Now that you have built a successful business, you have an established customer base and you are fairly well known in your geographical area, your industry or both, what do you do to stay ahead of your competition? You might want to consider the following tips to help you to expand your business and take it to the next level.
The following are 4 tips to help you increase the size of your business and take it to the next level. In my next post I will share the other 4.
1. Open another location. Either open another location or move into an office space if you are currently working from a home office. This may not be the best choice for expansion; however, it is the first thing business owners often do. If you are thinking of doing this, be sure you are maintaining a consistent bottom-line profit and that you have shown steady growth over the past few years. You also want to ensure your infrastructure, staff and your systems can accommodate the growth. Finally, research the demand of taking this next step and how it will affect your decision.
2. Expand your product or service lines to compliment the ones you currently have. This will allow you to offer more selection and it makes your products and services more appealing to your customer base. However, first, you need to conduct market research to determine which products and/or services are in demand, which would be profitable for you, and which would be affordable to your customers.
3. Find ways to increase repeat business for your current customers. This is a lot less expensive than locating new customers. Initiate reorder cards that you can send out to remind customers to reorder products and/or services when you want them to, not just when they remember to do so. Contact them more often with a monthly or bi-monthly newsletter via email or mail to ensure the customer is keeping you on the top of their minds for additional sales.
Consider developing volume sales discounts, monthly rates, or other discounts to entice them to purchase more at a time or for a longer period of time than instead of just a single sale. If you can, try to get your customer to contract with your business, if your business is set up to do so.
4. Update your Web site or develop a new one if you do not have one. Be sure to add monthly specials, discounts and/or promotions on your site – especially on the home page to attract attention. Ensure individuals/businesses visiting your site sign up in order to qualify to win a drawing or receive a discount, so that you can add them to your database. You can also add products and/or services to sell online. If done correctly, this adds sales and reduces the time necessary to locate these sales. These are typically bonus sales above and beyond anything you would normally sell since they are from a different ‘group’ of people.
I can’t tell you how many clients and other business owners I see every month who continue to believe that THEY have to DO IT ALL.
I learned this lesson a couple years ago. When I hired my first assistant I thought I had to hire “an employee” so I got the insurance, worker’s comp, payroll service and put an ad out.
I didn’t even know what I could pay or for how many hours mind you at this time, I just knew in order to get more successful and get more business quicker – I needed someone to help me do the things that were slowing me down.
So I found my first “employee”, paid the payroll, taxes, etc. It was all relatively easy.
Unfortunately that employee ran his course and I soon needed someone with additional talents and skills. So I (being the connector that I am) found that employee another job with a client of mine and hired a different employee for myself with added skills that I needed to get me to my next step. That second employee was so good in fact that she got hired out from under me to work full time in a great job. I wished her well because it was ideal for her but then I was stuck again and back on the hamster wheel, doing it all myself.
I was introduced to a temp agency who could have someone come and work in my home or from their home if need be for certain projects. I hired someone from the temp agency who worked out very well. She had another small business of her own and she did other work for other professionals as well. She brought many ideas to the table for me and challenged me to work more ON my business and let her work IN it. She took on client projects and research projects plus other things that I really didn’t need to be doing. I in turn was able to network more, follow up more and got a lot more new clients and referrals after this.
After this temp gal ran her course I was so used to someone working “virtually” for me, from her home or from mine depending on the day or project that I wasn’t sure I wanted someone to come back into my home office space again. This is when I learned about Virtual Assistants – what a concept! They do my work from their home and it gets done efficiently and successfully.
I now have 3 Virtual Assistants and looking to hire one more. One who does all my bookkeeping, manages my shopping cart sales and my QuickBooks, one who does all my data entry for all the business cards I collect out networking and they also do any mailers that need to go out to my list. The third VA is my right hand gal – she does everything I can think of. Anything that comes across my desk that needs to be signed up for, looked into, opportunities that need investigating plus she handles my whole membership program (Marketing Mentor Program) – new sign ups, cancellations, email blasts, website updates and so much more! I couldn’t think about doing this alone anymore and I am no longer on the hamster wheel!!
I realize it’s hard to figure out how and what to outsource at first because you think you are the only one that can do certain things.
But I can tell you – every single client I consult with in my 1-On-1 Marketing Planning Meeting or any call or consult really – I urge and recommend outsourcing 1-8 things! There is always a way – you sometimes just need to be SHOWN the way.
