One of the most important assets you have is your current customers. It’s much less expensive to keep your current customers and turn them into repeat customers than it is to go out and find more customers. This is not to say you should not keep marketing to find new customers, but you should do all you can to nurture the existing relationship you have with current customers in order to increase sales. Here are seven ways to achieve that.
Your current customers are far more important to help maintain a long-term business than you may initially think. They can become your biggest fans, recommending your products and services to others. And if you please them, they will become repeat, long-term customers that will stick by you for years.
Whether you work from home or work in an office, sometimes you have to conquer the dreaded business meeting. The best way to do well at any business meeting or event is to focus on creating a positive first impression.
Every meeting usually has a specific audience that will go to that meeting. If it’s a more universal type meeting, research the people that you want to connect with. Know some facts about them and how they got their start. They’ll be impressed that you took the time to get to know them before meeting them.
Find out what type of clothing people will be wearing to the meeting or event. The more you can fit in due to your mode of dress, the more people will remember you in a positive way. Dress for the position you want is a good refrain, but be careful about the “power” suit or appearing too high above your audience because you want them to remember you, not fear you.
When it comes time to introduce yourself, the person who puts their hand out first and states their name and gives their 30-second introduction is the person who holds the power in the meeting. You should also be first to introduce the person you just met to others as they approach. This makes you seem very important and people will remember you more due to your kindness.
Most people are a little nervous at events or meetings but if you ask each person you meet open-ended questions about themselves and their business, they will be put at ease. And oddly, the more people get to talk about themselves, the more they will remember you. An open-ended question is one that must be answered with a sentence instead of a yes or no answer.
As you meet people and ask those questions, truly listen for their answers. Repeat back to them their name and the things they say in your own words, then ask them good follow-up questions. This will make you seem like the most interesting person at the meeting or event because you are actually listening. And as you repeat things back to the person you’re conversing with, it will also help you remember more about each person that you connect with.
One final way to create a positive first impression is by what happens after the meeting. Always follow up with those whom you met. Use the information on the business cards you collected, or find them online, and connect with them in a new way. Send them a thank you card, or cut out an article and send it to them, or find a creative way to connect with them outside of the meeting. This will make you a truly memorable connection for them.
Whether you’re just starting a business or you’re well into your venture, the idea of hiring a business coach may have come to mind. But you may be wondering if a business coach can really make a difference for you. To answer this question, you need to understand what a business coach does, and how to choose the right one for you.
Business coaching provides a way to interact with a professional who has your best interests at heart and can help you be more effective building your business and balancing your life and your business. Business coaches are a good mixture of accountability partner, sounding board, cheerleader and even emotional support. The business coach specializes in ensuring that all aspects of your life work together with the ultimate focus on ensuring that your business works.
Even the process of hiring a coach can be beneficial to your business. The coach will want to assess where you are right now with your business and find out where you want to go. An effective business coach will help you determine not just the direction you want your business to go, but will also identity actionable steps to take to achieve the goals you and your coach set.
If you need help identifying holes in your business plan, ways to fill the gaps, and how to create an actionable plan to push your business forward, then a business coach can definitely make a difference. The trick is finding the right business coach for your particular business.
In order to find the right coach for you that fits your business type and personality, ask the right questions of any potential coach. Plus, ask others for referrals before hiring any business coach. Finally, buy some of the coach’s products and services and try working on a short-term project with them first. This can help you ensure that they are the right coach to push your business to the next level.
As a small business owner it is imperative that you study the supply and demand of any particular niche for which you feel you want to be involved. In addition, choosing a smaller niche market can allow your business to avoid competing with huge businesses that can afford to put out less expensive items.
As a smaller business owner you can charge higher prices for specialized and differentiated products or services that you promote to smaller audiences, giving higher profitability. In contrast, a larger business isn’t going to touch the smaller niches because they want to make much larger profits than the smaller niches will allow.
The trick is to learn how to analyze the supply and demand of any particular niche to ensure that you want to enter that market.
