I love being a business owner. My motivations for achieving career status and business status aren’t different. They’re very much the same. So what motivates you to build a business?
These and many, many other yet similar thoughts go through the heads of every would-be business owner, and are often the driving force behind that final, “Enough! I’m starting up on my own.”
Whilst these thoughts are great for lighting a fire and encouraging you to make a scary jump to business ownership, they’re not so fabulous at motivating you to grow and improve. They won’t inspire you to increase your skills and raise your rates and be brave and authentic in your marketing. They won’t help you find the courage to hire a new coach or launch a brand new program.
To find the motivation to make your business thrive, you have to identify the real reasons behind what you do. This has been popularised by Simon Sinek’s Book “Start with Why”.
Sinek’s “Start With Why” suggests that when an organisation understand the reason why it exists then its leaders inspire their teams more effectively. With this in mind let’s look at the types of Why and how they motivate.
“Passion based” is a phrase that’s found a massive following in the past few years, and seems to be the holy grail of entrepreneurial adventures. And for business owners with a true passion for their field, it can be a strong motivator. Some business owners are passionate about a subject, spending all their waking hours learning about the topic. Some are passionate about a market, and would do anything to help their ideal client achieve his or her goals.
Whichever type of passion-based business owner you are, learning to harness that passion will help take your business to the next level.
Maybe you want to retire at 40 to travel the world, or send your kids to an elite private school. Maybe you love fast cars, and dream of driving a brand new Ferrari. Whatever your big dream, you knew you’d never make it while putting in time at the day job. While everyone seems to go on and on about those passion-based dreams, the truth is there’s nothing wrong with wanting financial fulfillment. Money is a necessary tool. We need it, and the more we have, the easier life is. And wanting more of it is nothing to be ashamed of, as long as you maintain your integrity and authenticity in pursuit of it.
Plenty of online business owners go into business so they can have more to give. You’ve no doubt heard of—or maybe even know—marketers who use their earnings to fund mission trips, build schools in war-torn, third world countries, and support a variety of charities at home and abroad. Others use the time freedom they’ve built into their business to volunteer with local hospitals, animal shelters and children’s organizations.
If you have a heart for a cause, a philanthropic why might be the driving force that takes your business to the next level.
What most people don’t realise is that any one of these three main “whys” can activate at any time. You may be financially motivated and that leads to philanthropic motivation. This, in turn, can ignite a passion motivation. As you’re a smart, ethical entrepreneur and business builder the question is how can use these “whys” to reach the top of your game?
Answering the above 4 questions in your journal will give you some of the answers you’re looking for. Start with the “Money is no object” question and see where it takes you.
Please note, sometimes this can be a difficult question to journal because all you can see are obstacles. Visualise a day in the life of your dream.
If you journal through your hopes and dreams you’ll start to see a pattern. You’ll start to see your true motivations emerge and you’ll be happier for it.
Please share this post with anyone you think it may inspire
Business coaches are strong assets for business owners because they hold the owner accountable for their own progress. They offer different perspectives to problems, share how they overcome a similar block, they offer guidance as well as challenges, and they observe objectively how a business operates and what can be improved.
A business coach will improve your productivity in all aspects of your business life. Here are some examples:
Smart business owners know they can’t know everything about every subject, especially if they have no experience in running a business. This is where a smart business coach can become the business’ top asset, guiding you to financial success. If you’re ready to hire a smart business coach, schedule a discovery call with me today.
You may have guessed by now I love webinars and delivering master class training when they are done the right way, with you the viewer in mind. Once you have run your first webinar it becomes addictive (in a good way) the excitement of sharing your skills and expertise and interacting with people has such a great feel about it, however you can’t always be everywhere at once so pre-recorded webinars start to pop up on your radar as something you may be interested in running.
Pre-recorded webinars are in my opinion an essential part of marketing your business, however like all techniques and strategies there are the right ways and the wrong ways to run them, in this post I am going to share with you both sides of the pre-recorded webinar story and you can make your mind up as to whether it’s for you or not.
A recorded webinar gives you a way to offer free, valuable content to a targeted audience for as long and often as you want it to run for. This means that your viewers can watch it when it’s convenient to them and for you, well you have an awesome training that is running and working for you when you are off doing other things in your life or business.
You build your email list automatically. You absolutely must be building a list of people that are interested in what you have to say or offer. Webinars have shown to be really effective for building an email list pretty quickly, an automated or pre recorded webinar will work without complaint for your business.
Automatically create a product you can sell. As long as you add some really incredible value and information that appeals to a target audience, a recorded webinar becomes a product you can sell that helps people. You can use a live webinar as the basis to edit then re use as a pre recorded webinar then again package it into a mini product.
You save time. Host and record a webinar once, and you can use it for marketing, sales, building an email list, and for any other number of business benefits.When you have multiple automated webinars running you really do start to build something quite special that is like an employee that doesn’t need breaks or even sleep and continues to help you build your business.
