Tag: small business

Part 4: 8 reasons your business is not growing and it has nothing to do with sales, revenue, or profit

Part 4: 8 reasons your business is not growing and it has nothing to do with sales, revenue, or profit

It looks like we have gotten to the end of another series; man, has this one been a pleasure to write. We have learned several tactics and mindsets that can help you overcome your business growth challenges in this series.

It was a pleasure sharing reasons 1-6 in the first three parts of this blog. If you have not read them, make sure to read them on my Linkedin page or my website before diving into part 4 today.

Here is a quick recap of what we have covered in the first three parts.

  1. Cash Flow
  2. Dependent Model 
  3. Supporting Relationships (Trust) 
  4. Waste/inefficiency
  5. Leverage 
  6. Lack of curiosity 
  7. Vision with a plan
  8. A mirror

In this final installment, we will chat about arguably the two most important reasons you have not been able to grow your business the lack of sharable and actionable vision and to set yourself up with a mirror, a system of honest, open feedback.

Vision with a plan

Most people start their business without a plan. To be honest, it is a reaction to a problem that leads them to create a solution. That solution begins to create a vision of what their life could look like without this problem.

I fully agree that this is the best way to start a business. It allows you to follow an organic path and respond appropriately. However, there is a point in this experience where the moment begins to wain, where vision alone will not push you through.

I encourage you to create a plan before you get to this point. Most companies call this a strategic plan or business plan. It doesn’t matter what you call it if you don’t use it. This section will talk about some tips & tricks for constructing your plan, making it actionable, and ensuring it is something your company lives.

Core elements of your plan should include:

  • How you deliver your experience? Think of this as your external client journey. The step-by-step experience of your client. This should include all the actions and feeling your client will go through.
  • How you create your experience? Think of this as your internal client journey—the step-by-step experience of your employees. Include not only what they do but also think about how they will feel when they are doing it, what they need to be successful, and what their benefit is.
  • The financial model. This is self-explanatory but make sure you are projecting revenue, expenses, gross/net profit, and, if you can, cash flow for the next 3-5 years. Bonus if you can include where your expected revenue will come from.
  • Why do you exist? This is the most critical section to live every day. This is the great problem you solve or what change you hope to make in the world. This is the fuel that feeds your engines and those of your employees.

There are many other sections to a good plan, but in reality, it should fit under one of the above four areas of focus.

Tips for making your plan actionable

  • Write 1-5 concrete action steps for every goal in the plan to get it done. If you follow the above core elements, you will do this instinctively.
  • Assign the person or position/positions responsible for achieving the goals. Bonus point if you can break it down into the roles/ responsibilities based on the above journey.
  • Create how you will evaluate your plan’s performance. Include how often you will review goals and action steps. Include who will hold you accountable (best to use an outside coach or third party who can provide a penalty or reward based on achieving).

The final component is to make your plan sharable, making it a part of your companies everyday experience. If you followed all that has been said above and focused on creating your plan as if it is lived experience and not just goals on a piece of paper, then you have taken the first step in making it a livable component of your company. To take it to the next level, you can do a few things.

  • Bring in your leaders from all levels of your business. Create a cross-functional team of people from executive/top-level management to your front-end employees to review and give feedback. Then empower those leaders to propel the plan forward.
  • Create a corresponding training program to push the core reasons why. Teach the necessary skill to achieve the company goals.
  • Give autonomy to execute these plans.
  • Sit back and let things run their course.
  • Repeat your reason why as often as you can.
  • Have your employees share their reason why often and ask them to incorporate those reasons into the companies why.

I know this is a brief overview of strategic planning. However, it is essential that you engage in this process if you wish to grow your business and you’re currently slowing down or lacking momentum.

Lastly, do not do this in a vacuum; get help; it is excellent to engage in an outside agency to help facilitate it. It is worth investment as it will allow you to think and operate with a long-term mindset. Finally, start your planning process before it is too late.

A Mirror

If you have read this far, your head is spinning with the action you can take. However, before you do anything else, could you do one thing?

Turn the camera on your phone and make sure it’s pointed at you. I am assuming you’re now looking at yourself in the screen. Now wave.

What did you notice about how you waved? Did you see your facial expression or the angle of your hand? Did you notice the bags under your eyes or the position of your feet? Did you feel anything interesting?

Now, what if that mirror could talk? What if it could share what it is seeing, the experience it has, and the things it has heard? How could that change you?

If you genuinely want to solve your business’s problems, you need to get an honest view of what and how you’re doing. There are many ways to get this feedback from family, friends, employees, but the best way is going to be through coaching.

The main reason is that you have invested in making yourself better by facing your faults and insecurities. That is in addition to them seeing opportunities where you don’t, providing you business education, access to additional resources, and so much more. However, I don’t want to write an entry on the benefits.

Sidebar: I personally have three coaches, one for business marketing, one for general business strategy, and one for mindset.

Instead, I want to talk about the insecurity of getting help.

