Sunday, August 30, 2015

Business Plans - What Do They Include?

OK... so you've finally reached that stage in the development of your home business to get started. You've done the research, you have a game plan and you're ready to go except for one small detail... you need money. Whether it comes from a loan or from investors it doesn't matter but you need a good dose of seed money to put all your hard work and planning into action. However, regardless of who hears your money pitch before they give you a dime they will want see your business plan.

Business Plan - What Is It?
A good way to think of a business plan is that's it's a document that provide answers to the type of questions anyone who may provide financing would like to know about your home business. You will not get outside funding without one, because the people giving you the funding will insist on one because it helps them to know that you've thought through what you’re proposing to do. A business plan says to them... "I've considered this from every angle, and here’s what I've come up with".

Business Plan - What Does It Include?
What is your product or service? This is the first question every business plan should answer. You must explain in the clear, concise language what in the world you plan to produce or what service you plan to provide. You will also want to include why you've chosen this particular product or service.

Who are Your Customers? After you've explained your product or service, the next step is to identify who you plan to sell your product or service too and why. The demographics (age, sex, language, country, state or city, income, etc.) You need to clearly identify your customers in order to properly target your advertising, packaging, pricing, et.

What Makes You Different? You need to identify the "primary factors" that will make your business different than other businesses you'll be competing with. What niche are you filling that they are not or what do you plan to do to fill a particular void in the market that you've identified?

What are Your Expenses? Your start-up expenses include any equipment that you need before you can get up-and-running, while your day-to-day expenses are staff costs and supplies.

Following is a Simplified Example of Business Plan
This a a simplified and shortened version of a business plan. In the real world... each one of the following sections would be 1 - 2 pages in length. That being said... in most instances it's better to be as brief as possible. Only add information if your potential backers request it. It's a bad idea to go into too much detail in your plan. You’re not trying to explain everything down to the nth detail, just the basics of the business and why they should give you the money you need to launch it. And always focus on profit.

Catering Plus
Nature of Business: The business will be a home-based catering company, producing luxury food for special occasions such as birthdays and weddings. We will provide a comprehensive catering service, while specializing in high end customized cakes, which have a higher profit margin than other foods.

Target Market: Our catering business will be aimed at middle-class customers who desire a top-of-the-line catering but must operate on a budget. Our initial market area will consist of My town and the affluent area of There town.

Key Factors: We will only use commercial grade ingredients purchased from wholesalers and provide top quality design and service. This will allow us to provide food that looks tastes great, while keeping costs as low as possible.

Expenses: Because I will be using my kitchen and making the food myself, there are only two real expenses: The purchase of an industrial grade mixer and then the day-to-day cost of supplies. I've attached a suppliers’ letter listing prices. Our research has shown that this supplier offers the best value for start-ups.

To wrap it up, you should include a breakdown of both projected profit and loss per month (in graph form)for the first year in business. Show one-time and day-to-day expenses versus projected profit to indicate how you will pay-off your loan. Your business plan should show you making enough of a profit each month to live on – if it doesn't, then it may be considered unfeasible.

Study a Few Real-World Business Plans
The best way to get a real a feel for the dos and do nots of a business plans is to find real-world plans that have already been approved and study them. A good place to start is the internet. Once you’ve studied a few, you will get a better feel for how much work will be involved in putting your business plan together. Remember, until your business exists for real, the business plan is the only tool you have to sell prospective backers on how great your business is going to be.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

7 Marketing Mistakes To Avoid When Promoting Your Business

Many people rush into business thinking it will be easy to run, but very soon they realize that it is not as easy as it looks. A successful business is a finely tuned machine. In order to keep your business running smoothly it is important to avoid making mistakes.  

Here are the 7 most common mistakes to avoid:

1. Not having clear objectives: Many business people start a business without clear objectives. They fail to set realistic goals for their marketing and consequently set themselves up for failure. It is important to make a list of goals and objectives based on a quarterly time line. If you do not have company goals and objectives you are like a car driving without a road map. Make sure all employees are briefed on company objectives. When your employees are not properly prepared you will not be able to achieve company objectives.