You increase conversions – webinars whether live or automated convert at a very high rate, why? because they get to at the very least hear your voice, sometimes see you on camera and then they get the follow-up communications via email. These 3 parts accelerate the trust process and allow people to make a decision much quicker because they feel they know you much better.
Trust and authority building – when you run a webinar that is focussed on value and not selling or self-promotion then your audience will trust you a whole lot quicker than if you don’t. Automated webinars give you the same effect they will feel more connected to you having heard what you have to say.
Recorded webinars that are offered as live webinars are just wrong and misleading. There’s a special feeling to live conference calls and webinars. Don’t ever advertise a recorded webinar as live or your audience will see through your “fake” marketing message, and you can do a lot of damage to your business.
There is no sense of urgency. When your audience knows a webinar has been recorded (and you should never mislead your prospects by marketing a recorded webinar as live- it needs saying twice), they don’t feel like they have to listen right now. They will often put off listening until a later date, and never end up benefiting from your webinar content.
Your content can become stale. The Internet is a rapidly changing business model. Because of this, the information you give in a webinar may not be relevant only months or even weeks after you recorded the webinar. This means a pre-recorded webinar can be irrelevant to your listeners rather quickly in some cases.
Using webinars wether they are live or pre-recorded is a fantastic way to build your email list, to build your reputation and to get people into your sales funnels . Providing you use them the RIGHT way your audience often won’t care if it’s pre-recorded or not as long as the webinar delivers on its promise. you also have to keep at the very heart of all you do with webinars the following question
‘How would I feel if I were to watch this webinar?’
If your answer is you felt good, maybe you felt you learned something or even just felt better off having watched that webinar then you have your webinar nailed.
Let me know your experiences of live webinars Vs pre-recorded webinars in the comments below
Whenever you start something new it often feels like a mountain to get to where you want to be.
I remember teaching my girls to ride their bikes, they started off with small bikes, they had stabilisers on the wheels so the bike didn’t fall over, they needed to feel good about trying something new, Eventually they became more confident so the stabilisers came off, of course they wobbled , they even fell off a couple off times (only to be expected) But very quickly they were whizzing around like they had been riding bikes forever. They felt amazing and they had learnt a new skill.
When I ran my first ever webinar, I had researched it, how to present, what topics to deliver, which software to use the list goes on and on and that’s before i even got near to a webinar room. My first ever webinar was a disaster, I did the whole thing with the sound off so nobody could hear a wor i was saying, back then the webinar software was nowhere near as advanced as it is now so I was blissfully delivering my webinar to a gradually declining audience that couldn’t hear a word I was saying.
I learn’t a lot after that webinar and every webinar since I have learnt something new. My webinars now are so much better than my very first one but that’s the process, we learn as we go, research, understand and implement so each one is better (hopefully) than the last.
Running your first webinar will be the same for you (well hopefully not the same sound issue ) in the sense that you will learn and improve as you go but to get that first one under your belt you need to prepare. The researching phase is really important to start to formulate your own way of running your webinars, to learn from the mistakes others have made so hopefully you won’t make the same ones but just as importantly to watch what is working for others , which formats you really enjoy and the type of style you want to present your webinars in. You can easily do this simply by watching other people present and making some notes as to what you liked and what you didn’t.
Test your webinar software before you go live. This sounds like a no-brainer tip, but many first-time webinar hosts don’t do this. Practice, practice, and then practice some more. Give your webinar to some friends and get their input. Perform your webinar so many times that you are familiar with the software and the experience inside out, for both your viewpoint and the point of view of your attendees. Practice makes perfect, so get to know your webinar software and your content intimately before you go live.
You have a lot to learn to become confident in giving webinars. There is the software you have to figure out. What happens if there is a technical glitch? What if no one shows up? What if your slides stop working or your internet goes wobbly on you?
With all of these things to think about, it makes absolutely no sense for you to make your workload greater by attempting to pretend you are someone you are not.I said earlier to watch others and learn, that doesn’t mean mimic them it means learn their techniques and adapt them so they become part of your own unique style.
You will develop confidence and ability giving webinars when you act like yourself, and no one else. You are a unique individual, and webinars have a wonderful way of letting your one-of-a-kind personality shine through. Be yourself and not only will you feel more comfortable giving the webinar, but your interaction with your attendees in the future will be more genuine, and that is what people connect with … people who are unique and genuine.
If you are still in the research phase or have run 1 or 2 webinars and would like my FREE 7 webinar templates then go grab them now.
Imagine this. You are searching the web, looking for information or help on a particular subject. You come across a great blog post. You read it and feel like you really got some value from the content. You keep searching, and you come across a sign-up page for a webinar covering the exact material you’re looking for as well.
