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Gastronomic delights are not the only benefits of the dining room. To paraphrase Ben Franklin, more deals are brokered in the dining room than in the boardroom. Professional organizations are the dining room of small business owners. There are a variety of organizations to join, many with a casual agenda and low to medium membership fees.
The start up cost to join a professional organization is nominal and the benefits are extensive. Your biggest output is time, and it is well spent. Most organizations keep tight meeting schedules to accommodate busy members.
In return, members receive an excellent return on their investment.
FRATERNIZING. Acquaint yourself with other business owners who share similar frustrations and frequently offer clever solutions. Although your products and services may be worlds apart, business practices and customer satisfaction are just a few of many elements that you have in common with other owners. Sharing these issues can lead to camaraderie and alliances.
RECIPROCITY. Referrals from other members and to other members can help grow your business and strengthen your alliance within the organization.
EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS. These help you keep in touch with customer wants and needs by exposing you to the pulse of the community. We especially need to remain current on ever changing technological advances, and mini seminars are excellent for a quick overview of changes and helpful improvements.
COMMUNITY EVENTS. Volunteerism develops your network in the community and allows you to give back as you also create good will. It provides an opportunity to perpetuate name recognition both for you as an individual and your business.
NETWORKING. By joining professional organizations you will be able to network with other professionals in your industry. Especially important if you’re a business startup to establish new connections, you will be able to get your name out there while forming alliances with other businesses to help further your ventures, both now and in the future. Just make sure you stay in touch with everyone you meet so you’re networking means something.
Running a small business is not an easy thing to accomplish, but it is not as complicated as most people think, either. In business, you need to be brave and ready to take risks. It is a fact that risk is integrated in a business, and is what allows for profits to be made. You should invest some time to read and understand the five effective quick thoughts (B.R.A.V.E. Model) that is essential in your business ventures.
Be True to Yourself. In making business decisions, the person who has the last say is YOU. Staying true to yourself means that you are confronting and overcoming the fear inside you. Trust yourself and respond to your inner voice because it will help you get and stay brave.
Respect the Reality. If you are aiming to be successful in your small business, respect the facts that are clearly evident and apparent. Do not ignore the basic principles in building a business such as the dos and don’ts. Keep in account that this is important because it will help you to stay brave.
Act As If You can boost your bravery by using mental analysis and mind setting. Try to act as if you were already successful; this technique will definitely help you identify contingencies, pitfalls and potential blind spots.
Value Fear. Most entrepreneurs are using fear to gain a substantial competitive advantage. Do not let fear pull you down; rather value it and reverse its effects because this will ultimately conquer your fears. As President Franklin D. Roosevelt said in his inaugural address, there is nothing to fear but fear itself.
Ease Up. Knowing that handling a small business is a serious matter, do not fail to keep your sense of humor and make business operations your passion. Making yourself relax and eased up aids you to stay brave and be braver.
Starting a business is a challenge most entrepreneurs are faced with, and making a success out of it is an even bigger one. Lack of cash isn’t responsible for the failure of any business, especially a small business, but lack of knowledge definitely is. Complete knowledge and know-how is important for the success of any enterprise, and a mentor or advisor can go a long way in contributing to that success by sharing their expertise and experience required for your business. Having the right business mentor is very important for your business and its growth and success, and a little consideration can help you make the right choice.
Having a strong rapport with your advisor is very important. It essentially would mean that there are no issues with communication and understanding each other and that they are able to challenge your operations and ideas should they not agree with some of your decisions.
Choose someone with hands-on experience. Beware of someone who pitches for a new system or an innovative, untested idea. Instead rely on someone who has been there and done that. Not only can they help you with the secrets of their success, but they will also make you aware about the failures that were faced by them so the same mistakes are not repeated.
Choose someone who takes your entire enterprise into consideration. Your advisor should ideally have good tools and strategies in place for driving sales and profit and a tested framework in place for achieving that.
Choose a mentor that holds you accountable for results. Your mentor should have the right to hold you accountable for the commitments you make and also help guide you in the right direction. You, as a business owner, may not always take being corrected, well but it is valuable for your success.
Successful entrepreneurs make it to the top with a great team and the undisputable role played by a good mentor.
Music can help us channel emotions. It’s a true healer. It relaxes the soul and awakens the spirit. Music creates the beautiful aura of peace and serenity.