2. Neglecting to analyse your potential customers is a dangerous mistake. It can lead to many problems. When you do not analyse your customers wants and needs you do not know what products and services to develop for them. This will lead to targeting the wrong market and neglecting to understand your own niche market. It is important for any business to do their marketing analysis so that you can target your market and maximize your sales.

3. Not testing: By not testing your sales copy and places you advertise with split testing your advertising, you will be losing sales. Split testing is simple to do but many businesses fail to do this. This results in a lot of wasted time and effort. If you do not test your ad copy and marketing promotions you will not have a proper idea of the ads and promotions that are pulling and what is not working. It is simple to do by placing 2 ads for the same product in a publication or website etc. You can then see which one is performing the best.

4. Not budgeting: Budgeting is extremely important in business. Your business should never run out of money. This is especially true with your marketing and advertising ventures. It is important to have a monthly or quarterly budget for your marketing. Within that budget put aside money for each promotion you will be doing. Start small, test and then build on successes. This will allow you to always stay solvent and have enough for promotions.

5. Giving up too soon: Companies go out of business at an alarming rate these days. One of the reasons is that the owners give up too soon. Just when success might be just around the corner they give up and decide to close the business down. In exactly the same fashion marketing promotions can fail. You need to give your promotions at least 3 months before you decide to scrap them. Some promotions will take longer than others to bring results. As always, test all marketing tactics before you launch a larger promotion. Patience is one of the hallmarks of business and you need to implement it.

6. Poor sales copy: How often have you wanted a product but when you read the sales page you had serious doubts? Poor unprofessional ad copy will cost you sales. In fact without good sales copy you will not be able to sell effectively at all. It is critical to your business to get this right. If necessary get an experienced copywriter to do this. It is worth the investment, as you will see returns when you make sales.

7. Not screening your employees carefully: To handle the extra load for the Christmas season you will need to hire new employees. It is very important not to rush into this. There is no dearth of people needing employment but you need to screen them carefully before hiring. One rude customer service agent can cost you customers. Do not take this type of risk. You want to preserve the integrity of your company at all times and screening employees is the way to achieve this. You will then be able to build a core of loyal professional employees that will be an asset to the company.

The golden rule is to diversify. You should always use multiple forms of marketing promotions in your business. Do not just do one or two promotions and then wait for results. This will slow company growth and your business will stagnate. The last thing you need is to slow your marketing in the Christmas season. So remember to diversify and enjoy the increase in sales.

By avoiding these mistakes you will take your company to the success you deserve. You will be able to have year round success for your business and really be able to cash in on the Christmas season. So plan ahead and be careful not to make these common mistakes.

Monday, August 24, 2015

7 Critical Business Financing Mistakes

Avoiding the top 7 business financing mistakes is a key component in business survival.

If you start committing these business financing mistakes too often, you will greatly reduce any chance you have for longer term business success.

The key is to understand the causes and significance of each so that you're in a position to make better decisions.

Business Financing Mistakes (1) - No Monthly Book keeping.

Regardless of the size of your business, inaccurate record keeping creates all sorts of issues relating to cash flow, planning, and business decision making.

While everything has a cost, bookkeeping services are dirt cheap compared to most other costs a business will incur.

And once a bookkeeping process gets established, the cost usually goes down or becomes more cost effective as there is no wasted effort in recording all the business activity.

By itself, this one mistake tends to lead to all the others in one way or another and should be avoided at all costs.

Business Financing Mistakes (2) - No Projected Cash Flow.

No meaningful bookkeeping creates a lack of knowing where you've been. No projected cash flow creates a lack of knowing where you're going.

Without keeping score, businesses tend to stray further and further away from their targets and wait for a crisis that forces a change in monthly spending habits.

Even if you have a projected cash flow, it needs to be realistic.

A certain level of conservatism needs to be present, or it will become meaningless in very short order.

Business Financing Mistakes (3) - Inadequate Working Capital

No amount of record keeping will help you if you don't have enough working capital to properly operate the business.

