s the oldest trick in the book. I mean, really, how many times a week do you fall for it? Every time you sell a product or service, you need to offer an add-on, upgrade or back-end product to go with it. These products must be complimentary to the original product being purchased and must create a higher perceived value.
Avoid the Edge of the Cliff
Continuing to test and measure your systems, products, marketing methods and all other aspects of your business allow you to see problems before they happen and therefore avoid falling off the edge of the cliff.
Here are a few specific areas you can test for potential improvements:
- Sales Copy
- Customer Service
- Sales Letters
- Sales Presentations
- Employee-Customer Interaction
Through testing these different areas you will find products/services where you can raise the price, maybe others where you can lower the price or offer that product as an incentive item, and find many others areas for improvement that will better utilize your current resources.
If you want help working through any of these or the previous areas, try our FREE powerful business coaching session to work with one of our amazing business coaches.
There are 5 major components to writing amazing small business advertising copy.
Here is a simple, yet highly effective model of the 5 major categories to include in your amazing advertising copy. Note that the order of these are very important!
- Command Attention
- Showcase Benefits of Products/Services
- Prove the Benefits
- Persuade People to Embrace the Benefits
- Call to Action
Advertising is basically sales in print. So, you need to think about the unique benefits your products/services offer and showcase that in a persuasive way. You need to emphasize the results, benefits and emotions your prospects will experience after working with you, not just features, your credentials or how it works.
Let’s expand on each of these 5 components that make up amazing advertising copy:
- Command Attention: This is accomplished with the headline. You need an attention-grabber that generates curiosity and makes people want to know more about your products and/or services. The best headlines give a vivid portrayal of the benefits or show how a problem can be avoided with your products/services. The headline is the advertisement for the advertisement. It can also be a bold, powerful statement or a question.
- Showcase Benefits: You have to showcase the benefits of your products and services and, more importantly, show how they will solve or prevent a big problem, challenge or frustration. They need to know what’s in it for them. Include useful, factual and clear information to show precisely what the benefits, results and emotional shifts are and how they are going to help the customer. Three to seven bullet points work well here.
- Offer Proof: This is where you prove what the advertisement is offering. You need to establish you have a method to deliver. Consider information that establishes credibility and past performance. Tell a short success story from one of your past clients or offer statistical evidence. You might offer some sort of guarantee here as well.
- Persuade: You need to add compelling reasons for your potential customers to purchase your products/services. Use a direct offer approach. Don’t be afraid to offer to help them. We’re all in business (hopefully) because we like helping others. Another way to add a sense of urgency is to make it a limited time or quantity offer and create scarcity. This will influence your potential customers to feel like they have to act now. Which leads into the last component …
- Call to Action: You need to compel your potential customers to DO something. How do they get the wonderful results you can help them with? What do they need to do? Be very clear and simple. Just ONE thing. Do they need to check out your site, sign up for your newsletter, purchase your products, contact you about services…something else? Offer a freebie-a booklet, sample, product, bonus, demo, consult, limited time price…the list goes on. There are lots of ways to get potential customers excited about ordering and help them feel like they are getting an amazing deal.
Good advertisements include all of these components and are not complete without any of them. You can sit down and think through any one of these components, then figure out how to best place them together for the most effectiveness. We can help you with this too. Try our FREE test drive of our amazing, comprehensive Small Business Marketing eLearning platform to learn how to put together great advertisements through amazing advertising copy.
What are the best marketing ideas and how can you kick-start your small business marketing?
There are so many marketing ideas and tactics to choose from. It can be very confusing and frankly hard to get the results you want.
Today I’d like to teach you about the three most important start up marketing tools you need to get and keep new customers. If you’re asking yourself “What are the best marketing ideas to start with?” the answer is right here:
- In person: It’s essential you meet with customers/clients in person whenever possible. This shows you respect them and take the time to work with your clients to give personal attention to each of them.
- Follow up letter: Always take a moment to send a follow up letter about what you talked about, new agreements or partnerships made and to thank them for taking the time to meet with you. Likewise, you should always send thank you letters or small gifts to partners you find success with.
- Phone call: Use a telephone call to follow up with them to talk again about the matters you talked about in your meeting and offer any assistance you can to help their business run smoothly and more successfully.
None of these will work if you don’t have a quality product/service to back you up!
Here are the key steps for putting together your start-up marketing tools:
- Research potential customers, buyers, competitors and their preferred methods of distribution.
- Talk to potential customers. Take a hard look at your product from a customer’s perspective and see what it needs to be successful.
- Follow up with your 3-step process from above.
- Develop systems for contact follow through, quality control standards and customer service.
- Develop post-sale follow up system to keep lines of communication open is customers and build on your current relationship which increases future purchases.
“Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs” Peter Drucker, management consultant.
Here’s another one I love from an icon:
“If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.” Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motor Company. Walk a mile in your prospects’ shoes.
This lesson has offered you the tools to put together a start-up marketing plan that can be used over and over again to help your customer base and business grow in a manageable way. We also answered the question: “What are the best marketing ideas?” The tools offered in our FREE test drive offer these very same things.