Now the question is: what is the relationship between music and business? Music is very important when considering how you want your customers to perceive your business. It can be used to differentiate two otherwise similar companies by producing a completely different atmosphere and overall customer experience.
The music that you play can influence the way your customers behave within your shop or store, and lead them to form judgments- consciously and subconsciously- about who you are. There is also a link between tempo of music and the activity of customers in different settings.
Not only does choosing the right playlist affect your customers, though; it also affects your employees and their productivity. It has actually been proven that playing music within your business can lead to a happier workforce, and if your employees are happier, theyll pass on that positive energy to your customers and (hopefully) increase sales.
For more information on utilizing the power of music in your business, visit:http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/223667
One of the best ways to help your customers, especially in their eyes, is to start with pricing.
1. VALUE PROPOSITION & PRICING
Short and long term pricing is fairly complex.
- You have to consider the value as opposed to your competition.
- You have to think about what the consumer will truly pay for your product.
- You have to be able to reach your revenue and market share goals.
- You have to maximize your profit.
- You may have to think about what customers would pay for other solutions you offer.
- You have to think about whether your price should fall in relation to the competition.
- As soon as price, value proposition and competitive position are aligned, you’re in the best possible scenario to maximize revenue and profits.
Pricing strategy verses your value proposition
Your price on a product sends a strong signal to your market; it needs to be in-line with the value you’re delivering.
- It just makes sense if your value proposition is in operational efficiency, then your price needs to be extremely competitive.
- It really sends the wrong message if your value proposition is product leadership or customer intimacy. After all, if a luxury item isn’t expensive, is it really a luxury?
Differ From the Competition Based on Consumer Needs
At this point you should have a sound market strategy in place one that has came from the answers to these two key questions:
Where and how do we compete
That is, what products or services do we sell, to what kinds of customers and in which markets” How do we organize our assets and use pricing to back it up? The challenge is to extend that understanding to ensure that your entire company focuses on the practical implications of that differentiation strategy. In simpler terms:
- Customer touch points
- Product and service variety
- Operational configuration and cost structures
3. TARGET MARKET
Target your particular market
You might consider the first plan of listing those people that sales aren’t currently reaching their goals and reaching out to them. Also, using tools like LinkedIn can be valuable assets. Checking facts with Jigsaw and LinkedIn can save time and energy, at a rate of 10 or so prospects entered per day. It should only take 3 to 4 weeks to make your list. Use an introductory email as first communication with these new clients.
You might also want to create a content marketing program to help your list and qualify leads. It is true that a content marketing program can come in many forms; start thinking about a blog and post articles with information and tips that coincide with your product.
In order to pass on more content, your list can be built with a monthly or weekly newsletter, with summaries of and links to the articles on your blog. Including links within the articles is also a good lead tactic.
After you have built your list and a content marketing program in place to help that list, it is a good idea to start on a larger scale to create demand beyond the contacts in your database. Another great thought would be to promote what you are offering with a targeted paid search program or content syndication program. These strategies will not only help brand your business but help build your list and provide leads for your sales.
Keep in mind if the contacts in your database happen to come across some of your content outside of your nurturing program that will only reinforce your company.
Communicating well is the key
A sales message not only intrigues, informs, persuades, calls to action, but will also close the final sale. You will soon realize not all sales messages will make a direct sale, but your goal must remain the same. Even if your sales message is embedded in a letter, represented in a proposal, or broadcasted over the internet.
4. COMMUNICATION MODEL
A Guide to a Basic Sales Message
You have to use humor, novelty and surprise to get attention. Also build customer interest by appealing to general needs and wants, including a statement to set up expectations.
You have to establish your credibility, discuss attractive features, and compare with competitors, addressing potential questions before they are asked.
Summarize and offer solution steps while motivating the audience to take the next step. The smaller the step, the more likely the audience will be responsive. Try to make an effective closing. Make the sale, try to be memorable, and make sure your last thoughts relate to the most important information, like a consumer phone number.
Last but not least, just remember every product or service you bring to the market creates a customer experience. Is it the experience you intended? Does that experience fulfill the promise you’ve made to the marketplace?
Starting a business can present numerous but not insurmountable challenges. Becoming knowledgeable through research, learning to heed the advice of successful entrepreneurs, and becoming proactive in all operations will assist small business owners in facing these challenges.
