Category: Startups

The difference between working ON versus IN your business, and why it matters

 

As small business owners it’s easy to fall into the trap of spending all your time working IN your business.

You find one or two good clients, and they’re willing to buy as much of your time as they can get. You work for them long hours, maybe 40-60 hours per week.  Then one of them changes tack, and doesn’t want your services anymore.

Suddenly your income plummets, and you have to replace them, fast. You scramble, make lots of phone calls, pay a fortune for social media ads, and desperately try to bring in a new client – but you don’t have any leads, because you haven’t been working ON your business.

What’s the difference working “on” rather than just “in” your business?

We know exactly what working in our business looks like: serving clients, ‘doing the work’ and wearing all the many hats needed to keep the lights on.

But what does it feel like when we’re only working in our business and never on it?

  •  ‘Stuff’ is getting done, but you don’t feel like you’re making progress towards anything big or meaningful.
  • You’re not clear on the big picture, and the ‘why’ or vision behind your business, is fuzzy.
  • You’re on a hamster wheel of busy-ness, stress and being overwhelmed.

Sound at all familiar?

We know, we have to spend considerable time working in the business to have a business at all. But if we’re acting like a full-time employee and never stepping into the role of CEO in order to lead the business, we’re not going to get very far.

Working in and on the business, you have to think of it as running two businesses at once: the business you’re in and the business you’re becoming.

The Problem With only Working IN Your Business

You might say, it is not a problem, after all, things are still running. The problem is:

  • There is also no leverage.
  • There is no long-term planning.  No one is looking at what could happen (or should happen) next year or three years from now.
  • No one is focusing on the big picture. Everyone including the owner can see the woods from the trees.  All the focus is inside the four walls. No one is visiting customers and using that feedback to improve and evolve.
  • No one is tracking the competition to see how they are evolving.
  • The “boss” has no continued professional development and is getting little input other than from staff members. Soon his/her skills and outlook could get stale.

Spending all your time working IN your business will, unfortunately, harm it. Because it’s not about what you’re doing, it’s about what you’re not doing.

Working ON your business means designing, planning, refining your business, but not directly producing revenue.

So what does working ‘on’ your business look like?

These are some of the things you should be doing when working ON your business:

1.    Evaluation of your business performance

According to the Pareto Principle, 80% of results come from just 20% of activity. But if you’re not evaluating what’s working and what’s isn’t, how will you ever know what your 20% is?

Evaluation means sitting down weekly, monthly or quarterly – whatever is needed – and crunching the numbers. To do this, you need to define what success looks like for you and the metrics to measure.

For example:

  • Revenue and profit: Is your business model serving your lifestyle and leaving plenty left over to re-invest in growth?
  • Creative output: Are you doing client work that challenges and inspires you?
  • Quality of life: Does your business support your health and hobbies and enable you to travel and spend time with your loved ones?

Your business should serve your lifestyle, not the other way around, so you need to be able to measure its performance.

2. Being clear on your vision

As the CEO of yourself and your business, you need to know where you’re going and why, and make high-level strategic decisions accordingly. Once you are clear on your vision, you can set relevant goals on the path to get there.

Do you have a vision for your business? 

3.    Business Development

Whatever industry you’re in, we’re all in the relationship-building business. Working ‘on’ your business means looking ahead, nurturing warm leads, and building great relationships with people before you need them.

4.    Figure out & document your processes

You not only need to build your sales lead pipeline long before you run out of clients, but you also have to put in a lot of planning to:

  • Build a process for future employees to follow
  • Hire the right employees
  • Manage their product delivery and their personal growth
  • And worse, scale it fast enough that you can hire a manager to do all this stuff (because technically this isn’t really working ON the business either)

5.    Investing in yourself

Your business or career cannot grow unless you do. Success doesn’t happen because your external circumstances get better, it happens because you get better!

As a business owner and as the CEO of your life, you are 100% responsible for your training, education and personal development. So read books, listen to podcasts, network, go to events and workshops, hire a coach and invest in professional help for any health issues that are holding you back.

An investment in yourself is an investment that will always pay itself back.

Marketing For Small Business

Being smart with marketing ensures the success of your business by attracting more customers, and keeping them coming back. Small businesses are the backbone of the Irish economy — and you know you need to look after your back!

Whether you own a bakery or a finance business, you need no-nonsense marketing strategies to secure a greater share of the market. Empower yourself to apply clever marketing plans and ideas without breaking the bank, or your back.

Making Marketing Work in Your Small Business

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to be a good marketer. But neither is there a silver bullet or one-size-fits-all solution. Every small business is different — the marketing plan and tactics for a mortgage broker are entirely different from those of a computer reseller. However, the process of building a plan, sticking to it and applying the time and resources it needs is the common secret to success in marketing.

