Did YOU Understand What You were Getting Into?

Did you know?

Did you understand?

Business is challenging!!

It’s not just about YOUR craft, or what you are good at!! There’s more to it!!

Did you know what you were getting into when you started your business? Was it more than you expected? Were there things that overwhelmed you? I know I was clueless. But what was really cool about being a business owner was the opportunity to do the work, the personal development, the leadership development and master the skills of being a business owner!!

Marketing Your Business

Marketing Your Business is Challenging! But….
business marketing
You Don’t Have to Market Alone!

If you are marketing your business on your own, then you are probably working on a low budget or your business is too small to support large advertising campaigns. Even with larger budgets, people prefer to be cautious in these wild times of internet marketing and social media,  so that they are not taken by surprise.

What is it that you need for marketing your business efficiently? Here are a few suggestions that can prove very useful.

Knowledge is gold! People with a marketing degree who decide to start a business have very few obstacles in terms of strategic implementation. When you have a broad marketing view, tactical choices are a lot easier to make because you can judge the information on various tools, programs and systems with the mind of a professional.

But what if you are marketing your business without too complex knowledge in the marketing domain? What chance do you stand against competition?

Learn as you develop your business! The Internet provides hundreds if not thousands of free resources from where you can learn. It all depends on several factors that influence how you are marketing your business: the domain in which you operate, the market segment you service, the client database, the advertising systems you choose and the platform on which you work. Lots of local businesses have grown by word of mouth or viral marketing.

Yet, that is hardly enough for less exposed small companies. When you are marketing your business you need to take time and study each advertising program with everything that it involves from the financial investment to the time it requires for current tasks.

The right course of action requires the creation of a marketing plan that you afterwards follow along the different stages of business growth. Modifications to the initial plan may be necessary once in a while, but it is a good idea to be truthful to your goals.

When you move beyond the first stages of company growth, there will be other aspects that need to be taken care of.

Marketing your business requires a great effort to build and maintain credibility, customer loyalty and visibility in the market. It is not enough to make people familiar with your business, you also have to win their trust and hook them with a strong marketing message. Provide quality in everything that involves your business and you won’t be disappointed in terms of financial achievements.

Business Mistakes That Can KILL Your Business

There are 5 big business mistakes you can make that will kill a deal and possibly even do in your business.

When you learn what top business mistakes are you are better able to avoid them and prevent them from happening in your business.  The top five business mistakes that we see are:

  1. Not meeting the client’s expectations
  2. Mishandling a client crisis
  3. Taking on more than you can handle
  4. Putting all your eggs in one basket
  5. Up cash creek without a paddle

Any one or combination of these can not only kill the partnership, but have the ability to take down your company as well. We’re going to take a bit of time to talk about each
one of these, in this lesson we’ll cover the first two.

BIG Business Mistake #1: Not Meeting Client’s Expectations

It’s essential you give your client’s exactly what you promised during the negotiation portion of your relationship. If an event does happen where there is no way to meet the
client’s expectations, not only do you have to find a way to fix the situation, but you also have to find out where it all went wrong.

A couple of things could have contributed to this problem:

  1. Bad salesmanship. This could mean the salesperson was trying too hard to seal
    the deal and didn’t listen to the client’s needs.
  2. Lack of communication. This breakdown occurs between the salesperson and
    your operations department.

In order to avoid these mistakes, you need to put a clear plan of action into place that all of your sales staff needs to follow:

  • Think before you speak.
  • Give yourself a break.
  • Perfect your process.
  • Pre-format over-deliverables.
  • Stay hands-on throughout the entire process.
  • Define success.

BIG Business Mistake #2: Mishandling a Client Crisis

Crisis’ will happen, but how you respond and fix them will define your company and interaction with your clients’. You need to respond quickly and effectively. This will help
you gain even more trust and confidence from your client.

Some simple tips can help you deal with any client crisis:

  • Take responsibility and apologize no matter who is at fault.
  • Act swiftly and effectively.
  • Step in and take control of the situation.
  • Never point fingers or place blame.
  • Stay in constant communication with your client.
  • Stay calm throughout the situation.
  • Keep your eye on the ball.

Now, that you know the top two mistakes you can make to kill a big fish deal, you’ll know better how to avoid making these mistakes in the first place and know how to put a plan of action into place in case of a crisis.

Next time we’ll talk about the 3rd and 4th killer mistake you can make in working with big fish clients.
And the 3rd part of the series — HERE No Cash Flow….

If you need help with any of this, try our FREE Business Breakthrough Strategy Session; to get an overview on your marketing strategies and access to real consulting help.

Identify 5 Common Errors in Marketing Your Business

marketing your businessThe Challenges of Marketing Your Business Can Be Achieved

A solid understanding of the market is what makes marketing your business a success, yet, mistakes can appear any time along the way.

