Displaying items by tag: Small Business - Page 3

Do you have someone or something that is a benchmark to you?

I have a couple; personal and professional.
They say that it is lonely at the top, and although I am definately not at the top, I can definately relate to this feeling.

Having run a small business myself for 13 years, I can identify that at the end of the day, unless you have a business partner, it can be quite lonely.

Yesterday, was particularly stressful.

The business is going so well, and clients are literally running through our doors. Although we have mechanism in place for growth, there are always things to do, that when you add it to your own daily jobs, becomes overwhelming - if you let it.

On top of running a business, we have an issue with a client who is happy with the service, but owes us $80,000. And this is just for invoices raised in the month of February. After, continually asking about when the invoices will be paid as we have a strict 7 day policy, they keep replying that it is coming in the next few days. That started 6 weeks ago. I am sure they will pay, but the situation is stressful nevertheless because after years of dealing with business owners who spin stories, the trust factor on such things has somewhat diminished.
Your brand is alive in places you never knew existed.

With the introduction of the Internet and in particular social media, your brand is coming up in places that sometimes you would prefer for it not to be.

That is the nature of today's marketing environment.

If I was to pick 3 things that you need to do as a small business to market your business today, I would say;

1.  Make sure you have your best foot forward online: That means that at every touch point from the time someone opens the screen onto your website through to every single click through - that the same consistent experience with your brand occurs. If they click through to your twitter account, they STILL know it is your brand from the language you use to the visual aspects of your Twitter account. If you write a blog, showcase your brands personality in your writing and with pictures. Make sure that wherever your brand is online, that you are proud of how it is represented.

2. Don't discount the power of PR: Too many companies think they are too small to get a story in the newspaper or sometimes big companies just leave it off their marketing strategy. The power of a good story may mean that your company is elevated above your competitors, positioned as an industry leader and you as a commentator who knows their stuff. PR is not hard to do - all you have to do is read blogs like Marketing Eye's and the thousands of others that give instructions on just how to do it. Or alternatively, hire a PR consultant.

3.  Put customers and service first: Today I said no to working with a company that was ready to engage Marketing Eye. They seemed like a great bunch of guys, but for some reason they had a terrible telephone system (they need to speak to someone like Next Telecom to fix it); the phone rings out, hangs up when it shouldn't and constantly hits voice mail. If we were not putting customers first, we would take their money.  But no matter how much marketing we do for them, we cannot help them without them realising that it is a problem if you don't pick up the telephone or if you ring 3 times and the systems automatically hangs up on you. You have to answer the telephone.

Service needs to be first too. That means being responsive to clients' needs, giving them over and above what they expect and genuinely realising that without them, you don't have a business. If, heaven forbid, your service falls down on any given day, then you need to realise it, take responsibility and do whatever it takes to make it up to your clients. They deserve nothing but your best.

In every businesses life, there comes a time when you decide whether the business has 'legs' to grow further.

Marketing Eye has hit this point many times and each time we have done a situation analysis and made business decisions on where to go. Right now, we are in expansion mode with the US market firmly in our sights.

If you are in this position, think about what your Big Hairy Audacious Goal is and work out how realistic it is given your current resources and capabilities. Things to consider include;

Expand into new markets
I can't sleep. Too much is going through my mind. I toss and turn all night long and wake up in the wee hours desperate to fall back asleep again, but not able to because I am thinking too much.

It's a problem that many small business owners face time and time again. I am no different.
For many small businesses, the not-so-new marketing technique of QR Codes is just another technology platform that may well be a craze.

Unfortunately, this would be wishful thinking.

QR Codes are here to stay and in 2012 small businesses will find everything from advertisements through to resumes featuring QR Codes alongside brand names sending consumers and customers to websites, video, advertisements, catalogues, contact information, product suggestions and so on.

Only limited by your imagination or that of your creative departments, it is imperative that marketers don't fall prey to this form of marketing without carefully considering their target audience.
As I said to a friend of mine the other day, "everyone in small business has been there at one time or another".

If you think that as a small business owner that only you are going through tough times, employees leaving, cash flow issues, stress and sleepless nights - you are fooling yourself.

While you may be going through these things, so too are millions of other small businesses around the globe.
Sitting on a beach in the Bahama's sipping Pina Coladas, and soaking up the glorious rays of sunshine - ipad in hand... life could not get much better. If this is working, then I am totally up for it! Thus, is the virtual world. Anyone can do anything from anywhere - with no diminishing quality constraints.

The idea of a virtual anything is often something that we look at with trepidation - HOWEVER - is this the actions of a foolish person? Harsh... I get that, but as a stickler for little or no change, I am the first to admit that I am a slow adopter of many things that end up being very good for me and definately for my business. To change a technology that we may use, would be likened to going to the dentist and having my wisdom teeth removed without gas.
He is one of the best cricketers in the world and let's face it, the most interesting. Whether you are a man who wants to be like him, or a woman who wouldn't mind trading places with Elizabeth Hurley for a night - there is a lot to admire.

Not unlike the lifecycle of a business, Shane Warne has had many ups and downs, some public and I am sure, a lot more private. He has had his haters, his supporters, his loyal fans and those who simply admire him for his achievements.
Monday, 26 September 2011 08:08

Anyone can learn how to be a great leader

When you start a small business, it's hard to think about what leadership style you would like to incorporate in your company. Typically, your thoughts are on what product or service you would like to take to market; your business plan; how you are going to get sales; and how you will attract the right people to work for you.

Leadership styles is often thought to be a medium or larger business thought-process.
Published in Management
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