Starting a business is relatively easy. You know what you want to provide, you plan it out and you start advertising and selling. Staying in business however, is that much harder.
It can be really difficult to be heard above the noise of your competitors. Everyone seems to be shouting their wares… and potential customers and clients are getting tired of the shouting.
So, how can you help your business stand out from the crowd? How can you help ensure you’re the one the customers take notice of? Here are 7 steps that can help you get noticed and be memorable to potential customers and clients.
#1 Give your customers what they want
Ask your customers what they need… and then look to provide a solution. If you are already providing a service or product, make sure it is actually needed, rather than trying to persuade a market that they need it.
Look to get known in a particular area or niche. You may be worried about discounting particular groups of clients, but in reality, specialising will help to build your profile and make you stand out.
#3 Be authentic – use simple values
Sometimes you can stand out in the crowd by simplifying things. People are inundated with emails on a daily basis… but how much personal post do they receive through their letterbox?
Standing out from the crowd could even be as simple as installing some “old fashioned” values back into your company and being honest and sincere with your clients.
#4 Position yourself as an expert
Getting awards and nominations can really help your credibility and assist in positioning yourself as the expert in your niche.
#5 Testimonials, recommendations
Build your credibility by regularly collecting testimonials and encouraging recommendations. This helps you to stand out from the crowd whilst also gaining potential new clients!
#6 Get involved locally
Sponsoring or donating to local events and charities can be a great way to help your local community, whilst also helping to raise your business profile… and can also give you material for your marketing.
#7 Be different, be creative
Look for other, more creative ways to stand out and help your customers. You could display locally produced artwork in your office or have dog water bowls outside. If you don’t have a physical business premise, you could be creative with your website design or marketing materials.
What business strategies do you use to stand out from the crowd? Have you found something that works particularly well with your niche? What works for you and your business and how quickly did you start seeing results? Why not share your thoughts on today’s topic in the comments section below?
It takes courage and self belief to be an entrepreneur. To successfully run your own business you need an ego; otherwise you wouldn’t have ever taken the risk and started out on your own.
But a couple of years in, how healthy is your ego now? Is it still driving you and your business forward… or driving you both towards business failure?
Once you’ve been in business for a while, you ego can become your biggest liability. You’re so used to being in control; in charge and centre stage, that it can be difficult to distinguish your business and yourself as separate entities.
You can become so focussed on business success; you lose sight of your customers. Business contacts start to avoid you, because of your “me first” attitude, people don’t want to work with you… and your team can end up feeling undervalued, de-motivated and invisible.
So, how can you ensure you’re ego isn’t getting the better of you? Follow these five simple steps and you’ll never have to worry about your ego damaging your business.
Step 1 – Delegate
Don’t feel like you have to do everything yourself. Instead of micro managing every project, delegate tasks to other members of your team. Once you have handed over the task, trust that they will complete it to the best of their ability.
Step 2 – Let others shine
Give your team the opportunity to have an input in things. Ask for their feedback and say on a new project, let someone else run the next staff meeting and introduce your team members to the clients they are working with. Give individuals the opportunity to shine and show you what they are capable of.
Step 3 – Give praise where praise is due
It’s natural to want to take pride in your achievements, but remember those other people who helped you along the way. Take the time to thank them for their input, share the praise, the limelight and the rewards of your achievements.
Step 4 – Don’t take things personally
When you are faced with problem employees or negative customer comments, it is easy to get personally offended by them… but this is your ego getting in the way again. Switch the focus from you and onto the problem at hand.
Ask yourself how you can improve the situation for the person involved and ensure it doesn’t happen in the future. Ensure you are coming from a place of service, rather than ego.
Step 5 – Seek outside advice
Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Whether that’s in the form of a business coach or mentor, legal advice or someone who is in a similar business, seeking outside advice can help you move past any blocks you may have, both personally and in your business.
So, how healthy is your ego? Have you devised a method to ensure your ego is kept in check? What systems do you have in place to ensure you are giving your team the reward and praise they deserve? Why not share your thoughts in a comment below?
Do you get halfway through your day and feel as though it is going downhill? Maybe you feel as though your day started badly and just got progressively worse… you’re playing catch up and constantly running behind?
You can blame this on those things that have happened during your day, your mood or even your colleagues… but how much of it is down to you?
