Tag: business

The Seven Critical Questions You Must Ask Yourself Before You Get Started on Social Media

The Seven Critical Questions You Must Ask Yourself Before You Get Started on Social Media

Using social media can be extremely beneficial to you and your company.  However, it can be challenging, time consuming, frustrating and disappointing if you do not have an actual implementation strategy.

There are seven questions I like to ask a small business owner before they embark on their social media you journey. They provide the opportunity to think about the path you want to take and what you are hoping to accomplish for your efforts.  They also lead the way to providing you with a level of success if addressed properly.

  1. Do you have a content marketing strategy that is clearly documented? If you don’t, then you may be missing the majority of your opportunities to increase your revenue through this method.

2. Do you have different content for each stage of the Buyer’s Journey? You can think of it this way: The Buyer’s Journey is a “map” that helps you understand the “journey” that a buyer goes through before they make a purchase. There are 3 main stages: Benefits of Ownership, Objections to Ownership, and Vendor Selection.

Each stage of the journey requires a different marketing and sales approach, and therefore, a different social media approach.

In the Benefits of Ownership (sometimes referred to as Awareness) stage, a prospect has a specific need but is unaware of your company and the benefits you provide to meet their need. In this phase, you’ll want to lean heavily on educational content.

In the Objections to Ownership (Consideration) stage, the prospect is now aware of your presence and the benefits you offer, but various objections now enter the picture such as price, selection, timing of the purchase, financing, etc. You’ll want to overcome these objections through the use of marketing material such as expert courses, eBooks, case studies, live demos, comparison white papers, webinars, and videos.

In the Vendor Selection (Decision) stage, the prospect is trying to decide between you and your competitors. The number one way to compel a prospect to contact you is through a compelling CTA (Call to Action). Use testimonials, trial offers, comparisons against competitors, free reports, Idea Guides, and possibly coupons or discounts when appropriate.

  1. To what extent does your content target the hot button issues of your prospects? “Hot buttons” are essential to understand how to grow a business. They are the key considerations that customers think about when they process whether or not they should buy your product or service. Here are some examples of hot buttons:

For a mechanic, the hot button issue is trust.
For a coach or consultant, the hot button issue is results.
For a pizza delivery company, the hot button issue is speed.
For an auto parts supply company, the hot button issue is having a broad selection.

  1. Can you describe your sales cycle? What’s the usual Buyer’s Journey? You’ll not only want to understand the Benefits (Awareness), Objections (Consideration), and Vendor (Decision) stages, but also the typical timeframe for each stage.
  2. What are your goals for your content, besides making sales? You might think that’s all you need. However, when you see the possibilities, you’ll be so pleased that there’s always more that you can achieve. Perhaps you want:
  •  To be known as the source of innovative ideas.
  •  To have clients respect you at a deeper level.
  •  To become the trusted authority for your profession
  •  To be known as a business of the highest integrity.
  •  To be known as the experts in your industry.
  •  To get people to share your information and thereby generate referrals.

 

There are many other strategic objectives you might consider. The point is that if you’re not thinking this through, and deliberately building strategy into all your tactics, then your tactics will not maximize on the opportunity you are presented with. However, if you systematically build in 4 or 5 strategic objectives each time, your tactics work harder for you and you get massive influence.

  1. What are the hot button issues in your target market? What keeps your prospects awake at night? What problems, frustrations, questions and concerns keep coming up? If you aren’t sure what those are, you can ask your customers, your front line sales staff, your receptionist, and your

customer support division for their input. Finally,

  1. What’s your Market Dominating Position? A Market Dominating Position is basically a distinctive advantage targeting the hot buttons of your market. This is the foundational element of marketing. It’s the “position you take” that allows you to dominate the market so that your business is the natural or logical first choice for buyers. This will need to be clearly and carefully articulated in your content marketing assets.

You Can’t Do It All

What follows in this course are the exact steps you need to take to roll out an effective content marketing initiative for your business. Be aware that you won’t be able to do it by yourself. You’ll need help.

You’ll need to understand your approximate budget for a comprehensive content marketing initiative before you can decide how to move forward.

If you’re a small business on a limited budget, then a single individual with dedicated time might be able to tackle this for you. Alternately, a digital agency might help you.

If you’re a larger business, a small team of people might be necessary to be effective. You might need a Marketing Manager to oversee the project. You’ll also need a writer, an editor, a designer, and a publishing coordinator (aka Social Media Manager).

Yes, in a bigger business, one person could do 2 or 3 jobs, but certainly not all 5 jobs, or at least not effectively. It’s possible to outsource some of the roles, but there are still costs for production and design. You also need to take into account the time and expense that you’ll incur for testing ideas. All marketing involves testing, and some content promotions will outperform others, but you won’t know which ones work until you test.

In this course, you’ll learn the exact questions you need to ask, in the right order, to both find the breakthroughs and the actions that need to be taken.

You’ll learn the steps to perfect implementation.

You’ll be able to create a plan that will actually bring you results.

And if you’re not able to do the work yourself, you’ll have the necessary knowledge to hold others accountable. Talk to your business coach about whether this information is right for you and your business. If you’re going to ask your business coach to help you implement a winning social media program, you’ll now have a playbook so everyone can remain on the right track.

