Many small business founders will take care of the everyday activities since they often do not have enough staff to deligate to. Soon, they get cought up in the day to day activities and don’t concentrate on the big picture.
Without looking at the big picture, you don’t focus on how you can improve what you’re offering, how you can increase revenue and how you can scale your business up.
Act like the president! Take a step back and look at your business from above. Your business is your chess board and it’s your move to take your business to the next level. Instead of looking at what your doing well, look at what you’re doing wrong and see where you can improve. Although it’s probably the hardest thing ever to find the negatives in your business for emotional reasons, if you want to grow, you must remove some of the emotional connection to be able to remove biases and focus on strategy.
Keep working on a strategy to grow and let your staff take care of the day to day activities. If your sooooo busy that your current staff isn’t able to keep up and you have to work full time on day to day activities, consider hiring another employee since he would just be replacing you from doing the day to day work. If you’re alone, and hiring an employee is not feasible yet, make sure to schedule a daily or weekly time to look over what you can improve on.
A successful business is one that knows what it’s doing wrong and fixes it and not the ones that look at all the things they’re doing well and ignoring the obvious problems.
What’s wrong with your business?
With social media becoming the major player in promotions for businesses, they must learn to adapt to the change in the way their message is broadcast to the public.
Picture the game of broken telephone, where a person whispers a sentence to the person next to them who then passes it on until it has gone around the circle. I’ve never heard the sentence come back the way it started.
This is the effect that social media is having on advertising messages. Companies who haven’t adapted continue to try to push their messages, but what they’re saying and what consumers are hearing is completely different. Did you know that only 14% of consumers trust the messages in advertising? My guess that this number drops lower on most ads though.
With social media, no matter what you do, people have a place to talk about your business. It’s crucial to be involved in these discussions in order to respond to criticism by learning from the complaints and making up for what has cause problems to your consumer. But it’s not just about the bad stuff, keep following those that are saying positive things about your business or product. These people are promoters, they’re on your team. Over 70% of consumers trust what they’re peers recommend and again im sure this number is higher when it comes from friends and family.
I’ll give one great example in the hotel industry. Trip Advisor is a site that i use amongst many other users to rate and read reviews about hotels that i’m consdering for my holidays. Although, they offer the ability for the hotel staff to respond to reviews, it’s rare that i see a hotel that answers. By answer, i mean not posting the same pre-written response to every comment, i mean truly responding personally to as many reviews as possible. The hotels that i see responding are aknowledging the good comments and apologizing and making up for the bad.
This shows consumers that you care and helps your message under control. “We’d like to thank you for making us aware of the need to update the decor in our hotel. Thanks to your recommendation, we have put together a team of designers to address the subject right away. In gratitude, i’d like to invite you to see the modifications for yourself as soon as theyre done and will offer you a free night stay.”
Although you can’t always offer a free product, just acknoledging their concern will often solve the problem and will give you insights into how you can improve your business. Relating back to a previous post of mine, you always want to find out where you can improve your business.
What are you doing online to keep up with what others are saying about your business?
Whether you agree or disagree with the monarchy doesnt matter to me. I woke up this morning to another news report about the Monarchy and the dutch and dutchess of cambridge or whatever their called’s tour of Canada. What i do know is that in quebec, he spoke french, he knows a few words in a native language, he didnt wear the team canada jersey and most of all, that the monarchy is responsible for thousands and thousands of tourists around the world.
What does this have to do with business? The fact is, no matter where these newlyweds go, they’re getting evertone’s attention, and as the expression goes all press is good press.
In canada theyre attracting ridiculously large crowds almost everywhere they go, their wedding brought hundreds of thousands of people together in england and millions on tv and every day people visit Buckingham Palace and watch the changing of the guards.
Wether it’s to see the royal family in person, or buying memorabilia of their wedding, England is on our mind. So whether you agree or disagree with the monarchy, think of them as figureheads promoting their country better than any other that i can think of today.