Once you do this you will be able to step off that hamster wheel more often than not and you will have so much more free time to do the things that you LOVE TO DO, be with the clients you LOVE working with, be able to develop new products and services and figure out ways to leverage your time and expertise to make you more M.O.N.E.Y. with less effort and less time.
Isn’t that the goal?
Let me help you figure out how to get off that hamster wheel and get more clients and experience more success faster – let’s do it now!
This form of marketing (or model if you will) can be extremely lucrative you know? Have you given this any thought for your own business and marketing funnel?
Almost any type of business could potentially add some kind of membership model to their business – both retail or store front, online businesses or almost any service professional and probably many product based companies too.
Some examples of membership programs that many of you might already be a member of and not even realize it (or see it as an opportunity for you) are:
Product refill orders such as for Juice Plus or beauty products
Your website hosting services
Memberships in networking or professional organizations
Some advertising you might do like yellow pages for example
Each of these companies or services are charging your credit card (most likely) each month based on your signup and agreement to receive their offer/products/services on a monthly basis for an agreed upon fee. They will continue to charge your card unless you cancel which you have to either do in writing or online most often but continuation or cancellation is up to you.
They don’t have to keep selling you each month; it’s recurring income for them – hence constant cash flow!
You can do this too most likely with a little creativity – you just need to brainstorm on:
WHAT this would look like in YOUR business.
Who it would be attractive to (who’d want to buy it/sign up for it).
What you would offer (that wouldn’t take up a lot of your time and be cost effective)
How to best set it up so you can automate this as much as possible.
How much to charge.
How to structure and market it to your list
Other examples of this include memberships such as:
My Silver Marketing Mentor Program – get all the details at
http://www.mentorsignup.com/ – but basically it includes one teleclass each month that you can listen in on, get the CD by mail, access to personal 1on1 time with me once a month over the phone for laser coaching, my backend online Mentor Resources page which houses all my past teleclass recordings, articles, samples, templates and tons of resources just for my Mentor Members – ALL FOR ONLY $47/MO (best deal with my personal coaching of all these 3)!
One of my coaches, Alexandria Brown, Silver Motivation Mastermind Group – get all the details at AlexandriaBrown.com – her program includes access to her monthly teleclass and the CD by mail, her printed newsletter and access to her online forum – ALL FOR ONLY $47/MO TOO!
My other coach David Neagle’s Silver Level Coaching Program – get all the details atDavidNeagle.com– his program includes 1 teaching call each month and the CD’s mailed plus 10% off his programs (after 3 months) – ALL FOR ONLY $97/MO.
Yes, these examples are all for coaching and consulting services primarily (see how easy it could be though?), however there are many business owners I’ve consulted with that had ‘regular type businesses’ who we were able to come up with a cool membership idea for as well to give them extra cash flow such as:
Day spas and Medspas
Home furnishings and decor stores
Gift basket companies
Network Marketing companies
Fitness Trainers and Gyms
Personal Makeup Artists
It’s really just all about leverage – leveraging your time, expertise and packaging it in such a way that it benefits your customers AND it helps to provide YOU the type of lifestyle you want to lead.
Put your thinking cap on or contact me and let’s brainstorm on some cash flow generating ideas for YOUR business ASAP!!
I realize that when you first started your business you may not have thought about EVERYTHING that would be involved with running a successful business, right?
You had a passion and interest in a particular product or service that you could offer and that you believed others would want. But there’s a LOT more to running a successful business than what meets the eye.
Here are some very common mistakes I see my clients and others I meet making every month in their businesses. The ones who end up being successful are the ones who REALIZE this and take steps to FIX their issues.
What mistakes are YOU making?
