These tips aren’t really that secret, but the way many businesses still ignore them to their peril you could be forgiven for thinking they are! So here are my top five tips for you.
Preparation and planning: Fail to plan, plan to fail as the saying goes. This doesn’t have to be rocket science, but you need to “go in with your eyes open”. Is there a market for what you want to offer? How do you know?
Research thoroughly: This doesn’t mean trawling the internet to find the answers you need. Yes, that can help, but get out there and talk to people you don’t know. Friends and family will tell you what you want to hear. Draw up a simple and quick questionnaire and get independent opinion. This should help you validate what you propose doing.
Know your customers: Who are they likely to be? Everyone isn’t the right answer. You need to focus on a target market. What are that customer type’s habits? Where do they frequent? What do they read? It’s no good putting a great advertisement in the wrong publication. If people are more likely to read their parish magazine rather than a larger newspaper or magazine, then that’s the place to advertise your services.
Keep talking: Always ask your customers how they found you. This will validate (or otherwise) how and where you are promoting yourself and where your marketing effort and spend is having most effect. Check customer satisfaction. Remember, an expression of dissatisfaction is a great opportunity to learn and to really impress the customer with your after sales service and genuine care for them. They will become your advocates.
Keep an eye on things: Don’t get sucked in to working in your business all the time. Work on your business too. Planning the future and monitoring how you’re doing against your projections and expectations won’t do itself. Build time in to your busy schedule for continuous planning and monitoring. That way, if things do stray off track, you’ll notice it quickly and be able to take any corrective action that might be needed.
Did I say 5? Well here’s a bonus tip: Remember, it’s about profit and making money. Don’t chase turnover. There’s no point in working really hard for no reward. Again, to use a much used phrase “turnover is vanity, profit is sanity and CASH is reality”.
Nobody said it would be easy, but bear these things in mind and they should help you on your way.
Image credit: plantoo47 via Flickr
Post by Nwes Business Advisor Vic Short