When running your business there are clearly many fundamentals that must be taken care of. It’s important that you clearly define what business you are in. Here’s where i’m going to lose people. I know what your all thinking; i’m in the clothing business, i’m in the restaurant business, i’m in the importing business.
That’s where your wrong! Huh?! I’m not? Well yes, clearly you know what business you’re operating whether it’s a clothing store, restaurant or an importing business. But, what is the key element in all businesses that without, there is no way for the business to exist? Customers.
The way i see it is that no one is in the business they mentioned before first. Everyone is in the customer service business first, then, they can say they’re in the business of their choice.
Without clients you don’t exist. No matter what you say, to this day, i’ve never seen a business that didn’t need a client. Whether it’s in retail where it’s obvious that you need clients, to websites where visitors who view and click on ads are the customers to even tech companies being bought out during the conception stages as their product will either be sold to clients later on or used to improve customer experience, everything revolves around customers.
For me, this is where the cliche “customers always come first” is from, although, i don’t agree with that expression completely, a thought you can read about in another post.
What i do believe is make sure that your number 1 priority is focusing on your clients to ensure that they’re happy, talking and interacting. And, just like your girlfriend, wife or significant other always wants, make sure to listen! Listen to your clients and use their input to improve your business. Focusing only on your business will lead you in the wrong directions and away from customers, and that i must say, is bad business.
What have you learned from listening to your clients?
Ever thought you could be rewarded for being in a relationship for X number of months or for tagging you and your significant other in 10 different pictures?
It’s now possible with new apps coming out on Facebook and on mobile devices that are bridging the gap between online and offline mediums and turning life into a game.
I just finished reading this article and thought it was interesting: The next trend in social media? Real life gamification. by TNW
Would you use either of these apps or have you thought of a way to include your business in a game like this?
I just read this article Three Ways To Boost Your Brand With Social Media on Bizsugar.com and thought I’d write my response.
I think the most important learning to take away from the article is Tip 3: Share news and resources. Although, I don’t find they explained it properly. When I hear “Share news and resources”, I think of sharing news and resources (makes sense, I know but think of it literally). Twitter and Facebook as well as other social media platforms are amazing, but a little useless if you have no followers or fans. The goal in the beginning should be to get fans, but that’s usually where people are stuck. The tips in the article are great ways to start discussions with your followers but without any, you’re kind of talking to yourself.
Tip 3 is where I want to focus because Twitter and blogs are amazing ways to reach out to people and have them join your conversation. By discussing news and sharing resources, you can easily be found by other users interested in the same topics you are discussing. That “viral” word people keep tossing around is the effect created when many people discuss a specific topic. When Osama Ben Laden died, the news went viral on Twitter and users were following the conversation closely. By joining in these conversation, and sharing your 2 cents (hopefully a worthwhile statement) other users could choose to follow you because you share the same views or maybe even because your interesting.
Point of this post, DON’T BE AFRAID TO JOIN THE CONVERSATION!!
On Twitter, search topics of interest to you and your business. In my case marketing for example and just message people talking about it. Answer them and comment.
On Facebook, find pages or groups that like things related to your business and discuss!
REMEMBER: No one wants to listen to promotion or advertising all the time, and the same goes online. Don’t just spam people with “You like XYZ product?? Buy it from me at ispamsocialmedia.com”. Talk to them, show them you know what your talking about and eventually they’ll come to you.
Have you heard of Google + yet? It’s Google’s social media platform taking direct aim at Facebook by publicly making sure that all the problems that people were having with Facebook were addressed. Since Google + just launched at the end of June, only select people were invited and were given permission to send out invitations to their friends, in good ol’ Google fashion (as was done with Gmail and Google Wave in the past).
PH a marketing firm from Israel wanted to get their name out and use Google + so they came up with a great low cost idea to build their network and reputation in the marketing industry and test out the new social media site.