Starting your day off with the right mindset and plan can drastically improve both your mood and your productivity. Get your morning routine right and your productivity will soar throughout the day… and I’ll show you how with these simple five steps
Early to rise
We’ve all done it, getting out of bed at the very last minute, leaving barely enough time to have a shower and get dressed. And breakfast… well that consists of a piece of toast or coffee to go.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Give yourself the best possible start by getting up that bit earlier and having a decent, healthy breakfast.
Leaving enough time to get ready and eat breakfast is more than just feeding our body and looking presentable. It’s about giving yourself time to mentally prepare yourself for the day ahead, to plan how productive you will be, what you need to do and visualise successfully achieving them.
Having ‘me’ time
Whilst you’re planning your day, mornings are also an ideal time to get some essential ‘me’ time. Allow yourself 15 minutes to sit quietly and gather your thoughts or just practice stilling your mind, if you prefer.
If you exercise later in the day, why not look at switching to a morning routine? This can increase your energy and your mood, giving you a better frame of mind that can last throughout your day and increase your productivity.
If you prefer to keep your evening exercise sessions, why not look at adding a 10-15 minute routine to your morning? Your body and mind will both reap the rewards.
Plan for a day of productivity
Productivity needs a plan, so create an outline of the tasks you have planned. This will enable you to prioritise them throughout your day, as well as ensuring you know which are those important tasks you need to complete first.
A plan also means you can work out a rough timescale for achieving them and ensure maximum productivity. By starting with your top priority tasks, you will ensure that you have them completed but it will also enable you to schedule your time for other jobs and regular breaks throughout the day.
Avoid the downward spiral
Let’s face it; we all have the occasional ‘off’ day. Despite our best intentions we may wake up feeling miserable, ladder our only pair of tights and whack our knee on the table, before the dog or the kids put dirty marks on our clean outfit…
Stop! Your day may have started badly, but it doesn’t have to continue this way! Avoid setting your day up in a downward spiral by stopping for a few seconds, closing your eyes and taking a couple a deep, slow breaths.
Now give yourself a five minute rescue break.
Take those five minutes to put your mindset into a more positive state. Remind yourself of those things you are grateful for (including the dog and your children!). Take the snapshot images of those events that have made your morning bad and imagine screwing them up into a paper ball and then throw them in a virtual waste bin.
Smile to yourself and play an uplifting song. Sing along if you want. Do whatever it takes to move your frame of mind into a better place… and then remind yourself your day is going great!
What routine do you have in place to ensure your day is a positive, productive one? Do you have any tips and tricks you use to change your morning from bad to good? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.
It’s easy to get stuck and de-motivated when you are snowed under with work. There’s a mountain of things that need doing and they are all begging for your attention… and then there’s the family too. How can you keep your focus and motivation high?
James is currently teething. Anyone who has had a young child will understand how much teething sucks! Not only does it turn them into a mass of irritability and tears but, if you’re working at home, it also seriously cuts down on the amount of time you can dedicate to your business.
However you can easily turn this to your advantage… by getting super focused and utilising short bursts of energy on your outstanding business tasks.
When you only have a small window of time available it forces you to focus on the task at hand. You cannot afford to be sidetracked by social media, emails and reorganising your files.
Decide on what is top priority and dedicate all your attention to it for the time you have. When you get super focused on a specific task you will be more productive.
Why short focus is better
Using short bursts of focused energy is great for when you are feeling less than motivated. Quite often we procrastinate and put off things that we need to do, because we don’t enjoy them or because we are intimidated by the sheer size of the task at hand.
By giving yourself a small window of time and getting focused on a task, you are more likely to actually put in the work… after all, putting aside a matter of minutes, rather than hours, is so much less daunting.
When James had finally managed to fall asleep in his carrier I managed to get so much work done, even when I was standing in a dark air conditioned room… by using my iPhone! We no longer have to physically be at our computer to carry out essential tasks.
With smart phones we can now check and send emails, update our social media status and make notes.
Once your allotted time is over, you’re more likely to have a break. When you’re sat at your desk working all day on a particular task, it is easy to lose track of time and, before you know it, you haven’t actually had a break for several hours.
Taking regular breaks is essential, not only to your health but to your motivation and productivity too.
So next time you’re up against a pile of work or a child that is under the weather, try short bursts of focus and see how much more you can achieve in your working day.
