How To Make A Difference In Business

Entrepreneurs are driven by financial gain, understandably so, as their businesses would fail early on without profit. But while money is the baseline for a successful business, business leaders must consider matters of greater importance if they want to make their mark. If we look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the basic human need to survive is at the bottom of the pyramid. Higher up the pyramid are self-fulfilment needs such as self-actualization, in which we achieve our full potential through creative activities, for example. 

Sell in reverse order

I recently read this article on marketing to the C-Suite, which shares an interesting diagram on “selling in reverse order.” We are not talking about reverse selling which uses sales psychology to help customers convince themselves they need your product – selling in reverse order is about flipping the typical sales convention on its head. 

Treat ideas with contempt

‘m an ideas man. I love the brainstorming, out the box thinking, stringing together concepts and frameworks, finding opportunity and finding gems. Its who I am, and it’s my happy place – my safe place. Being an ideas man has stood me well as an entrepreneur. I have always found it easy to navigate new ways around problems. There is, however, a big lesson that I have learnt that does not come easy – not all ideas are good ideas. Most ideas are bad ones. I sunk two million in a bad idea a few years ago and I have run with many other bad ideas. Yes, I have learned from each one, but I wish I didn’t have to – I wish you don’t have to either.

Why Startups Need to be Humancentric

Entrepreneurs are people who don’t have a shortage of ideas. They’re constantly devising new ways to create value. The very nature of their “idea-driven” personality has become their most significant asset and the most substantial liability.  The trouble with being an ideas-driven person is that we don’t take the time to run those ideas through the gauntlet before testing them thoroughly. We move quickly to our other strength – taking the concept from zero to one.  Clive Butkow shared a list of the Top 20 Reasons Startups Fail, and I found it incredibly interesting to draw comparisons to my experiences as an entrepreneur.  No 1: No Market Need I’ve been down this road so often it’s scary. Launch day comes, and the sales plans are executed. We wait in anticipation and – nothing – or at least, not enough. Coupled with this, we start to see that number six on the list is becoming a reality. Our research said people would pay for the product, but not at the price we could produce the product.  The small starting market we had, found the price too high, and we cannot find the market to generate our sales through.  At this point, I want to suggest a more in-depth dive into your research than “who is my customer.” Best practice talks about market segmentation, consumer research and persona development. While these are all valuable, they are not the endpoint we need. The endpoint is a buying customer – so the question I ask is...

Ten Years as an Entrepreneur

Ten years ago, I was retrenched from a marketing and sales position. My story is the same as many other people. Sometimes losing a job can point towards a better life and opportunities you never thought possible.  After my retrenchment, I didn’t have an epiphany about starting a business. I simply said, “I’ll work for myself until I get a job.” That job never came, and ten years later, I find myself unemployable. I’m an entrepreneur, author and international conference speaker.  In ten years, I’ve presented in over 14 countries, started six business (three remain), made money, lost money, learnt a lot and ultimately realised that entrepreneurship is not for the weak. The toughest decisions I’ve made happened in the last ten years. The biggest highlights have also occurred during my time as an entrepreneur.  I love being an entrepreneur, and it’s not because of the ‘own boss’ dream that is often touted as the best part of starting a business.  It’s because entrepreneurship does three incredible things, and I get to be a part of that.  Entrepreneurship creates self-worth I never realised the value in what I could do until I saw people willing to spend money on me to do those things. People don’t part with money easily and watching them spend it on me was humbling and inspiring. It pushed me to deliver well and create value for my clients. The more I did this, the more I believed in myself and what I had to bring...

Easy Ways To Improve Your Customer Service

At the forefront of any successful business is a high level of customer satisfaction. In fact, you are unlikely to be successful if you neglect to give customer feedback the attention it deserves, whether it is positive or negative. It is inevitable what will happen to a company that receives constant bad reviews and has poor reputation management processes in place. Your customers are the reason that your business continues to run and therefore are the most important factor to take into consideration. It is essential to be proactive, pick up trends and rectify any problems timeously before you loose customers and risk damaging your reputation. There is a reason there is the saying ‘ the customer is always right’ and that is because they are the key ingredient that will help you achieve your goals.  There are some easy ways that you can improve on customer service in your business…  Respond To Reviews, Comments And Emails We are used to receiving complaints in the form of an email however, now that we live in a very digital world you will find that customers also leave reviews on platforms such as facebook, Instagram, Twitter, your company website and the list goes on. This means that it is there for the whole world to see. The best thing that you can do is to be seen as proactive in your approach to rectifying any issues. It doesn’t have to be all bad though, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter are also great...

