Be Bold; Business Promotion Plan

Be Bold & Promote Your Business

Okay, we’re all familiar with the idea of promotion = more sales I’m sure. But many won’t actually get involved in it; fear I guess is at the heart of why they don’t or won’t but the questions to ask yourself are;

Do I actually want my business to do well? To attract more customers? To keep the customers we’ve got?

The answer should be yes. If not you’re reading the wrong blog post here, you should be spending time looking for a new job someplace else.

In most cases people are working within a larger organisation and it’ll have a specialist function called the sales and marketing department or some other equally scintillating title. These are the people your business relies on to get those new customers coming through the door and spending some money on your products and services. But what about if you have your own small business? Who does it then?

The answer is; YOU!

Yes, that’s right you do it, it’s down to you and you alone to do that marketing stuff, nobody else. And unless you have that killer product or service that nobody else offers and everybody knows you are the only go-to person on the planet for it you are going to have to get stuck in to promoting what your company does.

So here’s the plan;

Daily

Post one – three items per day on social media and make sure the posts are helpful to your customer’s needs. If you get a question try to give a constructive answer and then touch base with those you’ve tried to help to see how it went.

You need one or maybe two metrics only; no more than that.

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Weekly

Ask for help or joint promotions form companies that can help you like a key supplier. Make absolutely certain that you help them too.

Maintain communications with all prospects until they convert to a customer or really say they don’t want your product or service.

At the Very Least Monthly

Check with existing customers that you are delivering value and they are still happy. The right question to ask is “Is there anything else I can do for you?”

If you have an upcoming event or contest or product launch communicate this specifically to your customers, prospects and followers.

Every Now and Then

Have a look at your own business to try to find the opportunities that you’re missing and turning them into active projects.

Always have something on the go, something you’re working towards rather than reacting to things as they appear.

Follow this (simple) plan and new prospects should convert into sales.

Thanks for reading.

Philip

Its Time to Invest

Investment is usually expensive; not really!

Ask most business owners and managers about investment and they’ll tell you it’s an expensive business investing in the business.  I can see their point if you only think in terms of the financial cost now, the up-front kind of cost, and not the long-term benefit it brings.

But think about this for a moment, if we didn’t invest in the facilities we use, the people we employ, the levels of expectation and the cultural goals of getting along with each other and customers alike where do you think we’d be? Not in business I speculate.

Investment in facilities, in transport systems, in communications systems; the way we move stuff and ideas from place to place, this is the starting point. And let me tell you one thing in absolute certainty; investment in the infrastructure of moving stuff and ideas ALWAYS pays off. No exceptions, 100% of the time it pays off.  It may take more time than you’d like or first expect, but honestly it pays off.

Getting the right stuff in the correct amount to the right location at the right time, sounds simple enough. But, it’s so easy to get it wrong and this wastes time, it wastes money, and it wastes effort of your staff. Result; more cost (passed on to the customer) more time taken (and time once used is gone for ever). Such a waste.

Getting the right ideas and information to the right person in the format that they can use efficiently and effectively. Again sounds easy enough but get this wrong and guess what? Yes waste, wasted time, wasted money and wasted effort. Result; your project goes to the bottom of the priority pile, if you can’t be bothered to get it right then why should the person who you want to work on the idea?

Time-to-Invest

Okay so what should we do about this?

Give yourself the right infrastructure. If you don’t have it then build it or buy it or rent it. Better floors, appropriately sized machinery, managed and maintained equipment. Or the right speed of internet connection, enough wifi hotspots, the right kind of computers and software. All of these things will cost money for sure but if you don’t build, buy or rent then you aren’t investing in your business and you will very soon go out of business.

Education, Expectation and Culture; these too need investment of sorts.

What’s better than working with someone who knows what they’re doing and why and they do it in a positive way? The answer of course is we’d all like to work with people like that, and we can if we invest.

Training and learning are really important. Some of this can be done within the company but a lot must be done by outside agencies.  Academic learning is often frowned on by some as if it should have all been done before the person entered the workplace, well it should never stop if appropriate for this kind of learning.  Those who are trained and competent will almost always have a level of expectation of themselves and those they are working with.  Again investment is needed only for this aspect, its time that’s required. And time inevitably cost’s money.