Do you prefer working with short bursts of focused energy or do you work better with long time slots for your tasks? Have you been in a situation where you had to work with short bursts of focused energy, and now you’re using them all the time? Share what works for you by leaving a comment below.
You work hard to promote your business and make those sales, but what happens after the sale? Do you leave your customer with the satisfaction of just purchasing from you, or are you taking the opportunity to continue building on your relationship?
You’ve asked for the sale… but did you remember to say thank you for their purchase?
All businesses are built on trust. You work hard at building relationships with your potential and past customers, with the hope that it will end with a sale. But the sale isn’t actually the end result, building the relationship is… and that is why the thank you page is so important.
Offer help and reassurance
Your thank you page is a prime place to further your relationship with your customer. Thank them for their purchase, reassure them on their wise decision and offer them extra help. You want to make the whole buying experience a positive one, so they are totally satisfied with your product or service.
As with your sales pages, your thank you page should include a call to action… and it should be targeted to your market. That call to action can be in the form or another purchase, a bonus download or asking them for more information, just ensure that it is obvious what you’d like the customer to do next.
Spread the love
The thank you page is also a great place to work on the law of reciprocity. Your customer has just bought from you, so will be feeling quite positive and will naturally want to share that positivity… so make it easy for them and implement a ‘tell a friend’ campaign.
Offer them a special bonus for helping to spread they joy. Invite them to tell three friends by sending a prewritten tweet, status or email. This will help you build your list and spread the word, whilst enabling you to give your customer even more value.
Be grateful all over!
Saying thank you shouldn’t be reserved for just those customers who buy from you… remember to thank every customer who has completed any form of action. This includes thanking those that fill out your opt-in box, those that contact you by email and those who have commented on your blog.
Those two simple words can make a massive difference to your customer, can build on your relationship, increase your sales and also raise the quality of your customer service… can you really afford not to say ‘thank you’?
Why not re-evaluate your thank you page to ensure your customer has a positive experience? If you don’t currently have a thank you page in place, I invite you to begin this New Year coming from a place of gratitude and build one into your sales funnel.
What strategies do you find work the best on your thank you page? Why not share those strategies by leaving a comment below?
What do you think of when you hear the word ‘selling’? To the vast majority of us, the word ‘selling’ tends to immediately lead us to think of negative associations, such as stress, anxiety, pushiness and pressure.
The problem is we all know that in order to succeed in business we need to be able to sell, but we just don’t want to be seen as… well, pushy. So, is there a better, more positive way of looking at sales?
We’ve all heard the saying ‘do what you love and the money will follow’, but this phrase is usually misinterpreted to mean we just do what we love, then sit back and wait.
There are actually three clear steps to make this saying our reality… and our selling process easier and I’m going to share them with you now.
#1 Admit your passion
The first step is to actually admit what it is that you love to do. Most of us focus on where the money is; on what we like that CAN bring in the money.
You need to be honest about where your passions are… and totally embrace them. Ask yourself what you would do all day, if money was no object… and THAT is your real passion… when you’d be most in flow!
#2 Believe in you
Once you have your passion, you need to be credible to yourself. What are the reasons why someone should come to you? What makes you the right person to sell this product? Build up your own credibility by finding out what sets you apart from your competitors.
Don’t just focus on the qualifications you may (or may not) have. If you have a talent, then THAT is your qualification to do what you do.
Find that internal credibility that will feed your determination to be the best at whatever you do. Admit your passion and then own it; get excited by it and be convinced; own your talent and get sold… on you!
#3 Share that passion
Finally get out there and share your uniqueness, your talent with the world at large. There is no point having a talent or special skill, if you’re not going to share it.
Think about all those people who are missing out on what you’re offering, by you not getting out there. You’re not selling what you are doing… you are helping someone out; you are solving a problem someone has.
When you approach selling from a place of service, you will not have to worry about being pushy or ‘salesy’, you will be offering a much needed service.
Knowing what your passion is and believing in what you do, will ensure you are naturally honest, convincing and enthusiastic about what you do and THIS is what will encourage customers to buy from you… and ensure your selling success.
Did you make a career change to embrace your talents and passions? Do you have a great strategy for making your sales process more service orientated? Why not share your strategies by leaving a comment below?
With every day that passes, you are making decisions about your business. Whether you are choosing business cards and opting for the latest software, or deciding to focus on marketing or further education, you are making decisions that will affect your business. But with only a few windows of activity available to you each day – are you putting your needs before your wants… or are you letting your wants take priority?