1. Not marketing to everyone you know 2. Not having a consistent follow up marketing system 3. Being afraid of networking and not learning how to overcome it 4. Thinking if they build it, they will come 5. Cutting back on marketing first when times are tough 6. Lack of understanding of what types of marketing will work for their business and what won’t 7. Planning too much and not DOING anything 8. Giving up too soon 9. Not estimating enough start up costs and expenditures 10. Letting their own opinions about marketing get in the way of what they decide to do to market their business 11. Thinking they can do it all themselves and need to 12. Not asking for help 13. Spending too much time on things that are not making them money 14. Not getting professional help from the start with certain aspects of their business 15. Compromising quality and professionalism to save money 16. Not really knowing and understanding their target market 17. Not knowing their competition or following them too closely without knowing if what they’re doing is working or not 18. Making decisions in their marketing based on what types of marketing THEY like or don’t like to be targeted with 19. Not continually learning about new techniques and practices 20. Not keeping up with technology to better build your business 21. Thinking that marketing = expensive
What are YOU going to do about the ones you identify with? I hope this gives you some things to think about. Remember, to get a plan in order so you DON’T end up making these common mistakes and to get a more specific and targeted approach to your marketing and business growth I’m happy to sit down with you in a 1-on-1 Planning Meeting. I recently changed the format of these meetings by the way, now you get 3 meetings, each 2 weeks apart from each other so you can better implement the strategies we discuss – all for one price! Go to www.1on1PlanningMeeting.com to find out more.
For many entrepreneurs networking is a must to build your contact list the fastest way possible. After all, networking is one of the least expensive, most effective forms of marketing that you can do!
Besides if you have no customers yet and nothing to do – you have to do something! Networking is also the best way to build relationships; no other form of marketing or advertising can do this for you. People buy from people they like and connect with.
I’ve been self employed for five years and I’m still networking; I’m just more selective now on where and who I network with. When I first started out I joined four local chambers, a women’s organization and a leads group and I was at every event all the time.
As my business started picking up, I reduced the number of groups I was involved in and remained in only those that were the best fit for me and that brought me the most clients. I was extremely active in those that I stayed in so that I would be well known; basically I became the Go-to-Gal for my industry and associations. This is what you want. You want for others to see you as the expert in your field. The key is though to be selfless, generous and knowledgeable in the process.
These days I’m networking even online through various social networking sites, business networking sites and other membership sites that I belong to but this takes time and finesse as well.
Rarely do I see very many really good networkers though so I urge you to learn more, practice your skills, focus on giving to others and really work at becoming the best networker you can because it will pay off with more customers and bigger profits.
Here are a few habits that a good networker typically exudes; they will:
Go with a goal
Be prepared, mentally and with materials
Arrive early and stay late
Work the room
Master their ‘commercials’ and alter them as needed
Introduce others around
Pass people off nicely and move on
Ask questions of the other person
Know to listen more than they talk
Take notes on cards
Quickly and repeatedly follow up
So, how to you match up? What are you doing?
One thing I want to remind you of is that no matter which ones you are doing if you are NOT doing the very last one listed – the FOLLOW UP – then I can tell you right now that you are absolutely wasting your time (and money) doing the networking in the first place!!
I can’t stress to you enough that if you find yourself not being able to get your follow up done – then figure out someone to delegate this to. It’s worth whatever it costs to pay someone to do this for you because it could mean the difference between one sale and fourteen sales!
P.S. Want my help getting some clarity in your business or business idea? I can take your ideas or current business and literally figure out how to put it into OVERDRIVE within a really short amount of time. Contact me or sign up for one of my 1on1 services!
I’m giving you some of my Sales Letter Writing Tips this week – BUT I CAUTION YOU…..these are not easy to use if you don’t typically think on a sales and marketing level. I don’t care if you KNOW YOUR BUSINESS or not; that does not mean you know how to write an effective sales letter, sales page or compelling online (or offline) content.
So, if you read over this and still want some help manipulating, editing or writing your content for you then I highly suggest you contact me or just go sign up for my 1-On-1 Marketing Planning Meeting right now ok? You want to make sure it’s done right the first time.
“8 Things About Writing a Sales Letter Every Small Business Should Know”
1. The more expensive your product or service is, the longer the sales letter should be.
2. Headlines should be really big and stand out, possibly using a RED font – that is always the best color for a heading or for continued big, bold text throughout your letter. You can highlight certain text with your highlighter tool in Word or whatever you use. You should also put your headlines in quotes.
3. Use facts, tell stories about you or your client’s experiences. Use bullets to show what they will learn/get/receive or how it will benefit them.
4. Use testimonials from clients, vendors, etc. Try to get their photos, use their full names and companies for added credibility and you can even have them make an audio of their testimonial to add to your website and link on your letter.
5. Build up the program/service/product through the whole letter with supporting facts, using teaser text and attention getting phrases they’ll be sure to relate to.
6. Answer any potential objections in the letter before getting to the price. Brainstorm or survey current clients on what exactly are the most important hot buttons or objections they might have in regards to your products or services – and then reassure them that your product/service can solve that problem/fill that need.