You sign-up, attend and get to hear an expert talk about the topic of your interest. After you signed up for the webinar, you received a free gift that was relevant to the information you searched for. You were able to ask questions during the webinar and learn from the answers to questions asked by others just like you.
When the webinar was over, your host reached out to you through helpful emails, made a value-rich offer that helped you solve a big problem in your life, and then continued to provide more valuable and free information that you found very helpful.
How would your customers and future clients feel having experienced this?
The answer is simple – the webinar process is more personal and offers so many more opportunities to help someone answer questions and solve problems. That is one of the big benefits of using webinars in your business – you are able to help your audience in a much deeper way.
The following 7 reasons why you should be using webinars to build your business are essential for helping both you and your viewers
When you run a live webinar you are there in the moment with your audience, you can show your personality and start some rapport with those that are attending. This takes your relationship with your audience to a much deeper level, they get to hear you, maybe even see you but they also get the opportunity in most cases to ask questions and hear your answers there and then.
Building this type of connection is almost as good as meeting a group in person, in fact often because the audience is in a familiar and relaxed environment they feel much more able to interact with you and gain even more value from the webinar itself.
Most webinar software companies offer free trials of their software which allows you to get ahead of the game in regards to cost. If you plan it properly you can have 2/3 webinars out running and earning you money before you even pay a penny for the software itself so it becomes self-funding.
Once you work out your traffic funnel for your webinar you will see other marketing costs go down as this will become a primary lead generation activity for you.
Study after study shows that online business owners often complain they don’t have a product to sell. When you host a free webinar, you automatically have a product that you can sell time and time again, and of course the more you run the more products you will have. With a bit of clever editing, you can turn it even into a multi-module course of more bite sized chunks rather than an hour block at a time.
Running your webinars with this in mind can be a real motivation to carry on delivering your webinar content time and time again.
Free webinars may be one of the most effective, low-cost ways to build your email list. When you run a webinar especially a free webinar people attending expect to put their email address in, its been this way for as long as I can remember. With the new GDPR rules its important to set your expectations with those that register to let them know you will be sending them more emails in the future revolving around the topic of the webinar. So for example, if we ran a webinar (which I actually did) on ‘How to create an epic blog post’ the people that attended were told that by subscribing they would be sent more information in the future regarding content creation and blogging. This then lets us (dependant on the software you use) add these people into a segmented list to only send emails on this type of subject.
Hyper targetted marketing is and always has been the best way to market so working this way really ticks the box for successful email campaigns in the future.
Even if you are scared as can be to run a webinar, your audience doesn’t know this. They look up to you as an authority figure in your field. Remember the vast majority of people only care about the content of the webinar. If you have followed the suggestions in this blog post regarding avoiding mistakes when running your first webinar then you will be prepared as much as you can be.
Remember your primary goal for your webinar will always be delivering amazing content/training get that bit right and any other small challenge you may face can be forgiven
After you plan, host and complete a successful webinar, you have a powerful component of a sales funnel. You can use that same recorded webinar endlessly to promote the building of a passive income. What exactly does that mean? Think of it like this, and this is a very basic example.
It’s simple in this format and easily doable by most people. This is a very basic funnel and you can do alot more with this but it gives you the idea as to how it may fit into your site for you to make some sales.
Webinars are great for attracting new customers and clients. They are also excellent for showing your current customer base that they matter to you. They are an easy way to deliver massive value and information to your customers, which builds client loyalty and leads to word-of-mouth referrals.
Being able to communicate directly via a live webinar is always really appreciated by your customers especially if you are selling products or training that have very little personal live training involved.
Webinars are still very very powerful when used properly in your business, of course, they are like all marketing systems never a ‘quick fix’ but as a long term strategy for building your reputation, gaining new clients and looking after your existing clients you will be hard pressed to find another way of achieving this.
We continue after all of these years to run webinars and like a lot of systems the more you do the easier you will find them if you are just starting out then you may like this FREE gift of 7 webinar templates to help you start off on the road to running successful webinars for your business
Pinterest is one of my favourite platforms for promotion, not only does it have an incredible reach, it’s also fun to use. When it comes showing your personality, your likes and dislikes nothing beats Pinterest. Your followers have a much more in-depth view of who you are as a person and a business.
If you that are not following my account here’s a quick look at my account, currently with 142,000 views per month on my account so it’s active.
Pinterest’s latest update – upload native video to Pinterest – takes Pinning to a whole new level. As you may know, video is one of the very best ways to engage with your audience. Combined with the powerful visuals you can create on Pinterest this combination will see your Pinterest viewers increase and the click-through rates onto your website soar.
How does this differ currently from Pinterest videos? Until now, you could create a pin from You Tube, and the video will play on Pinterest. The URL that’s pinned is the You Tube url. Even if you add the video to your website, and pin it, it still goes back to You Tube – as it should. But wouldn’t it be nicer if you could do nice trailer videos for your content and send them directly to that piece of content? Now you can!