That's why its important to accurately create a cash flow forecast before you even start up, acquire, or expand a business.

Too often the working capital component is completely ignored with the primary focus going towards capital asset investments.

When this happens, the cash flow crunch is usually felt quickly as there is insufficient funds to properly manage through the normal sales cycle.

Business Financing Mistakes (4) - Poor Payment Management.

Unless you have meaningful working capital, forecasting, and bookkeeping in place, you're likely going to have cash management problems.

The result is the need to stretch out and defer payments that have come due.

This can be the very edge of the slippery slope.

I mean, if you don't find out what's causing the cash flow problem in the first place, stretching out payments may only help you dig a deeper hole.

The primary targets are government remittances, trade payables, and credit card payments.


Business Financing Mistakes (5) - Poor Credit Management

There can be severe credit consequences to deferring payments for both short periods of time and indefinite periods of time.

First, late payments of credit cards are probably the most common ways in which both businesses and individuals destroy their credit.

Second, NSF checks are also recorded through business credit reports and are another form of black mark.

Third, if you put off a payment too long, a creditor could file a judgement against you further damaging your credit.

Fourth, when you apply for future credit, being behind with government payments can result in an automatic turn down by many lenders.

It gets worse.

Each time you apply for credit, credit inquiries are listed on your credit report.

This can cause two additional problems.

First, multiple inquiries can reduce you overall credit rating or score.

Second, lenders tend to be less willing to grant credit to a business that has a multitude of inquiries on its credit report.

If you do get into situations where you're short cash for a finite period of time, make sure you proactively discuss the situation with your creditors and negotiate repayment arrangements that you can both live with and that won't jeopardize your credit.

Business Financing Mistakes (6) - No Recorded Profitability

For startups, the most important thing you can do from a financing point of view is get profitable as fast as possible.

Most lenders must see at least one year of profitable financial statements before they will consider lending funds based on the strength of the business.

Before short term profitability is demonstrated, business financing is based primary on personal credit and net worth.

For existing businesses, historical results need to show profitability to acquire additional capital.

The measurement of this ability to repay is based on the net income recorded for the business by a third party accredited accountant.

In many cases, businesses work with their accountants to reduce business tax as much as possible but also destroy or restrict their ability to borrow in the process when the business net income is insufficient to service any additional debt.

Business Financing Mistakes (7) - No Financing Strategy

A proper financing strategy creates 1) the financing required to support the present and future cash flows of the business, 2) the debt repayment schedule that the cash flow can service, and 3) the contingency funding necessary to address unplanned or unique business needs.

This sounds good in principle, but does not tend to be well practiced.

Why?

Because financing is largely an unplanned and after the fact event.

It seems once everything else is figured out, then a business will try to locate financing.

There are many reasons for this including: entrepreneurs are more marketing oriented, people believe financing is easy to secure when they need it, the short term impact of putting off financial issues are not as immediate as other things, and so on.

Regardless of the reason, the lack of a workable financing strategy is indeed a mistake.

However, a meaningful financing strategy is not likely to exist if one or more of the other 6 mistakes are present.

This reinforces the point that all mistakes listed are intertwined and when more than one is made, the effect of the negative result can become compounded.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Sales Not Increase - Are Routines Holding You Back?

What routines are preventing you from increasing your sales?

Whether you realize it or not, you are a creature of habit. Unless you do shift work, you probably get up at the same time everyday, follow the same routine to wake up and get yourself ready for the day, drive the regular route to work, do the same things once you get to work, and take the same route home at the end of the day. Once there, you probably have dinner, watch television or read the newspaper, and follow some sort of routine once it’s time to go to bed. You set the alarm for the same time and when it sounds the next day, you start the cycle over again.

Don’t get me wrong. Routines can be good. They help us improve our productivity. They allow us to multitask. They make us feel comfortable, safe, and secure. They reduce stress. Plus, when we have developed a great routine, we can often generate more business. However, the drawback is that they can be difficult to break away from.
When you become accustomed to a specific schedule, it can be easy to forget changes in it. For example, if you usually schedule your first client meeting after 9:30 it is very easy to miss a meeting that was recently scheduled at 8:30. I recently encountered two situations that relate to this.