Read about what they did here: The Next Web: Israeli firm launches the first ever creative campaign on Google+
With the marketing industry always looking to be first movers, this strategy gave PH an edge and they definitely took advantage of it. I don’t want to repeat everything that was said in the article but it definitely shows you how to make use of your advantages.
What do you think of this first Google + campaign and have you tried Google + yet? I can’t wait for my invite.
When you’re starting up your business or website, I understand not wanting to spend a lot of money. There are many tools available online that can help you get started.
Open Forum discusses some of these options here: http://www.openforum.com/articles/5-services-for-building-websites-on-a-budget
It’s the debate that every marketer faces. Am i marketing the price or the quality of my product or service. This is decision should be reflected in all of your marketing efforts. Everything including text (copyrighting), images, price and strategy should be determined with that decision in mind.
Marketing on price: if you’re planning on promoting your businesses prices, you are suggesting that your option is the cheapest, most cost effective or best value. If you are offering your product at a higher price than your neighbour next door and the product is identical, including your service, then why would clients come to you? As obvious as it sounds, business owners don’t realise this. Although my example of the neighbour next door is exagerated, customers are willing to travel to save a couple dollars. That geographical limitation depends on the difference in price and is directly corelated. So your ‘neighbour’ could be 3km away but for a $50 price difference, people may be inclined to go there over you.
Higher prices must be justified. To have a higher price, you must offer something more than your competition: more value. They need to get more for their dollar. It could be the convenience of not having to travel as far, more knowledgeable staff, a free accessory, reward points, extended warranty or anything that can offer them extra benefit.
Higher price often means higher quality. If your competing on price, you have to offer value, but competing on quality allows you to have control on pricing, better product perception and higher likelyhood of repeat customers. This is especially obvious in the services industry and in the electronics industry but applies to many businesses. A service is differentiated since it’s personallized and intagible. Clients are willing to pay more for a better result. So your marketing firms higher price can be justified by the amazing results you’ve had in the past, your bakery/catering business has those cupcakes that melt in your mouth, your service makes every client leave with a smile. Whatever you’re doing that isn’t being done elsewhere is what should be present in your promotions.
If you’re in montreal, take this as an example. This applies to any other city as well. Look at the ads for Public Mobile. They’re usually ads with the price and the features saying that you can get unlimited talk and text for $ 25 per month (Public Mobile is a low cost mobile provider in montreal). Clearly, Public is trying to compete on price stating that they’re offering the lowest price and best value. Bell Mobility on the other hand, advertises the blue Bell logo with scenes of famous hockey players, top of the line cell phones and an unbeatable network (Bell Mobility is one of the largest mobile carriers in Canada). They are obviously competing on quality; quality of the phones that they carry, the network, and the high end features like live tv on your cellphone. These features are not available with public, but Bell’s prices are much higher than Public’s.
Do you compete on price or quality?
With school and work downtown,i regularly take the train and the metro. Walking to the platform of the train i’m faced with 2 options of free daily newspapers. The first is left alone in the newspaper dispensers at everyones disposal. The second is being offered by a uniformed man or woman. Both papers offer similar content of what happened the day before and what’s happening this day.
So what does this have to do with marketing you ask? Although every morning i pass by the person freezing outside handing out papers and i almost feel bad not taking it from him, i still take the other paper. Why? The word-find puzzle inside! The paper that is being handed out only has a crossword and a sudoku inside whereas the one that i take has the word-find puzzle that i enjoy doing once in a while.
What’s the point already? As a business owner / operator you need to find your word-find puzzle. In other words, what are you offering that your competitors aren’t? What makes your product or service different or more advantageous for your client?
Although this seems obvious, many business owners don’t use it to their advantage! Do your pizzas have a crust to die for, is your service more fun than others, does your product or service yield better results than others? These are all crucial questions that if you answer in your marketing will show the clients why they should choose you over your competitors.
Take a couple minutes to ask yourself the question. What is or what are your word-find puzzles?