Are You Saying Yes Too Often?

There’s a well known entrepreneurial concept that say’s ‘always say yes, then figure out how you’re going to do it.’ It’s something I have lived by for most of my life. Always excited to find the next challenge to solve I was always ready to say yes first, and then figure it out later. The concept served me well as a young entrepreneur looking to make enough money to survive. It helped me generate revenue and pay my team their salaries and build a successful business. In fact, we had almost made an art of saying yes. We got inspired and energized by the thought. It was a way of life that seemed to spell out that this ‘yes first concept’ was a business truth that you could live by. In managing personal boundaries most entrepreneurs understand that saying no is a good way to manage their personal energy reserves. The motive though is usually to get enough rest to go out and do everything we said yes to. Today I think about it slightly differently. I am thankful I said yes to so many things, it’s helped me learn this lesson. Stop saying yes, start asking for yes. When you say yes as an entrepreneur you are signing up for someone else’s vision, but when you ask for yes you are driving your own vision. After years of saying yes I had a great reputation for solving problems and I had managed to create a relatively successful business around...

Are You Making These Recruitment Mistakes?

Hiring the best employees is vital to success in any industry. You can’t run a successful business on your own without a great team behind you, no matter how good an entrepreneur you are. As a leader, it is important that you are able to motivate your team and work with them to develop their skills so that you can use them to their maximum potential.  While it is important that you know how to develop your employees and get the very best out of them, it is just as important to hire the right people in the first place. Here, we look at some of the biggest mistakes employers make when it comes to hiring. Hiring without a good reason Whenever you hire someone new, you need a reason for doing so. If you don’t have a purpose, there’s probably little point. In some cases, there is a very clear reason for hiring somebody. For example, if an existing employee leaves, you will usually need to hire a replacement. However, if you’re expanding your team, it’s important that you are doing it for the right reasons.  If you can’t clearly state what a new member of staff will bring to your business, you probably don’t need to hire them. Not having a transparent recruitment process in place. Whatever scale your business is, just like having relevant benefits in place for attracting great candidates is important, having a clear process for the recruitment and hiring of new employees is equally...

Dwindling Profits? Here’s What Could Be Going Wrong…

One of the most difficult challenges that most businesses come up against at the start of their journey, is getting their finances right. When you’re yet to start trading or make any significant profit, you won’t have much money to start off with and there’s not much room for error if things go wrong. So if your sales start to wane it can really be a worry for any business but especially if you’re only just getting established. Here are some areas to look out for. What you’re selling isn’t up to scratch If your business isn’t making as much money as you’d like, the first thing to take a look at would be what it is you’re selling and make sure it’s up to scratch. You can get everything else right in your company from the premises to marketing initiatives to your staff compliment, but if customers aren’t buying what you’re selling then it’s never going to be a success. If you’re a new business then it’s important to conduct market research before putting your product or service on sale. It enables you to ascertain if it’s something people actually want as well as how much they’re prepared to pay for it. It allows you to make tweaks and changes so that your product/service is the best it can be, and it’s these small details that can be the difference between something that’s successful or unsuccessful. If you’ve had your business for a while but have noticed declining sales...

Let’s Take That Business Idea To The Next Level

Many entrepreneurs will remember the moment they got a solid idea that consumed them. It is something that you can’t let go of. It nestles into your mind, you nurture the idea and it begins to grow until you get to the stage that you act on it. But then what? It takes a lot of hard work to get a business off the ground, and once the initial groundwork has been done, what next? Here are some ideas that could help you take your business to the next level. Find a business location that works for you One of the obvious steps that you can take when it comes to your business is to move out of the home and into a business location. A lot of businesses start from home and that can be a great option initially, but you may want to now deal with clients face to face or even have a retail premises. This is when searching online on websites like PropList can help you find the right thing for you. It will highlight your budget and what you can get for your money. It could be the ideal step to take. Do you have the right marketing strategy in place? No business can succeed without some from of advertising and marketing plan. It might be simple social media updates or something on a larger scale like national press, but you will have something. However, when was the last time you worked out what was...