The first was an appointment with my massage therapist. For several years, she scheduled her appointments on the hour or half-hour. So when she booked my massage at fifteen minutes after the hour, she forgot about it and was several minutes late.

The second was my fault. I normally meet with my trainer early in the morning, three days a week. I had to re-schedule one workout due to a business commitment and made my appointment for a later time on a different day. Unfortunately, I arrived at the gym at my usual time only to realize that I was several hours early. The change in the schedule messed up my routine.

So, how does this relate to selling?

As a sales professional, you need to recognize that routines can prevent you from achieving your full potential. However, if you persist at incorporating that new technique into your sales approach, it, too, will become part of your new routine. That’s the great thing about the human spirit and brain, it is very adaptable. The most successful people in business and in sales know that changes to their routine will cause them some discomfort. But, they are also very aware that these changes will become more comfortable and part of their routine if they work at it long enough.
It can certainly be challenging to change your behavior and routine when you are used to making a certain number of calls every day, or meeting with a specific number of clients, customers, or prospects. When you have a specific daily routine, it is usually difficult to incorporate something new. Or, when you have developed the habit of selling in a particular manner, it is very stressful trying to change your approach. I see this in my sales training workshops all the time.

People can intrinsically grasp a new concept or principle but experience difficulty trying to actually implement it into the way they sell. That’s why many sales training programs don’t work; you can’t expect to change your behavior or routine immediately. The key is to keep applying the concept even though it feels uncomfortable and foreign. In fact, in most cases, you will begin to feel comfortable with the concept immediately after you experience the greatest frustration and difficulty. Consider learning a new sport, hobby, or task.

At first the movements feel uncomfortable. Your moves are not smooth, accurate or natural. And this feeling usually persists for quite some time. However, just when you feel like giving up because it has become too difficult and frustrating, something clicks and the movements start to feel more natural. You have now progressed to the stage of being able to achieve results. The same process happens when you decide to try something different when selling.

Most sales people don’t enjoy cold calling because they don’t work at developing their skill long enough. They go through the motions of making their calls everyday but they don’t focus on improving their skill nor do they stick with it for the necessary period. People who do acquire the ability to effectively cold call have made enough calls to understand the dynamics, develop their skill at calling, and incorporate it into their routine.

Routines are powerful. However, to get the most from them, you do need to change them regularly.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Public Relations Strategies For Manufacturers and Industrial Suppliers

What you are about to read here is not what you would expect to learn about marketing industrial products via public relations, or what you would normally find from other PR sources. The reason is because the majority of public relations articles you'll find online are nothing more than hidden sales pitches from PR firms that offer advice based on what's best for their agency - and not the client. You know the ones - that always end their article with an offer to purchase or learn more about their promotional services. In this article you'll get none of that.

Don't Outsource Your Public Relations

Writing and submitting press releases and stories to the media is one of the most cost effective ways to promote your industrial products. However, unless your company has deep pockets and money to throw away, writing and distributing press releases is much more cost-effective when you do it yourself. Forget traditional PR firms - they charge ridiculous fees just to write and submit your press release. You'll get much better results by using the services and tools of online companies like PR Web and PR Leap to distribute your press releases to your target media. In result you can generate some relevant and often permanent back links to your Web site. An additional benefit that can drive traffic to your site for months or even years.

Reaching A More Highly Targeted Audience

Services like PR Web are excellent for promoting your company and products to mass media. But remember, the biggest benefit comes not from the distribution of those press releases, but when editors or producers that see your press release contact you to follow-up on your story for their publication or station. That is where the most exposure will be generated.

In addition to using services like PR Web, you can and should submit your press release directly to the most relevant media sources you can find, such as trade publications that are read by your target audience. But do it yourself - don't waste your money on PR firms that claim to specialize in the trade press. All they are actually doing is snail mailing your press release to trade magazines or journals that you can easily find yourself using media directories like Gebbie Press. Besides, there are probably no more than 5 to 10 trade publications that are ideal for your press release. So don't pay some PR firm thousands of dollars to submit your press release to hundreds of magazines when only a handful may be interested in publishing it.