Uploading your videos is really quite simple as you can see from the steps below. If you haven’t got a video specifically for Pinterest, then you can download a livestream and try that. Alternatively you can use tools like
to create small social media friendly videos.
The advantage of using social media video software is you don’t have to caption them – the text is on screen already. They also have a range of templates and sizes to make videos easy to create.
Log into your business account, if you are still using a personal Pinterest account you can upgrade it for free on Pinterest and benefit from all the extras features that then become available. You’ll want a business Pinterest account to measure the impact of native videos.
Once you have logged in along the top of your account you will see a white cross on a red background click on that to go to the next step
Once you have clicked on the white cross you will see a drop-down menu, here’s where you get 4 different options for creating a new pin. If you don’t have them all yet then check you have a business Pinterest account. If you have a business account already, then it may be it just hasn’t rolled out to your account just yet. Give it time.
Click on ‘upload video’ to go to the next step
You can either choose to drag and drop your video file into the box on the left or click on the ‘choose a file’ button in the bottom right. It’s worth noting at this point the file types and sizes.
If drag and drop don’t work for you then use the file upload aspect.
Now its time to choose a thumbnail for your video. A thumbnail is an image that shows before the person clicks play. So this image can have a call to action. Pinterest will allow you to add a custom thumbnail or to capture a frame from your video and turn it into a Thumbnail.
Once you have chosen your thumbnail you have a couple more things to do.
Done? Click the button at the bottom to go to the next step
Choose which of your boards you would like your video to be posted onto
Now its time to wait for Pinterest to publish you video, For me it took less than 2 minutes, but being a new feature it may take a little longer. You can navigate away from the page and your native Pinterest video will be added into your board when it has finished processing
Go and see how your native Pinterest video looks. Here’s mine:
I’m really pleased with it. When I look on the board it’s really clear that it’s a video and how long the video is 33 seconds in this case. When you actually click on the video itself it will auto play and looks fantastic.
Pinterest is a fantastic platform an incredible powerhouse for driving traffic to your website, connecting and deeply understanding your visitors so you can adjust your content or do more of the same. If you are getting Pinterest right then you’ll love this new feature.
As video is becoming more and more powerful online, I can online see Pinterest Native Video becoming stronger and more impactful. Now is the time to create more amazing visual content for Pinterest.
Our community over in Pin Friday have been benefiting from Pinterest for quite some time so if this post has inspired you to want to learn more and be involved more with Pinterest then come and join us.
You are thinking about webinars or have made the decision to use webinars to build and grow your business, you deserve a high 5. Webinars have higher CTRs, sales conversion rates and email list building abilities than many other online marketing methods. webinars are brilliant for so many reasons, however, you are nervous?. am I right?
Think about a form of marketing you are good at, something you enjoy that brings in results, it may be blog post writing, it may be live video or something else. Then think about the first time you ever attempted to do that?. Were you scared? Did you feel like you may end up hurting your business more than helping it?. You may have felt you would mess it up?
I remember when I first committed to running a webinar, putting it out publicly to say…hey come along I’m running a live webinar…. and it filled me with dread, I felt physically sick which just got worse when I got my very first subscriber to that webinar, it all became very real and very scary. back then webinars were quite new and technology wasn’t anywhere near as good as it is now.
These are common feelings when any business owner, large or small, learns to use a new tool that will build their business online and their reputation, we’ve all been there. however, there are things you can do to reduce that feeling. That will help you feel more comfortable and prepared to make sure that your first experience is a good one.
Let’s take a look at 5 common webinar marketing mistakes that happen all the time and importantly simple ways to avoid them, if at the very least you can think about these and learn to deal with them before you go live on your webinar you will be 5 steps ahead of me when I ran my very first live webinar for my business.
Slow down. You are no chomping at the bit to access the many benefits of webinars for building your business. However, when you don’t plan enough, test your webinar software and your script/slides and get comfortable first, you can do more damage than good for your business.
Running test webinars to get really comfortable with the software takes away so much stress when you run your first webinar, most people will take a glance and ‘wing it’ but I can tell you testing, testing and more testing will help you so much more than just going for it.
Test your slides, find a quiet time when you can run through, I will talk more about scripts in future blog posts but word for word scripts don’t work, they make you sound very robotic , your slides are there to guide you through your topic/ training and so, therefore, practicing with them will really help you out.
It’s really important you reduce your tech problems before they crop up, the delivery from your software supplier should never be a worry nowadays, I’ve tested most of them and there are alot out there that are pretty good , there are also some that I just couldn’t get on with or didn’t provide the functionality that I wanted in my webinar.