Remember the purpose of marketing is to help your customers, or potential customer, in the decision making process.

Here are few tips to help you be brilliant at marketing:

  • Put your customers first. Understanding who your customers are, what makes them tick and what they really want and value, and of course staying in touch with them long after the sale, puts you ahead of the competition.
  • Know your target market. ‘Anyone who is breathing’ is not a target market! Targeting your marketing activities fairly and squarely at the people who need and want your service or product is the secret to creating quality enquiries and getting prospects to open their wallet.
  • Understand that marketing is not advertising. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that advertising and websites are the only two ways to attract more business. You can market your small business in literally hundreds of ways, so it pays to know what they are and then eliminate the ones that won’t work, or that you can’t afford, up-front.
  • Get a handle on the seven Ps of marketing. Getting your product, pricing, placement strategy (distribution) and promotional strategy as well as people, processes and physical evidence, working together is crucial to good marketing.
  • Know who you are. As important as understanding who your customer is, you need to identify and spell out which is the problem you solve and why you are the best option.
  • Get the know-how. Knowing what not to do when it comes to marketing is as important as knowing what to do. Let’s face it, the world of marketing can be tricky to navigate. Identify what you need to learn and seek for help if you don’t know where to start.
  • Set sales goals and targets. Marketing really is a numbers game. Marketing efforts that won’t directly or indirectly bring in new business have absolutely no point. Know what your goals are in terms of revenue, expenses, profit, number of enquiries and, of course, number of new sales.

Essential Tools for Good Business Marketing

If you’re armed with the marketing essentials you can’t help but succeed in attracting new prospects and bringing in more business. Spend some time on getting your marketing toolkit in place and be prepared at all times.

Here are a few items to pack into your marketing toolkit:

  • A plan and a budget: Getting a plan that will support you for years to come is essential to keep you on track. It doesn’t need to be as thick as a book, but it does need to be written down, clearly communicated to your team and acted on day by day — even when business is booming.
  • A great product or service: Advertising your business has no point if the customers don’t want, value or love what you have to offer. Make sure you do your research and listen to your customers before sending your product or service out to the market.
  • A professional brand: A brand is much more than a logo. Your brand is the experience a customer has when dealing with you or your business. It encompasses everything they see, hear, think and feel about your business. Invest up-front in developing a brand that stands out from the crowd. A great customer experience is the best marketing tool!
  • Powerful marketing materials: Your business card, sales brochures, sales letters, website, signage and uniforms speak volumes about your business. Make sure they look professional and appealing at all times.
  • An elevator pitch: In the course of marketing your business you’ll get asked thousands of times ‘What do you do?’ Don’t make the mistake of boring the poor person who asked the question. Make sure you have a fun, interesting and memorable pitch ready at all times — and be able to deliver it in the time it takes to travel a few floors in an elevator.
  • A simple database: The backbone of all good marketing is about building a solid database of past, present and future customers (prospects) so you can keep in touch and communicate regularly via e-newsletters, emails and phone.
  • A brilliant website: Your website must attract attention and give value to those who visit. Use it as a tool to retain and keep in touch with existing customers as well as for enticing new customers. The online world can be very scary to many small-business owners, but, if you don’t embrace it, you may find yourself out of business.

Clever Ideas to Market Your Small Business

You don’t need to spend buckets of money on marketing. Creativity and dare to do something different, can be the difference between business success and business failure. Here are just a few ideas to market your business:

  • Attend networking events. It’s not what you know, but who you know. Get out there and network — meet and greet. You can never have too many friends in life, even if they don’t end up as customers.
  • Sponsor a local event or charity. It really does make you feel good to support your community, and everyone benefits — you, your staff, your customers, the people you sponsor and, of course, the community at large.
  • Host seminars and events. Hosting your own events and inviting along your best customers and some of their friends is a great way to get to know people, connect at a personal level and build deep relationships.
  • Collaborate with other businesses. Identify businesses who are serving the same customer you are targeting and engage with them to create complementary service, referrals, talks, events, etc. You will all benefit!
  • Use social media. Using social-networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, producing your own videos for YouTube or writing your own blog are creative methods of letting people know about you and your business. Go on, have a bit of fun. You don’t need to do it all, choose the one where you will find most of your customers and ask them to share with their friends.

Top Marketing Tips for Businesses on a Low Budget

Most small-business owners, especially those starting out, don’t have lots of money to spend on marketing. While the old saying — you need to spend money to make money — is true, you can still generate new business without having to spend lots. Try a few of these tactics for a start:

  • Focus on relationship-building marketing strategies such as networking, building alliances with other businesses, and calling old customers, friends and people you once worked with.
  • Find people who are prepared to help you with marketing pro bono, on a commission basis or a uni student who’s studying marketing and might need some hands-on experience.
  • Sharpen your own online marketing skills and learn how to use key tools and write blogs, and market yourself on the social media sites.
  • Promote your business on free online directories and publish your articles on other websites with links to your site.