The first insecurity to be prepared for is the fear that your coach will make you face yourself. They will force you to confront the things you don’t want to or have neglected. When you start this process, it can hurt, but the relief as you start making progress and begin to see your vision come to life. It can be the most rewarding thing.

The next insecurity to be prepared for; is do you really trust. A great coach is not only going to help you implement profit-generating changes in your business but also time freeing strategies. This usually requires you to invest in more people that can be employees, or it can be outside services.

One of the most demanding challenges is to give up control over your baby. However, learning how to build real trust is a game-changer and the only real way to have the lifestyle you want.

The final insecurity to be prepared for; is delayed reward. Change takes time, and lasting change takes even longer. There are plenty of gurus out there that will say they solve the “insert problem” in just a few weeks or months. Many of them can do it but will that solution last. The answer is no.

The only way to create lasting change is to change yourself. Be prepared that it may take you time to make the internal changes to get the external results, but please do not allow that to stop you.

Thank you for reading this four-part series on the 8 reasons your business is not growing. I hope you have found it enlightening and that you implement at least one change. If you have read this far, I want to make you a special offer. I will provide you with one profit acceleration assessment and one month of coaching for free. All you have to do is email me and write in the header, “I want to grow my business.” Then, I will contact you to get started.

I look forward to helping you achieve your dreams. Remember, the best time to change was yesterday, so you better change today.

The offer of free PAS and one month of coaching is good from January 20th, 2022, until February 20th, 2022.

Part 3: 8 reasons your business is not growing, and it has nothing to do with sales, revenue, or profit

Part 3: 8 reasons your business is not growing, and it has nothing to do with sales, revenue, or profit

In our last installment of the 8 reasons why we discussed two roadblocks that, when done right, can provide you with the structure for effective growth. I strongly suggest reading the previous blogs before jumping into this one.

Today we will discuss numbers 5 & 6 on our list of roadblocks. In addition, we will be chatting about leverage (use of debt) and the lack of curiosity.

  1. Cash Flow
  2. Dependent Model
  3. Supporting Relationships (Trust)
  4. Waste/inefficiency
  5. Leverage
  6. Lack of curiosity
  7. Vision with a plan
  8. A mirror

As with this entire series, one of these roadblocks is more tactical while the other is cultural. Why change a good thing now? Let’s get to discussing these two essential roadblocks.

Leverage

Many first-time or small business owners have the dream of being able self finance their business. Amazingly they will generate enough profit to pay themselves and provide the lifestyle they want while fueling their business growth. However, this is rarely possible. Instead, you will need to get some source of financing, which brings us to leverage.

Before I explain leverage and how you can use it to pole-vault your business. I must share a warning. With leverage comes taking on debt; debt comes additional risk with potential greater reward. However, if you have assembled a team of supporting organizations, including CPAs, CFP’s, & Business coaches, you can mitigate this risk.

Now that I have shared the warning, let’s dive into the superpower that can come with leverage. What is leverage?

Leverage results from using borrowed capital as a funding source when investing to expand the firm’s asset base and generate returns on risk capital.

Okay, so what does that mean. Let me give you a scenario that may help. Say you have a fantastic toy that requires you to cut out many small pieces using a laser cutter. However, your company is currently only worth (equity value) $100,000; this is the money you are using to cover your current operating expenses.

However, you know if you were able to purchase a few laser cutters for, say, $300,000, this would expand your max capacity and allow you to increase your total production by a factor of 10. So how can you raise this money?

If you watch Shark Tank, then you have seen companies raise money by giving up equity. However, there is another way by using debt financing.

You can borrow the money that you would need to purchase the equipment. Essentially you provide the lender with a promise to pay back the debt plus interest. This is an excellent option because you do not have to give up any ownership control of your business.

When to use leverage? When it comes to business, it is best to use leverage when launching new projects, increasing inventory, capital expenditures, and expanding the company’s overall operation.

If you’re considering expanding your business or have the desire to grow, make sure to consider leverage (debt) as an option to reach those goals. Once again, make sure to consulate your team of experts before taking on the additional risk. This can be a great tool to grow your business without giving up a level of operational control.

P.S. There are many ways to debt finance your business, from private lenders to small business loans.

Lack of Curiosity

Would you consider yourself curious?

Building a culture of curiosity can be one of the greatest tools to getting your business past the roadblocks that keep it from growing. Curiosity leads to problem-solving, problem-solving leads to calculated risk-taking, and calculated risk-taking leads to exponential returns.

This trait needs to be developed into your culture, not just an owner trait. You want all of your employees to be curious. This is a weird thing to hear from a consultant who specializes in creating SOP’s, but to me, it is truly the most important trait have in a company. So how do you build curiosity? There are many ways, but here are a few of my favorites.

  • Manage through questions
  • Have a failure policy
  • Communicate your guidelines
  • Create time for staff to explore their interests
  • Create employee dream plans as part of your onboarding & employee review process
  • Engage all levels of your organization in strategic planning

Anyone or a combination of these systems can begin to develop a company-wide curiosity. So what are the benefits of curiosity?

