Business Survival Checklist

All business owners are looking for ways to improve top-line revenues, reduce expenses and increase profits in order to grow their respective businesses. However, the troubling economy and other factors have forced many of these same business owners to replace the word “grow” with the word “survive”.

The business owner’s I have met with in the past 12-18 months all responded with the same answer when I have asked them, “what is the one thing that is critical to your business success”. The simple answer is “more customers”. More customers are the life-blood for any viable business. And every successful business has a universal checklist of things that are central to acquiring new customers, growth and yes, survival.

Here is my list of ten things that should be included on your Business Survival Checklist:

  1. Business/Marketing/Financial Roadmap. What is your existing plan to deliver maximum ROI performance in the next 12 months, 1-5 years, 5-10 years and 10+ years? The roadmap for your business, at a minimum, should address the next two fiscal years. Don’t be too optimistic – it is much better to over-deliver on your projections than to fall short. Continue reading…

Want to Buy a Toothbrush?

Traditional sales and selling techniques have changed dramatically over the years.

Fading fast are the door-to-door canvassers, dinner-hour telemarketers and transactional salespeople who appear to be interested in only making a quick sale and then moving on to the next one. The so-called  “trickster” sales companies who rely upon sleight of hand selling approaches and gimmicks to entice you to buy are also dying out as consumers become better educated and informed about the products and services they choose to purchase.

One of my favorite stories from sales lore reflects the progress we have made over the years in changing the dynamics of the buyer-seller relationship. It’s the timeless story of a toothbrush salesman who consistently failed to meet his quota and was told by his boss at a trade show that if he did not achieve his sales goal for the event he would be fired. After delivering his stern ultimatum, the salesman’s boss left for a series of meetings, but told him he would return in a couple hours to check on his progress. Continue reading…

Social Media – What Is It?

Matt Krautstrunk wrote an article on social media recently titled “Where Is The ROI In Social Media?”. In the article he makes a great point that tracking ROI depends on your goals, and this certainly can apply  to almost anything in business. However, before you can establish clear-cut goals and track the ROI of social media, you first need to define it.

Social Media – what is it? It’s hard to talk about tracking the ROI of social media until you know what “it” is.

To help you define what social media is so it does not end up being “Golden Vaporware” where your business is concerned, start out with some limited trials and experimentation first, before launching any large-scale projects. From the initial trial results, you can make a determination on how to proceed and then develop specific goals and plans, before committing a lot of additional time, resources and budget.

Below are several questions to consider. The answers should help you define social media in the context of your business. Is “it” a (an) … Continue reading…

Are You Speaking To Me?

Three important elements that lead to success in a typical networking setting when positioning yourself, your business and your value proposition to other group members include:

  1. Preparation and planning,
  2. Tailoring the message to your audience, and
  3. Follow-up.

This article will address #2 “Tailoring the message to your audience”, and I will provide you with some ideas and an example that should help you raise your profile, obtain more quality referrals and effectively promote your business through networking. Continue reading…

3 Easy Ways to Improve Your 2nd Half Results

“In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson”- Tom Bodett quote.

 

So, what lessons have you learned in the first half of this year that will prepare you for success in the future?

It’s hard to believe that we are well into the final month of the first half of 2011 – but we’re here. And if the first half has not shaped up the way you would have liked it to, or you’re just looking for some ideas to improve your 2nd half business results, then it’s time for action.

There are three basic ways to grow any business – increase prices, sell more to existing customers and sell to new customers.  Your primary goal as a business owner should be to get more customers to buy more from you, and more often. So, start with the basic building blocks and go from there to determine what actions to take to improve your 2nd half results. Continue reading…

What Differentiated Value Is Really About

Recently, I had the privilege to moderate a Focus Small Business Roundtable: Strategies to Achieve Business Success. The Focus Expert Roundtable members included Mirna Bard, Jill Konrath and John Spence who all offered their insights on a variety of relevant subjects that I have summarized into a single topic for the purposes of this 5+ minute video.

 

 

 

I sincerely hope that you find this video to be informative and useful in addressing some of the daily challenges you encounter in successfully growing your business or practice. If so, please feel free to share this information with others.

Enjoy the journey!

John

 

COPYRIGHT © 2011 John Carroll

Getting To ‘Yes’ Is Where It Starts

Do you let your guard down after the prospect has said ‘Yes’?

Far too often sales people, particularly those new to sales, have a tendency to relax after they have received a verbal ‘Yes’ from the prospect and assume that the sale is nearing completion. BIG MISTAKE!

 

What many sales people fail to recognize is that an impending sale is most vulnerable after the prospect has said OK, and that getting to ‘yes’ is where it starts.  There is still a lot of work ahead to finalize the sale, and a few hurdles to overcome, before you break out the champagne.

Let’s talk about what’s headed your way, so you can address these challenges before they derail the sales celebration. Continue reading…

Networking: Building Intentional Relationships

Networking is an integral part of growing a profitable business for solo entrepreneurs and small business owners alike, particularly in the early stages. However, most small business owners put far too little forethought and planning into determining what is required to build ‘intentional’ relationships that can deliver positive returns to their businesses.

Now what is meant by building intentional relationships?

As its definition depicts, intentional is something that is done by conscious design or purpose, something planned. Likewise in networking, building intentional relationships should by design have an intended purpose that produces positive results. How should you develop intentional relationships that can help you achieve your business goals? Continue reading…

New 4Ps of Marketing: Part 3 of 4

Part 3 of the new 4Ps of Marketing focuses on Perception. Perception is the process by which people select, organize, and interpret information.  And therein lies the major obstacle for most companies when attempting to market to a broad, diverse audience.

What does your branding, advertising and marketing communicate about your company and your industry? The market perception of your brand or industry is extremely important, which is why industry leaders take extra steps to ensure that the general perception of them and their industry is positive.

To become a recognized leader in any industry you must develop a strong brand image, while building credibility and trust with consumers, particularly when faced with adversity. Example: Toyota and how they admirably responded to resolve the recent gas pedal recall problem and quickly restored consumer confidence.

Continue reading…

New 4Ps of Marketing: Part 2 of 4

Part 2 of the new 4Ps of Marketing focuses on Promotion, the only carry-over from the original 4Ps of Marketing, but with a twist. Promotion in today’s marketing emphasizes education and information much more to distinguish your brand and differentiate your product or service from competitive offers.

 

As you have experienced first hand, there numerous ways to advertise and promote your product or service depending on the media you select. Marketing companies, for example, rely heavily on Internet advertisement, special events, endorsements, and newspapers to advertise and promote their products and services.

The key question for any small business is where and how to cost effectively get across your marketing messages to your target market? For your small business, will you reach your target audience by TV, or radio, or on billboards? What about direct marketing, flyers, door hangers, or on the Internet? Those are a few of the more common advertising and media choices to consider to help you get the word out. Continue reading…