It’s important – especially when first starting out – to understand the difference between a basic business need and a want… as well as learning to prioritise the needs, to ensure business success.
Needs versus wants
A need is something you have to have… simply put, a need is a requirement. Business cards, office equipment and a follow up system are all needs, as they’re essential for your business success.
Depending on the type of business you have, continued education, legal help and association membership may also constitute a need.
A want, on the other hand, is a luxury – something you aspire to have. The latest technology, expensive advertising and a nice website all fall under a business want.
Understand your unique needs and wants
Make a list of everything you consider important for your business, then establish whether they are really needs… or things you would like to have. Go through your list and ask yourself what purpose this item serves.
You may like to have staff to help you with your filing or to reply to your emails, but does your business warrant it at the moment – or is it something that is a future need – once your customer influx is larger?
Re-evaluate your current situation
This is something that you will want to schedule in on a regular basis. As well as confirming your current needs and wants, it also serves to establish if there’s any way you can decrease your expenditure. By cutting back on the non-essential wants, you are then able to divert the savings into more of your business needs.
Strike a balance
Now you’ve established the difference between your business needs and wants; it’s time to strike a balance that is good for you. Ensure your primary focus is on what really will improve your business efficiency, effectiveness and bottom line… but also allow yourself a couple of wants too. This will help to keep you motivated and focused on your business future, whilst ensuring that your basic business needs are covered.
Understanding the difference between a business need and want, assessing your current situation and knowing what you want in the future, will allow you to make conscious decisions for your expenditure… and will help you establish what you NEED to do today.
What is your number one need for your business… and what strategy do you use to balance your needs and wants? Why not share your strategies by leaving a comment below?
You work really hard at networking, meeting new people and getting them interested in your products and services. You know that getting your name out there and getting people onto your mailing list is essential for business growth.
But what processes do you do once you have those names? What processes do you have in place to follow-up with those people interested in you and your products… and does the idea of follow-up calls leave you in a cold sweat?
It’s understandable that the idea of contacting those people may worry you. After all, they may not remember who you are or what you do and if they were really interested, then you wouldn’t have to contact them… right?
If these kind of thoughts pop into your head whenever you think of sitting down to make those follow-up calls, then they are causing you to procrastinate… holding you back from making necessary contact.
You need to get a strategy in place to overcome your fear, or risk losing potential business.
#1: Change your mindset
One of the main reasons we hate making follow up calls is that we’re looking to sell something. We look at it as a cold call, contact that isn’t wanted and is seen by the recipient as an unwarranted intrusion on their time.
Instead, look at these follow up calls as a client service call. The client has already expressed an interest in your product or service, so they obviously have a need or wish for it.
You are calling to see how you can be of service to them, support them, and offer a solution to a problem they may have… you are offering to help them.
#2: Schedule time in your calendar
You’ve decided to offer your help, now is the time to schedule a time in your diary. Schedule an hour or two in your calendar to hit the phone and make your follow up calls. If you’re following up after an event or conference you’ve attended, then schedule the time in a day or two after the event, whilst the event is still fresh in their mind.
Make it a new habit to schedule the subsequent one or two hour time slot in your calendar prior to attending each event. That way, whilst you are at the event, you can let people you meet know that you will be following up on a certain day.
By making that commitment to them, you are ensuring that they’re happy for you to contact them, and that you’ve committed to actually making the calls.
#3: Take action
You’ve decided to offer help and have scheduled your time slot in your calendar, now is the time to take action and make that call. By focusing on being there to support or help them, you are coming from a place of caring. This takes away the stress of trying to close a sale.
Start a conversation, reminding them of how or where you met, reiterate what problem they were having and ask how they are getting on. Remember, the more calls you make, the more comfortable you will be with making them.
Do you currently have a follow-up strategy in place? If you haven’t, make the decision to start one and allocate some time in your diary today.
If you have one already in place, why not share your strategy successes and tips in a comment below?
Every year the producers of the X Factor TV series receive a deluge of applications from hopeful candidates, all vying for attention and hoping to shine in front of the live audience.
Whether we end up cheering for them or disliking them, the ones that really capture our attention have large personalities, are quite often opinionated and usually have a story to tell… and the same is true of your e-zine.
