Business Maturity – What Level have You Achieved?

Posted by karllebert on September 18, 2017

Discover the Keys to Business Longevity 

No matter what names are used for the various stages, there is a life cycle to every business from the start-up phase on through to being Fortune 500 company. This article tackles how to maximize the results at each stage of the business life cycle while also extending the lifespan of the business.

Michael Gerber in his classic book, The E-Myth, identified four main stages of a business life cycle as:

  • Infancy
  • Adolescence
  • Beyond the Comfort Zone
  • Maturity

The skills needed and challenges faced by a business owner change as the business evolves from infancy to maturity. The following will briefly address what each stage means and how they can each help expand the business’ lifespan.

Infancy

Generally considered to the technician’s phase, infancy is the stage in which the owner is deeply involved in every facet of the business and is constantly juggling tasks to keep the business moving and growing. At this point, the relationship between the business and the owner is more like that of a parent and new born baby. There is an impenetrable bond that is necessary to determine the path your business will follow.

However, as the business continues to grow, it becomes harder and harder for the owner to continue their same level of involvement in every aspect without dropping some balls. Infancy ends when the business owner realizes his role and his business must change in order for it to survive.

The key is to recognize that your business and you must change and grow in order to flourish. The business cannot stay in this stage forever. When business owners try to stay at this stage, they no longer own a business. They have a job and a terrible one at that as they must continue to work it for it to survive.

Adolescence

The adolescence stage begins when the business owner decides to get some help. During this stage, business owners start bringing in support staff and delegating certain functions or tasks to that allow growth to happen. Maybe it’s the tasks the owner doesn’t know how to do or the ones that they don’t want to do. Usually, they bring in someone with a certain level of technical expertise to do the work that’s not getting done like an accountant, salesperson or production person.

However, to be successful at this level the business owner needs to become more of a manager. All too often, the owner hires someone and just assumes that the work will get done just the way they want. How well it is managed and how well the business is able to compete will determine whether it survives and reaches the next stage. Here the business owner needs to start planning for the future.

Beyond the Comfort Zone

At some point or other as the business grows, every business reaches the point where the owner bumps up against the limits of their comfort zone. When pushed outside their comfort zone, business owners often experience anxiety and stress as things begin to feel unfamiliar and outside their control. Suddenly, everything seems chaotic. While growth is a good problem to have, business owners still experience growing pains. Faced with these growing pains, business owners are left with a number of choices.

  • Avoid growth and stay small
  • Keep growing until the business implodes
  • Push forward to the next stage in the business life cycle

Maturity

The last stage in the business life cycle is maturity. This doesn’t mean the end of your business. No, not at all. A mature business knows how it got here and what needs to happen to get where it wants to go next. In other words, business development becomes part of the culture.

The passion for business growth and development must continue for the business to remain successful. For this, the entrepreneurial perspective is required to push the business forward. Some key elements of the entrepreneurial perspective are:

  • Identifying how the business must work
  • Developing systems for producing results
  • Having a well-defined vision of the future
  • Making the necessary changes to achieve the vision
  • Viewing the business in its entirety that is derived from its parts

As you can see, all of these cycles are connected and depend on a strong foundation in each area (Technician, Manager and Entrepreneur) for your business to survive and continue to be successful. All three of these key roles are essential and must work together throughout the business life cycles.

If you’re having trouble putting together your business life cycles and figuring out which of the key roles you fit into, why not take our E-Learning System for a FREE test drive or set up an appointment to work directly with a business coach?

Kinetic Business Strategies helps overworked business owners systematically transform their business so they can more effectively grow revenue, improve cash flow & profits, increase the business’s value and achieve a better work / life balance. 

Is Your Business Being Built for a Marathon?

Posted by karllebert on August 26, 2017

Learn How to Avoid Falling into the E-Myth Trap!

If you have been exposed to the business world, you have probably heard many things about entrepreneurs, some of which are true but many of which are just plain myths. If you were to google entrepreneurial myths, you would find plenty of articles debunking some of the more common myths about entrepreneurs.

Listed below are some of the more common myths about entrepreneurs that are addressed.

  • Entrepreneurs are born not made.
  • Entrepreneurs are risk takers.
  • Entrepreneurs have no personal life
  • Entrepreneurs require huge funding or venture capital funding.
  • Entrepreneurs have to be connected.