Writing A Good Press Release

Writing a good press release is not that difficult if you focus on what makes your story newsworthy. Just ignore the marketing hype and write about your product's features, user benefits and what makes it different (superior) than similar products in the marketplace. That is what makes a press release newsworthy and more likely to be published by the media you are targeting.

Some public relations companies will charge up to $250 or more to write a press release. You can find freelancers online or at local colleges that will do it for much less. Still, you'll always get better results by writing it yourself. After all, if you're the person responsible for public relations at your company, then you know more about your products and the benefits they offer than anyone else. So doesn't it make sense that you are the most qualified person to write a solid press release?

One of the best ways to learn how to write a powerful press release is to know everything there is to know about your product and the exact market you are targeting. Secondly, analyze the press releases your competitors are putting out on the Web. Make sure your release indicates unique benefits such as the technical edge your product has in the marketplace... since new technology is always a newsworthy topic. Lastly, make sure to include a good headline, such as one that might propose a solution, build curiosity or express some kind of benefit.

Distributing Your Press Releases

Distributing your press releases is not a matter of what delivery method you prefer, but rather which method the editor prefers. There are editors that want it sent by email, while others prefer it's delivered by fax or snail mail. If you're not sure, give them a call and find out which delivery method and format they prefer, if any. It makes a good impression and can also make a significant difference whether it gets published or not.

Whatever you do, you should never mass mail, fax blast or bulk email your press releases. I guarantee you'll be wasting serious money and a lot of time. For now on, focus on fewer but more relevant media sources. It's easier and much more productive to work with 10 to 50 solid media sources that serve your target market.

Some Final Words

If there is one tip in this article you remember and follow, make it this. The need to gain a competitive edge through public relations is greater now than in any other time in history. Due to the Internet, promoting your company and products has never been easier or faster than it is right now. The key is to remember that when it comes to public relations, people's needs will always change, so you must aim well ahead of the target to hit it.



Sunday, August 9, 2015

Network Marketing - Why is it so great?

If you've ever heard of Network Marketing, you've probably heard it said that it is essentially a people's business. Some have also labeled it a people's franchise because of the similarities between the business models of network marketing and franchising. Advocates of the industry name it as the ultimate people's business and say there is nothing quite like it. People that are in network marketing will immediately respond positively to this.

One of the unique characteristics of the network marketing type of business is that every individual distributor is in business for themselves but never by themselves. They will always be part of a larger organization and the compensation models are designed in such a way that every person can count on some form of support from their upper person.

It is no secret that fortunes can be made in this type of business and many have done just that. Of course this is not the majority of network marketers, but every individual distributor does have the same chances. Success or failure in network marketing is not dictated by politics, race, age, background or gender, but always by results. In that respect it is probably also the fairest business model in the world.

For many people however the true value of their home based business is not directly in the financial return. The lessons a person can learn while building his or her own network marketing business are truly priceless. Many people are totally transformed through the personal growth they experience as a direct result of their challenges in their networking businesses. It forced them to get out of their comfort zones, grow, and in many cases become a better person.

So what is so unique about network marketing in this respect? Doesn't every entrepreneur have to deal with challenges? The answer of course is: Yes, they do. And they also experience personal growth as a result from this. However there is a significant difference. Most entrepreneurs are self made and many of them learned their trade largely outside of formal education. Either they were taught by a family member, a mentor or perhaps they learned everything the hard way: by trial and error. Very rarely will you find an entrepreneur that has an extensive library of books and tapes on personal development. Most business people don't attend seminars and motivational training. They think it's all a bunch of hype. While in some cases this can be true, there are many training and seminars that teach the principles of success better than any textbook found in business schools.