In order to make all this work together it’s important to:
Bringing all these points together will ensure that you understand how supply and demand relates to the profitability of your niche. If there aren’t enough customers, or enough demand, and you can’t sell at a price point that fits with your income needs, you can then know it’s time to move on to another idea.
Delegation is an important skill for any business owner to master, but it’s especially important for small business owners who have very little time and extra money to devote to bottlenecks, accidental duplication of efforts, and missed deadlines.
If you learn to delegate well, you’ll have more time to devote your energy to more important tasks, provide employment for another person, and (since it’s likely someone else can do the tasks better than you) make yourself look even more amazing due to the good choices you make.
One of the first things to do is figure out what causes you to be fearful of delegation. Usually the reasons have to do with perfectionism, self-protection, lack of a workable system in place and being unsure of which tasks to delegate.
Before you even start delegating, it’s important to set up a system of some sort - like Basecamp or another online project management system. Keep in mind some of the people you outsource to may have their own system which you can use. This is especially true of online business managers or project managers.
Go through the processes you use to do the tasks now, and write them down so that you can figure out how to streamline the processes. However, do keep in mind that contractors are mostly concerned with deliverables, so this process is more for your benefit to find out what types of things you can delegate. An example would be repetitive tasks like email management.
When you know what tasks you want to outsource, it’s important to find the right people for the job or task. To get the most bang for your buck, choose someone to do it who likes doing it, wants to do it, and considers it their expertise. In other words, don’t expect to hire someone who can do everything perfectly. Hire several people to do one or two things each perfectly.
Provide the contractor with the requirements, deadlines, scope of authority, purpose, goals and objectives, potential problems, and tools available to them (if any are needed such as passwords and sign-on information).
Open up the communication by asking the contractor if they have any questions based on your instructions. That way they won’t be worried about asking anything even if it’s "stupid." The worst thing you can do is criticize a contractor for asking a question. And of course, you need to get back to them quickly with your answers.
In many cases, contractors want you to focus more on deadlines and deliverables than too many details. How they get something done should not be as important as the result of what they got done.
As often as is practicable give feedback to your contractors. This is especially true if you would like something done differently than what they turned in but you still want to keep working with the person. Give the feedback by giving compliments on what is good, then what could be better, and finally something good again to help build up the confidence of the contractor.
The fact is, no one is perfect and contractors will sometimes misunderstand directions. As long as something isn’t blatant such as constant missed deadlines, poor quality of work and so forth, sometimes people make mistakes. If your contractors are afraid of making mistakes, sometimes it will stifle their creativity. So be open to new ideas and potential mistakes, while also being clear on your expectations.
Finally, the best way to become a master delegator is to let go and just do it. Start with something small such as outsourcing your email customer service, eBook writing, report writing, blog post writing, article writing, social media marketing, and graphic design for projects. Write a list of everything that needs to be done to launch one of your products and try to outsource as much of as you can to see how it comes together. The more you do it, the more you’ll want to do it.
Every business needs a vision. A vision is like the big daydream you have in the middle of the afternoon after paying all your bills. It’s about sitting on the balcony of your beach-side resort room watching the sunset while working from your laptop. It’s the fanciful but possible potential of your business dreams. It’s not going to happen today, but if you reach for the stars, and work toward it, it could happen.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
Use this information to figure out where you’ll be in five years from now or ten years from now. That is your business vision.
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Once you write a business vision, use it to take action, create a strategy, and formulate tactics to actually reach your vision. Use the vision to motivate yourself, employees and contractors. You know how they say to dress for the part you want? Well, it’s the same with your business vision. If you have the vision to be the top-selling Kindle e-book seller, then you need to act like you already are and do the things it takes to make it a reality.
Maybe money isn’t the most important thing to you. Maybe something else is important to you. If that’s the case, this should show up in your business vision as well. What’s right for one business might not be right for another. Perhaps you want to be able to donate millions of dollars to charity by giving away 10 percent of your profit each year. If that’s the case, and your dream, write it down.