This article is not about these e-myths. No, this article address another more basic and common entrepreneurial myth. The one that assumes that anyone can succeed at business with if they have the desire, some capital set aside and an idea that shows a projected profit.

Michael Gerber in his book “The E-Myth” describes what he calls the “entrepreneurial seizure” as the moment the entrepreneur decides it would be a great idea to start his or her own business. It’s when one believes that knowing how to do the work of a business is all one needs to understand in order to start and grow a business.

This is clearly not the case and is just not realistic. Business success requires more, much more.

A good analogy for someone starting a small business is that of a marathon long distance race which covers some 26.2 miles. Sure, there are plenty of runners that start off at a record pace but after just a few miles many start slowing their pace and some even drop out entirely. It’s the ones that have invested hard work and time training that finish the race. The elite and most successful runners generally have the support and guidance of a coach.

Building a successful business takes stamina, agility and a willingness to step outside your comfort zone. According to Bloomberg, a full eighty percent (80%) of entrepreneurs that start a business fail within the first eighteen (18) months.

Why is the dropout rate that so high?

The reality is that there are many different fundamentals to building a successful business among them are planning, marketing, sales, customer service, etc. and none of which can be ignored if you plan to find success. But not every career path prepares you for all the challenges you’ll face as an entrepreneur.

In his book, Michael Gerber goes on to address what he calls the “Fatal Assumption” that many entrepreneurs make.

“If you understand the technical work of a business,
you understand the business that does the technical work.”

This assumption often leads entrepreneurs on a roller coaster of emotions that comes with starting a business and nurturing it through its growth phase only to face potential failure of the business when things don’t go as anticipated.

Typical emotions that occur, in order, are:

  • Exhilaration
  • Exhaustion
  • Despair
  • Sense of self-loss

Maybe you have experienced some of these emotions while running your business.

As an entrepreneur, it is easy to get your hopes so high on the prospect of instant success that even the slightest setback or failure to reach a predetermined milestone can send you into an emotional tailspin. This is usually brought on by the stark realization that you can’t do it all and that there are areas where you simply do not have the required knowledge to succeed. Then, when faced with less than ideal choices, you feel overwhelmed and feel like backing out and hiding. Some business owners may intentionally shrink their business in an attempt to control some of the chaos.

But you don’t have to go down this path. There are options other than giving up on your dreams.

Take our FREE test drive that allows you to start getting the business coaching you need to avoid feeling overwhelmed and defeated.

Kinetic Business Strategies helps overworked business owners systematically transform their business so they can more effectively grow revenue, improve cash flow & profits, increase the business’s value and achieve a better work / life balance. 

 

You have a Marketing Strategy, Now What?

Posted by karllebert on August 18, 2017

Learn the Five Essential Elements to Launching a Successful Marketing Campaign!

Many small business owners start marketing their products or services without developing an overall marketing strategy. This can lead to unfocused efforts as well as wasted time and money. The most successful small businesses develop a marketing strategy that allows their business to focus its limited resources on the best opportunities to increase revenue. Their marketing strategy then provides the guidance or rules that direct all marketing activities.

This article addresses the five essential elements that can be used to create successful marketing campaigns. And once you have these basics down, they can be used repeatedly.

The Five Essential Elements of a marketing campaign are:

  • Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
  • Effective Sales Offer
  • Avoided Marketing Pitfalls
  • World-Class Marketing Perspective
  • Results!

Each of these elements will be addressed, so you can see exactly how to use them and how they all affect the overall outcome of your marketing campaign.

Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

A unique selling proposition is a statement about what makes your product, service or business different than your competitors.

Businessdictionary.com defines unique selling proposition (USP) as follows:

“Real or perceived benefit of a good or service that differentiates it from the competing brands and gives its buyer a logical reason to prefer it over other brands.”

From the perspective of your customers or clients, what would it take to grab their attention? What problems or needs do they have that must be solved? What type of promises do they want fulfilled? Once you know the answers to these questions, you can begin to develop a plan to meet these requirements.

Now, look at how your competitors are positioning themselves in the marketplace. What is their unique selling proposition? How can you use it to develop your own? What makes your product, service or business different that your competitors? Your unique selling proposition is what is being promised to your customers or clients and what’s going to set you apart from your competition.

Effective Sales Offer

For your customers or clients to act they must not only need your product or service but must want it as well. If they don’t feel like they need your product or service, they won’t buy. For this to happen, your marketing campaign should use emotion to show how with an answer to a burning question, solution to a problem or to feed an obsession. In other words, you need to put together what makes your product or service special and compel them to act.