Keeping your viewers at the front of mind when making a decision will always give you the steer that you need when choosing your platform. I use Demio
and i also us Easy Webinar
Webinars are video and audio-driven. In many cases, your videos are simple screenshots or slides. In every case, bad audio will kill the best webinar . In the testing phase, do whatever it takes to deliver high-quality audio. This means hosting your webinar from a quiet, calm, distraction-free environment, using a high quality microphone and capable webinar software.
Ensure that you have a wired connection to your internet so that the connection is as stable as possible and try to get the family if they are using the same internet connection to stop streaming Netflix or playing the latest online game. All of these things will help you get a stronger connection and deliver a more reliable audio.
People are very forgiving or poor visual quality but if the sound is poor they WILL leave in droves.
Webinars work because people have fun. They are interacting with you and each other. There is a “right now”, “being part of a group” process that other marketing channels simply can’t replicate. Think of value, not sales. Provide incredible free value during your webinar. Don’t sell during the webinar “body”. If you do make an offer at the end of your webinar, be certain that what your webinar attendees pay in return for the value they receive is so attractive that they can’t pass up on the offer.
Don’t sell throughout your webinar. Leave that for your call to action.
If your ONLY goal for running a webinar is tosell throughout then you need to rethink your sales strategy as this just does not work.
Why do people love attending live webinars? Because they want to be heard! They want their opinion noted, their questions answered, and their problems solved. Those webinars that allow your audience to interact and engage with you will always be your highest grossing and highest converting webinars, because you allow your prospects to be a part of the process.
For your first webinar it may be a good idea to keep the chat to you only, this stops streams and streams of conversations going on in the background that distracts you from the content you are delivering. you can, of course, get a partner in to help manage the chat and Often when I run a webinar Sarah will be in the chat answering and guiding the questions through. This really helps in keeping the webinar to time.
NOTE: – do not ignore your comments, I have been on many webinars where the chat was really lively yet the presenters totally ignored all the comments, This really won’t help you build your community and your relationship with your webinar viewers.
Of course there are more things you can think about when looking to run your first webinar and if you are interested in really becoming prepared then feel free to get my 7 Webinar Templates to really kick start your journey into webinars.
Let’s state the obvious: you’re in business to earn money. Yes, you want to help others as well, but you want to make a profit with your business, am I right? In order to make a profit, you need to sell your products and services. But is it enough to just create products and hope that people to make a purchase? Not at all. I like to call that “hopeful marketing” and it simply doesn’t work. That’s a very passive approach to running a business as opposed to a proactive approach, which includes finding people in your target market, forming a relationship with them, introducing them to your business, and then asking for the sale.
It is discouraging when people say “no” when you ask for a meeting or for the sale but there’s also a popular thought in the sales community that you need to hear 100 no’s before you hear a yes. Your business and your services won’t appeal to everyone; or they might appeal to someone who doesn’t have the money to spend right now. That doesn’t mean your business idea is awful; it simply means you haven’t found the right people yet.
If you have put careful thought into what you want to offer your target audience and you have created coaching packages and/or services to meet those needs, be confident in telling people who you serve and how you do so.
Your customers will purchase from you when they know, like, and trust you, so coming on strong with heavy sales talk or pestering them like a used car salesperson will chase those promising customers away.
Instead, gently nudge these prospects down your sales funnel. If you have never heard of a sales funnel, it’s simply a visual representation of how you’ll guide prospects toward your higher-priced products. In this manner, you’ll have lower-priced items for sale for those who say they’re interested but don’t have the money. If they purchase your lower-priced item, they may find the money in the future for a higher-priced item, but only if they know about the other products/services you offer.
At the end of the day, if you listen to what your audience needs, there’s no harm in making the offer and asking for the sale. If they say no, move on and continue to nurture the relationship. Just remember, you’re one no closer to the yes that you want.
When it comes to finding your ideal clients there’s a lot of noise about the right way to do it. I’m frequently told it’s me, but 5 years ago. Sadly, that’s a short term fix for finding your ideal clients. Technology changes, marketplaces change and attitudes change, so you 5 years ago will never help you continually find a steady stream of clients because everything has changed. If you’ve used this in the past, it’s time to upgrade and create your client avatars the IDEAL way.
Look to the client base you have right now. What commonalities do they have with each other? That’s right – don’t look for what they have in common with you, look for the threads that connect them all. To find these elusive threads use the I.D.E.A.L acronym.
When you have the answers to the I.D.E.A.L Acronym you’ll find it easier to create ideal client avatars. To help you work it out there’s bonus content in the form of a worksheet if you share from the box below.
Thank you for sharing. Here’s your Ideal Client Worksheet <—— Right Click, “Save-As” to your desktop. Then print and complete!
When it comes to running your own business, how do you know where to begin? There are so many little considerations and moving parts to any business that it can seem overwhelming. You set out thinking business success is only a few short weeks away once you have launched your business however there are many things a serious business owner has to think about when launching and running their business.