Here are some of the main challenges entrepreneurs face and strategies to effectively deal with them.
- Developing an idea and vision. As Benjamin Franklin once so aptly put it, you must possess the ability to see what others cannot see. Developing a business idea and plan is the first and most important challenge faced by every entrepreneur.
- Raising capital for startup. To overcome the omnipresent challenge of raising capital, you must develop the ability to sell your idea to investors. Note, however, that convincing an investor about something that does not yet exist presents a challenge within itself. You must be persuasive and have a good story backed by a fortified business plan if you wish to attract investors and capitalists.
- Putting together a strong business team. By team, I do not mean employees; I mean a business management team that will meet routinely to brainstorm and discuss the direction of the business, long and short-term goals, and different strategies to expand it. A business team is a vital, yet largely ignored key to raising capital and getting your business on its feet.
- Finding the right employees. Finding ambitious, trustworthy and loyal employees is extremely difficult. Even if you do find individuals who meet your expectations, if they work poorly as a team, it is in vain and will yield nothing but stagnation. Remember, employees are a reflection of your business its values, culture, and ethic. Hire slow and fire fast.
- Overcoming competition. From an outsiders perspective, competition encourages innovation and production of quality products; it’s a benchmark of creativity. Adopting this view, you should embrace competition and use it to stimulate your creative juices, so to speak.
- Unpredictable business challenges and expenses. As the old saying goes, expect the unexpected. If not handled promptly and with care, these can potentially lead to business failure. Some challenges include:
- Inability to make payroll
- Unexpected resignation of staff
- Bad customers
- Poor working capital
- Oscillating government policy
- Unpaid bills/taxes
The above are several but not all challenges every small business owner must face as they begin their journey as an entrepreneur. Overcoming these challenges is quite literally the difference between success and failure.
There are certain characteristics and actions that have been common to entrepreneurs who started small and built successful business empires. Setting goals and having these goals constantly at the back of your mind is critical for big success. Continuously monitoring the key aspects of your business that are needed for success is vital because what you cannot measure, you cannot control. The difference between a talented entrepreneur and a successful talented entrepreneur is often the amount of discipline and organization that the successful entrepreneur brings to his business. Paying attention to details is crucial for business to be successful. Seeing is not understanding, understanding develops when you pay attention to details. Time management is most important factor for business to succeed – if you have lost a second, there is no way you can get thatsecond back. To know more about some personal and business productivity tools visit http://www.billdoll.com/dir/biz/q/small_biz_large.html
Getting investments is a very tough and time-consuming process, which may be news for entrepreneurs. Prominent small business advisers suggest thatentrepreneurs need to remain patient and keep their proposals simple in order to get the funding they want. This is an important step in attracting potential investors. Its a good idea to keep some members of the team away from the fund raising aspect so that they can focus their attentions onproductdevelopment. Investment seekers are advised to keep their pitches less than 25 minutes and go to venture forums to work on their presentation skills.
Get some useful hints to get small business investments. Visit http://www.gaebler.com/News/Small-Business-Finance/Patience-and-simplicity-key-to-getting-small-business-investments-19820476.htm
In the business world, you are going to have to take the role of a fortune teller. Is your product/service going to go over well with the public and if so, for how long is this going to last? Trends can be the deciding point for your businessâ€™s success or down fall. Businesses cater to the people and if you can see what the public wants for the next year or two, imagine how much success you and your business will have. While surfing the web, I came across this resourceful little website called SmallBizTrends.com. They have much to offer entrepreneurs of all kinds but I found the trend sections of the site most helpful. Once you go on the site you can see that they have much to choose from (Product/Book reviews, research, marketing tips, etc.). I found the product review section useful in that other sites review products to sell, yet here it is to help you. They review everything from notebooks to IPod applications to business programs. The most beneficial part of the site has to be the expert trends analyses. Click on the Small Biz Experts and you got over 50 experts who give you a trend analysis about topics such as employment, start-up, economy, and much more. Reading these articles, I became a fan of Mark Anderson who seems to give both a humorous and helpful editorial. Whether you become a fan of Mark Anderson or Joel Libava, you can narrow it down so that you can read only his or her articles. This is a most unique resource in that it gives you more than just practical business advice and says â€œLetâ€™s predict the next hot product/serviceâ€ advice. Check it outSmallBizTrends.com.