An effective sales order provides customers or clients all the information they need to make an informed and confident decision. This will help in avoiding buyer’s remorse, one of the worst things that can happen.

To develop an effective sales offer, you need to have the following:

  1. Headline that captures immediate attention.
  2. Benefits your products or services provide.
  3. Specific needs met by your products or services.
  4. Guarantees that make doing business easy.
  5. Specific sales proposition highlighted.
  6. Clear directions for responses and actions.
  7. Call to action to motivate.

Marketing Pitfalls to Avoid

Many small business get tripped up in their marketing efforts with common mistakes. However, if you’ve been working through these lessons, avoiding these pitfalls should be easy and natural.

The 5 major marketing pitfalls that you should avoid are:

  1. Ignore market testing and push on with an inaccurate plan.
  2. Offer an incomplete case, or reasons, throughout the marketing plan.
  3. Fail to notice the needs of prospective customers/clients.
  4. Fail to diversify marketing options.
  5. Fail to get market feedback and opinions on offers.

These are all areas to avoid.

World-Class Marketing Perspective

Having a world-class marketing perspective is important, especially if you want to attract customers or clients from all over the world. To do this, every aspect of your business needs to focus on providing an outstanding customer experience.

This can be done using several different techniques and activities:

  1. Keep a marketing journal and scribble down anything innovative you see.
  2. Encourage your marketing department to try new things and dump the ones that aren’t working.
  3. Order from your company using a pseudonym. Analyze the customer experience from ordering, shipping, online experience, customer service to the product or service itself. This will help identify areas for improvement.
  4. Read every quality ad you can find. Maintain a file for future ideas to consider.
  5. Observe how consumers behave in different situations and how they consider their purchases.
  6. Step down a notch or two and work on the front lines with your sales and customer service staff.
  7. Continuously acknowledge your staff, vendors and customers. Everyone works and shops better when they feel appreciated.
  8. Always seek out and listen to feedback from employees and customers.
  9. Continuously monitor and test markets, ads, and marketing tactics. This is the only way to stay successful and know what’s working and, more importantly, what’s not.
  10. Offer more information in your marketing than your competitors. The more information you offer, the more products or services you’ll sell.
  11. Continue to fine tune and refine your marketing plan based on testing results and feedback. Even great marketing plans can get better.
  12. Make sure your marketing and advertising fits with your vision, image, products or service, quality and values.
  13. Improve upon your best marketing efforts and drop those that aren’t working.
  14. Focus on what you say, not how you say it. The best marketing ideas turn into the best marketing naturally.
  15. Develop all your ads, campaigns and sales materials with compelling, factual, information.

By using these techniques, you can put your name out there to the world and become one of the top brands in your industry.

Results!

Ultimately, results matter most. The last area we are going to talk about is creating the best-satisfied customers. Maybe even raving customers. If your customers aren’t satisfied, you’ve wasted all your marketing resources and all chance of generating positive word-of-mouth advertising. So, what steps should you take to create satisfied customers?

You can satisfy your customers by:

  • Providing perceived value in your products or services
  • Providing superior customer service
  • Providing a low-pressure, highly informative sales experience
  • Providing a guarantee to minimize / eliminate perceived risk

Once you have set up your business to systematically provide ways to create satisfied customers it’s time to focus on generating even more business. The following simple techniques can be used to generate more business as they seem to work every time:

  • Build your potential customer database with a contest.
  • Send regular mailings (direct mail/online) with sales, discounts, or other incentives.
  • Develop other creative ways to keep your current customers coming back for more.

 “As long as the reward is directly related to your product or service, you can’t lose. Why not get started today? It’s so simple, it’s so seldom done, and it’s so profitable. And that’s the bottom line.”

– Jay Abraham, one of the top five executive coaches in the USA

What is holding you back from implementing these tactics in your business, today? This is as easy as 1,2,3. And if you need help, you don’t have to go it alone. We can help you put together a great marketing plan that will get you results.

Want to learn more?

Why not try out our FREE test drive and find the tools and resources you need to grow your business. These were developed by some of the biggest names in the marketing world and you can begin to access them now.

 

Kinetic Business Strategies helps overworked business owners systematically transform their business so they can more effectively grow revenue, improve cash flow & profits, increase the business’s value and achieve a better work / life balance. 

 

Are You Ready to Run with the Big Dogs?

