Expand the Life of Your Business

Posted by travissmith

Today I’m going to talk about the life cycle of a business and how to get the most out of each cycle while also extending the lifespan of your business.

The four different stages of a business life cycle are:
• Infancy
• Adolescence
• Growing Pains
• Maturity

We’ll talk a little about what each of these cycle’s means and how they can each help expand your business’ lifespan.

Infancy
This is generally considered the technician’s phase, which is the owner. At this point, the relationship between the business and the owner is that of a parent and new baby. There is an impenetrable bond that is necessary to determine the path your business will follow.
The key is to know your business must grow in order to flourish. You cannot stage in this stage forever.

Adolescence
In this stage you need to start bringing your support staff together to delegate to and to allow growth happen. The first line of defense is your technical person as they need to bring a certain level of technical experience. This cycle really belongs to the manager though. The planning stage needs to start and a relationship should be built with the entrepreneur for creating a plan for the future.

Growing Pains
There’s a point in every business when business explodes and becomes chaotic. This is referred to as growing pains. It’s a good problem to have, but a problem nonetheless. You are often faced with a number of choices:
• Avoid growth and stay small
• Go broke
• Push forward into the next cycle

Maturity
The last cycle is maturity, though this doesn’t mean the end of your business. Your passion for growth must continue in order for your business to succeed in the long run. You need to keep an entrepreneurial perspective in order to push your business forward.

You see now all five of these cycles are connected and depend on a strong foundation in order for your business to grow, evolve, and continue to be successful and you are beginning to think about the three key roles in your business…the entrepreneur, the manager, and technician. All of these roles must also work together to work through these cycles to be truly successful.

If you’re having trouble putting together your business life cycles and figuring out which of the key roles you fit into, try our GUIDED TOUR and work with one of our amazing coaches.

Gather the Troops

Posted by travissmith

Today I’d like to chat about the different types of support staff you need to build a successful business and what makes them so important.

There are essentially three key roles that need to be filled to set your business up for success:
• The Technician
• The Manager
• The Entrepreneur

All of these roles need to be played simultaneously by different people with the right talents. As Jim Collins explains it in “Good to Great”, you have to have the right people on the bus and have them in the right seats. It’s all about balance.

The Technician
This person represents the present and all that needs to be done for the physical aspects of the business building process. They are the “doer”. This is usually the most visible person of the entire operation.

The Manager
This person represents the past and works to fix problems through learning from past mistakes and ensuring they don’t happen in the future. They are the practical side of the business and are in charge of putting together the business and overseeing the planning.

The Entrepreneur
This person represents the future and the vision for the business. They are responsible for the creative side of the business and are always considering ways to enhance products/service, business image, branding, and more.

All three of these characters are essential in the success of any business. To build a solid foundation from the start, you need to work hard to find the right people to put in these roles. Obviously, you need to be one of these key people, but ensure you find the role that fits your skill set and talents, not necessarily what you THINK you should be doing.

This may be a hard process for you as you will need to relinquish some control over the business and instill trust in people to allow them to do their jobs.

Remember, our business coaches can help you through this entire process and teach you how to avoid falling victim to e-myths. Check out our GUIDED TOUR and contact us today to discuss our coaching services and how we can help you be the success you deserve to be.

Are You Aiding & Abetting E-Myths?

Posted by travissmith

We are going to embark upon a journey through the world of e-myths, and debunk them, to help you avoid falling into the e-myth trap.

First, let’s take a minute to talk about what an e-myth is. An entrepreneurial myth, or e-myth, is an assumption that anyone can succeed at business with:
• Desire
• Some capital
• Projected a targeted profit

This sounds great, but it just not realistic. Think of starting a business as a marathon. Sure, everyone starts out of the gate at record pace, but after a few miles people start slowing and some drop out entirely. Building a successful business takes stamina and agility. The reality is that there are many different facets to a successful business and none of them can be ignored if you plan to find success.

Let’s take a minute to talk about entrepreneurial seizure. This defines the roller coaster of emotions that comes with starting, nurturing, and the potential failure of a business.

The emotions that occur, in order, are:
• Exhilaration
• Exhaustion
• Despair
• Sense of self-loss

This is usually caused by the e-myths and assumptions I talked about. You can get your hopes so high on instant success that even the smallest lag and you are sent into an emotional tailspin. This is also brought on by the stark realization that you can’t do it all and will need help in the areas where you don’t have the knowledge, experience, or expertise. Now, faced with limited choices you may feel like you need to back out and hide, but don’t do this.