Your vision can include dreams about:
You can include any number of other issues that you find important within your business vision. Not everyone is in business only to make money. After all, this is about a vision that you have and it’s personal to you about your path in the world and with your business.
Many business owners have a really hard time letting their assistant handle various tasks. This is because many business owners have the feeling that if they let their assistant do things they will lose control. Additionally, they feel like no one can do “it,” whatever “it” is, as well as they can. But, most of the time the truth is if you’ve hired the right assistant they can do it as well as or even better than you can if you let them.
Finally, it’s important to let go of perfection and allow people who are experts in what they do, do what it is that they do. You can’t do everything. No successful CEO does. In fact, most successful CEOs mostly do nothing but delegate tasks to the smart, capable experts that they hired.
Before you create a digital magazine it’s important to understand why you are creating it. A digital magazine is good for some businesses but not for everyone. There are a few reasons to create a magazine and you’ll need to choose which reason – or maybe you’ll have more than one reason.
These three points are excellent reasons to go through the trouble of creating a new digital magazine. Your reasons might even be a combination of all of the above because you can charge a subscription, make ad revenue and expand brand awareness all at the same time through creating a new digital magazine.
As well as this, there are other reasons to create a magazine for your audience:
Even though it’s a lot of work, producing a magazine is also a lot of fun. You can put content together in a beautiful way that you audience thoroughly enjoys and make it available to new potential members of your audience via the Google Play Store, Apple's App Store and for download through a link you can send via email to subscribers.
When you decide to publish a digital magazine it’s important to do your due diligence about what’s involved before you spend the time and money doing it. It can take a lot of resources, time and effort to produce a digital magazine – almost as much as it takes to produce a paper magazine. Therefore, it’s important to study what it takes to create a professional-level magazine that your audience will enjoy.
If you do the work you need to do in order to publish a good magazine for your audience, you’ll be successful in your endeavors. It’s important to cover all bases before you get started. This helps avoid mistakes that can be frustrating when you want to create a new digital magazine to spread awareness of your brand or to start a new income stream.
When you are choosing different marketing strategies to implement when marketing your business, it’s important to understand the choices you have and how they differ. You essentially have three choices when it comes to marketing, namely “owned,” “paid” and “earned” media. You’ll more than likely use a combination of all strategies for the very best results.
This consists of your own website, blog posts, social media accounts, and articles you write and own.
Owned media is very important for business owners because it is something that you can control and use the easiest. Your content on your website needs to be top-notch, taking into consideration search engine optimization. Your content on your blog needs to be updated often with relevant content directed toward your audience. Engage often on your social media accounts.
This consists of promoted posts, PPC campaigns and anything that you pay for play.
One good use of paid media is to engage in a remarketing campaign. For instance, if someone has come to your website to view a page and then leave, you can use remarketing (also known as retargeting) to bring the viewer back to your website.
Sponsored articles, advertisements, email marketing, paid search, promoted video are all examples of paid media. This is another important element for most marketers and it’s important for you to use these opportunities. Start small with using promoted posts on Facebook.
This consists of information about your business that is owned by a third party and not controlled by you.
Whether you want earned media or not, you’re going to have it. It can be both good and bad, and it’s still earned media if a third party put it out there without your permission and without payment from you. You can have some measure of control over earned media by providing the best customer service you can, having top-notch products and services, and keeping your ear to the ground to make the most of any positive third party earned media.
Sometimes there can be cross-overs with owned and paid media, as well as owned and earned media. For example, if you own a blog post and you pay to promote it. Or if you created a video that happened to go viral that is both owned and earned -because once it goes viral you essentially lose control of it and what is said about it. Take advantage of those opportunities when you can.
All business owners should use a combination of all three forms of media in their marketing efforts for the very best results. With today’s crowded marketplace, the old ways of just relying on search engine optimization and your own social media promotions are over. You need to find a way to stand out from the crowd to become a force to be reckoned with.