Marketing

The typical entrepreneur of a small business tends to fall into one of six areas. Which one are you?

1. The Technician – have a long history in their field of expertise or may have taken early redundancy or retirement to start on their own using their expertise. Typically they have previously worked for middle to large sized organisations. Their expertise may b in computer consulting, graphic design, development of websites, advertising or writing.

Typical Challenges: tend to have no natural aptitude or interest in marketing or sales. They tend to focus on features and services rather than results and benefits. They don’t understand the fundamentals of running a small business.

 

2. The Dissatisfied Employee – unhappy in their work place and long to leave to make more money and create a better future for themselves. Sometimes it’s a half way house with keeping the job while you set up your business

Typical Challenges: low energy, lacking in time and resources to make their dream a reality. Reluctant to quit the job but fearful of taking responsibility of owning their own business. Used to resources and comforts at work and expect to have the same (or more) in their own

 

3. The Serial Entrepreneur – has started numerous businesses over the past few years, often dabbled in network marketing. They begin full of enthusiasm and boundless energy, but drop out quickly when the road gets tough or the start up costs too much money.

Typical Challenges: lacking commitment they are weak on follow-through. Too many ideas and jump from one to the other. These types are high-risk takers and can easily be pulled into a scam in their eagerness.

 

4. Artists – creative and love their art but everything is hanging by a thread. Often still with a day job to support their art as if it is a hobby to earn them additional income. 

Typical Challenges: They do not know or care about sales and marketing. They often feel misunderstood by others and resentful at having to maintain a job because their income does not support doing that full time

 

5. Inventors – have great ideas, many of which can solve the problems of many. However, most ideas (and sometimes all ideas) stay there and go no further. They are continually looking for someone to believe in them and to help bring their ideas to life.

Typical Challenges: They do not take constructive criticism well about their ideas but continually seek praise for them instead. Business is seen as a hobby to explore their creative ideas. Often unfocussed, jumping from one creative idea to the next. They hang out with others similar to themselves, inventors or technical minds.

 

6. Small Business Owners – totally committed to what they do and feel passionate about their business, which in turn, passion pervades every area of their life. 

Typical Challenges: Busy, busy, busy. Getting referrals  can prove difficult as being so busy they often don’t know people outside of their own industry, let alone their own. Isolation can be a problem and feeling overwhelmed by the number of tasks to run a business.

So, which one are you? Or did you find you were a combination of two or more types? Or have you moved from being one type to another, which can happen as you learn lessons in business?

I’d love to know which type you fall into and why. Do let me know.

A recent survey by Yodle stated that marketing was the biggest concern for small business owners. When broken down their marketing worries were stated as follows:

Finding new customers: 42%

Being able to afford healthcare and other employee benefits : 39%

Keeping current customers: 33%

Paying business bills: 33%

Hiring the right people: 29%

Competition: 21%

And yet when asked about a marketing budget 23% of small business owners do not have a marketing budget at all and 38% had $249 or less to spend on marketing services. Only 3% of small business owners had over $2,000 to spend on marketing.

Perhaps there is a need for all small business owners to take just 10% of their current income and plough that back into a marketing budget. When spent wisely, what difference might that make to their business – especially that bottom 23% with no marketing budget at all?

Generally there are only three ways to grow your business:

  1. Increasing the number of customers or clients
  2. Increasing the value of the average transaction
  3. Increasing the frequency of re-purchases

This is where you need to analyse your business and be truthful and honest with yourself as to what’s happening here.  Look at the finances and where money is coming in and going out.

What is your turnover?

How big is your database?

Which of your clients is bringing in the majority of the income into your business?

Look at the systems you currently have.

What are the systems you need to have in place to generate income?

What’s working?

What isn’t working?

What do you need to do about it?

One of the key traits of all successful people is that they are able not only able to see the big picture, but they are also able to analyse the detail too. This doesn’t mean they have to be accountants or technical wizards but what it does mean is that they know the right questions they need to ask themselves before they have to make a decision.

Start today by putting on place everything you need to track, monitor, to test and analyse what’s going on in your business.  This way you will be constantly aware of the micro as well as the macro aspect of all your business activity.