 

 

Episode Fifty Four – Kate Spilsbury, Mere Benefits

How well are you insured?

How afraid are you to find out or ask any questions about it?

My next guest is quite familiar with the fears people have about discussing insurance and how little they understand about the coverage they do and don’t have. Kate Spilsbury has built a career, and now a business by making the often complicated stuff, “simple” and stress free.

Kate is the founder of Mere Benefits, an insurance brokerage simplifying the process of providing businesses with employee benefits. They specialize in designing benefits for the small-group entrepreneurs who spend their days building their business and running a team.

Kate is also a networking master and has built a schedule of free education sessions to teach people about the insurance landscape and make it extremely easy for them to understand what are the best Medicare and other individual/group health insurance options.

To learn more, click https://www.merebenefits.com

The Events That Cause Scars Can Never Be Forgotten

The Events That Cause Scars Can Never Be Forgotten

“Scars have a strange power to remind us that the past is real. The events that cause them can never be forgotten.” – Cormac McCarthy.

In life, scars make marks on the skin and on the mind. You remember what happened to cause the scar, for good or for bad. It becomes an anecdote from the story of your life.

So too, scars from your experience with your business can also be remembered for a lifetime. And that’s ok. There are lessons that are learned from failures and challenges and your business can actually grow from these experiences. You may have had a business that has failed, and may have left a deep scar. But creating a second business, based on the lessons learned from the first one, will provide the guidance and details needed to ensure you are on a more successful path.

Some scars are hidden by their owners, but it doesn’t mean that they do not remember them. There is always a lesson from that experience, mostly what not to do again…. And that too can be powerful.

Small business owners need to grow from their scars, their mistakes, their setbacks.  A small business owner needs to be resilient.  They need to be open to learning and pivoting from their challenges and building new strategies to create greater successes for their business.

As a business coach, located in Florida, but working with clients around the country, I hear about all the scars and challenges.  And it is so rewarding when, together, we address them and create new strategies that build additional profit acceleration.

Have a scar that you need to address, connect with me and let me help…..

Business Experiences Can Cause Scars

“Scars have a strange power to remind us that the past is real. The events that cause them can never be forgotten.” – Cormac McCarthy.

In life, scars make marks on the skin and on the mind. You remember what happened to cause the scar, for good or for bad. It becomes an anecdote from the story of your life.

So too, scars from your experience with your business can also be remembered for a lifetime. And that’s ok. There are lessons that are learned from failures and challenges and your business can actually grow from these experiences. You may have had a business that has failed, and may have left a deep scar. But creating a second business, based on the lessons learned from the first one, will provide the guidance and details needed to ensure you are on a more successful path.

Some scars are hidden by their owners, but it doesn’t mean that they do not remember them. There is always a lesson from that experience, mostly what not to do again…. And that too can be powerful.

Small business owners need to grow from their scars, their mistakes, their setbacks.  A small business owner needs to be resilient.  They need to be open to learning and pivoting from their challenges and building new strategies to create greater successes for their business.

As a business coach, located in Florida, but working with clients around the country, I hear about all the scars and challenges.  And it is so rewarding when, together, we address them and create new strategies that build additional profit acceleration.

Have a scar that you need to address, connect with me and let me help…..

 

The Perfect Bait

The Perfect Bait

In the last post we talked about how to learn about your big fish and prepare for the first contact you’ll make with them. This first contact is essential to your success. You need to instill confidence in them. They need to know you can fulfill exactly what you are offering on time, at a good price and at the quality you promise.

Today we’ll actually go through the big approach and how to make that perfect first impression. Before you put together your approach plan, you need to choose with big fish you’re going after. Take a look at your notes and the research you’ve done about prospective fish. Then decide which one will be the easiest approach to start out with.

There are a series of things to go through in choosing which fish to start with. They are:

  • Position Your Business
  • Compile Your Hit List
  • Select the Best Target

Position Your Business

You need to position your business to make the first move by listing your revenue streams, id and list your operational procedures, where your fish is initially positioned, your big-customer research, and putting it all together.

Compile Your Hit List

Start with a list of all the companies you’ve been considering. Then narrow it down to the ones who know could use your products or services. Don’t overlook obvious choices, whether they are big or small. Even small companies could be big fish in the future.

Select the Best Target

Once you’ve got your list narrowed down, you need to decide which one is the best fish to start with. You need to consider a couple of things:

  • Which have the most purchasing resources to spend?
  • Does their company vision compliment yours?
  • What are their employee incentive programs as they relate to your products/services?
  • What’s the company’s real need for you?
  • Will the partnership lead you off-course?

Now you should have a target in mind to start with. It’s time to plan your approach and execute that plan.