That’s why I’ve collated these 100 tips. These are ‘survival’ tips that will help you grow and maintain your business – whether you’re just starting out in your business venture, or you’ve already been in business for a while.
In this blog post you will get tips on the following areas
How to get to know your customers so that you can deliver the products and services they need in the ways they need them
The basics of business planning that every entrepreneur needs to know
What you need to do now to prepare for future disasters so that your business isn’t derailed when they occur
How to document your systems and processes not only for your employees but also for potential investors
The essentials of small business finance
How to identify the help you need and build a solid network that will provide it
Ways to keep an eye on your market and its changes and developments
The basics of managing a strong social media presence and what to do with it
How to monitor and control your reputation online
Essential time management tips
Tips on reducing and managing stress for when things get hectic.
By the time you finish this blog post, you’ll have the basics under your belt and a long list of things you can do today to make sure your business not only survives but thrives in 2019.
Here are 100 small business survival tips.
1- Look at Who’s Looking
Whether you have an online store or an offline brick and mortar shop, pay attention to who is visiting and know as much about them as possible. If you’re offline, watch your customers shop, talk to them and get to know them as well as possible. For an online store, pay attention to your metrics use google analytics or wp slimstat and look at visitor profiles. You can use this information to tweak and better appeal to your customers.
2 – Focus on Needs
Focus on your customers’ problems and needs. Your products or services should fulfil those needs or solve those problems. If your products or services don’t, how could they be improved so that they do? Or, thinking about it another way, what type of customer could benefit from your products or services?
3 – Focus on Relationship, Not Sales
From the moment a customer encounters your business, hold off on sales and instead focus on building a relationship. Think in terms of how you can help the customer. Interact with them and create a bond. Easing off on the sales means they may not buy anything today or even tomorrow, but if you build a good relationship they eventually will, and they’ll stick with you.
4 – Create a Two-Way Dialog
The best way to get to know your customers and build a solid relationship is to get two-way communication going. Encourage them to contact you and interact with you. A great way to do this is through social media. Remember that even offline businesses can and should use social media to do this.
5 – Find Out Who Is Filling Their Needs Now
Find out who a potential customer is buying from right now and how they feel about it. Knowing this information reveals a great deal about your customers’ tastes and how they make their purchase decisions. Perhaps you have something unique to offer that your competitors don’t.
6 – Put Yourself in Your Customers’ Shoes
Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and see things from their point of view. When you do this, you can better understand the wide range of buying options they have, as well as the pros and cons of each. This also helps you clarify the edge you have over your competitors.
7 – Take Advantage of Tools
There are many online tools to help you get to know your customers better. Metrics give you passive data on who visits your site and what they do there, but tools like SurveyMonkey or survey slam, which lets you create surveys, Activecampaign an email and crm system that allows you to see what interests them can all help
8 – Don’t Assume
You probably know the popular saying, ‘When you assume, you make an ass of you and me.’ When it comes to online business, it’s more like ‘When you assume, you get out of touch and lose relevance with your market.’ Never assume you know what your customers like. Always rely on hard data or your customers themselves.
9 – Seek Out Face Time
Whether online or off, you should value the actual face-to-face time you get to spend with your customers. Phone calls and emails can be helpful for getting to know them, but there’s nothing like actually spending time with them. Where you can try to arrange a meetup or similar, where it’s not easy have a zoom social and invite them along with no agenda
10 – Find Out How They Feel
When gathering information about your customers, don’t just focus on demographics or behavior, but also how they feel and think. This is part of what’s also called psychographics. When you’re trying to address needs, ease pain and solve problems, your customers’ feelings are extremely important.
11 – Set SMART Goals
When setting goals, do it the SMART way. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. In other words, make sure your goals are specific and locked in to a deadline. Decide how you’ll measure them so you’ll know if you’ve reached them or not. Make sure they’re achievable and relevant to your business.
12 – Identify Your own Milestones
You reach large, overarching business goals by setting smaller sub-goals or even micro goals along the way. These are the milestones that get you to your destination. Not only do they give you direction, telling you what needs to be done on a daily basis, they also give you a sense of achievement when you reach them that keeps you motivated to keep working toward your goals.
13 – Keep Breaking Up Your Goals
Large goals are daunting, but so are your milestones. In order to reach each milestone, you should break them up into definable steps. Take your sub-goals and milestones and keep breaking these up further and further until you have specific tasks you can accomplish each day.
14 – Determine What Makes You Unique
In order to make your business a success, you need a strong unique value proposition. This is what sets you apart from other companies. Don’t focus on being the biggest, fastest, cheapest or best, because something better can come along. Instead, focus on what you offer that’s unique. This is harder for another company to outdo.