Costly mistakes are not an issue if you pay attention to details, follow a thorough marketing plan and constantly monitor the progress of your marketing and the impact on your business.

Here are some examples of common errors people make during marketing campaigns.

1. The wrong timing

Sometimes marketing your business, the efforts fail because people do not have a deep insight of market trends or they lack knowledge of customers’ behavior.

You may create the perfect plan, a fantastic offer and have a high quality product or service, but you may promote it at the wrong moment. For example, few people show any interest in sunscreen lotions in winter.

2. Failing to test your offer!

When preparing for a marketing campaign, it is important to anticipate the market’s reaction to your products. It is important to receive positive response so as to know that the timing we’ve mentioned above is right. A compelling offer functions in almost any circumstances, a discount, a gift or some form of incentive will do the trick and attract customers.

3. Failure to test headlines!

The message you send to customers when they first come into contact with your product is essential. Many marketing business efforts fail because investors do not take the time to test the customers’ reaction to sample products and evaluate the response. You should not invest lots of money, time and effort into a campaign without running some form of market research first and foremost.

4. Address relevant clients primarily!

Marketers should not overlook the importance of market segmentation. Competition is tough, the financial conditions are dire in almost any country, and companies no longer afford to lose customers. Even if you don’t manage to increase sales, at least you need to keep them at a positive level which means that you still make profit. Marketing Strategies should primarily focus on identifying the market segments that will respond well to a particular offer.

5. Failure to communicate with clients!

The exposure of a prospect to a business message has to be very extensive before he/she/they will take notice of it and actually react in the direction the marketer expects. Marketing communication involves more than sending some emails and posting ads in the local newspaper. It takes perseverance and constant study to determine the right media to advertise with. You have to come up with the most relevant forms of communication that correspond to your budget and keep your business profitable.

Figuring out marketing can be challenging. But it is essential. As a business owner or leader, marketing is HOW you build your business. It is HOW you grow your business. Without an effective marketing plan — you risk your business becoming and remaining stagnant. An effective strategic marketing plan, helps you to overcome that stagnation. In fact, I encourage you to fall in love with all parts of marketing.  When your marketing is working for YOUR business then it is growing your business and that becomes fun.  You start loving those marketing numbers.

That being said, be sure that you KNOW YOUR NUMBERS!!  Use my simple business assessment to determine where you are right now. Is your marketing strategic?  Strategic marketing puts together all of the pieces.

Is your marketing working as well as it should? Check out the assessment HERE.  It is completely complimentary.  You download the assessment and write all over it.  Just that process will be eye-opening. You will learn about what you are and are not doing well.

Schedule a Business Breakthrough Session: HERE

5 Killer Business Mistakes (part 2)

In the last post we covered the first two of the 5 biggest mistakes you can make in dealing with big fish clients.

Today we’ll cover the third and fourth ones:

1. Taking on More Than You Can Handle.

When you take on too much, your business can’t keep up and therefore you can easily lose control of everything and find yourself barely functioning. You want your business to be successful, no doubt, but you need to have a plan for how you will handle the growth. Your clients expect great customer service and highly quality products/services, they don’t know or care about your behind the scenes operations to get those things done.

Look for these signs that you are taking on more than you can handle:

  • Clients’ needs aren’t being met.
  • Employee morale is low, clients are upset and you’re in a panic.
  • You have to react in emergency mode to save accounts.
  • Your current clients are suffering from trying to keep up with new business.
  • Profits are going down.
  • You are just trying to pick up the pieces of your business.
  • Your clients/customers leave.
  • Resources are being reallocated.

There a trick called the Mock Fish Plan. This plan can help you react positively when you are facing some or all of these things and help you get your business back on track. This plan will:

  • Help increase sales in a short period of time.
  • Alter your products/services for the better.
  • Fulfill promises you made to your clients.

There are six steps to this plan:

  1. Bring in your best team and have them all help to meet the fish needs.
  2. Review your operational system.
  3. Anticipate future problems better.
  4. Communicate better.
  5. Include costs in your quotes.
  6. Always have a back-up plan.

2. All Your Eggs in One Basket

You can allow your company to become dependent on any one fish. Eventually or for certain periods there is going to be a slowing down period with your fish. In order to stay in the game you need to diversify.

If you’ve ever mishandled a fish, you could drive away potential fish as well. In order to keep balance and prepare for a strong future, there are a few things you can do.

  • These things include:
  • Stay in the loop and try to know what’s going on inside your fish company.
  • Constantly reinvent yourself and stay at the top of your industry.
  • Stay exclusive.
  • Try to secure multi-year commitments and contracts.
  • Spread your contracts out.
  • Price your products/services correctly.

You also need to work to reduce your dependency on your fish. This can generally be measures in sales or profits. Take a look back at the process we’ve used thus far to snag more fish to keep this all in balance.

These are the ways you can help avoid the killer mistakes that can make you lose it all. If you need help with any of these tips or tricks, try our FREE test drive to get the help you need fast.