If you need help to identify the areas you need to focus for your business, drop us an email at hello@bbcs.ie for a free 30 minutes consultation.

Hibernating Or Metamorphosing? That Is The Question…

COVID-19 still dominate almost every conversation, as we head into the last part of 2021 the encouraging news of the vaccination rollout and easing of the restrictions, have injected a shot of optimism. More so than ever before, it really does seem possible to discern light at the end of the tunnel.

The prospect of a return to something like normality raises numerous important questions for many businesses and their employees. Among the most fundamental and pressing is this: which companies will be best equipped to survive and thrive when we finally emerge, blinking, from the pandemic?

All other questions are somehow linked to the above. How recognisable will “normality” actually be? Which of the shifts that have occurred are likely to endure and which are likely to fade away? Will overarching priorities and the basic recipe for success have changed significantly or will they retain a reassuring air of familiarity?

Some firms, most obviously those that have benefited from the crisis, may feel that they already know the answers. Many others, who have suffered amid the turmoil, will need to come up with their own responses very soon.

Innovation versus indolence

COVID-19 countermeasures have sent thousands of companies into the business equivalent of an induced coma. Although the sad truth is that some will never come round, plenty of firms that have made it this far may yet stir anew in due course.

This is because people are liable to resume some of their old habits once the pandemic is under control. While business models geared towards a stay-at-home lifestyle have clearly prospered at the expense of those less in keeping with a mass move to “remoteness” in recent months, some degree of reversion is highly likely. This means that many companies might better see lockdown as a period of enforced hibernation.

The problem is that, in the sphere of commerce – just as in the natural world – hibernation can mean different things. Like a caterpillar, some businesses might regard it as an opportunity for necessary metamorphosis, while others, similar to a grizzly bear, might regard it as nothing more than an epic slumber.

The latter approach is of no use in today’s extraordinary circumstances. The companies most likely to bounce back are those that try to reconstitute themselves in some way. Those that merely bank on waking up to discover an astonishing transformation of their fortunes and the effortless recommencement of “business as usual” are likely to be severely disappointed.

Reaching for the sky – or not

So, what manner of metamorphosis are we talking about? The purest form is internal; restructuring what is already there, with the major investment of time – a commodity normally in short supply. Conventional wisdom suggests that any company willing to invest during an economic shock is likely to fare better than its more passive competitors over the longer term. Not least in the unique instance of the COVID-19 crisis, a crucial goal should be to improve market position in the face of ever-developing consumer choice.

With this objective in mind, a farsighted business might re-examine its costs. It might take steps to reinforce its balance sheet. Maybe most usefully of all, it might embrace innovation with a view to re-establishing its relevance and strengthening its resilience in anticipation of renewed demand for its products and services.

An example of these contrasting approaches and fates are two companies, both big names, and both operate in one of the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic – air travel.

In the words of Tony Fernandes, its CEO, AirAsia “used this downtime to review every aspect of operations”. As a result, it “successfully pivoted from an airline to an all-in-one digital lifestyle company anchored in travel” – thereby preserving a substantial chunk of its revenue. 

Meanwhile, Virgin Atlantic demanded a government bailout, failed to get it, filed for bankruptcy and its future is still uncertain.

 

It pays to pivot

AirAsia’s experience underlines a couple of vital points, the first one: it’s essential to evolveIt always is.Even during the best and most serene of times, no company can expect to sustain by standing still.

The second one, is that normality isn’t going to be precisely what we knew before. It may well be comfortingly similar, but it won’t be identical. Some of the novelties which the pandemic and lockdown have given rise to, are going to stick.

Every business will need to adapt to some extent – and so will employees. Fernandes spoke of a “pivot”, and this is almost certainly poised to be the buzzword of our age.

None of this means that the metamorphosis has to be spectacular in every case: it simply means that staying exactly the same isn’t a realistic option. As ever, implementing change while never forgetting what brought stability, security and growth in the first place is likely to be key.

There is light at the end of the tunnel, so don’t make the terrible mistake of sleepwalking towards it as hibernation at last comes to an end.

Is it time to Ramp up, Restart, Reboot or Rethink?

COVID-19 continues to pose serious challenges for small business owners. Figuring out how to start again in its economic shadow will not be easy.

Is it safe to assume that things that worked before will still work in the coming months and years? Should assumptions about how businesses create value be reviewed? Will ongoing disruption bring opportunities as well as pressures? Might this actually be the best of all possible times to make changes?