Here’s the step-by-step plan to help you make a good first impression:

  1. Build and analyze your database. Divide your leads into three different categories: hot leads, great fits and secondary leads.
  2. Send out introductory mailings to your target to introduce yourself, your company, services, products, and vision. They need to be short, clean and concise.
  3. Follow up with your first phone call 2-3 days after they would have received the mailings. During the phone call find out whom you need to be speaking with in the future and try to set up a meet with the right person.
  4. Follow up your phone call with another mailing that thanks them for taking the time to speak with you and offer more details about your products/services. Use this letter and opportunity to set up a meeting to do a presentation.
  5. Follow up the letter with another phone call a couple of days after they would have received the letter. This phone call is to help you further develop your relationship with the prospective client. You should also be able to set up a presentation meeting with them.
  6. Call again a week later if they haven’t agreed to a meeting or presentation. Ask if they received your creative letter (the second one) and if they have a minute when you can stop by and introduce yourself in person.

Now, don’t be upset if you don’t seal the deal right away. Some people simply take a little longer to woo. This can all be a little intimidating at first, but when you know you are offering a quality product/service, you can’t go wrong.

Once you’ve gone through this process and make first contact (and hopefully a good first impression) it’s time to put your best face forward, which means sending the right salesperson to seal the deal.

If you need help putting together your approach and make a good first impression, try our GUIDED TOUR to work with a coach and have access to a wealth of great resources and tools.

Untangle the Red Tape

Untangle the Red Tape

In the last post we talked about how to bring the big-company mindset into your business and your team. This will help you overcome the mental obstacles that will keep you from being successful. Now, that you’ve learned how to overcome that, we’re going to talk about who your fish is. It’s important to know about the fish you are looking for before you put a plan together. We’re also going to take a moment to talk about the potential “red tape” you may encounter along the way.

The most important thing to know about your fish is their purchasing habits and procedures. There are four main things you need to work on in order to be successful:

  1. Responsibilities: You need to know who has influence over purchasing, who does the actual buying and who can kill a deal if they want.
  2. Get on Their List: You need to know how to get on their list of people to buy from. Your name needs to not only be on the list, but at the top of it and in as many categories as possible for the more interaction. Ask about a procurement program and what you need to do to go through the application process.
  3. Lingo: You need to learn the company’s unique language and communications methods. These could include report names, buzzwords and even the nicknames they have for their employees.
  4. Fiscal Budgets: It’s essential you know the fishes fiscal budget, so you know exactly when they are planning their expenses for the year.

Now that we’ve talked a little about what you need to know about your fish, let’s a quick look at the “red tape”.

Bureaucracy might as well be a four-letter word with the emotions it stirs in all of us. “Red tape” is a necessary evil, but one you can use to learn from. There are two ways to learn from their system:

  1. Analyze their activity.
  2. Review their correspondence.

Being an outsider looking in can have its advantages too. If you hate dealing with the “red tape”, imagine how their employees feel dealing with it. If they need to crunch some numbers, offer to do it. If they need more info, make sure you are giving it to them in a user-friendly way.

The things we talked about in this lesson will help you prepare for the big approach. If you need help with any of this, try our GUIDED TOUR to find the right tools to get the job done.

Are You On The Right Path?

Are You On The Right Path?

There are a number of factors to take into consideration when prepping yourself and your company to approach the largest clients you’ll ever work with.

Today we’re going to start with a brief look at the three paths every business faces and show you which one is the path to success. Then we’ll talk about the mindset it takes to attract the big fish.

There are three major paths a business can take:

  • Snail Speed
  • Shooting Star
  • Catch the Big Fish

Snail Speed

Most business owners ended up working themselves into the ground without much reward or success. This is what happens when you fool yourself into thinking you will find quick success. You may also find yourself following this path when you are afraid of change.

Shooting Star

This describes a business that shoots to the top so fast you are overwhelmed and don’t have the right resources in place to adapt. This can also happen from being overwhelmed by small clients and not taking the time to find large clients, which will sustain your business after the small client sales slow.

Catch the Big Fish

This is the path that allows you to build at a steady pace that you can manage by not allowing your customers to outpace you. You can do this by putting these tips to work:

  1. Attract, keep and lock in big clients.
  2. Integrate “big business” culture into your company and employees.
  3. Acquire the expertise you need to grow.
  4. Have the courage to make changes as you grow.

Now we are going to transition a bit and talk about the “big fish” mindset. It may sound easy to just find and catch that big fish, but if you are stuck in the small business mindset, you may find it harder than you think.

Think of all the benefits of aiming at bigger clients:

  • Inexpensive
  • Highly Profitable
  • Longevity
  • Security

In order to catch the big fish, you need to believe your company can make a difference with theirs. It’s easy to get into the thought that a large company doesn’t need anything from a small business like yours, but this is entirely wrong!

Once you take a look at how big companies operate, it’s important to know which ones are the best fit with your company. One of the best ways to get in the door is by knowing someone on the inside who can put in a good word for you.

If you’re not sure where to start and feel a little intimidated about catching big fish, try our GUIDED TOUR to get help from our amazing business coaches.

Expand the Life of Your Business

Expand the Life of Your Business

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 extended 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 consider 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 allow growth to 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 plan stage needs to start and a relationship should be built with the entrepreneur to 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. You need to keep an entrepreneurial perspective in order to push your business forward.

You see how all three of these cycles are connected and depend on a strong foundation for each one of them for your business to be and continue to be successful. All three of your key roles must also work together to work through these cycles.

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.