  • Tip #1: See your personal development as a major investment in your business and invest heavily in this area in the beginning to get the right knowledge initially.  One of the best investments you will ever make will be in ‘sales training’ because once you’ve mastered this you will always have money in the bank. Every person who is successful in business whatever business that is – can sell and has learnt to do that well.
    Personal development is critical for success and to see it as an expense is a false economy that will cost you dearly. I personally still invest 10% of all my income to learning as much as I can.
  • Tip #2: Invest in a coach or mentor who is already at the level of business of where you want to be. A lot of people make the mistake of following what everyone else is doing and mixing with people on the same level as them (this is natural) but you know, you have to step up and out of that to raise your energy to the next level.
  • Tip #3: Keep a success diary and write down every day 5 things you’ve been successful in doing. Reward yourself for having done them. Even if things haven’t gone to plan and you think you’ve messed up – look for ‘the lesson’ you’ve learned and what the success was for you having attempted that because there will be a gift in the lesson there for you. This way of thinking really tunes your brain to focus on success …

Does what you offer to clients match up with how you present it?

Some questions to ask yourself to check this out:

If you’re an entrepreneur living a freedom lifestyle, do you lead a freedom lifestyle yourself?

If you’re encouraging people to join your business to gain financial freedom, have you attained that financial freedom yourself?

If you’re a marketing expert but your brochure doesn’t convey that you are a marketing expert, who’s going to believe you?

If you’re a coach helping people to improve their work-life balance, but you are running yourself ragged trying to find clients and living anything but the lifestyle you want to help others with, are you being authentic?

It may seen obvious, but you have to become a model of what you are selling so that you are authentic and people will believe and trust you.

Once they do that, they will become loyal customers and want what you have to offer.

How can you become a model of what you are selling?

How are you going to achieve this?

Set out your plan and get started.

It’s important to keep abreast of the latest trends in marketing to keep abreast of the times. Technological advances can help you understand which actions generate the best returns on investment.

Here’s the top 5 popular marketing tactics of 2013:

i. Mobile advertising

Smart phones have given us a new medium for marketing our businesses and to  leverage advertising. Advertising through them is skyrocketing this medium.

Creating a website that can adapt to the more compact screen size of contemporary devices can help users access your company easily. Add a mobile strategy to your marketing plan this year.

ii. Content Marketing

Search engines are favouring sites with high quality, relevant content more than ever. Poor sites are penalized for not having great content.

It’s no longer simply relying in SEO to be picked up by search engines. You have to have post quality content too to gain an advantage.

iii. Responsive Website

Your website will look different on a smartphone, tablet, and desktop computer. It creates a more personalized experience for the viewer and results are better in conversions if you have a website designed to be responsive to the application it is being viewed on.

iv. Social Media

Social media was the great marketing trend for 2012 and continues to be on the increase. It is becoming more sophisticated, so choose which social media platform best appeals to your business. By choosing just a few, you can be much more targeted in your marketing.

v. Advertising

This is an interesting one as many changes happening here too. Advertising is always popular but no longer simply placing an advert and expecting it to work. Advertising will more and more take place on social media sites and mobile devices. Instead of those banner ads, which can often annoy people, these are predicted to change to include customer interaction, such as polls and quizzes.

I’m sure like me, you’ll be every bit as fascinated my the every more innovative ways to market your business.

It’s a fantastic new platform for budding writers where you get the opportunity to promote your book and share it with a great worldwide community.

Want to know more? Listen to my interview with the founder of Noveltunity Rick Karlsruher right here: 

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

I’m sure you must know who your most loyal customers are? If not, you need to find out.  These are the people who buy from you regularly. They are most appreciative and more likely to refer you to others.

Doesn’t it make sense to treat them to something special once in a while? Saying thank you for their loyalty can mean so much to them.

There are a number of ways you can do this … be creative …

  • Send them a special offer just for them
  • Give them a free gift of value
  • Hold a ‘Special Customer Evening’
  • Hold a ‘Loyalty Event’
  • Have a ‘Special customer Product Unveiling’
  • Send them an e-book
  • Send them a list of useful tips
  • Post them a special thank you letter with small gift

Thank you can be something simple and thoughtful … it needn’t cost a lot of money … it just shows you care …

How can you make them see you care about them today?