7. Throw in a FREE BONUS! Try offering a bonus or two or three instead of a discount. You can develop something I’m sure that others will want and that doesn’t cost you a lot of extra time or money if you really think about it.
8. Finally let them know the price. Offer easy ways to pay like “click here to buy now” using a shopping cart, or “you can make 3 easy payments of $$$”; offering a payment plan option is much better than giving an early bird discount and losing money on your product/service.
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE?You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Katrina Sawa is a Relationship Marketing Coach, Speaker and Award Winning Ezine Publisher who helps small business owners and entrepreneurs make the most of their marketing dollars and time by developing creative, effective marketing and follow up systems for her clients. For more info on her planning meetings, do-it-yourself products or email newsletter set up service visit her at www.JumpStartYourMarketing.com and you’ll get her FREE REPORT: “The Top 3 Ways to JumpStart Your Marketing”.
Ok, so what happened this week was an unsuspecting new business to the Folsom area (local suburb) was trying to drum up some new business, right? Sounds simple.
But what they did, ended up being not only a CUSTOMER SERVICE AND PUBLICITY…
But depending on how they “clean it up”, it could be a huge CREDIBILITY KILLER as well.
Now, I’m not going to mention their name because I ended up talking with them and they are generally very nice; they just made an ASTRONOMICAL EMAIL MISTAKE.
So, being a new business, they thought they’d start by email blasting out all the businesses in the local Folsom Chamber of Commerce about their B2B service they offer. That probably seemed like the quickest, easiest thing to do (in their mind).
They probably went on to the chamber website and cut and pasted all the email addresses they could find because I’m a member there and I know they don’t sell that list. So, tons of time spent doing this, right?
Well, yesterday, I received an email from these folks with the word “newsletter” in the subject line (I knew I had to talk to them about that for one), opened it up and read a little bit. It was basically a text message about their services with a couple links to their website mixed in but no other ‘real’ content.
The email had a message at the bottom saying people could unsubscribe by replying with the word unsubscribe in the subject line. It wasn’t personalized with any one’s name or email address though to contact. It started out though by a “Welcome to our first newsletter” message which I thought was weird since I didn’t remember meeting anyone from that company recently. But knowing I could be mistaken since I do talk to a lot of people each week, I thought I would reply and ask them where we met.
So, I replied (only to the one person who sent it to me of course in the TO line, not to the ‘reply all’ button).
I asked them if we met at a recent event or ?? Then I also mentioned that I help small businesses with their email marketing campaigns and theirs was breaking a few sp’am laws – FYI. I told them about my service for that briefly and sent it off.
They responded back (good to know they weren’t a spam piece themselves thankfully). We had a dialog back and forth a couple times (this was pretty late Tuesday night).
I thought nothing of it but hmmm, maybe I’ll get a new client and help them maximize their email marketing campaign?
Then the following morning (today – Wednesday) bright and early I started getting calls….
Now for some of you who know me, it’s rare to ever catch me anywhere before 10:00 am, much less on the phone even before my coffee BUT at 7:30 am the phone started ringing, and ringing, and ringing. After the 3rd call before 8:30 am (of course I wasn’t answering but …) I figured something was up. I stumbled to my computer and found a bunch of emails and a few messages from angry soles who had been receiving every correspondence between the two of us the night before.
I quickly learned that somehow the “reply” button wasn’t just replying to the one person who sent the newsletter to me in the first place but it was going to EVERYONE they sent it to. WOW! People kept saying unsubscribe me, delete me from your list, etc. Now, for someone like me to get those when I do this weekly ezine myself I thought I better do something because these people think these messages are coming from me – and I’m the one trying to FIX THE PROBLEM!
Apparently what had happened was he accidentally somehow programmed the reply address to reply to all (no idea how, he’s a techie though).
So, I first listened to the messages, one was from another marketing colleague who understood what was happening and she was alerting me which was nice but the other woman was pretty irate. I called her back to let her know that it wasn’t me, it was another company and I’d call them to figure it out but by then I had already pulled up the company’s website and gave her their phone number.
When I called the guy I had emailed with, he was actually expecting my call, it was funny. I kind of felt sorry for the guy really as he probably had a REALLY, REALLY BAD DAY.