Your community’s inbox suffers the same problem as those X Factor producers… it’s inundated every day, all those e-zines demanding attention and wanting their moment in the spotlight. The ones that get opened and enjoyed the most though, are like those X Factor candidates… full of personality and worth taking notice of.
So, how can you inject a bit of X Factor magic into your e-zine? Luckily for you, I’m going to share the top three ways you can do so in this post.
#1: Share Your Life
As the candidates on the X Factor know, nothing increases likeability as a good story. Take the time to share some of the things happening in your life with your readers. No matter how big or small, make a list of three things currently going on in your life to talk about.
Don’t keep it to work-related events, talk about your family, pets or hobbies. Share something funny or embarrassing that you either witnessed or experienced. Think of things to share that will make the reader smile, something that will brighten their day or give them encouragement and hope.
Make it a regular part of your “welcome message” or “At Home” section.
#2: A Picture Says A Thousand Words
Frequently on the X Factor there will be lots of chances to see what the contestant and their family look like, where they live etc… it increases likeability and allows the audience to feel closer to that contestant. So how does this tie in with your e-zine? Well, you can add photos to instantly increase the connection your reader feels with you.
They are more likely to read your e-zine, and look forward to receiving future ones, if they know who you are and what you look like. Always include a decent photo of you. Don’t be afraid to share photos of your family pets, business colleagues and of your work in progress.
Think of ways you can use a photo to either illustrate or enhance the message in your e-zine.
#3: Ask For Help
Contestants on the X Factor frequently get on the stage and beg for a chance, plead for help and urge the judges to give them the opportunity to change their lives. I’m not suggestion you use any of these tactics in your e-zine, but you will increase reader interaction by asking for help.
Whether you’re stuck on a name for your new dog or want their opinion on future newsletter articles, your readers will love it if you ask for their input.
You can make it easier for them to take part, by setting up a simple survey, inviting answers on your social media profiles or even inviting email replies.
Injecting personality into your e-zine will add to the reader experience, as well as making your e-zine more of a pleasure for you to produce.
Using the above three strategies will not only increase reader interaction, but will turn your e-zine into a personal interaction between friends; building on the “know, like and trust” factors that are so important in business relationships… and ensuring you and your products have their opportunity to shine!
What strategies have you used to inject personality into your e-zines? What was the funniest or happiest moment you’ve shared with your readers? Please leave your comments below and share those memories.
If you want to be successful in business, it is essential to stay motivated and passionate about your work. However, that is sometimes easier said than done… especially when your motivation takes a nosedive and you’re drowning under those mundane day-to-day tasks.
Whether you need to reignite your own business passion or that of your team, follow these six simple steps to reignite the passion for both your purpose and your business.
#1: Invest In Yourself
It is easy to lose sight of your own health when you are focussed on the success of your business. You can’t expect your business to thrive if you’re tired and worn out.
Ensure you take time out for you… get plenty of sleep, exercise and ensure you’re maintaining a balanced diet. By investing in yourself you will feel revitalised and in the right mindset for the work environment.
#2: Don’t Hide Your Light… Get Out There!
Spend time getting to know other entrepreneurs… both in your local community and online. Not only is it a great way to make contacts, it’s also an excellent way to refresh your own passion for your business… and attract more speaking gigs.
#3: Shake Out Those Cobwebs!
If your business is feeling a bit stale, give it a shake up. This doesn’t have to be drastic… look for ways to repackage your existing services or think of some new add-ons to create new revenue streams.
#4: Motivate Your Team
Whether you have a physical or virtual team, look for ways to engage them in your business. Get them excited about your future, share new developments and involve them in your plans. Play to their strengths… and yours, by matching new projects to your employee’s strengths.
#5: Be Thankful For your Cheerleaders
We all have those people in the background who quietly support us… whether that’s your family or your customers and clients. Show your appreciation for them by offering discounts, writing a thank you card or sending a Tweet. Not only will this make their day, but focusing on gratitude will also lift your mood to new heights.
#6: Stop Looking Behind You
Sometimes we can be so focussed on where we’ve been, we lose sight of where we’re headed. Ensure that your business strategy and action plans are forward focused and positive and spend time visualising your future. It’s perfectly fine to reflect on your successes and achievements, however don’t get stuck looking behind you… use those insights to propel you forward and towards your end goals.
Have you encountered a drop in motivation? What actions did you take to reignite the passion for your business? Please leave your comments and advice below.