Want to know how to educate your customers?
What are the best methods for educating prospects and clients?
How to Educate your customers about what, you may be thinking … and why the heck should I do this?
Well, consider this, many businesses focus solely on attracting new customers, but you NEED to spend a good chunk of your time retaining current and former customers. To tell you the truth, this is the lowest hanging fruit in your marketing funnel. These are people you already know to be a good sales potential…they’ve already bought from you! They know, like and trust you already!
Take the time to market and sell new products to your old customers and less time trying to sell old products to new customers and you will see a drastic change in your sales, customer quality and branding position.
Here are a couple of key elements to use to retain your current customers:
1. Stay in contact: This means by phone, email, e-newsletter, in person-by pigeon if you have too!
2. Post-Purchase Assurance: This means you need to follow up with customers. Your customers need to feel like they are being supported for their purchase and with the item they purchased. How many times have you purchased a product, then felt completely abandoned? Something as simple as a Thank You note with your contact or customer service information can go along way in retaining a great customer.
3. Deals & Guarantees: Always offer your current customers the best deals and guarantees you have. Show them you appreciate their business or even come up with a club specifically to reward loyal customers. You can also do this with a preferred pricing option.
4. Integrity: Using good business practices and simply upholding integrity, dignity and honesty go along way with customers. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of swindling and crap out there and the safer and more confident you make your customers feel, the more they will trust you and that makes for an amazingly supportive and loyal customer.
There are three cornerstone ideas to a successful business:
• Quality product/service
• Offering useful products/services that solve a problem for or enhance the life of a customer
• Offer subjects your customers find interesting
Use this approach of educating your customers and offering them real information and insight and you will be rewarded with loyalty and success.
Stop wasting all your time on new prospects while your current customers fall by the wayside!
As Jay Abraham says, “Your best prospects are your existing customers. If you’ve been putting all your marketing efforts into acquiring new customers, stop and diverts some of your resources into reselling, upselling, cross-selling to those same customers. In every ways possible – through package inserts, regular mailings, special offers – stay in touch with those customers and get them used to buying from you.”
So, there it is! Remember, our FREE test drive can help you put together the resources and tools to do exactly that. We can help you educate your customers and you can watch the benefits pay offer many-fold.
Today we’ll talk about shameless self-promotion and how it can benefit you and your small business.
That’s right, I said it! Shameless! After all, we are learning from President Donald Trump here. Bold, shouting, twittering and unafraid.
It’s all about self-promotion! Self-promotion comes in many forms and you can use different tactics to get your name out there. Look at politicians! Talk about self-promotion and in some not so discreet ways, at that. But, seriously, consider some of the major superstars we all know. Frank Kern, Madonna, Paris Hilton, Howard Stern and Bill Clinton, just to name a few.
We all self promote. Did you raise your hand in class to show the teacher you knew the answer? Of course! That’s self-promotion. This is the kind of self-promotion we are talking about. With dignity, class and the knowledge to back it up. If you self-promote only to prove you don’t really know what you’re talking about, you’re going to lose business.
Natural self-promoters are the former and I want to tell you about the three major traits they have and use to build themselves and their businesses.
- The first is position. You need to position yourself around people who can make a difference in your life. You need to do this frequently. You need to wake up every morning and ask yourself “Who can I meet today who will make a difference in my success?” In fact, go a step further, write it in big, bold letters and tape it on your bathroom mirror.
Also consider these important questions:
Who can help me meet my goals? Who can teach me what I want to learn? Who is at the level I want to be in 2-5 years?
Is it a prospective customer/client? A colleague with contacts? An association with key members who may become prospects?
Don’t settle into interacting with the people who are the easiest to access. You need to reach outside your comfort zone and there you will find a wealth of new connections that will bring you great success.
- Now, let’s talk about Style. No, this doesn’t mean you need an Armani suit to bring in more business (though, let’s be honest-it wouldn’t hurt). What this really means is how are you different from your competitors and others in your industry. What makes you memorable with customers?
If you are meeting a lot of people and they don’t remember you once you leave the room, you have a serious problem! This means you have an opportunity to present yourself in a more memorable way.
There are lots of little subtle changes you can make. Reassess your:
- Business cards
- Company message
- Your picture
- Your wording
Maybe even, your hairstyle (of course, now we’re back to the expensive suit, but it really works!). Some folks have enough money and visibility that a hairstyle doesn’t matter – I won’t mention any names …
You get the idea. There are lots of little ways you can work on making your image and business more successful. Also, consider how you sound on the phone and how you greet people at meetings or other events. Think about your 30-sec elevator speech.
- The third trait of natural promoters is repetition. You can’t say it once and leave it at that. Successful self-promoters say it as many times as they need until they get a response. Would you remember a commercial for Coca-Cola if you only saw it once, no! You see it over and over and eventually you head out to the store.
You, also, have to make multiple impressions on those you are networking with in order to build brand awareness. Repetition is in direct connection with positioning. Once you find people to network with, reach out and find hundreds more who can help in your success as well.