Reality bites, but optimism endures 

The results of a recent survey published by the CSO early in June show that more than 70% of responding SMEs reported a decrease in turnover in 2020 compared to 2019. Almost a quarter saw turnover fall by more than half in the year and about 40% saw their turnover decrease by between 10% and 50%.

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More than half of enterprises changed their mode of operation due to the pandemic, the most common changes reported were developing an online presence, increasing operating hours and developing new products.

However, despite the challenges faced, the small business community, business owners and entrepreneurs are confident for summer 2021 and the second half of the year, according to a new report from Small Firms Association (SFA)

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In a different survey when 150 SMEs were asked about the developments they envisaged during the remainder of 2021. Their answers were equally split between Ramp up (I expect to experience strong growth based on pre-COVID-19 operations, strategy, product and service offering), Restart (with minor adjustments. I expect to more or less return to pre-COVID-19 performance, with some adaptations (e.g. social distancing, customer churn, minor reduction in employees, maintaining broadly same product/services, finance etc).) & Reboot (I expect to make significant adjustments outside the scope of pre-COVID-19 strategy/plans (e.g. developing new products/services, reducing employees, divesting assets, seeking new markets and sources of finance etc).

Nobody said that they might need to completely Rethink their strategy, and their answer

Dialogue: a key to successful change 

Extensive research with SME founders has shown how entrepreneurs manage the uncertainty generated by growth, revealing in particular how dialogue can encourage them to adapt to change.

Why is this so? Dialogue helps founders to develop critical self-awareness – to take their blinkers off, step outside their bubbles and hold themselves to account. It exposes personal bias and limitations that risk an unhealthy adherence to outdated assumptions. It identifies new opportunities that can bring increased performance and competitiveness.

With all this in mind, many business owners have shared their post-COVID-19 plans with someone. This demonstrates that entrepreneurs are investing time both in listening and, crucially, changing in the face of “new normals”. Continuing to gather diverse inputs will be vital to navigating the challenges that undoubtedly lie ahead.

From inputs to outcomes

A research piece from the Small Business Charter in the UK, suggests that dialogue is an important but frequently hidden tool that business owners can use to prepare for change. It is likely to be especially helpful as they contemplate their place in a post-COVID-19 economy.

It might not provide quick fixes. It might even prove frustrating initially. But it can give rise to many valuable insights into how to survive and thrive – precisely what is needed as founders try to build better, more resilient businesses.

The bottom line? Amid the turbulence of COVID-19, small business owners must continue to invest their time in sharing their own thoughts and seeking out those of others.

Whether ramping up, restarting, rebooting or rethinking – or exploring a combination of these options – it is good to talk.

How to Grow Your Revenue (Part 1)

4 Methods to achieve the growth you want

Growing revenue is essential for small businesses that want to expand and make a profit. While cost control also makes an important contribution to profit, revenue growth ensures the long-term viability of the business. To grow revenue, look for opportunities in your existing business relationships as well as identifying new sources of income.

Believe it or not if you want your business to bring in more money, there are only 4 ways to Increase Revenue: Increasing the number of customers, increasing average transaction size, increasing the frequency of transactions per customer, and raising your prices

Restaurants have just reopened, offering outdoor service, so let’s use them as an example. If you want to increase the amount of revenue that a restaurant brings in. Here’s how to apply these 4 methods:

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Photo by IG: ristorante_rossini

Increasing the number of customers means you’re trying to bring more people in the door, or under current restrictions into the outdoor seating area. This strategy is relatively straightforward: more visitors to your restaurant will equal more tabs, which (assuming the average transaction size stays the same), will bring in more money.

Increasing average transaction size means you’re trying to get each customer to purchase more. This is typically done through a process called upselling & cross selling. When a customer purchases an entree, you offer them appetizers, drinks, and dessert. The more of these items the customer purchases, the more they spend, and the more revenue you collect.

Increasing the frequency of transactions per customer means encouraging people to purchase from you more often. If your average customer comes in once a month, convincing them to come to your business once a week will increase your revenue. The more frequently they visit your establishment, the more revenue your restaurant will bring in, assuming the average transaction size stays the same.

Raising your prices means you’ll collect more revenue from every purchase a customer makes. Assuming your volume, average transaction size, and frequency stay the same, raising your prices will bring in more revenue for the same amount of effort.

Remember not every customer is a good customer. Some customers will sap your time, energy, and resources without providing the results that you’re looking for. If you’re spending a lot of energy serving customers who don’t come in often, have a low average transaction size, don’t spread the word, and complain about the price, it doesn’t make sense to attract more of those customers.