Posted by karllebert on August 13, 2017

Learn How to Execute a Professional and Effective Advertising Campaign!

Generally, small business owners do not have the luxury of a large advertising budget. So how can you make the most of your limited resources and produce high impact advertising campaigns just like the big dogs that wine and dine and otherwise persuade their prospects?

Advertising is just one segment of your overall marketing plan and refers to the process of promoting your products or services to your intended target market. Obviously, the long-term objective of all ad campaigns is to drive sales. But remember, not everyone is a “now” buyer. Only about five percent of your target market are “now” buyers.  The clear majority of your potential customers are somewhere else along the buyer’s journey.

So, what implications does this have when developing your ad campaign? Ad campaigns can have different aims or objectives and your message needs to be adjusted based on the overall objective of the campaign. Some typical objectives of ad campaigns are listed below.

  • Brand awareness
  • Demonstrate a product or service
  • Support special promotions or events
  • Change perception
  • Interact with potential customers or clients
  • Generate leads

The most successful advertising professionals use a series of information based ads that create awareness, build emotion and have a call to action. These are much more effective than a standard company branding advertisements. However, the same principles that go into putting together a high impact (and, often, high priced) ad campaign can be adapted to fit the needs of your small business with similar results.

Here are some ways to put together and execute a professional, effective ad campaign with a small business budget:

  1. Create a short report with applicable information that is relative to your product or service that can be automatically send to prospects when they contact you. This should include a short description of your business and what you specialize in. Don’t forget to include case studies, samples or other proof of your success.
  2. Develop value-oriented yellow page ads that highlight solutions provided to your target market.
  3. Consider creating monthly or quarterly newsletters as a way of educating and informing customers about your industry and the products or services offered.
  4. Offer a free seminar, webinar or other lecture to build awareness of your business. Be sure that the information is pertinent to your target market. Include speakers that are respected and known in the industry.
  5. Buy an existing business, introduce better marketing and grow this new business faster than a “from scratch” business.
  6. Test different versions of your ads to find the most effective ones.
  7. Develop and use direct mail campaign that explicitly addresses concerns that your product or service solves to grow your business.
  8. Use your database of current and previous customers to engage them with new information.
  9. Develop and offer incentives to prospective customers or clients such as frequent purchasing benefits, loyalty programs, referral programs, etc.
  10. Approach large firms who may need your services and negotiate a deal to be their exclusive expert in your field.
  11. Offer a 24-hour information line with a regularly updated recorded message. Make this available to all existing and prospective customers or clients.
  12. Donate time or materials to local charities or causes to show your community support in your area.
  13. Offer free workshops for the general public to provide information and address any questions they might have about your products or services.
  14. Organize fee based seminars for your customers or clients by putting together a perceived high-value package.
  15. Approach local newspapers and offer to write a weekly column about your area of expertise. Don’t ask for money, just a byline and bio.
  16. Develop a weekend or other destination conference for customers or clients. This will not only provide you an action-packed weekend with people critical to your success, but it will give them a tax-deductible business adventure.
  17. Take good seminar material, reduce it to writing and offer as a home study, members only website, audio or video program.
  18. Approach larger companies or organizations and offer to give seminars to educate their employees, investors or management.
  19. Be proactive with your advertising plan.
  20. Barter for your advertising by offering products or services in lieu of payment.
  21. Be willing to bring in new customers or clients, even if at an initial loss by taking the long view believing it will likely pay off later.
  22. Plan your marketing efforts to maximize their potential income increases to hit the next year and try to push back advertising costs for the next year to offset your expenses.
  23. Make offers to target markets or target market businesses that pays them for referrals or shared databases.
  24. Offer loaner products to replace equipment that’s be repaired or refurbished.
  25. Offer to give away something free to everyone who brings in a print version of your advertisement. This is a great way to measure the impact each ad campaign is having and providing you the most bang for your buck.
  26. Continually consider what new products or services can be offered to current customers or clients.
  27. Develop a mail order division or online version of your company.
  28. Proposition your competitors and offer to trade information for those customers or clients where you were both unsuccessful in your sales efforts.
  29. Use different marketing tactics as an excuse to attract new customers or clients with new offers and goodies.
  30. Offer a “you-choose-the-price” program. This is especially good for product you just can’t seem to sell.

