Business Strategies Made Simple

Businesses that thrive need to have a powerful strategy in order to help growth everyday. Check out these  5 straightforward ways to getting your company on board for business.

Positioning

This is the bridge that connects everything together. It is one of the most important components in any business strategy as it creates brand equity which is crucial for the growth and success of almost any business in this world.

Publicity

Items such as press releases, contacting local editors, writing articles and getting in front of media professionals is a fantastic way to get your companies name out there. This way, you will be able to drive customers to your locations, call centers and website, and also encourage your customers to purchase your products or services.

Be memorable

You want to stand out in the minds of your customers, so put yourself out there to stand apart from your competition. Your marketing strategy should include all forms of marketing including direct marketing, online marketing, email marketing, article and event marketing and non-traditional as well as traditional methods of marketing.

Promotions

Not only should you hold special events and coupons to drive sales and customers up, but by creating promotional products to get your name out there is one of the most important and passive ways of making money.

Business Strategies Made Simple

Strategic Partnerships

Many successful business owners have developed partnerships that either increase their client list or add extra products or services to their product line.

Beyond Customer Service

Bringing customers back and keeping your current customers happy is one of the most important and at times, most difficult things to accomplish in the life of your business. The steps go beyond simple customer service. The items below are ones that will lead you to distinguishing yourself from the competition. Stick to these steps to pave your road to success.

Answer the phone.

This sounds simple, maybe even stupid because of its obvious nature. But as simple and straightforward as it is, it’s truer than most other things in business. If you aren’t the phone answering type, get someone to do it for you. Hire an answering service, forward your calls, hire an assistant or a team to answer the calls. Don’t have a recording; people want to talk to a live real person. This is the first step to good business is answering the call that’s going to bring in revenue.

Commit what you can do, no more, no less.

When you think of commitment, don’t only think of a relationship with a loved one. Think of committing to your customers individually. This will bring value and a certain level of distinctness from other companies. However it is worse when you can’t deliver what you have committed. Make sure what you say is what you do. Simple as that!

Be a listener.

Every business owner is also someone else’s customer. Then they also know like the rest of the world how frustrating it is when someone is not listening to you. This is your customer’s money, make them feel comfortable with the money that they are spending with you and your venture. This way they are more likely to pass on the good news that your company is of good value and that you are good listeners.

Deal with complaints.
Walking away from a complaint helps no one. It frustrates your customer and may lead to the badmouthing of your business for the future. Assume that every customer is the most important and even if you are just listening (as many customers want, only) it is important to let them know you want to resolve it.

Be helpful, even when you don’t profit.
Not only does this concept help the world go round, it also helps business make names for them. When you go out of your way to help a client and not charge them for every bit and bop available, they feel special, valued and are likely to remember your kindness in many ways, for many moons.

Walk them there.

That extra step is what keeps people going to their favorite stores and companies. When someone asks for the best fertilizer in the store walk them there, don’t just let them know what aisle it resides. If you are on the phone and someone has a computer question, take them there, let them have the comfort of your knowledge on the other end.

A bit extra for you.

Give away things for those loyal or even tough customers. Keeping and saving face is important in business. Obviously you won’t be giving away the farm. But if you are selling a couch for $3000, why not throw in a couple of throw pillows? When we extend ourselves, people’s brain cells tend to grow memory in accordance to your act of kindness.

Independence is Bliss

In a recession many people need to get creative with work. With layoffs abounding the nation it is up to you to get yourself a paycheck. In order to do this, make sure that you flow in the direction of the water if you want to stay afloat. Check out some independent/entrepreneur positions that you could begin all by yourself.

Consultant

If you are better at something than most people and don’t mind teaching it, this is the job for you. Take your special skills and share them with the world. Spend the $20 on: $14 on a box of clean-edge laser or inkjet business cards and $6 buying your first prospect a cup of coffee one morning.

Webpreneur

To do it right, start by picking a subject matter you know a lot about. Then get a domain and create a web site. It doesn’t even matter what technology you use just as long as you have original and interesting content. Set aside time every week to put new content on the site, delete dead links, and other maintenance. After you are getting the hits coming to your site from your interesting regularly updated website, you can sell primo advertising room.

Spend the $20 on: $8 or less for a domain (see our Online Business Guide’s list of cheap domain name registrars) and $12 for a year of hosting (search for “$1 hosting”).