Training, learning and expectation will give rise to a shift in culture which should be positive. Culture will dictate how your business performs and interacts with customers. Culture contributes to values and values to the quality of product and service.

So, tell me now that investment is expensive and you will find very quickly that it isn’t.

Not to invest is not to care. Not to care means you will go out of business.

Pointers on how investment should be handled;

Keep it centralised, the overall strategy must be served by and through the investment. This is not something you’d want to leave to chance so that you suffer strategic shift, that’s not an experience you necessarily want.

When you invest things get better. No exceptions. You have to invest across the board though so if you want staff to engage in digital marketing for example you need the right IT equipment, the right software, enough appropriate information, people either hired for the job or trained to do the job who all know what is to be achieved, by when and who’s responsible and what they get out of it for their efforts.

That’s investment and it isn’t expensive, it’s just not cheap. Investment of this kind pays off.

Thanks for reading.

Philip

The Future is NOW; 8 ways to bootstrap a business

As an entrepreneur sooner or later you’ll have to make decisions about how you’re going to fund things, normally one of the very first decisions actually.  The implications can be massively significant to your business now and in the future.

no-money-bootstrap

As someone who has started my own business and worked with-in a business that’s got outside funding I know the difference.  I believe bootstrapping is the best option.  It won’t be glamorous and it will be hard work and it won’t be easy but it will make you a better and stronger business and these are the reasons why;

  1. Less Outside Influence; to raise outside investment means you’re going to attract attention to yourself and your business, it goes with the territory.  This can be very glamorous and exciting when its happening, during the courtship period just before a deal is done.  But your secret will be out and what may appear to be small and insignificant demands for change may be made to get the deal done.  These never turn out to be insignificant!  The advantage of bootstrapping is that you can stay below the radar which may make all the difference when negotiating with customers and avoiding or out manoeuvring the competition.
  2. Creative Freedom; Very similar this point to the less outside influence point but I think that it’s worth saying that the freedom that an entrepreneur has when managing a project is priceless.  By bootstrapping a company, using your own funds without the stifling accountability of an investor who is only interested in protecting their financial investment you keep your freedom and retain control over your project, your product, your business.
  3. Faster Progress; less cash = less time to get your business off the ground. This will be a massive motivator to get your product to market.  It may not be perfect but hey, you can always launch version 2.0 when you’re ready and then you can market that as an improvement.  Outside investment will dull the need for speed giving you a comfortable cushion adding months to your perfect launch.
  4. Better (Way Better) Products & Services; limited cash and time will mean you will have the pressure of getting your products or service as right as they can be first time.  Every penny/cent spent must make a return, to do this you are going to have to pay very close attention to your customers’ needs by being as right as you can.  The nett result is great products and services and a great brand.
  5. High(er) Rewards; as the founder and only owner of a company being bootstrapped you will take the rewards undiluted.  You retain control, you retain equity.  By doing this you will be motivated for success; if the company succeeds so do you and at the highest multiple of reward.
  6. Better Margins of Profit; staying lean means profit and value will be at its highest.  It’s a simple fact that companies with low overheads enjoy larger profit margins.  The longer term view of this is that if an exit is being considered that profit margins are used as a multiple for valuation and higher margins means bigger pay-outs.
  7. Smaller = Vigilance; less start-up capital means you are forced into being careful about your assumptions before you choose to scale.  Small means you understand much more intimately your products and services and your customers’ reactions and needs.  And if you make a mistake (all entrepreneurs make mistakes) its smaller in scale and much easier to clear up.
  8. Being Smart; it’s your money so you will be cautious.  You will never be as careful with someone else’s money as you are with your own.  Bootstrapping will make you wiser, make you a better manager, incentivize you and force you to grow your business from a position of understanding customers and markets.  Learning how you can do more with less (a key of the 21st Century business world) is one of if not the most important skill of an entrepreneur.

Each and every entrepreneur will be different and have a different, or even unique product or service.  But the one constant of entrepreneurship is the ability to execute effectively.  Bootstrapping makes you powerful, intelligent and vigilant providing you with a fulfilling and challenging way of executing you new business.

As always, thanks for reading.

Philip