15 – Define Your Target Market
Create a profile for your target market that includes demographics, buying habits, and the feelings and attitudes that make up what’s called psychodemographics. Create this profile as if it were an actual person, or avatar, and focus your efforts on marketing specifically to that person.
16 – Size Up the Competition
In the planning stages of your business, research your competitors. You need to find out the overall business climate, as well as come up with ideas to set your business apart. Look at what they offer, what makes them unique, and how they solve customer problems. Also, try to find out what their customers think about them.
17 – Focus on Details
When most people start a business they have a vague idea of what it is and how it will work. But to survive and thrive you need details spelled out as clearly as possible. Think about how your business should operate on a daily basis. How specifically will you meet your customers’ needs? Where will the profits to keep you going come from?
18 – Find Out What People Do on Your Website
When designing or re-designing your business website, focus on what you want people to do there. Don’t just think in terms of design and features, but what actions you want visitors to actually perform. For example, you may want them to sign up for a newsletter or start following you on social media. For each online marketing channel, identify a purpose in this way.
19 – Get the Resources You Need
Identify what resources you have to work with and which resources you’ll need in the future. Outline how you will develop or secure those resources when you need them. Identify others who can help.
20 – Plan with Patience
If you’re just starting out, it’s normal for a business to make little or no money for its first few years of operation. Be patient when planning your business. Give it the time it needs to grow and become profitable.
21 – Back It up
Create a system for backing up your business that includes routinely backing up all data and storing it. Include procedures for what to do if data is lost and define who has access to the backed up data. Consider using cloud services as well as a physical back-ups, and back-up your data in more than one place.
22 – Invest in Security
Invest in a solid security program or service that will ensure your network is safe. Update whenever updates are offered. You may also choose to have your network tested. There are services that try to hack into your site in order to discover its vulnerabilities.
23 – Use Password Protection Best Practices
Your greatest security is simply choosing good passwords and changing them regularly. Use random passwords that are impossible to guess. Avoid common passwords like birthdays, kids’ or pets’ names, or anything related to your company. Change passwords regularly and restrict access carefully. When you hire outside help, give them temporary passwords and delete when the work is finished. Always change passwords when a person leaves your company.Using a free service like lastpass will help you immensely.
24 – Conduct Security Training
Train your staff and outsourced team well on security procedures and how to avoid malware. Make clear guidelines on downloading from the internet and teach them about common threats like phishing schemes. Make sure everyone is on the same page.
25 – Create an Acceptable Use Policy
Along with your security training, create an Acceptable Use Policy. This is a written statement that outlines what uses of the company’s computers are appropriate or inappropriate, especially in regards to internet use. It’s important to have these guidelines spelled out clearly.
26 – Protect Your Customer Data
27 – Use Multiple Channels to Keep in Touch
Make contact with your customers through as many different channels as possible so that if you lose one, you can still communicate with them. For example, if your site gets taken down, you can still maintain contact through social media or your email mailing list. Using a service like liveagent will allow you to have multiple channels of communication filtered into one place to keep it organised for your business
28 – Establish Disaster Protocols
Establish clear protocols for any type of disaster that could occur, from data breaches to natural disasters that shut down your company. When something like this occurs, you and your staff need to act quickly and in an organized manner.
29 – Hire Good Legal Back-up
Hire a business lawyer and make sure that all of your legal documentation is in order. Keep copies of all paperwork and understand well what you legally can and can’t do. This will include your terms of business and any contracts you need with your customers.
30 – Listen to Legal News
Keep an ear open for changes in internet law. Especially where ecommerce is concerned, there have been major changes in recent years that anyone doing business online needs to know. Make sure you understand copyright law well and how it pertains to what you do online.
31 – Map It Out with a Manual
Define all of your business practices and write them out in a manual. This can be used as a troubleshooting guide for when things go wrong as well as a training manual for new employees. Document each process for every area of your business including product development, quality control, customer service, internal and external communications, the sales process, financial processes, etc. Use graphics and checklists to make it easy to follow.
32 – Create Training Materials
From your manuals, create materials specifically for training new staff or contractors. These should give an overview of how the company works, as well as specific information for learning systems, processes and policies.
33 – Make Training Videos
If you rely on virtual help for internet or computer based tasks, an easy way to train this help is to create videos. Use screen capture video production software and film yourself actually doing the work. When you hire someone, you can give them these video tutorials and they only need to watch and follow.
34 – Secure Funding
If you’re working on a start-up, write your business systems and processes with financial funding in mind. If you want to take out a business loan, you’ll have to show these materials as part of the application. The more detailed and thorough they are, the more likely they are to get you the funding you need. You may also need to show this documentation to investors.
35 – Write Step Processes
When writing your processes, take each process or thing your business does, and break it down into steps. The steps should be simple and easy for anyone to understand even if they don’t have any knowledge of your industry. If a process has more than about seven steps, break it down into two sub-processes.