  • Your team will feel more positive and driven toward building the organization.
  • As an owner, you will have reduced stress because your employees will constantly use their problem-solving skills.
  •  Your company will develop a shared language organically and system for communication.
  • As an owner, you will develop higher levels of trust
  • Your company will become a place where people want to work
  • As an owner, you will begin to see problems solve themselves

With all that said, how are you developing a culture of curiosity?

Wow, what a third entry in our series. I hope you have begun to see changes you can make in your business at this point. Next week we will wrap up out 8 reasons your business is not growing with the importance of creating a shared vision and the most crucial reason a lack of a mirror,

Please feel free to share this series with a friend or colleague and let me know your thoughts in the comments. Also, if we can be of any assistance or answer any questions, please feel free to email us. 

Remember, the best time to make a change was yesterday, so you better start changing today.

Part 2: 8 reasons your business is not growing and it has nothing to do with sales, revenue, or profit

Part 2: 8 reasons your business is not growing and it has nothing to do with sales, revenue, or profit

In our last installment of the 8 reasons why we discussed two of the most immediate issues holding back your small business cash flow & owner-dependent model. I strongly suggest reading that previous blog before jumping into this one.

Today we will introduce the next two business roadblocks, your supportive relationships and lack of efficiency.

  1. Cash Flow
  2. Dependent Model
  3. Supporting Relationships (Trust)
  4. Waste/inefficiency
  5. Leverage
  6. Lack of curiosity
  7. Vision with a plan
  8. A mirror

These might not seem that important, and out of the eight on this list, they can make a lasting impact. We will discuss them today because prioritizing them can create the structure to move your business faster.

Supporting Relationships (Trust)

What is the first thing that comes up when you think about supporting relationships? I bet it is some combination of a spouse, a best friend, spiritual leader, doctor, etc. These relationships allow us as individuals to reach our highest potential, and thus you need to build a similar network for your business.

What does this network look like? It looks like many supporting businesses, from lawyers & accountants to your strategic joint venture partners. Many business relationships will be needed for your business to reach its greatest potential. Today, we will talk about two categories: the business that keeps you safe from the government and the business that keeps you focused on achieving your goals.

Keep you safe from the government: 

Business Accountant (CPA); there is a significant difference between an accountant and a business accountant. A general accountant can do your annual tax filing, but a good business accountant does your tax filing, plus evaluates your business for risk potential, and evaluates your business to provide strategic suggestions. When you select accountants, look for those that offer additional services. Plus, make sure to ask about monthly financial reviews and what they will provide.

Business Attorney: You need two types of attorneys (sometimes they can be the same person). The first is your preventative attorney; they can help you develop the best way to incorporate, write contracts, provide HR guidance, etc. The second one is a litigator; you will need this attorney for the inevitable time something goes wrong, and you need to handle a suit. This is why you need to ask questions about their core services. Here are a couple of suggestions to get you started:

What is your experience with my particular legal issue?

What are the potential consequences of this legal action?

Who all is on your legal team?

Are you willing to refer me to other small business lawyers as needed?

Business Insurance: The final business to keep you safe will be your business insurance partner. Now there are many options out there, but the best guidance I can provide is that you should be reviewing this provider every six months to continue to make decisions that are best for your business and provide you with the right amount of coverage.

Keep you focused on your vision: 

Business Coach: Everyone needs a coach. Listen to this carefully after you get develop your safety team. Your immediate next step is to find a coach. A coach is an objective person who can point out your flaws, help you to develop new skills, and it is in their best interest to help you reach your goals. When it comes to selecting a coach, it is essential to consider a few things:

What stage is my company in?

How honest am I about my flaws?

What is the biggest change I need to make to reach my goals?

You will notice that none of these questions are about the coach. This on purpose, many business owners fail to look at themselves first. Remember, growth is change; if you want to grow your business, you will have to make personal change, and the coach is the best person to help you do that.

CFP’s: Working with a good Certified Financial Planner can have several benefits, but most importantly, they should help you to get the best financial result out of the profit your business makes. In addition, they can provide many services from insurance to investment.

Bonus

  • The Networkers: The community connecter is the final relationship that is an absolute must. This person has been around for so long that they know all the players. This the person that all they need to say is “hey, you should talk with …” and that person responds with, of course.

Waste/inefficiency

The earlier a business puts in practice to reduce waste and inefficiency, the sooner they can scale. This is because a good efficiency plan allows your business to grow lean and while investing back into your business versus taking the best guess approach.

Now there are seven areas of lean waste:

  1. Delay: Waiting for any essential part of your process
  2. Replication: repeated tasks or information capture in your process
  3. Processing: simply too little attention or too much attention to a specific task
  4. Motion: This physical time it takes to walk across a room to get a document or disorganized inventory which is hard to look up a product.
  5. Under communication: the most extensive form is lack of systematic understanding. How are you confirming that your people know what to do?
  6. Errors: mistakes that are made multiple times and have not been improved in the process
  7. Under-utilized talent: Make sure you’re using your people correctly and checking to ensure it is still optimal.
  8. Opportunity Lost: This is the magic of your process; this is where your people have the guide rails to be flexible and help create the customer experience.