Always focus most of your efforts on serving your ideal customers (Do you remember the 80/20 rule?). Your ideal customers buy early, buy often, spend the most, spread the word, and are willing to pay a premium for the value you provide.

The more ideal customers you can attract, the better your business.

 

Time And How To Use It Wisely

In answer to our recent poll: “What Is Your Main Challenge to Continue Growing Your Business?”

52% of small business owners answered they needed more resources, specifically time and knowledge.  

So, this week we want to talk about a limited resource we all need more of: time and how to use it wisely.

As a small business owner, you probably recognise you need to spread yourself thin across so many activities which although needed, are not necessarily contributing to grow your business.

Are you familiar with the 80-20 Rule?

The 80-20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle, asserts that 80% of outcomes (or outputs) result from 20% of all causes (or inputs) for any given event. In business, it means that basically only 20% of what you do each day produces 80% of your total revenue.

The goal of the 80-20 rule is to identify inputs that are potentially the most productive and make them the priority. For instance, once managers identify factors that are critical to their company’s success, they should give those factors the most focus.

At its core, the 80-20 rule is about identifying an entity’s best assets and using them efficiently to create maximum value.

Understanding the 80-20 Rule

The 80-20 rule is a precept, not a hard-and-fast mathematical law and often it is misinterpreted. Business managers from all industries use the 80-20 rule to help narrow their focus and identify those issues that cause the most problems in their departments and organizations.

Although the 80-20 rule is frequently used in business and economics, you can apply the concept to any field—such as wealth distribution, personal finance, spending habits, and performance.

Benefits of the 80-20 Rule

Although there is little scientific analysis that either proves or disproves the 80-20 rule’s validity, there is much anecdotal evidence that supports the rule as being essentially valid, if not numerically accurate.

Performance results of salespeople in a wide range of businesses have demonstrated success by incorporating the 80-20 rule. In addition, external consultants who use Six Sigma and other management strategies have incorporated the 80-20 principle in their practices with good results.

How do I apply The Pareto Principle in my business?

The rule is often used to point out that 80% of a company’s revenue is generated by 20% of its customers. Viewed in this way, then it might be advantageous for a company to focus on the 20% of clients that are responsible for 80% of revenues and market specifically to them—to help retain those clients and acquire new clients with similar characteristics.

There are 5 key areas which should represent that 20% for small business owners globally. If you focus your efforts on these 5 key areas only, you will see real growth in your revenue and profit.

Those 5 Key areas are: Lead Generation, Conversion, Transactions, Prices & Profits.

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Real-Life Example

Let’s say that in 2020 you generated 1,000 leads and you managed a 25% conversation rate. It means you generated 250 customers. Each customer bought from you 10 times in the year at an average selling price of €100, from which you made 25% gross profit. This means at the end of the year you generated €62,500.

If you could increase each of the 5 key elements by only 10%, it would translate in almost doubling the revenue to €100,450 what would it happen if increase a 50%?

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Key Takeaways

  • The 80-20 rule maintains that 80% of results come from 20% of effort
  • Under the 80-20 rule, you prioritise the 20% of factors that will produce the best results.
  • A principle of the 80-20 rule is to identify an entity’s best assets and use them efficiently to create maximum value.
  • The key 20% of time for any small business owner should focus on: Lead Generation, Conversion, Transactions, Prices & Profits.
  • This “rule” is a precept, not a hard-and-fast mathematical law.

If Time, or the lack of it, is the key area holding you back from growing your business, the implementation of this principle will be of great benefit.

However, if you are not sure how to go about it, send us an email to hello@bbcs.ie and we will run a free audit of your business and provide you with a roadmap.

Lead Generation Hacks: 5 Strategies That Will Grow Your Leads

A couple of weeks ago, we carried out a poll across different business communities with one very simple question. As small business owner, what is your main challenge to continue growing your business?

We provided 3 key options and the alternative to add more if they felt like it. The results are very interesting:

52% of small business owners said they would need more resources (time, expertise) to grow their business, 30% said they need more customers and only 18% said they need more revenue
Small business owners more leads more revenue

So in this article, we will address how to get “more customers”. In order to have more customers you need two things, to attract more qualified prospects (leads) and increase your conversation rate (leads who buy your product or service)

Small Businesses rely on several channels to drive leads to their businesses and boost their conversion rate. But often, these channels don’t deliver the results that they can bank on. If you’ve spent a lot of time creating content, hoping to attract the right leads, but you still aren’t getting results, it can be discouraging. But hear this: you’re not alone.

What does your potential customer want? Once you’re able to answer that question and tie it to a powerful message that resonates with your target customers, you’ll consistently generate leads. Growing your leads will always be easier if most of your attention is focused on syncing your landing page with your other marketing channels.