36 – Write a Style Guide
Some companies write a style guide. This is a manual that explains how communications should be made in a detailed way. A style guide might cover, for example, how you write emails to customers, what to say on the phone to clients, and words and phrases to use/avoid in marketing materials. How you communicate is important for your brand image, so it should be consistent. Some style guides also include ready-made templates you can use instantly for communications.
37 – Go Visual
Whenever possible, use visuals in your documentation. A graph or diagram explains a process instantly at a glance so that there’s no confusion over terminology. A great way to document your processes is by using mind maps. A mind map allows you to present a ‘big picture’ of information in a simple, easy to understand way.
38 – Allow Room to Grow
In your business processes and systems documentation, allow room to grow. Your business will evolve over time, and your processes and systems need to be able to sustain this change. Make each process scalable and write your documentation with your future growth in mind.
39 – Ask for Collaboration
Enlist your employees or coworkers to help you document your systems and processes. They may think of details you would forget. They may have other input as well that helps to explain the system more clearly. If you have a larger company, you might ask your employees to document their own processes, and then have others review for accuracy and clarity.
40 – Identify Areas to Improve
You can use your documentation not only to outline and clarify processes, but also to identify areas that need improvement. By writing everything down, you get a clearer picture of how your company works. You may find areas where there is waste or inefficiency. It helps if you ask employees and customers for feedback.
41 – Create a Solid Budget
Every business needs a budget. No business can survive without one. Your budget is your estimated monthly expenses and profits. Start by considering expenses. Most start-ups can’t rely on profits early on until they have a steady cash flow going.
Separate expenses into three categories: Fixed expenses which don’t change, such as rent, leased items, and insurance; variable costs, which are related to sales volume and include things such as raw materials, shipping and software to meet sales demands; and semi-variable costs, which are costs that can be adjusted depending on volume of business such as advertising and salaries.
42 – Use Accounting Software
Make it easy on yourself and use an accounting software program such as QuickBooks. While you can’t completely automate your financial operations, automating what you can is a huge help. It makes managing your finances that much faster and easier.
43 – Forecast Major Expenses
Make a list of all of your business’s major expenses such as computer upgrades or subscription services. Put these on your yearly calendar far in advance so that you have time to plan how you’ll pay for them. This way, you won’t have to take money that’s needed elsewhere when it comes time to make your payment.
44 – Pad Your Estimates
When estimating costs for expenses that aren’t fixed, such as rent or salaries, pad your estimation because things usually cost more than expected. For advertising and marketing expenses, take your estimate and double it. For legal and licensing expenses, triple them. They may not cost this much but at least you’re covered if they exceed expectations.Detailed research will help you with this so you can be fairly accurate and there will be no sudden surprises.
45 – Plan To Survive Shortfalls with a Credit Line
Arrange a credit line with your bank when things are good and you don’t need it. Then, when you experience a shortfall, as every entrepreneur inevitably does at some time, you can borrow only what you need. The reason this is a good strategy is that banks are wary of lending to creditors who need it immediately. It’s much easier to establish a credit line when you don’t need it.
46 – Get into a Regular Billing Cycle
Create policies for billing clients if your goods or services are such that you receive payment later. When you get payments later, you’re extending credit to your clients. Like any creditor, you need to regularly invoice them and create clear policies for dealing with late payments. Unpaid invoices (Accounts Receivable) can really hurt your cash flow when they get out of hand.
47 – Plan Taxes Well in Advance
One thing that’s not a financial uncertainty is taxes. Tax season rolls around every year at a set time, so plan ahead. There’s nothing worse than being caught unprepared when tax season hits. Put together all the resources you need including any legal help. It’s good to also set aside some extra cash for tax season in case you have to pay more than expected.
48 – Don’t Set and Forget
Create a budget and revise it constantly. Revisit it each month to see what has changed, as some things certainly will. Update your budget based on the activity of the last month. Also take into consideration any changes in your company that may affect finances, such as new staff or new regular clients.
49 – Scan Your Paperwork
Scan all financial paper work and back it up. This makes it easy to store and retrieve financial documents. You can also easily share documents with potential lenders or others who need to see them. Scanning saves paper and protects you if you get audited.
50 – Record Your Finances
Record your finances honestly and keep in mind that someday a banker may be pouring over them, deciding whether or not to offer you a loan. If you think about this future banker when you make financial decisions, it may influence you to make decisions that are sound now.
Running a small business isn’t easy and you’ll find many roadblocks along the way. But these 100 survival tips are enough to get you started with conquering those challenges and getting past many of the common mistakes business owners and entrepreneurs make.
Here are a couple suggestions for using these tips to your best advantage:
1. For each of the categories of tips, try picking one tip that you know you need to work on and explore it in more depth.
2. You can also pick a whole category and devote a week or month to implementing some of the tips.
Good luck in your business ventures and here’s to your business success!