Now you will see that reducing waste and improving efficiency comes down to process. Do you have a process?

Most small businesses operate without clear SOP’s (Standard Operating Procedures). These procedures should be the top priority of any business going from start-up to growth. However, the sooner you can create your SOP based on the eight areas above, the sooner your business can scale.

We covered a lot today, and I am sure you have a ton to think about. As always are coaches are standing by to assist you. If you want to discuss anything in these articles or if Fractional COO is suitable for your business, click here.

Next week we will discuss the two more reasons your business is not growing. But, remember, the best time to make a change was yesterday, so you better start today.

8 reasons your business is not growing, and it has nothing to do with sales, revenue, or profit

8 reasons your business is not growing, and it has nothing to do with sales, revenue, or profit

There are 30.2 million small businesses in the US, accounting for 99.9% of all businesses in the country. Even though they account for 99% of all business;

  • They employee less than half of the American workforce
  • The average annual business revenue is $46,978 
  • 86.3% of small business owners make less than $100,000 a year in income

It begs the question; what is holding back your small businesses from reaching its full potential and becoming multi-million dollar businesses. This series will discuss 8 reasons why your business may not be growing and the action you can take to fix it. Today we will discuss numbers one and two.

  1. Cash Flow
  2. Dependent Model 
  3. Supporting Relationships (Trust) 
  4. Waste/inefficiency
  5. Leverage 
  6. Lack of curiosity 
  7. Vision with a plan 
  8. A mirror 

Cash Flow

Cash flow is considered by many to number one business killer. There is a saying cash is king when it comes to your business; there is no more accurate statement. For those that don’t know this term:

 

The term cash flow refers to the net amount of cash and cash equivalents being transferred in and out of a company. Cash received represents inflows, while money spent represents outflows. A company’s ability to create value for shareholders is fundamentally determined by its ability to generate positive cash flows or, more specifically, to maximize long-term free cash flow (FCF). FCF is the cash generated by a company from its normal business operations after subtracting any money spent on capital expenditures (CapEx). (definition provided by Investopedia)

 

So how do companies get into cash flow trouble? 

  • Accounts receivable; you have provided service but have yet to receive the cash. Again, this usually comes down to your payment terms and your ability to collect whenever possible try to get full payment before or at least at the time of completion. 
  • Paying Bill First; we all hate owing people, but many businesses do not take advantage of the same payment terms. For example, if someone offers you net 30, 60 payment terms, take advantage of them and wait until the last opportunity to complete payment without accruing penalty. Also, consider renegotiating for a more favorable term.

There are many other ways to develop cash flow problems, but these are two of the biggest. Please take the time to review your cash flow statement & balance sheet see how your cash flow looks. Then, consider setting goals to improve your cash flow as a tool to increase the value of your company.

 

Dependent Model

Now that you have begun to conquer cash flow, the next step will be to make an independent business model. But, of course, you’re probably asking yourself what the hell does that means?

It means creating a business model that does not rely on you as the owner to push the buttons, pull the levers, provide the basic service. It is the philosophy of shifting from working in the business to working on the business. 

There are several reasons why owners struggle to make this transition; we will discuss a few today but remember there are many more, and it is up to create time to do the work and discover your cause and correct it. Today we will discuss the sphere of control.

This is a big one for most owners. At some point, you will get to the place where you can’t be everywhere at once and can’t interface with every client. This can be very tough because this usually means you need to hire middle management. It requires a different set of skills than the ones you have hired before but usually comes with a dip in profit. So what can you do about it?

The first step is to get organized and answer these two questions:

 

What do I need them to do?

Where is the information they need to get the job done stored?

 

Simply put, to create a stable sphere of control, you need to have a documented process with clear expectations, responsibilities, and most importantly, the information to be successful. The standard term for this is SOP’s (Standard Operating Procedures).

Creating your companies SOP’s or engaging these new hires in creating the first version can significantly reduce the mistakes, miscommunication, and headaches that occur.

I hope you have begun to see your opportunities to improve your business. As always, our fractional COO’s are here to help with these and all of your other operational challenges. Thanks for reading, and remember the best time change was yesterday, so you better change today. 

Is growing your business your goal? Then a COO should be your next hire.

Is growing your business your goal? Then a COO should be your next hire.

The right time to hire a chief operating officer (COO) is just before trouble appears in your company. But, unfortunately, the reality is that most businesses realize they need a COO too late.

Signs that you need a COO:

  • You spend too much time working in your business and not on your business.
  • You find yourself stopping business growth activities to maintain your everyday. 
  • You are feeling constantly overwhelmed and struggling daily in your company.
  • You know you need to strengthen and solidify your leadership team.
  • Your company needs to grow significantly in scale operations.

A COO — especially your first one — should come from outside your company. Insiders are typically part of the problems you are facing. However, they lack the perspective, required knowledge, skills, or experience to view your company objectively and with checked emotions.