One of the great things about network marketing is that this type of education is built into the training systems of all good companies. There is no business on the face of the earth that places such a strong and direct emphasis on the importance of personal development as the network marketing industry. Many companies might argue that they spend a great deal of their budget on education; training employees and as such assisting them in personal development but in most cases what they are actually talking about is personnel development. Although the words are almost identical, their meanings are vastly different.

Network marketing is all about building people. It is probably the best school on the planet if you want to learn about what it takes to be successful in life and you don't need rich parents or some kind of scholarship to enroll.


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

4 Secrets To Building An Engaging Brand Experience

When you think of creating a new brand, it’s easy to think about advertising managers sitting around a conference room tossing around ideas with caffeine fueled creativity. However, often times, the most powerful branding comes from adding a little “fun” to your brand experience.

Driven by the Burger King mentality, today’s customers want to do business their way on their time. They want to make their own choices. As business people, it’s our job to make sure then when customers are ready to make their choice, our product or service is their top choice.

Below are five secrets to put some spark and imagination into your brand and create an unforgettable brand experience.

Secret #1: Tell Your Company’s Unique Brand Story

Television shows have long been a part of our culture. When viewers watch television shows, they see stories about characters that we relate to. Remember the Brady Bunch theme song? It tells the story of a lovely lady... well, you know how it goes.

Now imagine harnessing the power of storytelling for your business! By sharing your brand story, you create a powerful connection to your customers. They feel as though they know you. This brand story paints a colorful vignette of who you are, what vision you hold, and what experiences made you the company you are today. While your brand story might not be as catchy as the Brady Bunch tune, raving fans love to share stories of their favorite brands with others.

PartyLite is a direct sales company that has done a phenomenal job of weaving their brand story into their marketing message. Listen to the story of how this company got started.

“Mabel K. Baker, a young housewife, provided holiday candles for her friends. She hand-dipped candles from the wax of bayberry plants, which were plentiful on Cape Cod. From these humble beginnings, Colonial Candle of Cape Cod was established. In 1973, PartyLite was established to satisfy the desire people have for home beautification, along with the ever-increasing need for additional family income.”

Now can't you just imagine Mabel sitting outside and turning her gaze over to the bayberry plants in her backyard! Surely a light bulb went off in her head as she picked berries off the bush and harvested the wax to make gift candles for her dearest friends. A story like this makes you feel like when you get a PartyLite candle, that you are getting more than a factory made product. Rather, you are getting a lovely crafted handmade candle. Great story and great marketing!

What's your brand story? Do you have a wonderful story to tell about how your business was started? Was there a turning point in your company that shaped you into the organization you are today?

Secret #2: Make Your Brand a Household Name by Coining the Term

Why define your brand experience in terms we already use? Kleenex, Xerox, and Fed X are companies whose brand names have set the standards for their industry by becoming the coined terms to describe a tissue, making a copy, and overnight deliveries.

So how do you go about making your brand a household name?

Marla Cilley, aka “The FLY Lady” is an organizing super hero for moms across the county. She has turned her passion for tidiness into a nationally known brand.

How did she do it? By adding an ounce of fun with her own unique terms and philosophies. For example, The FLY Lady stands for Finally Loving Yourself.

Fans of the FLY Lady know that she lives by three rules.

1) Don’t sweat the small stuff
2) Laugh everyday. Even if it is at yourself.
3) Love like there is no tomorrow.

If you visit her website at FlyLady.net, you’ll notice that her brand is even reflected in some of the names of the navigation links: Why FLY, FLYing Lessons, FLY Zone, Time FLYs when, FLY FAQ, FLY Library, Join FlyLady Now, Ask FlyLady, and The FlyShop.

Secret #3: Add Your Unique Brand of Humor

Humor has the power to transform an ordinary product into a fun experience for the whole audience. Recently I saw a commercial for Red Stripe “The Great Jamaican Beer” that delivers an unforgettable quirky message.

The Jamaican spokesperson is dressed in a black tuxedo and says, “Red Stripe - the beer in the short stubby ugly bottle. If ugly people stand next to a Red Stripe they look beautiful.”

He speaks to a man who is sitting next to him, “You sir, would you say that you are ugly?
(Pause) You are VERY ugly!”

