Be A Business Resource. If you’re an entrepreneur the best thing you can be to a potential client is to be a business resource. Why? Because you will become the go-to expert.
Here are some strategies to be a business resource for your customers and potential customers:
- Remember the customer. They are buying because they need what you’re selling — not because you have it to sell. Keep customers front of mind, always, in all transactions.
- Talk to your customers. Uncover the real reasons behind why they turn to you when they’re seeking a solution. Weave their stories into your business narrative.
- Ask questions. You won’t know what your clients truly want unless you ask. Use the answers to those questions to more finely tune your offerings.
- Listen to what your customers say. Read the reviews written bout your business. Learn from them and make changes to better your offerings — if the feedback is viable and credible.
- Analyze and learn from what’s worked… and from what hasn’t. If you keep doing the same thing and expecting different results, you will make no progress toward success.
When is the last time you talked with a client to see the real reasons for why they work with you? When is the last time you discussed the ways in which your products and services benefit a customer. When did you last ask for input on what wasn’t working when a client reached out? You can learn from praise as well as comments that may feel negative.
What Makes A Good Strategy? Would you know if you had a good strategy in place in your business? Having a business plan or a strategic plan for running your business just makes sense. The strategic plan is born from the assessments you make of your business and its operation from finance to employees to your marketing strategy to how you purchase office supplies.
What goes into a “good” strategic plan? Here are some components:
- Your financials. Gather profit and loss information. Income and expenses. Look at those metrics first to get a starting point.
- Does the strategy that you have in place contain a metric by which success can be measured?
- Is there a definition of what means success? Is it units sold? Dollars brought in?
- Does the strategy you have in place contain a guiding principle? Does the strategy have steps in place to help you overcome obstacles or improve boundaries?
- Does your strategy contain a set of measurable actions that can carry the business forward? You need to have a road map of where you need to be and how you will get there.
If you have a business plan or a strategic plan in place, when is the last time you’ve looked at it to see if you’re on track? It should be a living document, one that is called into action when you are looking to change direction, add new staff or a new product or service. You should look at the strategic plan when making a decision on expansion, or closing a site.
Do you have a strategic plan in place? Is your business plan serving your business? What do you need to do to make your business more viable and thrive to higher levels of success as we enter the new year? Are you ready to review what you’ve accomplished and reach for higher success in 2017? If you are unsure or unclear, we can help!
Morning Routines Lead To Success
Is there something, or more than one thing you can to do help assure you have a successful day? I think that your morning routines lead to success throughout the day. For those of you who aren’t “morning people” and your “morning” starts in the afternoon, consider these afternoon routines that can lead to success.
- Get up early. If you normally get up at 6 am (or noon) get up an hour earlier. Set that time aside to work on your own personal projects or to get a work out in. Look at that hour as a gift you’re giving yourself.
- Check the news in your industry. Read through trade journals, listen to podcasts, catch up on the ezines you subscribe to but rarely read. Staying on top of the trends in your niche will keep you competitive.
- Strategize. Pull out your calendar — whether paper or virtual — and make notes of the calls you have to take or return, what one project you want to finish today, what three things you can do to move your business ever forward and help you attain higher success.
- Organize. Use time blocking techniques to help you get more done. Set aside X number of hours (or minutes) to chip away at a big project. Set aside a couple of hours to tackle regular daily work chores. Writing down what you need to accomplish will hold you to task.
- Check your work email after you’ve planned your day and have you’ve strategized. Don’t use the additional hour you’re giving yourself to plunge into email or social media. That hour should be electronic-free (unless you’re using your FitBit to track your steps during your morning workout!)
What routines do you have that help you get and keep focused and keep you moving toward success?
Control Email Madness
The advent and introduction of email at work was a boon to those business colleagues who wanted to get in touch but couldn’t because it was after hours — or for myriad other reasons. Picking up the phone could take much longer than sending off an email. Having an email conversation trail is also a good way to keep track of a project or to cover one’s behind if something goes awry. Email, however has become a burden to many business owners and they are looking for a way to control email madness. This, I believe, starts at the top level of management. If you, as the business owner, are diligent in controlling emails, then your staff will likely follow suit. You may also find it beneficial to put a company wide email procedure in place to cut back on the number of emails that are sent and that you receive.
Here are some ways to control email madness:
- Make certain employees don’t continually use “reply all” when it’s not necessary.
- Tell your employees to refrain from sending cute puppy or kitten videos to staff.
- Implement a subject line naming protocol. For example rather than saying, “Meeting notes” you could and perhaps should write “Meeting notes from ABC Planning Session on 10.13.16” Be specific. If you have regular meetings on ongoing topics, come up with an abbreviated naming convention. This makes it easy to sort the messages and to retrieve a string when necessary.
- Talk with your employees. This may eliminate the need for multiple emails if you have an actual face-to-face conversation.
- Make certain your employees don’t use company email for personal business.
When there are emotionally charged issues in the workplace, do not address them in an email. Emotionally charged issues need to be addressed in person; there are no nuances in a written missive an a low level issue can quickly escalate.