So, the above enumerates 30 great low-cost ways to meet your advertising objectives to reach your target market. Some other great ways to get your name out there for little or no cost are:

  • Get involved you in your community-volunteer, donate to local events, etc.
  • Join your local Chamber of Commerce and attend their networking and other activities throughout the year.
  • Join a local, state or regional professional associates for further networking opportunities.
  • Become a board member of a local organization.

Advertising should never be your only method of promoting your product or service.  There are a myriad of ways to get your name out there to potential customers or clients that is impactful and feels personal.

“Effective advertising…must be used to get your name out to the public.
If your name is not familiar to people, they will not come to you.”

– Jay Abraham, one of the top five executive coaches in the USA.

Not sure where to start your marketing plan or how to reach out to your local community, competitors, customers or clients and others who could influence your business in a highly positive way.  Why not contact us or try our FREE test drive and experience the tools and resources we have that can help take your business to the next level and beyond?

 

Kinetic Business Strategies helps overworked business owners systematically transform their business so they can more effectively grow revenue, improve cash flow & profits, increase the business’s value and achieve a better work / life balance. 

Done Right, “PR” Stands for Free Publicity!

Posted by karllebert on August 1, 2017

Learn How Public Relations Can Boost Your Advertising!

Often today, we hear about building your brand. The cheapest way to do this is with Free Publicity. But how do you generate positive Free Publicity that increases awareness, credibility and most of all leads? One way is to do this is with an intentional public relations campaign.

First, what exactly is meant by the phrase “Public Relations”?

Although there are numerous definitions, a recent study by the Public Relations Society of America, noted that the definition that best describes the term is as follows:

“Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” 

However, there is another definition that seems to stand-out as well.

“Communicating for your organization, the right message, at the right time and the right place to the right audience.”

The secret to creating successful free publicity is having a story that is worth repeating. The best stories have something that grabs the audience’s attention and then engages them. To be successful in building your brand and boosting advertising, the story must provide more than just facts. Here you can use one of several proven themes to create your story but that is beyond the scope of this article.

Three key areas of public relations can be used to boost your advertising results ten-fold over your paid advertising.

Here, the keys to boosting advertising results using public relations lie in:

  • Public relation or publicity
  • Merchandising
  • Promotions

With a solid plan in place that encompasses all these areas, you’ll have a great starting point to use public relations in the best way possible.

Be sure to remember to include all the media outlets with your public relations releases. Don’t limit yourself. The attention of newspapers, television, radio, magazines, bloggers, e-zines and other online avenues are all equally powerful. Online distribution and marketing just might be more important going forward than more conventional media outlets as how people access news and information changes. Also, do not forget to include media outlets that are more industry or profession specific.

Once you determine which media outlets to include, you should try to determine the right media person to send your public relations releases. This is important for two reasons. One, you may need to show them why the press release about your product or service is a great fit for their business. And two, you need someone to contact for follow-up as it may take several approaches before you have received any coverage.

Get Noticed By the Media

Here are four steps to get noticed by the media:

  1. Put together a press release for your company. The press release should be relevant to your target market and address consumer interest, not just announce your business.
  2. Compact your press release to include one hook and one angle. Choose the most attention-getting aspect to make sure the media person, to whom you are sending it, will be interested in reading it.
  3. Put your press release in professional formatting. With press releases, you will need a dateline, the most important information at the top, facts, figures and wrap it up with contact details including who and how. Print the press release on your letterhead.
  4. Send your press release to all television and radio stations, local and metro newspapers, national newspapers, industry magazines, and any other form of media that reaches your target market. Don’t forgot to include relevant blogs, e-zines, press release submission sites and to industry professionals.

More important than a perfect press release is to make sure you have addressed the needs of your target market for the products or services you offer and made that clear in the press release. If you are providing people a solution to a problem, a way to avoid a problem or an opportunity to enhance their life, the media and public will be interested.

If you have a connection (or the ability to get a connection) with a celebrity, this can practically guarantee you’ll get attention. Make sure you are offered newsworthy information, and then follow up with media outlets to make sure they are publicizing that information.

“One of the most powerful techniques every business should use is free publicity. As the name implies, there is no cost, just the time and effort required to attract attention to your business.”

–  Jay Abraham, one of the top five executive coaches in the USA.

Our FREE test drive can show you how to put together press releases that work! Check out how the pro’s do it and craft the perfect press releases for your business.

 

Kinetic Business Strategies helps overworked business owners systematically transform their business so they can more effectively grow revenue, improve cash flow & profits, increase the business’s value and achieve a better work / life balance.