The man who is sitting down replies a little confused, “Well I don't know...”

The spokesperson hands him a beer and says, “Here hold this Red Stripe.”

The man says, “Okay.”

The spokesperson says, “Look, you are beautiful!” (Obviously implying that just by holding this beer this formerly “ugly” man is transformed into being beautiful.)

Spokesperson says enthusiastically, “Red Stripe, it's beer. Hooraaaayy Beer!”

The man cheers, "Hooray Beer."

The spokesperson adds at the end, "…says the beautiful man."

The point is, that although you may have never heard of Red Stripe beer before, this funny commercial really sticks in your mind. Even though we are not beer drinkers, this commercial is surely creating living room conversations in homes across the country.

That’s how a funny campaign can instantly turn a new or unknown product into a national phenomenon.

Secret #4: Create your own Catch Phrases and Own Quotes

If you type the words “inspirational quotes” into Google, you will see that there are 1,130,000 listings. Quotes are hot! So why not tap into the power of quotes and catch phrases for your business?

Go back in your mind to the “Where’s the Beef” commercials from Wendy’s. That was a fun series of engaging commercials that had the whole country asking themselves, “Where’s the Beef?”.

And think about Donald Trump’s “Your Fired!” I’m sure that he had no idea that his show, “The Apprentice” would take off the way it did and become the “in thing.”

When you create a hot catch phrase or quote, you’ll find your words popping up on websites, in blogs, talked about in elevators, written on bathroom walls, and in the most unexpected placed.

Take a moment to step back and really look at your company’s brand. With a little imagination, you can transform buying your product or service into a fun, one-of-a-kind brand experience that your customers will never forget.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

3 Effective Tactics Every Business Should Implement

Do you remember your first day as a business owner?  You were probably just like the rest of us... pretty darned happy and bit on the proud side.  Yeah, back then we thought we could conquer the world.  Now we're too busy conquering our own little corner of the world to pay a lot of attention to the rest of the world... unless it's to learn a few tips from successful marketers just like us who have made it big.  Tips just like these... that will apply to every market - regardless of the product or service - are a great motivators to try something new.  Yeah, you never know when the next idea will be worth a million dollars!

1.  Create  a Special Offer
A special offer is exactly that... an offer that is special.  Normally, customers would not be able to purchase this product or combination of products, and once the products are gone... sorry!

You don't have to go out and order a bunch of new products to put together a special offer.  It don't take a whole lot... just use what you've got.  Grab a few items that are related, group them together, discount the price, and your customers will be excited to be getting a good deal.  Think about it from your standpoint... you've sold three or four items rather than one.  Yeah, combination offers are winning deals for everyone!

2.  Address the Small Customer Groups
Niche markets are everywhere, right under your nose!  Within the customer audience that you serve right now are groups of people who share common traits.  Think about it... maybe you have a group who speaks Spanish, a group of teens, and a group of middle class family men and women.

Evaluate these classes of people, and discover the unique needs and desires they share.  That will set you up to customize your advertising campaign directly to them.  It's not hard to take your current ads, and make a few changes to adjust to the niches.  They'll be impressed that you understand THEM, and the increase in your profits will be the best thanks you can get.

3.  Set Up a Winning Referral Program
Successful marketers develop the ability to turn their customers into advocates.  Often, they don't even have to directly ask customers to refer them to others.  Their willingness to go the extra wins customer loyalty and support.  Naturally, satisfied customers refer their friends and family to the place that will take good care of them.

Quality service and is the first step toward referrals, but you can easily take it one step further.  Studies show that every satisfied customer tells three people about you.  What would happen with a little incentive added to the picture?  Yeah, a lot more.  Give customers who refer friends a appreciation - whether it's a discount, special gift item, or a simple thank you card - and watch the referrals spiral!

You can get two birds with one stone by implementing customer surveys.  A few quick questions about what the customer does and doesn't like about your product, followed by a request for the names and addresses of friends and family who would benefit from the product, and you're all set to go with the contact information of a prospective customer!