I told him this was going to be detrimental to his business’ success, especially since he just messed with the whole entire chamber of commerce! I urged him to call the chamber right away and explain the situation, gave him the number and the person to contact because they don’t take spamming lightly at this chamber. It would help his chances of not getting black-balled if this got around to them; plus I also suggested he joined as soon as possible too. (I even volunteered to introduce him around to smooth things out if need be – always giving, that’s what I do.)
He actually felt so bad I believe he finally emailed everyone back one by one to admit and explain his mistake. Which was good for me because the calls weren’t stopping. I had to change my voice mail and not answer the phone for the first half of the day – I left a detailed message explaining the issue with the “newsletter” email blast and gave out the company’s number to call even.
Luckily, the calls and emails stopped. He dismantled the email address and the list and I might get a customer out of the whole ordeal.
So, a few lessons to learn here are:
Do not cut and paste random email addresses into any email blast you are sending
Do not use Outlook to send large email blasts or newsletters (many reasons why)
Do not send any email blasts to people you don’t know (only about .01% of companies will do well with this)
Do not send out sales pitches disguised as newsletters (you can send out sales blasts to your list but send them separately from your regular newsletter and make sure you explain what you’re doing)
Do not put email addresses of those you are sending email blasts to in the TO or CC line of your email, put them all in the BCC line (if you MUST use Outlook, which I don’t recommend).
Do explain what you are doing when you send out your first newsletter – how you know them, why you put them on your list, what you plan on telling them in upcoming issues, how they will benefit, what you will offer, etc.
Do put complete contact information in every email
Do put easy opt-out links in every email – not a message telling them to reply with unsubscribe in the subject line – many people are afraid to do that in case your email is spam in the first place and they might get a virus.
Do use a professional, preferably online, email marketing program to send all your email newsletters, blasts and sales pitch blasts – I highly recommend subscribing to the one I use, Constant Contact; it’s affordable, easy to use, follows all the spam laws and you can easily track all emails sent, opened, clicked through, etc.
Finally, if you don’t want to or can’t figure how to get this all goingCORRECTLYon your own, I can help you set it up and brainstorm what you’re going to say, how to say it and how to really attract the attention of your contact list on a regular basis in order to get more repeat and referral business – GUARANTEED!Find out about my Easy Ezine Set Up Service using Constant Contact now.
Ok, so that’s all I have to say about that, I hope that you tread very lightly with your next email marketing campaign. But I don’t want to scare you off from doing one. My emails bring me lots of business every week! They also allow me to stay on top of the minds of everyone on my list every week because everyone on that list has to either read me or delete me! Rarely do they “unsubscribe” since I give so much valuable info.
I just want you to do your email campaigns in a way that is professional, effective and helpful to the user. I really can help you get one going in no time so what are you waiting for?
If you’ve never participated in a teleclass before here is everything you want to know about this fast, fun and interactive way to learn new marketing skills.
You might think of the Marketing TeleClasses as “instant marketing workshops by telephone”.
They are live, interactive training sessions conducted over the telephone through state-of-the-art teleconferencing bridge systems.
You will receive timely tips, tools, strategies and techniques over the telephone that can benefit your life and business immediately. All of this from the convenience of your home or office and with no travel time.
If you are a small business owner or entrepreneur who wants to learn more of the fundamental principles of attracting clients to your business these Marketing TeleClasses are perfect for you.
You’ll learn hands-on, how-to skills that can be implemented right away to market your services more effectively. These aren’t just theories and concepts you’ll learn, but proven strategies that work to build your business taught by experienced marketing practitioners.
Here’s exactly how the Marketing TeleClasses work. They are conducted over a “high-tech bridge telephone line.” It’s just as simple as making a phone call. All you do is dial the bridge telephone number (you’ll get the telephone number to the line when you enroll) and join us on the call. That’s it!
There will be anywhere from a dozen to over a hundred people in each TeleClass – depending on the topic. The more, the better.
How much does it cost?
Since you can call from anywhere in the world and the telephone bridges are located in random states around the country, for most people there is a long distance charge for placing the call. But if you compare the savings of time, money and effort (not having to leave your home or office and drive to a seminar location) the average cost of a teleseminar – $6 per call is a great deal!
Each TeleClass is typically 60 minutes long. I give you more hands-on information than many other TeleClasses however and then I allow extra time for questions at the end.
If you are a small business owner or entrepreneur who wants practical support in putting your marketing ideas into action – these Marketing TeleClasses are definitely for you.