House sitter / Pet sitter

People need security. Give it to them. Whether its pets or just home visits you can really rake in the money making people’s lives more comfortable. You don’t necessarily need to have any skills or requirements other than being trustworthy and organized.  Be sure to have personal references available, and you’ll also need reliable transportation. If you want to get serious, you can get bonded and insured as well. Spend the $20 on: $2 on flyers to put up on bulletin boards, and the rest on classified ads in your local neighborhood paper (not a big city-wide one).

Professional Organizer

People these days are simply overwhelmed by their “stuff”. Help them figure it out! There are plenty of people that feel quite overwhelmed by their own things and what to do with them.  There’s a prime opportunity for people to come in at a reasonable rate and get houses organized. And while there is a National Association of Professional Organizers that you can join when you’re ready, mostly it takes common sense and organizational skills.

Spend the $20 on: Classified ads.

Go Green to Save Green

Green is good for so many reasons as many businesses have discovered. Save the planet, save the rain forest, reduce carbon emissions, etc. We all have now (hopefully) been exposed to the vital importance of doing what we can in business to give back to the ever and always giving planet. If you weren’t already sold on green business just for the basic “it’s the right thing to do” mentality, here are a couple of great money saving and productivity boosting reasons to give it a shot if you haven’t already.

Good PR

Publicize your deeds to your planet and let people know what your environmental initiatives are. This will not only boost the image that people may have of you but will also add a new value to your company that could make your worth heavier in the business world. Just make sure you’re actually doing what you’re saying to avoid green washing, be open and honest with your green efforts!

Boost Morale and Productivity

Employees like hearing that the company they work for cares. It has been proven that companies that are dedicated to reducing their carbon footprint and that give back to their planet have higher productivity rates and less absenteeism. It is not only good for your planet, but for the overall health of your company.

Saving the Dough

Not only is going green good business, but it can reduce cost of operating in the long run. It includes but is not limited to reducing paper use, changing the way you make copies, reducing energy used to run an office and of course reducing the amount of water consumption. A typical office disposes of about 350 pounds of wastepaper per employee per year.

Businesses gone green and saving money

Ghirardelli Chocolate Company

Ghirardelli redesigned their packaging to incorporate reusable plastic totes for chocolate shipments, and has as a result, saved the chocolate company $520,000 annually.

Bank of America

By reducing the weight of ATM receipts from 20 pounds to 15 pounds,BOA saved transportation and storage/handling costs just around $500,000 a year.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

The 16th busiest airport in the United States increased its recycling from 100 tons diverted from landfills in 2001 to 900 tons diverted in 2005, resulting in an annual savings of $178,000.

New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc. (NUMMI)

GM and Toyotas $2 billion of North American automobile venture decided to incorporate energy conservation, waste reduction, material efficiency and recycling into their company standards. This later helped the company save somewhere around $4.5 million in 1999. They now ask their suppliers to use reusable shipping containers for the shipment of parts, which reduced their consumption of cardboard by 60 percent in 1999, accounting for $2.5 million of the company’s savings that year while also avoiding 11,000 tons of waste.

Oakland Processing and Distribution Center of U.S. Postal Service

This branch of the U.S. Postal Service is saving $500,000 a year by taking steps to remove recyclables from their waste stream and increasing the efficiency of energy and water use.

Traits of a Good Leader

Every company needs an effective, stable and strong leader charging forward to bring new opportunity and know how to calm the storm when the time comes. If you are one of these people or would like to be one, check out the list of effective leadership traits.

Learn and Teach Always

Every leader needs to know how to learn effectively and consistently. Business is always changing as well as the industry. Also, learning is half of the battle–leaders need to know how to translate their knowledge into employee/communal language.

Be Nice

Employment is a different environment than it used to be. It is now a place where you must earn trust and value employees to keep morale high. Simply, be fair, be kind, and be understanding and these values will take you, your team and your overall company far.

Personal Responsibility

Building teams that are about the best for the group and making sure that as a leader you are taking accountability for what is your responsibility and allowing the team to benefit.

Consistently Simplify

If a company is working on too many things, sometimes things can get muddled and unfocused. It is important to always have your top three elements that the company is focusing on. No more.

Global Context

How does your company fit into the world? What does your company mean to business? Where do you sit in the ecological sphere of the business world? This is all effective and vital information to know as you are building and leading your business.

What’s your style?

Appreciate what you bring to the table as a leader and build on that. Make sure that you are always self aware to assure that you are staying on track and on board the effective leader train. It is easy to fall off of this and feel the need for change.