How a Virtual Receptionist Can Benefit Your Business

When running a business, it is imperative that you can operate as efficiently as possible, whether you are a new business, a small business or a large corporation. An important part of any business is to have a professional first point of contact between yourself and a potential client. This is often conducted through a receptionist or assistant, who can organize important meetings, conduct daily administrative tasks and answer the phone to any clients. A virtual receptionist can be defined as an outsourced call answering service that can organize your diary, take orders and answer the phone for your business. In this modern, digital world of remote working, there seems to be less need for a physical, in-house receptionist. Saving you money and precious time used to hire such professionals, a call answering service can take your business calls at any time. By using reliable, trustworthy and professional virtual receptionists, you can ensure that your business matters are organized. In the business world, it’s all about the first impression, and with a virtual receptionist service, you can be sure that any clients are dealt with correctly in an efficient manner.  For customer-focused businesses, ensuring that you give excellent customer service is crucial. Customers need to feel as though they are valued and that time is taken to understand any queries that they have. For your business to be successful in the long term, you need to make sure that it is getting repeat purchases from existing customers, as well as...

3 Small Business Milestones to Look Forward to and Prepare for

When you first start your own business, you’re likely to be pretty excited by the fact that you are now an official entrepreneur, and are taking active steps to rule your own future, and be your own boss. It is sometime after first getting the idea in your head to start a business, however, that you are likely to really come across the milestones that will give you the deepest sense of satisfaction and pride in what you’re doing. These milestones are precious, because they help you to stay driven and motivated to keep moving forward, and give you the kind of positive affirmation that is so important for validating your efforts in the first place. So, here are a few small business milestones to work for, look forward to, and prepare for. The day you are able to quit your day job This particular milestone is one that people often expect will come immediately, although it often comes much later in the game, if at all. In any case, the day you are finally able to quit your day job and focus on your small business full-time, is the moment you truly become free from the world of conventional work, and become your own boss in earnest. Of course, some people quit their day jobs at the very start of their entrepreneurial journeys, particularly if they have a decent amount of money saved up. In that case, you should consider the specific milestone to be – the point at...

Six Tips for start-ups

Starting your own business is a very rewarding challenge so to help make it a success, here are a few tips that you can follow… Have A Business Plan Don’t underestimate the importance of a business plan. Even if you are very clear on what you want to do and you’re not needing to apply for any funding at all initially, it is still well worth writing out a formal business plan. The process of formulating your business plan, your forecasts, and your marketing strategy is an effective way to really hone in on your vision. When writing your business plan, you should ask yourself these two questions: Is your business serving a particular need? Does it represent a significant market opportunity? Have A Goal And A Vision While putting together your business plan, setting in stone your company vision statement should form part of this process. It can be very overwhelming at the start and one can easily get carried away with a load of new ideas, so be careful not to loose focus of what it is exactly you wish to achieve. With each new idea that you have, take a step back and ask yourself if and how it fits into your company’s goal and vision, then create a plan for how you can make it happen. Use your vision statement and set of goals as a constant reference point to every decision you make.  Keep Up To Date If you already have experience in running or...

Handing Over

There are times when starting a business when you feel like you’re the only one working hard to keep all the balls in the air at the same time. You’re juggling your sales, marketing, accountancy and HR needs while doing your main job of providing your product or service. If it looks like those balls are going to come crashing down then you need to consider whether it’s time to bring in some outside assistance. We’re talking about a consultant, agency or freelancers to handle some of the day-to-day for a while until you can recruit more members to your team to take up the slack. How do you choose an agency who’s going to be on board with your objectives and improve your marketing? We take a look at some key points to consider when taking on outside help. Interview Widely By all means get recommendations from friends or colleagues but bear in mind that what works well for one industry does not necessarily translate to another. Invite applications from across the board and select your top five to interview. Make sure they’re diverse but offer you real value for money. A larger agency, while rich in resources may not offer the best deal in terms of customer relationship. You may find yourself a small fish in a big pond and not feel that your business needs are given sufficient time and dedication. On the other hand, you’ll want to consider whether a solo consultant or much smaller agency...

What Does Your Freelance Business Need Right Now?

When you’re working in the freelance world, you’ll know that it isn’t as plain sailing as holding down a regular job. That doesn’t mean that it’s a bad thing or that it’s too hard – we all know the benefits of flexibility and being your own boss – it just means that you need to approach things in a different way. You need to go into it being fully aware of what freelance life is really like, and the kind of attitude and approach that you need to take to be able to find your success. The reason for this, is that you’re no longer just the employee. You’re also the boss, the salesperson, the finance guy, the administration support and you’re the entire marketing team too. To be all of these roles at once, takes some serious skills. So, let’s take a look at some of the things that your freelance business may need from you right now. A Helping Hand If you’re struggling to juggle all the new responsibility, the first thing you might want to consider, is asking for help. It will get to the point where taking on all of these roles is arduous work. So instead of suffering or deciding to quit, don’t be afraid to reach out. There’s a wealth of companies out there, like Total Calibration, that offer services in the management and organisation of your software that can help to take the pressure off you a little. Perhaps you might feel like...