Next time we’ll talk about the last of the killer mistakes and how to combat it from hitting your business hard.

Increasing Your Profitability

Are You Using the Five Step Profit Formula in YOUR Business?

Five Steps to Profits

Step 1: Lead Generation: most businesses that we talk to need more customers or clients. That means they probably need more leads coming into the business.
Step 2: Leads are great but if they don’t convert — do they help your profits? So mastering lead conversion is step #2.
Step 3: Transactions are the heart of your business. When you increase your transactions with your clients you increase your bottom line.
Step 4: Pricing — have you raised your prices recently? 5%, 10% — what is that impact?
Step 5: Your Profit Margins: You know you have to pay for things in your business — but have you looked at how you can manage them better?

Using the five step profit formula you are able to systematically increase your profits and transform your business.

We are using the profitability formula with every client and creating transformational results.

You as the leader need to understand the formula, marketing and the strategies that you are putting in place to grow. Maybe YOU are not the person implementing each tactic or strategy but YOU are the guide and holding the compass makes sure that you continue to go in the direction that YOU envisioned.

This is what I have been teaching!!  But NOW — I have changed the formula and added to it.  I call each step a profitability accelerator.

There are 8 Profitability Accelerators.

These are the 8 numbers that you can change in your business to increase your profits. Yes, there is work connected to each one.  But the really cool thing is that when you focus on each number and work to increase it by just 10% — the impact on your business is HUGE!!

In fact, you can double or nearly double your profits with just an increase of 10%.

So what are these profitability accelerators?

10 Questions Your Marketing Plan MUST Answer

Your Marketing Plan should answer these 10 Questions!!

marketing plan

Marketing plans are often neglected or ignored by business owners. But putting together a good marketing plan can actually SAVE you thousands and make you even more, because planning keeps you on track and focused.

In putting together a good marketing plan you need to ask yourself and answer ten questions!

1. Who Are YOU?

Part of your marketing plan is a description of your company. This should include your target market, products and services, unique value proposition, and your mission or vision.

And finally – your mission statement – why do you do what you do?  What is at the core of your business?  This is your mission.

2.  How is your business assessed? (check out our business assessment if you haven’t done so already.)

Your marketing plan should include an assessment of your business. A good way to do this is through SWOT analysis. SWOT creates an analysis of your business in terms of four factors – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.  Start off looking at WHAT you do really well….

3.  What are your marketing goals?

Your marketing goals are a subset of your business goals. They outline specific goals you need to achieve on the marketing side of your business in order to reach your overall business goals.

Marketing goals should follow the SMART criteria that we use for business goals.

4. How is your marketing tracked?

No matter how amazing and ambitious your goals sound, if you can’t track them, then you’re just shooting in the dark and won’t know where to shift your efforts with change.

5. What are your 4 P’s?

The 4 P’s are Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. We can use the 4 Ps to take a marketing objective and create an actual roadmap of concrete tactics which, once implemented, will help you to attain your business goals.

Product – Your products or services; in other words, what you’re offering.

Price – The price at which you set the product. This price should conform to the market and its expectations.

Place – Where you can put your offer in front of your market. This includes distribution channels and all other factors involved in getting the goods to buyers.

Promotion – How you can promote the product and spread the word.

6. What initiatives do you expect to complete?

From a quarterly perspective, what are the marketing initiatives you hope to achieve this year? What are your goals?

7. What resources are needed for each initiative?

Get clear on what you have and what you need to achieve the goals and initiatives that you set out.

8. What is your marketing budget?

As a general guideline, your marketing budget should be 1% to 10% of sales. Of course, when you’re just starting out, your marketing budget should be whatever you can afford. But if you’re a new business, you should expect to spend closer to 10% than 1% on marketing. You may even want to spend more.  As you are developing your marketing budget you need to look at your costs and fixed expenses. Do NOT spend your future revenue.  Spend only money that you have.  Be conservative.

9. What are your ongoing activities: blogging, social media, advertising, email.

Don’t forget to consider your ongoing marketing activities that run throughout the year. These activities still need to be planned, budgeted and tracked.

10. What is your executive summary?

At the top of your marketing plan should be an executive summary. This is a summary of your entire marketing plan. It spells out the basics and the sections of your plan explain each in detail. The executive summary should be short and concise without any of the minutiae. It should allow the reader to take in the entire plan at a glance.

Although the executive summary goes at the top, it should be the last thing you write. It’s much easier to write a summary of what you’ve already written than what you’re planning to write.

Make sure you have answered the 10 questions with your marketing plan. If you haven’t then rework that marketing plan, chances are it is NOT working for you and is instead working to drain your bank account.  A good marketing plan will give you a day to day action plan for promoting your business effectively.

Learn how to put your marketing plan together. Don’t neglect it and use the hope and winging it strategy. They just do not work!

Marketing Plan