“All lasting business is built on friendship.” ~ Alfred A. Montapert
Customer relationship improves business success. Every successful business is built on relationships that begin with first contact and progress through various stages. These stages usually begin when someone becomes a prospect or customer, then a friend of your business, and ultimately a loyal customer and raving fan.
Turning your customer into your friend is important, especially for entrepreneurs and small business owners. When your customer becomes your friend, there is a shift. Now there is an emotional aspect to the relationship. And when your customers become emotionally attached to you, they are more likely to remain loyal customers. Continue reading
“Achieving a goal is nothing. The getting there is everything.” ~Jules Michelet
Getting from goal-setting to goal-achievement can often be a winding path with its fair share of challenges. Many people set goals only one time per year and usually that’s around New Year’s Day; however, every day, every month, or every quarter provides you with an opportunity to set goals. Short term goals are essential to accomplish smaller, or even more urgent tasks, while long-term goals are considered for 6-months, one year, and even up to 30 year goals.
Often the focus for entrepreneurs is on setting business goals, but think of all the other areas in your life that you may want to change something. Areas like, family, friendships, relationships, lifestyle, health, or finances. If you desire a different outcome, the first step is to identify what you want to change, then set goals to in order to accomplish the changes. Continue reading
In today’s digital age and real-time economy, it’s more important than ever to deliver excellent customer service across channels. Customers have many choices, and in tandem with these choices are high customer service expectations.
Millenials, especially, are not prepared to accept anything other than excellent customer service. Micah Solomon, in the post, Millennials Don’t Want More Customer Service — They Want Different Customer Service noted that, “Not only will great customer service and a great customer experience often make the difference in whether a particular millennial chooses to do business with you, it makes the difference in whether other millennials ever hear the word about your business.”
It’s therefore incumbent on businesses to ensure that they deliver a seamless customer experience over various channels.
The following Infographic Continue reading
What does the marketing plan for your business look like? If you take the time to do detailed research on creating a Marketing Plan, you’ll find that there’s a great deal of information available on the topic. Let’s explore this together.
What is a Marketing Plan?
A marketing plan is a detailed document that includes the data you need to make marketing decisions and set a course of action that you can implement immediately.
The marketing plan for your business is an important segment of your business plan; but whereas your business plan covers all aspects of your business, your marketing plan covers only the marketing side. It provides the roadmap for your marketing success, and is essential for maximizing your marketing efforts. Continue reading
Confident, self-motivated young African American business woman
There is a plethora of motivational tools available on the market. There are motivational CDs, music, Ted Talks, videos, songs, wallpaper, and the list goes on. Those are all wonderful creations and inventions, but they are external. How can entrepreneurs keep self-motivated?
Self-motivation can be a challenge because there are so many distractions all around you. It is easy and quite simple to get off track with the essential things that you should be doing to move your life and your business forward. Continue reading
This year, more than ever, I’m focused on goal-setting. While 2015 was not the first time I’d set goals in my life and business, last year, for the first time, I truly implemented goal-setting that made a difference. My goals were Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic/Relevant, and Time-Sensitive. They were based on S.M.A.R.T goals.
From my goal-setting re-evaluation, I discovered what I could have done better, and made some tweaks so that goal-achievement can be realized more fully in various areas of my life. One of the things my self-evaluation revealed is that while it’s great to have multiple goals, a much better strategy is to work on just ONE goal in any given area at a time. Continue reading
What would your future look like if you were to take the time to set S.M.A.R.T goals – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely – in the six most important areas of your life? Some of these areas include, Family, Career, Business, and Spirituality. You CAN achieve your goals, and it starts with putting it in writing.
You’ve probably heard the quote many times, “A goal is just a dream if you fail to write it down.” In reality, if you’ve not take the time to put your goals in writing, all you have is a wish or multiple wishes.
Questions on How to Achieve Your Goals
Here are some questions to ask yourself and answer – in writing:
- What do you want to accomplish in your …. in the next month, 3 months, 6 months, 12 months?
- Are you setting goals that are relevant to you, your life, and your business, or are you setting goals based on the expectations that others have of you?
- Did you set goals in the past and never saw them through?
- Did you attempt to work on the goals you set but seemed to encounter obstacles to your success?
When you read that 80% of small business startups fail within the first 18 months, it does not sound encouraging, does it? If you’re one of the coveted 20% that’s still in business after 18 months, you’re probably doing a number of things right, including the five reasons small business startups succeed listed below.