Starting a consultancy career

I often speak to people who are looking to break away from the corporate life and become a consultant. The flexibility, earning potential and idea of being their own boss excites them.  If you’ve reached this point in your career, it just might be time to consider life as a consultant and put those years of experience towards a better paid position. It’s not easy going it alone, but often very worthwhile. In preparing for this move you may choose to get career advice, speak to mentors and network with consultants who already work for themselves. It’s an important move to make sure you get as much information and advice when breaking out on your own. Firstly you’ll need the support but secondly you want to make sure you’ve taken the time to consider the move carefully. In this blog, we take a look at how to begin moving toward becoming a consultant and why you shouldn’t be afraid to charge what you’re worth. Build Your Personal Brand In February 2010, I received a surprising phone call from a potential client. It was the shortest sales call of my life, made particularly unusual, because I barely said anything. The woman on the other side of the phone simply said: “I have read your blog posts, listened to your podcasts, and I know you are right for the job. How much do you charge, and can I book you for next month?” I ended the call, happy for another consulting engagement,...

Technology Can Transform Your Business

Businesses today have relied on technology to help them progress from a struggling start-up to the great successes that they are now. It’s no secret that a great percentage of start-ups are still failing, simply because it is just so hard to make your mark in the world of business these days. There just seems to be hundreds, if not thousands, of businesses all doing the same thing, and it’s down to you to make your business one of those that people come to first. How do we think this is largely achieved? Through the help of technology. There aren’t many businesses out there who don’t rely heavily on technology for pretty much everything they do. The collaboration between humans and technology can be extremely powerful, if you’re using the right software, or the right piece of equipment. So, I want to explore a few ways that technology might transform your business. How Technology Accelerates Your Competitive Edge There are so many different ways that technology can help you gain that competitive advantage and see more profit. Improved Customer Engagement Mobile applications, social media platforms and tactics such as SEO help enhance your marketing campaigns and give them the reach they need in order to bring in more customers. Incredibly fast and ubiquitous internet technologies also ensure that you are always connected to your customer and they are able to connect with you instantly. The benefits of big data storage and predictive analytics allow businesses to track sales and gain...

Why Trade Shows are so Important for Your Business

As a modern business owner, you are going to need to learn about techniques that are going to help your business improve. There are so many different things you can try, and many of them will work differently for different people. This is why you have to make sure you are thinking carefully about the different ideas that can help your business improve and secure more sales in the long run. There are a lot of things that you can do that will allow you to take the company forward and enhance your success rates. This is something that you can use trade shows to help you with, and it is worth doing as much as possible to make the most of these trade shows. There are so many things that play a role in enhancing the perfect trade show experience, and this is something you need to do. Here are some of the top reasons why trade shows are important for your business moving forward. Face to Face Interaction One of the most important things that trade shows give you, from a business perspective, is face to face interaction with potential clients. This is a wonderful way of being able to meet with people first hand and see what they are about and let them know about your business. This is something that you have to get right as much as you can, and it will allow you to market the company much more effectively as a result. So,...

Want to Organise Your Small Business? Here Are A few Handy Tips…

If you have decided that 2019 is the year where you are really going to focus on building up your business, you need to have all the tips and tools on hand to keep you organised and productive – without making too much of a dent in your budget. You can have the best ideas in the world, but if you are not on top of everything that goes on in your business, they will soon flounder. Larger companies can find being organised much more straightforward. Despite having a larger number of employees, they often have a budget or a specific person, such as an HR department or a personal assistant to carry out particular tasks. If you are a smaller business, you may well find that this is just another thing you need to do on your already long to-do list. Fear not, however, as in this article, we look at some tips and tricks to keep you feeling in control at all times when it comes to organizing your small business. 1) Use a workflow platform. Even if you have a small workforce, you need to be able to communicate with each of them directly, clearly and quickly. This is especially important if employees are working from home or travelling. A good one should be able to help you to assign tasks, allow you to message colleagues or team members and vice versa, allow discussion between staff working on projects and access/upload key information or documents. There are...

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