The COO Position

A COO is quite different than any other employee in your company.

Typically, the leader of a company is a visionary. As the visionary, you operate best when thinking long-term, generating big ideas, fanning a fabulous culture, and cultivating strategic relationships. Without a COO, you become mired in the day-to-day operations, which can cause your business to stagnate, wither and eventually die.

A COO is your team’s number 2, your MVP! As your integrator and executor, the COO brings your entire company together to deliver products and services effectively and efficiently.

The COO is the quintessential “change champion.” They define needed changes, lead the change effort, manage the change and even celebrate the success of the change.

Your COO is your closest partner, coach, and mentor. The COO is trusted to run your company when you are not there. They have the ability to take your vision and execute it to an extent unimagined. As a coach and mentor, your COO not only supports your personal and professional business development but that of the entire company.

Your First COO

When you need a COO, you are looking for someone typically with years of experience and education — much more than most companies can afford for their first COO.

A COO is much more than a highly paid operations manager. However, companies typically make one or all of these four mistakes when they need a COO:

Mistake #1. Possibly the most egregious mistake is they hire the COO last. Instead, the companies prioritize the  CMO, CTO, VP of Sales before hiring their COO, causing an effect that leads to dysfunctional and siloed organizations without a clear vision and priority.

Mistake #2. Instead of hiring the C-suite executive they need, they seek a director or vice president of operations. This choice saves them an executive salary, benefits, bonuses, and perks. People hired in this role are expected to operate at the position of a COO without the title but usually cannot.

Mistake #3. They lowball the salary of their new COO position. This forces them to hire someone capable of being a director or vice president of operations but who will fail to meet the expectations of a COO.

Mistake #4. The company treats the COO position as if it were any other position within the company. Thus, the hiring process, benefits, bonuses, and perks all mirror those of most other employees.

The reason companies make these mistakes are because of two things. One, they cannot afford the true talent they need. They do not understand the inherent differences between this position and every other position in their company.

The first COO is one of the most critical positions to get right. Hiring the wrong COO can cause your company to struggle significantly.

Consider A Fractional COO

If you cannot afford what your company needs, how do you move forward? You cannot keep struggling in your visionary role while being the full-time integrator.

A fractional COO is a business professional with many years of experience willing to work in a temporary capacity, part-time. That would typically amount to the same as hiring someone full-time. However, you can bring on talent with experience as a business owner, business coach/consultant, or former full-time COO without all the costs. Fractional COOs might get paid the same as a full-time COO, but they bring to your company much more. Plus, there are many other benefits to contracting with a fractional COO.

Benefits:

  • A fractional COO will take a company through a process that produces the tools to answer the essential questions of how can we grow?
  • A fractional COO works in a hybrid model, saving you from creating a separate executive office.
  • Fractional COOs do not require an elaborate executive hiring process — thus, you do not have to build separate HR processes for just one position.
  • Being a contract employee, the fractional COO does not require executive benefits, bonuses, or perks.
  • A fractional COO creates a try-it-before-you-buy-it experience, allowing you to kick the tires and determine what you need from a full-time COO.
  • The fractional COO is there to work themselves out of a job — they focus on building your company so you can truly afford a full-time COO in the future, and they can even help you find and hire their replacement.
  • If the fractional COO does not work out, let them go — firing an executive can be a grueling situation fraught with cost and legal dangers, but allowing a contract employee to go is relatively easy.

If you take anything from this blog, invest in a COO if you want to grow your business, produce franchises, make a sellable business, or achieve whatever goal you have. They’re your partner who specializes in making your dream come true. 

If you want to discuss if your business is ready for a COO, click the link and sign up for a one-hour strategy consultation. Remember, the best time to change was yesterday, so you better make the change today. 

 

Charity is Good Business

Charity is Good Business

Is charitable giving a part of your organizational practice? If so, kudos to you; you are well on your way to building a culture and financially optimized business. 

Yes, you read that right, financially optimized. 

If giving purely for altruistic reasons is not your thing, don’t worry; in today’s blog, I will share four reasons why you should make giving a part of your business plan.

Need a little more convincing how about $2.45 trillion reasons

“Omnicom Group’s Cone Communications study shows, 70 percent of millennials will spend more on brands that support causes—and with millennials representing $2.45 trillion in spending power, the subject of corporate social responsibility carries an unexpected level of clout.”

 

Reason Number 1: Employee Morale

Gen Z and Millennials share an appreciation for “Why”; their desire for purpose-driven work can help you retain these employees. In today’s climate retaining talent can be as important as generating new business. 

According to a Deloitte study on volunteering, millennials were “twice as likely to rate their corporate culture as very positive” if their company participated in workplace volunteer activities. This is because employees respect companies that care for their community–it simply makes employees feel good and increases the emotional attachment to their employer.

 

Reason Number 2: Two for One Marketing Dollars

Charitable giving can be like doubling your marketing dollars. The goal of your marketing budget is to get your message in front of your target audience. One of the best ways to do this is by creating strategic partnerships with non-profit organizations that have similarly aligned missions to the product or service you provide. 