Use our GUIDED TOUR and then contact us to discuss getting the business coaching you need to avoid feeling overwhelmed and defeated.

Put Them in a Trance

Posted by travissmith

We’re going to go through the 5 essential keys to a successful and reusable marketing campaign launch. Once you have these basics down, you can use them over and over again.

The 5 essential keys are:
• Define your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
• Put an effective sales offer to work
• Avoid the marketing pitfalls
• Use a world-class marketing perspective
• Get results!

We’ll go through each one of these, so you can see exactly how to use them and how they all affect the overall outcome of your marketing campaign.

Define your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

Take the time to ask yourself some questions from the prospective of the customers and clients. What would it take to get your attention? What needs do you have that need to be met? What are the promises you want fulfilled?
Once you know the answers to these questions you can start putting together a plan to meet these needs. Then take a look at what USP your competitors are using to help you develop your own USP. Your USP is what you are “promising” your customers and clients. This is what’s going to set you apart from your competition.

Put an effective sales offer to work
To develop an effective sales plan, you need to:
1. Put together a headline that gets immediate attention.
2. Share benefits of your products and services speaking from the customers’ perspective.
3. Identify the specific needs met by your products and services.
4. Make it easy to do business with you by offering guarantees.
5. Share your specific sales proposition.
6. Walk your customers and clients through how they should respond and act.
7. Motivate with a call to action.

What this all means is, you need to put together what makes your products and services special and compel customers to buy them. If they don’t feel like they NEED your product or service, they won’t buy. You need to answer a question, solve a problem, or feed an obsession. You need to provide your customers and clients with all the information they need to make an informed and confident decision. Buyer’s remorse is one of the worst things that can happen.

Avoid the marketing pitfalls
There are 5 major marketing pitfalls many businesses fall into and you should avoid:
• Ignore market testing and push on with an inaccurate plan.
• Offer an incomplete case or reasons throughout their marketing plan.
• Fail to notice the needs of their prospective customers and clients.
• Fail to diversify their marketing options.
• Fail to get market opinions on their offers.

These are all areas to avoid. If you’ve been working through these lessons, avoiding these pitfalls should be easy and natural.

Use a world-class marketing perspective
World-Class marketing perspective is important, especially if you want to attract customers and clients from all over the world. You can do this with a number of different techniques and activities:
1. Keep a marketing journal and write down anything innovate you see.
2. Keep encouraging your marketing department, or yourself, to try new things and dump the ones that aren’t working.
3. Order from your own company under a different name and analyze the process of ordering, shipping, the online store, customer service, and the product itself. This will show you where the areas for improvement in the customer experience are.
4. Read every quality ad you can find and keep a file for future ideas to consider.
5. When out in public, watch how consumers behave in different situations and how they consider their purchases.
6. Step down a notch or two and work on the front lines of your business with your sales and customer service staff.
7. Continuously acknowledge your staff, vendors, and customers. Everyone works harder and shops better when they feel appreciated.
8. Always listen to feedback from employees and customers.
9. Continuously test markets, ads, and marketing techniques. This is the only way to stay successful and know what’s working, and more importantly, what’s not.
10. Offer more information in your marketing than anyone else. The more information you offer the more products and services you’ll sell.
11. A great marketing plan can only get better. Continue to fine tune and refine your marketing plan based on testing results and feedback.
12. Be classy in your marketing. Make sure your marketing and advertising fits your company image, products, services, and quality.
13. Improve your best marketing areas and drop those that aren’t working. Fail fast!
14. Focus on what you say and how you say it. The best marketing ideas turn into the best marketing naturally.
15. Develop all your ads, campaigns, and sales materials with an attention to compelling and factual information.

By using these techniques, you can put your name out there to the world and become one of the top brands in your industry.

Get results!
The last area we are going to talk about is your best-satisfied customers. If your customers aren’t satisfied, you’ve wasted all your marketing resources and all chances of a positive word-of-mouth advertising. You can satisfy your customers by:
• Providing quality products and services
• Providing high quality customer service
• Providing a low-pressure, highly informative, sales experience
• Taking all the risk away with a great guarantee

To generate more business there are a couple of simple techniques that work every time:
• Build your database with a contest.
• Do regular mailings with sales, discounts, or other incentives.
• Find other creative ways to keep your current customers coming back for more.