No matter what channel you’re using, HubSpot’s statistics found that 54% more leads are generated by inbound tactics than by traditional paid marketing. This also means that you have to give top priority to creating the right content. Once you’ve committed to that mindset and approach, implement these six lead generation hacks to grow and covert your leads faster.

Hack #1: Lead generation starts at home—review your messaging

If you’ve been actively promoting your message through your website, your homepage will be getting visitors from referring sites, social media sites, search engines and other sources.

But is your message reflecting what your potential customer needs? The first thing you need to do is to understand your customer, their concerns and challenges and then provide them with a solution

Some ideas to show case your content in your home page would be to have a list of the latest posts and adding a must-read section on the sidebar, which is important if you want people to find your best content the moment that they arrive on your homepage.

On the flip side, if you have an offer (e.g. an e-book, a report, software) on your landing page, you’ve got to ensure that your messaging (copy) and offer are in sync.

The two should always be in sync, so that visitors will not be confused when they get to your homepage.

Hack #2: Link to your webinars directly in your content

One of the best lead generation tips you should take away from this post, is how a webinar can work brilliantly in your favor.

A webinar is a relatively low-cost way to get your useful message in front of a targeted audience who actually signed up for it when they registered and, 52% of marketers believe that webinars and seminars are the most effective methods for generating targeted leads.

If you can host a webinar and link to it directly to your content, your prospects will take you more seriously, because you’ve provided value before asking them to register. This is quite different from a webinar landing page that doesn’t offer much value to the user.

If you’re not using webinars to drive leads to your business, you have to start today. – Lewis Howes

When people are engaged, magical things can happen, right on the spot.

Engagement is the sole purpose of hosting a webinar. Stay time (duration) is influenced by the ease of entering into the webinar, the topic and whether or not attendees stick around during the Q&A.

The role of webinars in the sales process can’t be ignored, because most companies have experience higher sales when they host a webinar.

When you have the attention and trust of your attendees, you can recommend a product or service that’ll help them. You have a responsibility to qualify your leads and map your prospect’s buying journey. Every stage of the customer buying process is important during the webinar.

When you compare all of the lead generation tactics, webinars are the second most effective delivery mechanism of premium content for digital marketers.

Linking to or citing a high-value webinar within your content will position you as a go-to expert in your industry who cares about people.

Hack #3: Follow up, Follow up, Follow up

The success rate of any form of communication with your audience is follow up. Once you manage to get a large audience for your webinar and then deliver a fantastic webinar full of value for your customers, the next thing is to thank them for their attendance and provide some extra value in the form of content, offer or invitation for the next event.

Something to have in mind, for a telephone call or email conversation, your follow up action should be not more than 48 hours after. A memorable webinar, probably will remain fresh in people’s mind for up to 5 days. So consider to introduce some sort of automation to make the process easier, even if it’s to write the content of your thank you email before the event, and have it ready to send the following day.

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Hack #4: Use strong verbs to write powerful headlines that draw attention

A verb is a “doing” word. Or, better yet, it’s an “action” word.

If you want to create a lasting impression in your writing, you have to draw attention with verbs. But first, answer this question:

What makes a headline powerful?

Isn’t it the structure, keywords used, length, topic, and, most importantly, the action word (verb) that appear in a given headline? Each of these can and should evoke curiosity and persuade people to click.

If you can give adequate attention to crafting your headline, you’ll not only generate targeted leads, and there’s a possibility that your search rankings will improve because of a lower bounce rate and the additional time that your visitors are spending on your page.

Copywriters all over the world know the power behind a well-crafted headline, 8 out of 10 people will click your headline if it catches their attention. So, what are you going to do about your headlines?

No matter the platform — your blog, social media networks, other blogs (when you write a guest post), or when you create any type of content that will drive leads — you’ve got to make sure that your headline contains strong verbs. Strong verbs are used to convey a direct message. You’ve always got to have it in the back of your mind that we live in a fast-paced world.

In addition to using strong verbs in your headlines, you also have to focus on length. Headlines that are too long tend to be easily forgotten or ignored.

According to a report by the Guardian, headlines with just eight words generated a 21% higher click-through rate than longer headlines.

Hack #5: Create an irresistible offer

Ultimately, you want to get people to say “yes” to your offer. It all goes down to creating a risk-free and high-value offer. This simple formula explains it better:

If you have difficulty growing your leads, it could be that your offer isn’t compelling. It’s not irresistible.

How do you recognize an irresistible offer?

A compelling offer is like a slice of orange at mile 18. An offer you can’t refuse is like a marriage proposal from the guy or girl you’ve been waiting for your whole life.