For example, if your company makes sporting equipment, consider sponsoring local sports teams or tournaments. That will show your current and future clients that you care about your business and your community.

 

Reason Number 3: Uncle Sam is going to take it anyway’s

This is one of the most immediate benefits of corporate donations. You may not instantly see how your contribution benefits your community, but you will quickly notice the tax savings. Of course, businesses shouldn’t donate with the sole expectation of financial gain, but there are financial rewards for helping a charity in need. In addition, companies can usually receive tax deductions from sponsoring charities or events. Still, you should make sure to follow the rules and go about the process in the right way to comply with all tax requirements. Talk to your accountant about creating a charitable giving strategy as part of your revenue model. 

 

Reason Number 4: Giving is Good

The final reason is arguably the most important. It feels good to know that you have found a way to help build your community. Plus, according to the Cleveland clinic, it can have the following health benefits;

  • Lower Blood Pressure
  • Increased Self-esteem
  • Less Depression
  • Lower stress levels
  • Longer Life
  • Greater happiness and self-satisfaction

Create an Action Plan

As today is Giving Tuesday, there is no better time to build a charity culture into your business practice. So here are a few different ways you to give back.

  • Volunteer Day’s
  • Event Sponsorship 
  • Sponsor Youth Sports or Programs
  • Donate to research 
  • Charitable match program 
  • A competition where each team member represents a charity, whoever sells the most or exceeds monthly expectations the company will donate to their charity.

The options are endless and entirely up to you. If you need help creating a charitable process that will benefit the community and your bottom line click here and one of our coaches can help you design the best program for your organization.

 

Now get out there and give. 

 

Wouldn’t it be Nice to Mind Your Own Business?

Wouldn’t it be Nice to Mind Your Own Business?

The concept of minding your own business means that while you are grinding away at your day job, you need to be investing in your future and minding your own business. Pretty soon, you’ll be able to walk away from that day job and mind your own business full time.

The best way to do this is through the acquisition of real estate. 

Let’s take a quick look at where you are losing all your money in taxes. Taxes have been around since the dawn of organized civilization. While the original intention was to only tax the wealthiest of the population, obviously, that’s trickled down to the masses, including those in poverty. 

Now, keep in mind the more money you make, the more taxes you pay. The wealthy know a way of getting around this by forming a corporation. Corporations offer tax benefits and protect you from lawsuits. To learn more about this, talk with one of our business coaches or your attorney. 

We’ve all heard the golden rule of Pay Yourself First.

But many of us don’t do it. Until you learn and put this rule into effect, you won’t have any chance of getting out of the rat race. What this rule does is force you to come up with more income to pay your expenses. 

There are some critical areas of finance you should learn about; taking classes is one of the best ways to do this. Here are the basics you should understand:

Accounting

It pays to know how to read financial statements. When acquiring businesses or assets, you need to quickly see the financial standing of the company you are acquiring.

Many grown adults do not know how to balance a balance sheet. In the long term, this knowledge will pay off for you and your business.

Investment Strategy

This skill will sharpen with experience. Talk to investors and observe how they play the game. 

Market Behavior 

Know the laws of Supply and Demand. No business owner can do without understanding these basic principles of the market. Bill Gates saw what people needed. Open your eyes to opportunities. Look at what sells and who buys.

Law 

Do everything you can to grow your business within legal boundaries. Know your corporate, state, and accounting laws.

Once you know these areas of finances, you can make them work for you. The rich practically invent money. You have to know where to find a great deal. Let’s continue with real estate. Look for houses in trouble or find the court in your area that handles foreclosed, police impound, or other real estate situations. You can either renovate and sell or rent for residual income. 

So, essentially there are two main types of investors:

  1. Those who buy pre-packaged investments
  2. Those who create their own investments

You know which are the most successful. To be one of those people, you need to know what to look for and how to respond.

You must:

  1. Find a good deal other people have missed.
  2. Raise the capital needed for the transaction.
  3. Put together a high-performing team to execute the plan.

There is risk involved in every acquisition. The goal is not to avoid the risk but to respond to the threat with confidence and a steady hand. 

If you need help identifying potential money-makers, where to get the capital you need, and how to put together an intelligent team, try our academy to access our resources and tools. 

Claim your free 6-months trial of our E-learning Academy by emailing Doogie at doogie@ideasactionsuccess.com. Offer is available to the first 12 respondents.

20,000 ft. to go until your next client

20,000 ft. to go until your next client

In my previous blog, I gave you a laundry list of tips and tricks you can use to make your word of mouth program work for you. Hopefully, you’ve had a chance to review and decide which one to three tips you plan to use in your campaign.

If you have not, make sure you go back and read the list, pick the tips and tricks the best fit your product/service, ideal customer, and company culture.

Today, we will wrap up this series on word-of-mouth, where we provide you with a 20,000-foot view of your campaign. 

