Sunday, October 27, 2013

Small business success tactics: #1 mistake to avoid

As a small business owner, it's very easy to be overwhelmed with how to approach building your business. How do you reach more people? How can you attract more customers? When will your efforts result in revenues?

Want to know the #1 mistake to avoid?
Don't build your strategy around selling.
Focus on BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS. 


Whether you are building your business online or offline (although now, most people recognize the power and importance of integrating all activities to achieve a common goal) the ONE key to remember is the importance of building relationships, not selling your business. This should be the focus of EVERY touchpoint you have with your customers and target market.


It's so easy to overlook but the importance cannot be overstated: building your business means building relationships. That is PRIORITY #1.



HERE ARE 3 TOP TIPS FOR BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS

1. Solutions and answers go farther than any sales pitch you can throw!

Because customers are looking for solutions. They are looking for value. They are looking for ways to improve their life in some aspect. BE THE ANSWER!

Showing how your business can provide SOLUTIONS to all of the problems and ANSWERS to their questions provides so much more value than a marketing spiel. .By treating each potential customer and existing customers as REAL people, you are building those relationships, creating devoted fans and people loyal to your brand. They are your best assets towards long-term, sustained growth.

2. Use EVERY touchpoint to your advantage.

These are simply every point of contact with your business that a person could potentially have. From Facebook and Twitter, emails, in-store visits with customers - all of these represent opportunities to engage, interact and build relationships. 

3. Keep the dialogue authentic. BE REAL.

By remembering that behind every interaction is a REAL person, you can ensure that HOW you are interacting is authentic. Think of how you would like to be spoken to. Everyone wants to feel valued and that they are more than an number, statistic or peg in the revenue ladder.

Honestly, I think taking this approach simplifies things. It certainly has for me. Focusing on customers by engaging with them in authentic ways, to help them find solutions to their problems is not only satisfying for them, it is much more fulfilling for you too. It goes a long way to building a strong following and foundation of loyal users for the long haul - an asset you cannot build overnight when the going gets tough.

Summary: Putting in the time consistently contributes to the long-term sustainability of your business.

Best of luck,

Nancy

P.S. What is the best way you have found to engage with your customers? Special offers? Coupon codes? Incentive buys? Share your stories.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Small business success: EASY, FREE weekly organization worksheet

Since I started my business, The Rogue Pea Marketing, I have been working on several projects simultaneously. I have always used a notebook to scribble my daily to-do's and stay organized when I worked my full-time job and this seemed to do the trick. But now that my days were filled with multiple clients not to mention household responsibilities and activities, I found I needed a new organization system. Low and behold, the Week-in-a-Peek time management worksheet was born!

Here is a quick look:


I know I'm not the only one struggling to remember all the 'To-Do's' in a week, so here it is for you. Download a copy for yourself for FREE at this link to the worksheet.

Printing instructions: ensure that you have selected 'Shrink oversize pages' in Size Options. I make this in Photoshop and did not account for margins, however, selecting this takes care of it, no problem!


If you know of anyone else who would benefit from this super easy, fast organization tool, be sure to share the link or send them to visit Rogue Pea blog too!


And remember...
The key to success lies not in not adhering strictly to rules and schedules, but making the best of things when life strays from our plans.

Best of luck!

Nancy

P.S. Do you have a go-to organization method for daily tasks? I would love to hear about how you manage your small business and stay organized with family life. Leave a comment below!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Branding your small business: time for a makeover?

Purpose of this blog post is to provide a straightforward way to begin a brand makeover. This seems to be a sticking point for many small business owners – where to begin?!

Start at the beginning: what is branding?

Branding. It's more than a just a logo, slogan and company colours. A brand is how your business is known by the customer – it is the combination of the qualities, customer expectations and value your business provides. Sounds complicated but it isn’t. No master's degree or marketing firm needed either. In fact, since YOU know your business best, drawing on your own knowledge and familiarity about your business and your customers is the best way make your brand stand out. It comes down to asking the right questions, focusing your answers and then using that information to build your brand.
Below is a short, to-the-point brand makeover worksheet. By completing the questions, you will be on your way to reinvigorating your brand, whether you are brand new to the game, or an old pro.

Mini brand makeover worksheet
By taking a few minutes to answer these three questions, you will be able to help yourself refocus your brand by providing key information that focuses on the VALUE you provide to your customers. 

Download it FREE. Here is a screen grab to see for yourself.




1. List 3 things that your customers will get from you that they won’t get from your competitors. (HINT: What does your business do better than anyone else? This can be part of the experience of buying from you, not only limited to the product or service itself.)

1._________________________________
2. _________________________________
3. _________________________________

2.    In one sentence, state why your customers come to your business. (HINT: refer to the 3 things in question one to ensure this statement shows why your business is different, what you do better, and the VALUE you offer to them).