Do you sometimes feel insecure in what you have to offer the world? Wondering what the next step is to take? Then it’s time for a little reassurance.

  1. Remind Yourself Of Your True Value
    Take a few moments to ponder over who has made a difference in the world in some way. Mother Theresa, Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Anita Roddick and millions more.
    What do they have in common? They all started out very much like you or I with gifts and talents that made a difference to the world.
    Imagine now, what would the world look like without any of these people having added their contribution to the world. There would be no Virgin flights or Apple computers. What a disaster that would be.
    I’m not suggesting that you or I can be anything as huge as any of these great people but you and I are no less than anyone of them. We all have a contribution to bring light and harmony to the world through our work. Lets remind ourselves of that.
  2. Release Your Old Issues
    If you are having a hard time making money, then its time to release yourself from some of that old junk that’s stifling your ability to share your light with the world.
    Stop thinking about your problems, and focus on those people out there who need and want your solution. Some people will be literally praying for what you have, but they don’t know you are there.
    Start by shifting the focus, and letting people know what you do and how you do it.  But do it from a position of serving, not self-service.

You are truly worthy, it’s time to remember that and start focusing on being who you are meant to be.

It’s often said that ‘cash is King’ and sales income is the critical lifeblood of your business. That’s all very true.

The question is, has the age of communication and huge growth in online businesses made it any easier to increase your sales income?

The problem is that every day, we’re bombarded with more and more information it’s simply overwhelming. If like countless others’ you find yourself drowning in a sea of information overload whilst at the same time, trying to master the techniques to get your business working in a similar way to online success, making your life easier (and lets not forget the increase in monetary return too), then lets put this into perspective.

Those people who are doing well online are doing so because they have:

  1. Spent time planning each individual promotion in detail very carefully before rolling out the promotion.
  2. Systems in place that take over the tedious tasks of tracking, monitoring and keeping in touch with subscribers.
  3. Concentrated on lead generation strategies that work for an online business within their niche.

But … there’s one thing that sets them apart and eventually leads to generating the income they want. It’s this: they know lead generation is the secret weapon to online success, and the ability to attract thousands of interested leads who have already held their hands up and said, ‘I’m interested’, I want to know more.

And the one thing they have concentrated on more than anything else is building the relationship with key people who already have a list of potential prospects who will be interested in your products and services.

Building relationships may be the oldest marketing tool in the business … but for online businesses today, it’s never been more important. The lifeblood of all online businesses is dependent on lead generation and there’s no better way than developing relationships with people who have a ready-made list of ideal clients. You need to keep filling your online sales funnel to provide new lifeblood to your business.

Want me to help you make rewarding connections? Drop me an email giving me some details of what you want to achieve and I will give you my feedback. Email: grow@spiritofvenus.co.uk

Are you doing all the giving?

Running yourself ragged trying to tempt prospects by endless free offers?

Giving so much value there’s nothing left in the kitty for you?

One of the problems of  having a business where you help people by solving their problems is that it can be difficult to set boundaries around how much you offer for free, and at what point do you insist on payment.

As a giving person, I too love to help people but I was finding it increasingly difficult to draw the line of how much to give for free without selling the business silver.

I was very interested to discover this is a common problem for entrepreneurial businesses. Lucy, a business associate recently confided to me that she’d spent the first year giving everything away for free because she thought that was the thing to do.

Lucy spent hours preparing free reports and ‘how to’ guides and even offered free intro sessions to prospect’s. She realized after an exhausting year where she hadn’t earned a dime that something had to change. Infact, she had to change

Lucy told me that prospects need to understand that you have a business to run and it is a paid for service that you are offering. You need to place a limit on the free goods and any advice you provide. You need to create both personal and business boundaries clearly and stick to these.

It is a sad truth that people who come to expect your free services will take them for granted and not value them. People who are not willing to invest in their business to gain the knowledge they need will not do well in their businesses anyway.

Fact is, you don’t want these free loaders as your clients, as you will not be doing them or you, or your business any favours if you give it all away for free in the displaced illusion it is helping them. It isn’t.

The lesson: Set clear personal and business boundaries.