Now, let’s get started building your campaign:

  1. Build your influencer network.
    1.  Find some way to get the product into the hands of key influencers. A good influencer is passionate about the problem you solve with your product/service and has access to 5000 or more of your ideal customers.
    2. Provide a channel or help the influencer to activate theirs, allowing them to share their experience.
  2. Review & Testimonials 
    1. Capture testimonials from the beginning and before they’re done with your service or product.
    2. Offers lots of testimonials and other resources.
    3. Develop clips on your website featuring enthusiastic customers talking with other excited customers. 
    4. Create an opportunity for prospective clients to meet past clients.
  3. Create an opportunity to share experiences 
    1. Form an ongoing group that meets once a year in a resort and once a month by teleconference.
    2. Create fun events to bring users together and invite non-users. Saturn, Harley-Davidson, and Lexus have all been successful with this approach.
    3. Hold seminars and workshops.
    4. Create a club with membership benefits.
  4. Gorilla 
    1. Pass out flyers. 
    2. Tell friends. 
      1. Offer special incentives and discounts for friends who tell their friends.
    3. Put business cards on all the cars you see
  5. Put the Internet to work.
    1. Do at least one outrageous thing to generate word-of-mouth. We live in an age of 10s video’s.
  6. Empower employees to go the extra mile.
  7. Encourage networking and brainstorming ideas.
  8. Run special sales.
  9. Encourage referrals with the use of a strong referral program.
  10. Use a script to tell people exactly what to say in their word-of-mouth communication.

These are all fantastic ways to get the word out about your products and services and start a word-of-mouth campaign that takes on a life of its own. However, before you can release your word-of-mouth campaign out into the world, you need to go through the checklist to make sure you’ve covered all the essentials.

Word-of-mouth campaign checklist:

  • Are all of your communications sending the same simple message? If it can’t survive word-of-mouth, it’s not a compelling story.
  • Is your product positioned as part of a category? Ex.”A dandruff shampoo that doesn’t dry your hair.”
  • Are your examples outrageous enough to be shared?
  • Do you enhance your materials with success stories from real people?
  • Are you using experts effectively and in an objective manner?
  • Have you created mechanisms so people can follow up on the word-of-mouth they hear, as well as simple ways of inquiring or ordering?
  • Have you made the decision process easy for customers?
  • Have you created events and mechanisms so that your prospects hear about your product/service once a year, and it is easier to try or buy?
  • Have you written down the specific behaviors you want your prospect to follow during each step of the campaign?
  • Are your people primed? 
  • Am I ready to handle all the additional communication?
  • Am I ready to handle all the additional business?

These are essential elements to keep in mind when taking a second or even third check over your word-of-mouth campaigns. I hope you’ve found this series on word-of-mouth to be a great resource and are getting ready to put it into action for your products and services.

Remember, if you need help with anything in this series, try our FREE test drive to gain access to the best resources, tools, and business coaches you can find.

Science of the Memes

Science of the Memes

 

Today I’d like to discuss the science of memes and how the spreading of ideas is engrained in our human society.

Definition

An element of a culture or system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, especially imitation.

  • a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc. that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by internet users

 

Memes

In our modern era, memes have become a cornerstone of our social media-filled lives. However, we never take the time to investigate why they spread so fast and how that affects consumerism. 

You can use this same information to create a lasting positive impression about your company, products, and services. People are more likely to try a new product or service when they feel protected and reassured by the masses. 

It’s been determined that spreading ideas is essential to the survival of a society. There are five main situations where this occurs. They are:

  1. Crisis
  2. Mission
  3. Problem
  4. Danger
  5. Opportunity

Think of Evangelism. This movement is a prime example of people not only spreading the word but also convincing people to jump on board and start spreading the word themselves. How did this movement do this?

They effectively incorporated a few key things that always catch people’s eye:

  • The use of media: especially news. They associate their movement with polarizing events and caustic leaders.
  • The power of selflessness, a massive piece of this movement, is that through association, you live a life of helping others and altruism.
  • The power of exclusivity; it takes becoming a member to learn all the secrets. It comes in the form of in speak, opportunity, and ultimately community connections.

These are just a few lessons we can learn from this powerful movement if you think about your business marketing strategy. What elements do you have?

It takes these elements and more to go viral, which we will discuss in the next section.

Let’s Go Viral

While traditional marketing can be used to your advantage, the reality is viral and online marketing is the king of the castle. You can spread the word online like the plague if you know what to do. Here are some simple steps to do this:

  • Find an interesting idea
  • Make it easy for people to experience or try
  • Spread the idea while people who are in close contact with others
  • Take advantage of existing communication methods
  • Develop the way of testing your product in such a way that it automatically draws more participants

Viral marketing is the new gorilla marketing; it creates channels to allow you to provide value to a lot of people. Thus giving them the best chance to advocate for your product or service. A few great places to try to create a viral marketing campaign are:

  • Tik Tok
  • YouTube 
  • Facebook 
  • Instagram 
  • E-Mail marketing

 

There are six things everyone should be doing to benefit from word of mouth on the Internet:

  • Put WOM components on your website.
  • Assign people to monitor your viral marketing.
  • Place testimonials in different places on your website to walk a customer through the purchasing cycle.
  • Set up an email marketing campaign.
  • Stay up to date on what products and services the experts in your industry are recommending.
  • Use your website & media to demonstrate the great ways people are using or finding success with your products and services.