You want them to say yes, to download your latest e-book, yes to your email forms, yes to your webinar or yes to your premium physical product.

An irresistible offer will help you attract clients and retain them. Remember that when your offer is scarce, relevant, in high demand and exclusive, it becomes desirable.

Conclusion

Don’t get fooled by every fancy lead generation tool out there. Choose 2 or 3 lead generation strategies and make the most of each one. Remember that driving quality leads and engagement to your business will take time.

Building any real, successful business takes time. Nurturing your social network presence, crafting a solid email marketing campaign, diligently working on creating and producing quality content, all of these tasks require a significant amount of time and focus. You’ll expend energy, but you have to move out of your comfort zone to achieve results – particularly when it comes to building your lead generation campaign.

You need data-driven content to nurture your leads. And, if you want to maximize your time, you have to repurpose your content and expand your reach so that you can drive fresh leads to your business.

“Hacks” are not some magical push-button tactics that don’t have a strong foundation. On the contrary, they’ve been proven to work and many successful brands and industry leaders still use them to acquire new leads and convert them into customers.

Real satisfaction comes from what you learn in the process of applying these proven lead generation tips.

It’s the same with increasing sales. You have to make up your mind to learn along the way because your customers believe in you—and you can’t afford to let them down with outdated advic

Why You Should Hire A Business Coach

 

Does the name Bill Campbell means anything to you? Well, he is the most famous business coach of all time. He coached Steve Jobs, Sheryl Sandburg, Ben Horowitz, the Google co-founders, and many others in Silicon Valley, and is the subject of the book, Trillion Dollar Coach, released in April 2019.

Deciding whether to hire a business coach is a tough call and so it should be. It’s perceived as expensive, and a time commitment for both you and your potential coach.

But a successful matchup could have resounding effects on the success of your company, especially if you find yourself at a standstill, and not quite sure what to do next.

So, I’ll share with you why I think you should consider hiring a business coach, how you know it is the right time and what benefits it will bring to your business.

The writing is on the wall…

Tuesday morning, emails done, no new customers knocking at your door so you decide to spend time on your business instead of in your business. You decide to review historic business performance and realise your growth has plateaued, your income is generated by 2 main customers or your marketing efforts don’t work anymore.

When you started you were hitting solid growth numbers and maybe you now have a solid, recently-instated team in place and you are no longer the start-up entrepreneur trying to wear lots of different hats all of the time.

Key topics on your desk are not around that product or service you are so passionate about but around cash flow, leading a team, team performance issues and you start thinking how best to manage your time and lead effectively as CEO and co-founder, instead of trying to do your team’s job.

If you had medical issue, you would book an appointment with your GP who will run some tests and identify your ailment. But in this case, it is your business, so what do you do? Time to consider hiring a business coach…

 

A day-to-day look at a 1-2-1 Coaching Programme

 

It starts with a couple of session to run a full audit of sales, marketing and profit related areas of your business, to identify strategic focus as well as quick wins, highlighting the positive revenue and profit impact forecasted after implementation.

The next steps are to prioritise actions, agree an implementation roadmap and identification of resources and timings.

Each week, you will have an 1-2-1 meeting with your coach to review the “Five dials”. Each dial represents a specific goal and provides a key metric to track. They are:

  • How many leads?
  • What’s the cash flow?
  • What’s the revenue?
  • What’s the profit?
  • How many customers (new, lapsed, lost)?

You agree targets for each goal, either monthly or quarterly, and during your weekly 1-2-1, you review each dial and see if you are on track to hitting the goals.

 

The results: priceless advice for scaling

 

For many business owners, assembling a team, could be the first time in a management position or, due to rapid changes of employee’s needs, you feel a bit out of your comfort zone. Alternatively, the lack of structure in the company or clear processes for other to follow may be what inhibits the performance of your team.

As the CEO, you know how critical it is to design and implement a structure that will serve as the foundation that supports the kind of growth you know you are capable of.

You also know, you can’t afford to get it wrong. Even the most efficient framework is no good if it can’t handle the weight of scaling.

Coaching will help you to figure out the systems and processes you need to put in place to grow — it provides that crucial structure.

The implementation of business frameworks will help you to automate recurrent processes, structure departments, communicate more effectively, and delegate tasks. As you scale up, the systems will evolve but still be in place, which allows you to track progress and develop a regular cadence of communication through the leadership team and down into each department.

Guidance on how best to design a robust framework that can handle rapid growth is one of the biggest things you will get out of business coaching.

 

Deciding if and when business coaching is right for you

 

So whether it’s to get out of a rut, to get some guidance when you’re feeling overwhelmed, or to level-up your skills as a founder, there are many different reasons to hire a business coach.