Manage by setting boundaries with freedom in the middle

The boundaries are commitment, passion, trust, and teamwork. Within those guidelines, there’s plenty of freedom. But no one can cross those four boundaries.

Detailed and Disciplined

Know all of the cogs and wheels and how they turn within the company sphere. No job is too unimportant, no facts are useless. Make sure that you have the most important ones written down in your brain and used as a way of doing business.

Time Management, Inc.

What are your priorities as a company? Define these and then set them into your daily tasks and goals that go into your planner so you are consistently aligned with them.

Be Straightforward

A good leader is able to correct assertively and move on. Make your corrections like smells–get them in and get them out. This will keep things open, fresh and leave no questions as to how you feel about something.

Ways to Show Appreciation

In business, it is important to recognize the hardworking employees. Making sure to take time to give them the recognition they need is important to a company’s functionality and overall health. Many of the reasons to give awards to employees include term of service, productivity, sales, and more.

Thanks for being with us. Longevity of service is one of the biggest reasons a company gives employee awards. Every year of service saying thank you can be a fantastic way of letting them know you appreciate their loyalty and hard work. Some companies may start with a pen, then a mug, a plaque, and so forth. This appreciation can build incentive to stay.

Thanks for your hard work. Another reason to give employees’ awards is to show the people that you care about how hard they are working. Managers can be slow when it comes to rewarding others for their hard work. The best way a manager can reward an employee is by giving a thoughtful gift rather than bringing in donuts for the staff on Fridays (however I’m sure this is very much appreciated!)

Great job on your sales numbers! Sales employees often fight it out for the most sales in a team. They may be competing for the highest sales to earn a vacation somewhere or even for employee awards given by the company. It is common for companies to give big glass awards for top sellers as well as intangible items like vacations.

Best of….Employee awards are a brilliant idea because they work to build encouragement and motivation within the employees. This kind of positive reinforcement can cause more productivity creating a competitive edge in the businesses, and works to motivate the workforce.

There are many reasons to give employee awards to staff members in any business. The employees are the bread and butter of most organizations and could use recognition and appreciation to keep the cogs in your business well oiled and working fabulous.

Magnify Yourself

As a business owner, have you ever thought to yourself, “I gave them my business card, but they will throw it away or store it with all of their others”? You want to stand out and not only that but you want them to think of you the minute that they have the need for your services.

The best way to stick with people is to get a magnetic business card, especially if you are in the service industry. You might not always be needed but want to be the first on a customer’s mind when they are in need of your services. Being on someone’s fridge provides this service to you and for them holds their coupons, kids accomplishments and to do lists to their fridge.

Let’s just state the obvious here, refrigerators are used frequently. You could almost call it the local watering hole in a home. People living and visiting the home eat and talk there. Having your business card on the fridge lets you have hundreds of opportunities to be remembered in a future clients mind.

With many clients it is all about the “first number I see” concept. Although this may not be the best way to choose a business, it is a fact of business. Get in on the secret and get your business up on people’s fridges before your competition does!

Promote With Success!

Promotional products are one of the safest ways to get into people’s minds and personal or business radars for a long time. They provide a constant reminder that people should be using your services and products. However, there is a right and a wrong way to match your company’s image and objective to promotional products. Some things to consider:

I want it and need it

Coming away from a trade show, it is easy to have a plethora of things that you don’t need and will surely throw away the minute you get back to your office. Make sure that what you are giving away will stay in people’s lives for a time to come. Pads of paper, pencils, and pens are all good examples. Think of an item that will stick around for awhile and that will be used.

Quality vs. Quantity

When it comes to having products that stay in people’s lives for a long time without breaking, running out (of whatever it has) is going to require that you buy quality products. Spending a bit more on each item to ensure quality and longevity can make the huge difference for making sure your items aren’t likely to end up in the trash.

Designing for Success

Make sure that when you have a product, that you are giving the three most important things out to your consumer: business name, website, and logo. Now you may have to improvise a little….you may not be able to fit all three together. Always have a business name and website, if you can fit a logo on, do it!

Big Personality, Big Difference

When you are at a trade show or expo, it is so very important to understand that a first impression can sometimes be your only chance to make an impression to passersby. The term “big personality” can sometimes have negative connotations attached to it but in this specific case, it is a “big personality” that is honed in, professional and of course, effective.

If you are lucky enough to nab a person with a “big personality”, it is important to set them up for success and lead them in a direction of greatness. There are a number of things to help them focus on but during their training, these are the most important factors to check off your list.
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