This wraps up our lesson on how to apply the power of memes to your marketing. If you need help creating your own plan and discovering your business plan, feel free to contact us. We’re here to help.

Meeting Your Customer Head On WOM Style

Meeting Your Customer Head On WOM Style

Today we’ll cover the idea of shortening your customers’ decision-making process with positive word of mouth. There are essentially five stages in the decision-making process.

They are:

  1. Give the product/service a chance and transition from a “no” to a “maybe.”
  2. Check out the options and investigate the different products/services available.
  3. Observe the product/service to check for potential benefits, features, and operations to see if they fit their needs.
  4. Become a customer and purchase their first item. They will be discriminate with their first product as they form their opinion of you.
  5. Purchase again and starts spreading positive word of mouth as an advocate of your products.

So, let’s take a closer look at each one of these.

From “No” to “Maybe”

This stage is crucial because if your potential client doesn’t even take a second look at your products and services, then you have no chance of sealing a deal. It is paramount that you have invested time in the education of your potential client. This is your chance to provide value before they give up their hard-earned cash.

You want your customer to say how much they enjoyed your presentation, or they say have you seen this new commercial. Better yet they say have you heard of (insert your product/service) I hear it is truly the best at solving their problem.

A couple of quick tips:

  • Have great guarantees like trying it before you buy it or we 100% guarantee your satisfaction or will give you 110% back.
  • Give value before you get value. You can do something as simple as sending a personalized card with a gift card or a copy of your favorite book.

Investigating Your Products

At this stage, they are taking a closer look at your product line to see if there is actually anything that could benefit their life. This is where you need to make sure your information is right out there in front for the customers to see and compare.

Think about creating a comparison between you and your chief competitor or industry leader. It is your chance to explain why your process or product is distinctively better.

Quick tips:

  • Comparison charts
  • Third-party evaluation
  • Testimonials

Trial Period

Customers often feel more at ease and ready to purchase when there is some sort of a trial in place. They usually want to try vicariously through someone else, so they don’t feel any risk involved. An excellent way to offer this is through demo videos, product demonstrations, or a tour of your facilities. This stage may invoke a reaction of “I tried it and liked it. You should check it out.”

It is your chance to share how your relationship will develop. All of a sudden it becomes more about you and them instead of your product/service and their problem. This creates long-term value.

Quick Tips:

  • Demo, walkthroughs, 14-day trials
  • Have a communication plan in place during this period

Make a Purchase

At this stage, they have taken the risk of purchasing one of your products or services and are now evaluating how easy, convenient, cost-effective, and satisfying your product/service is. At this stage, a common reaction would be, “It was really easy to use and learn from. It’s really great, and you should get it!”

This is your chance to get them to become one of your champions. This can be done in a few ways.

  • You can upsell them on a more premium service or product, giving them more accessible to you.
  • You can engage to write a testimonial or better yet film one
  • Ask them to refer a friend

It is pivotal to have a plan on how to engage them after they purchase.

Advocates for Your Products

At this last stage of decision-making, the customer is immensely pleased with your product and often keeps using it and/or comes back for more products and services. They are likely telling everyone they know how much they like it, that they use it every day and have already (or will be) back to your establishment for more.

Types of Purchasers

We talked a minute ago about the different types of purchasers. Now we will take a closer look at their characteristics, so you can figure out which tactics are best to use at the right stage of the decision-making process.

The Innovator

  • Wants to stand out from the crowd
  • Know what’s hot and trendy
  • Likes “strange” or “weird” new products
  • Wants to be the first to try and will talk about it animatedly

Early Adopter

  • Driven by excellence
  • More concerned with possibilities than realities
  • Always looking to be a leader
  • Always looking for a new vision

Middle Majority

  • Wants to be perceived as competent
  • Concerned about practicality and easy comparisons
  • Needs an easy way out if not satisfied
  • Wants products that meet the industry standard

Late Majority

  • Generally skeptical and wants to know the risks upfront
  • Needs to shop around for the best deal
  • Needs a support system
  • Wants what everyone else has

Laggard

  • Needs it to be completely safe and traditional
  • Needs reassurance that nothing will go wrong
  • Won’t try new things unless it’s the last resort
  • Will search for loopholes and problems
  • Wants to use it in the standard industry way

As you can see, each type of consumer wants something just a little different depending on their personality type. Therefore, the key to successful word of mouth is to target and cater to every kind of consumer. If you need help identifying the types of consumers you are currently helping, and how to attract the types you are lacking, book a free consultation and I’ll provide you with one year of access to our online marketing academy $1200 value (offer good until January 1st, 2021).

Next time we’ll talk about how word of mouth messages are delivered and what you can do to help facilitate that.