In the post “Five Reasons 8 Out of 10 Business Fail,” which I found delightful to read, Eric T. Wagner gave detailed reasons why businesses fail. Using, Mr. Wagner’s post as my foundation, I’ll be highlighting the ‘5 Reasons Small Business Startups Succeed’ so that you can do an audit immediately and correct any deficiencies.
- Have Meaningful Dialogue with Customers: “Your customer holds the key to your success deep in their pain, behavior, dreams, values and the jobs they are trying to accomplish.” From concept to implementation, it’s important to enroll your customer and get their input. Since he/she is the one using your service or product, then it makes perfect sense to get feedback. Connect with them on the platform of their choice to continue the conversation.
- Have a Unique Value Proposition: Just about every viable niche is crowded. It’s your UVP or USP (Unique Selling Proposition) that will set you apart. It takes time, but it will be time well spent to identify the unique qualities of your product or service.
- Communicate your Unique Value Clearly and Concisely: It’s not enough to identify your unique value proposition. You must be able to articulate this in a clear, concise way to your potential and current customers. Really listen to your customers and speak to them in the language or style that they understand and relate to. Be clear, concise, and compelling.
- Avoid Self-Sabotage: It’s important to recognize that as a business owner you must be in control. Often people start a business but they’ve not yet adopted the mindset of a CEO; they still have the mindset of an employee. Recognize from the outset that this involves a leadership role in which making astute and well-though out decisions will be factors that affect your success or lack thereof. While others can assist, you are the ultimate decision-maker. Where necessary, spend some time in personal development to enhance any skills you may already have. If this is an area that could lead to self-sabotage, take action without delay. There are numerous sources for learning available online and offline. Choose the best. Model those who are where you want to be and learn from them. Good leaders will share their successes and failures. Learn from their failures so you avoid making the same mistakes.
- Identify a Profitable Business Model with Multiple Streams of Income: Before you invest in a start-up, it’s important to do indepth research to find out if your business will fill a need in the marketplace. Then combine that with point #2 to make your business standout.
In the original article, the author discusses how Zappos’ founders did their market research creatively before investing lots of money. Too many times small business owners start a business because they ‘like that idea’ or see that others are doing it, but ignore doing personal research. Remember that only portions of any business is available to you. There are many other factors involved beyond what we can see so, avoid doing what seems popular without doing your own research.
Once you’ve completed your research, move decisively and quickly on to implementation.
By incorporating and implementing these 5 methods in your business, you can be among the 20% of small business startups that succeed.
What other strategies and tips would you recommend to small business startups so they remain viable?
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Your website client attraction and retention
Relationship marketing, (which includes customer service, the customer experience, and customer retention) is my favorite business topic to write and teach on, followed by social media marketing and other areas of online marketing. They all work together to support each other. Whether you are an internet marketer or in any other niche with an online presence, you can use your website for client attraction and retention.
Social media, article marketing, and blogging are some of the tools you can use to attract clients but you can’t stop there. You must nurture the relationship so that they move from ‘suspects’ to ‘prospects’ to clients and customers. Nurturing can be done with email campaigns, telephone calls, post-cards, and in-person appointments. The key is follow-up, and implementation of other client retention strategies.
The Beginning: Client Attraction
Before you can practice client retention strategies, however, you must first attract clients to your business. That can often be very challenging. How do you stand out so that the people who need to hear your message can do so? How do you find your ideal clients, and how do they find you? One way you can use to attract your ideal clients or customers is your website. Continue reading
Are S.M.A.R.T goals really essential to success in 2016? You already know that it’s possible to work very hard but see little results.
It happens to people the world over in various fields of endeavor, and the reasons vary. These could include working with a lack of purpose or mission, working without a business plan, or working without setting specific goals for what you want to accomplish and setting the path to get there.
To avoid being on the treadmill, like a hamster, S.M.A.R.T goals are essential to success in 2016. Why S.M.A.R.T goals? Because when you combine all of the pieces together: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely, you’ll have a powerful package that gives you structure for growth and development.
Specific: Goals that are specific provide the space to increase your awareness of what you really want to accomplish so that you can clearly transfer these to the written word. They give you clarity so that there’s no room for doubt in your mind. You’re able to articulate these goals to others, whether it’s your business coach, mentor, or accountability partner.
Your goals are clear when you can answer: Why, What, Where, How, and Who? Starting with the end in mind, one question you could ask yourself is: “What is the specific outcome I want to experience?”
“In everything the ends well defined are the secret of durable success.”
Measurable: This is where numbers and dates are important. It’s important to measure your objectives. This involves including a system where you’re able to do periodic checks to make sure that you’re on track. These check-ups may be monthly, quarterly, or other Continue reading