___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­___________________________________________________________


3. Make a list of the TOP 3 things you would like your business to BEST be known for.

 1.    ____________________________________________________________
 2.    ____________________________________________________________
 3.    ____________________________________________________________

These questions provide a great baseline for building (or rebuilding) your small business brand as they answer the right questions. The key is defining what sets your business apart AND provides value to your customers.

As always, I am happy to discuss any questions or clarifications that may help you complete this worksheet. Enter a comment below, or go directly to my Facebook page where this post will be listed as well. I am here to help – ask questions!

Best of luck! ~
Nancy

P.S.
If you would like to take this worksheet a step further and actually start to implement the information you entered, I have a bonus PDF worksheet that will help you create your brand positioning statement AND a ‘how-to’ guide that will show you how to translate this information into your brand

What you get: It provides tangible examples for how, with ease and little effort, you can communicate your brand to your customers consistently. If you would like to receive this additional resource, please submit your email address at the side. Your email will remain 100% confidential and will not be shared with any other site, person or entity. J









Thursday, October 3, 2013

The PassionPreneurs: A new force for the reckoning

Nothing gets me more worked up in a passionate frenzy about life than than hearing about people who have taken the leap to go it on their own, to make their own happiness. They are passionate, driven, inspired by the possibilities and tired of the status quo. I consider myself one of those people now, although it took several years to recognize it and then act on it. Along the way, however, I discovered fantastic sources of inspiration and advice. Here is my list of the people who shook the way I saw the world, and opened my eyes to new possibilities.
Inspiration is to inspire others
Credit: Impactinstruction.com

Richard Branson: To many Sir Richard Branson is recognized only as one of the most creative and wealthy individuals on the planet, but that would not be doing much justice to his influence. He is a leader, innovator, and an example that being a creative type doesn't mean you cannot excel in business. He also takes time to share his wisdom regularly on Entrepreneur.com, which is so appreciated. I read his stories about the early days of Virgin with awe, realizing everyone has to start somewhere. His determination to persevere, his optimism and positivity, and for never forgetting the importance of human connections make him an amazing role model.

Tim Ferriss: If you don't know the name, you surely have heard the title of his best-seller "The Four-Hour Work Week". I must admit, I was sucked in by the title but was so thrilled that the book actually had substance. Tim's take on life: working for mini-retirements throughout your life rather than saving up for the big one at the end, establishing valid ways to create and maintain revenue streams and his mantra of experimenting with life were eyeopening to say the least. This book really got the bug in my ear about entrepreneurship and I found his concepts rolled around my head constantly - what he had to say really stuck with me. What I love about Tim is that he is a no-nonsense guy - if he has something to say, he says it. He backs up what he says, isn't afraid to try new things,  doesn't waste time on activities without purpose (which most of us do to distract ourselves from a life where we are not fulfilled), and HE SHARES his insight too! He is always up to something new so he is great to follow.

Martha Stewart: Sometimes Martha is described as the lady who slyly took homemaking to a new level and sold it back, repackaged, to modern women in an era where women were making waves in the boardroom. To me, she took the things I naturally loved to do, used her marketing background, passion and prowess for business to create a new genre of empowered women: those who felt entertaining, hors d'oeuvres making, ironing, and crafting were not a sign of weakness or a throw back to the 1800's. She embraced feminism in a multidimensional way that showed  being a strong woman didn't have to mean abandoning traditionally woman-oriented activities for putting on a man's suit - that we really could do it all. I love that!

Heather Schuck: I don't even know how I discovered Heather, but her genuine nature and caring demeanour struck a chord with me immediately. I followed along with her posts about her business, Glamajama, but I also saw that there was so much more to Heather than her business. She had a message and she was dedicated to making others see that there is a way to build your own happiness, to find passion in what you do and make it work for you. I love her enthusiasm and her honest, open dialogue. The tipping point for me was the release of her Working Mom Manifesto (click to read FREE chapters - I recommend it). I read it with such a voraciousness that I knew I had to do something, to make a change in my life. That was only a few months ago but it feels like a lifetime ago now, as I can't imagine going back to the life I was living. I feel so full of purpose everyday and I continue thank Heather for her candor and courage to share her story.

So there you have it; the list of the most influential public figures that have made a difference in how I see life and most importantly, what I am deciding to do with it. Do you have inspiring role models? If so, please share - I'd love to hear who they are! You can also share on Facebook or on Twitter. Thanks for reading!

EDIT:

PS  - I wanted to provide a link to another blog post by Kelsey Ramsden. She wrote a post about taking you love about your mentors and going the step further to make a list of the qualities so you can foster these qualities in yourself. Check it out! http://kelseyramsden.ca/one-leg-at-a-time/