Serious Business Owner or Playing Office?

Most of us think of ourselves as serious business people, committed to the success of our businesses, but are we really and do our actions truly reflect that?

Are you a serious business owner or playing office?

A recent Kauffman Foundation study of 549 successful businesses showed that 93% of the business owners surveyed cited “not putting in the time and effort required” as the #2 most common barrier to entrepreneurial success next to failure to take risk. Are you devoting the time and effort required to grow your business and reach your personal and financial goals? Continue reading…

Sales & Marketing Plan Check-up Time

Much the same as your car or home, you should also schedule periodic check-ups of your sales and marketing plans to ensure that you are receiving optimal performance and results.

These check-ups should be done on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis as an integral part of the ongoing planning process. Regularly scheduled plan reviews will enable you to capitalize on emerging market trends, and make necessary course corrections to minimize potential shortfalls. Continue reading…

Where Is Your Business Headed?

Depending on whose statistics you believe, 50-75% of all new businesses fail in the first 2 to 3 years. So, if your business is still in its infancy, and your results are lagging, then you should be concerned and prepared to take immediate action to turn things around.

If you look closely at root cause, there are three fundamental reasons for most of these new business failures: Continue reading…

Make Marketing Your Business a Top Priority

Where does improving the results from your advertising, sales and marketing rank on your company’s “bucket list”? If it is not one of your top priorities for 2009 and beyond, then you are putting the business at risk!

The first words I hear from business owners these days are “I don’t have any money to invest in marketing the business right now”. And my standard response has become … well, should we start talking about an exit strategy then? The bottom-line is this, if you are not investing in advertising, sales and marketing to grow your business, the business will not be successful. Continue reading…

Become a Leader in Your Market Niche – Part 2

In “Become a Leader in Your Market Niche – Part 1”, I covered some of the basics of how to get started in positioning your company as a leader in your industry. Now it’s time to fill in the blanks. At this point, you have completed a competitive analysis, a customer assessment, compiled your list of JVs and partners, and received expert advice on how to integrate social media marketing into your overall business plans.

So, what’s next?

Identify your leadership target(s). What do you want to be known for, or a leader in? And what are your recognized strengths that can be leveraged as a competitive advantage? Are you perceived as an innovator or technology leader? Do you offer superior products or services? Is your company recognized for quality or operational excellence – i.e. Six Sigma, ISO 9001? Do customers rank your company’s service ahead of the competition?

Does your company receive high praise from its employees as a great place to work, or from the community at-large for its charitable donations and volunteer work? Select your leadership target(s) carefully, and make sure they are in alignment with how the market perceives your business today. Continue reading…

Become a Leader in Your Market Niche – Part 1

“If you’re not the lead dog on the sled, the scenery never changes.”

The same thing is true in business, isn’t it? Unfortunately, there can only be one market share leader in any given business segment, but there are other ways to become a leader in your market niche. So, where do you start if you’re not a leader today?

Know the competition. Learn all you can about their products and services, who they are selling to, and how they price, advertise, promote and market their offers. Michael Porter, a Harvard Business School professor and the author of Competitive Advantage, stated that “A firm differentiates itself from its competitors if it can be unique at something that is valuable to buyers.”

Once you have completed a thorough competitive analysis you can then identify the key areas of differentiation, and begin to communicate your competitive advantages to the outside world in a way that is compelling and entices prospects to buy from you.

Know your customers. Why are your customers buying from you, and what do they like and dislike about your business? Continue reading…