As I’ve said already, deciding to hire a coach is not a decision to be made lightly. Coaching could be expensive without a serious time commitment.

It is a deeper relationship than mentorship. A mentor is a valuable asset, especially for someone just starting out, but the dynamic is fundamentally different from a coach. A business coach is getting paid to help you.

It’s a close relationship, and it won’t really work if it’s not. There shouldn’t be any secrets in your business that your coach doesn’t know about.

Unlike an investor, or a partner, or a board member, a business coach isn’t financially connected to the success or failure of your business beyond the fact that he’d or she’d likely lose you as a client if things go sideways.

Whereas you need to be very careful about how you communicate with an investor, you can be blunt with your coach. Their job is to help you succeed, and they need to know exactly what they’re up against to do so.

Hire a coach you trust

Because your business coach will know all about your business, it’s crucial they can understand the pain points of your customers, your challenges and the strategies which lead to success.

You need someone who can quickly evaluate what’s not working, identify root causes and provide you a step-by-step roadmap for the implementation of an agreed plan of action. Most importantly, someone who understands that you need to see quick wins while working on long terms strategies and who can provide you with a reliable system to Track & Benchmark your progress.

Finally, you need to like your coach, and they need to like you. Coaching is a big commitment. You both need to get along for that relationship to bear fruit. Both of you should be able to walk away at any point if things don’t go as planned.

 

So, should you hire a business coach?

Business coaches can get a bad wrap. Bad ones do little more than dish out the same cliches you’d find on a bumper sticker or ‘inspiration’ posts on Instagram.

But great coaches can change the course of your business for the better. Great coaches are committed to helping you achieve your goals, whatever they might be.

If you’re thinking it might be a good time to hire a business coach, I can’t stress enough the importance of doing your due diligence.

Find someone who helps you formulate measurable, specific goals, and is genuinely committed to helping you level up and scale your business.

How Well Do You Know Your Suppliers?

 

It’s extremely important to build relationships with your suppliers and those around you, it can help bring in new customers/clients and increase awareness of your company branding.

The people you work directly with on your products and services are really the ones with the most to gain when you find success. By taking the time to get to know them, you’ll find a whole host of opportunities you didn’t realize were there.

Look for great ways to offer your suppliers rewards for helping grow your business, your growth can help them grow, so everyone wins. One of the ways you can do this is by offering performance-based incentives that are much larger than their normal charges.

Here’s a step-by-step process to putting together a partnership with a supplier:

  1. Approach all the suppliers you work with and offer an incentive based on performance.
  2. Put the generous incentive plan together from their perspective, even take suggestions.
  3. Develop a clear, concise and easy to track incentive plan, this will increase competition between suppliers and therefore result in higher performance levels.
  4. Encourage subsequent sales instead of focusing only on the initial sale. By doing this you can give away more of the profit from the initial sale to your suppliers and make higher profits off the back-end products. This will help:
  • Future sales
  • To upsell better and more profitable products/services
  • To cross-sell to additional products

5. Create an incentive plan that’s irresistible to your suppliers by offering generous, exclusive compensation.

Think of all the suppliers you work with and the creative ways you can put together an incentive plan that entices them to be part of your business. Use their talents, capabilities and connections and you’ll both be winners.

Putting together an incentive plan doesn’t have to be a complicated process. For free expert advice, just send us your question Click here.

 

Kick Start Your Marketing

Today We’d like to teach you about the three most important start up marketing tools you need to get and keep new customers.

  1. In person: It’s essential you meet with customers/clients in person whenever possible. This shows you respect them and take the time to work with your clients to give personal attention to each of them.
  2. Follow up letter: Always take a moment to send a follow up letter about what you talked about, new agreements or partnerships made and to thank them for taking the time to meet with you. Likewise, you should always send thank you letters or small gifts to partners you find success with.
  3. Phone call: Use a telephone call to follow up with them to talk again about the matters you talked about in your meeting and offer any assistance you can to help their business run smoothly and more successfully.

None of these will work if you don’t have a quality product/service to back you up!

Here are the key steps for putting together your start-up marketing tools:

  1. Research potential customers, buyers, competitors and their preferred methods of distribution.
  2. Talk to potential customers. Take a hard look at your product from a customer’s perspective and see what it needs to be successful.
  3. Follow up with your 3-step process from above.
  4. Develop systems for contact follow through, quality control standards and customer service.
  5. Develop post-sale follow up system to keep lines of communication open is customers and build on your current relationship which increases future purchases.

“Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs” Peter Drucker, management consultant

Here’s another one We love from an icon:

“If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.” Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motor Company

This lesson has offered you the tools to put together a start-up marketing plan that can be used over and over again to help your customer base and business grow in a manageable way.