“As long as the reward is directly related to your product or service, you can’t lose. Why not get started today? It’s so simple, it’s so seldom done, and it’s so profitable. And that’s the bottom line.” Jay Abraham

It is so simple that you should be starting today! We can help you put together a great marketing plan that will get you results. Try our GUIDED TOUR and find the tools and resources you need built by some of the biggest names in the marketing world.

Do It Like the Big Dawgs!

Posted by travissmith

Today we’ll take a look at how the kings of industry wine, dine, and otherwise cajole prospects.
Most successful professionals use a series of information-based ads that build emotion and then have a call to action. These are much more effective than a standard company branding advertisements. The same principles that go into putting together a high impact (and often high priced) ad campaign can be adapted to fit your needs with similar results.

Here are some ways to put together and execute a professional and effective ad campaign:
1. Put together a short report that’ll you’ll automatically send to prospects when they contact you. This should include a short description of your business and what you specialize in. Don’t forget to include case studies, samples, or other proof of your success.
2. Consider newsletters as a way of educating and informing customers about your industry and services offered.
3. Offer a free seminar, webinar, or other lecture to build awareness of your business. Make sure you communicate information pertinent to your target market and find speakers who are respected and known in the industry.
4. Buy an existing business, introduce better marketing, and grow this new business faster than a “from scratch” business.
5. Always test different versions of your ads to find the most effective ones.
6. Use direct mail marketing to grow your business.
7. Formalize and document a cross sell/upsell/down-sell strategy.
8. Put together a database of previous customers and send them new information.
9. Offer incentives such as frequent purchasing benefits, loyalty programs, referral programs or others.
10. Approach large firms who may need your services and negotiate a deal to be their exclusive expert in your field.
11. Offer a 24-hour information line with a regularly updated recorded message. Make this available to all past and future customers/clients.
12. Donate time or materials to local charities to show support in your area.
13. Offer public clinics for the general public to come along and discuss what they need that’s free and approachable.
14. Organize seminars your customers/clients can pay to attend by putting together a high-perception value package.
15. Approach local newspaper by offering to write a weekly column about your area of expertise. Don’t ask for money, just a byline and bio.
16. Develop a weekend or other destination seminar for customers/clients, not only does this give you an action-packed weekend with the most important people, it gives them a tax-deductible business adventure.
17. Take a good seminar and turn it into written form as a home study, member site program, audio or video program.
18. Approach large companies and offer to give seminars to their employees, investors, or management.
19. Be proactive with your marketing plan.
20. Barter for your marketing. Offer products or services in lieu of payment.
21. Be willing to bring in new clients, even if at an initial loss, because it will likely pay off later.
22. Regulate your marketing budget to maximize the potential income from them to hit the next year and try to push back advertising costs for the next year to offset your expenses.
23. Make offers to target markets or target market businesses to pay them for referrals or shared databases.
24. Offer loaner products to replace equipment that’s be repaired or refurbished.
25. Give away something free to everyone who brings in a print version of your advertisement. This is a great way to see which ads are giving you the most bang for your buck.
26. Continually consider what new products/services you can offer to current customers/clients.
27. Develop a mail order division of your company.
28. Offer a proposition to your competitors to trade customers/clients you were both unsuccessful in selling to.
29. Use different marketing tactics as an excuse to attract new customers/clients with new offers and goodies.
30. Offer a “you-choose-the-price” program. This is especially good for product you just can’t seem to sell.

So, there are 30 great ways to market to other professionals and businesses. Some other great ways to get your name out there for little or no cost are:
• Get involved you in your community-volunteer meet up groups, volunteer to local events, etc.
• Join your local Chamber of Commerce and attend the networking and other activities throughout the year.
• Join a local, state, or regional professional association for further networking opportunities.
• Become a board member of a local organization, especially a non-profit because they are always looking for help.

Advertising should never be your only method of marketing, there are a myriad of ways to get your name out there in a way that feels personal to potential customers/clients.

“Effective advertising…must be used to get your name out to the public. If your name is not familiar to people, they will not come to you.” Jay Abraham

If you’re not sure where you start with your marketing plan or how to reach out to your local community, competitors, customers/clients and others who could influence your business in a highly positive way, try our GUIDED TOUR to experience the tools and resources we have to boost your business to the next level and beyond.