Category: Small Business

Small Business Coach Are You Ready to Become a Success Story?

Small business coaching is hot. A few years ago the only coaches anyone talked about were sports coaches. But today, PriceWaterhouseCoopers estimates that there are 30,000 business and life coaches worldwide.

Thousands of small business owners and managers turn to coaches every day to improve their personal skills and business results. You can, too. But first you have to determine if you’re ready for coaching. Then you have to select the right coach.

 

Are you Ready?

Rosa started her business out of her home. She made money, but not as much as she felt she should. She was frustrated that she couldn’t find time for her family. That’s when a friend suggested that a small business coach would help.

That’s a typical situation. Most small businesses owners don’t start out using a coach. They usually come to coaching when they’ve had some success and when they know they could have more. They usually come to coaching when they’re ready to listen and when they need a little knowledge and a little nudge to do the right things.

The best coaching in the world won’t help you if you’re not ready to be helped. So before you go hunting for a good small business coach, answer the following questions.

Are you ready to listen to the things you need to hear? A good coach will ask you about things you haven’t thought of and push you to think outside the box. That’s often scary.

A good coach may also tell you to change the way you do some things That’s hard for many small business owners because it means admitting that you’ve made some bad decisions and choices.

Are you ready to take a hard look at your business? Even the best coach can’t help you if your business can’t deliver quality to enough people at the right price. Sometimes a business simply can’t succeed because the market is too small or too hard to reach.

Are you ready to pay the price? Coaching does not come without a price. You will pay a price in both money and time. You may even realize that you need to invest in new things for your business.

Coaching is not a magic bean. You have to work at success every day. I tell my clients that “success is based on persistency and consistency, not magic.”

You’re ready for coaching if you see coaching as an investment in yourself and your success. Your next challenge is to find the right coach for you.

 

Choosing the Coach for You

Great coaches, like great chefs and great football players, are rare. And, sometimes, even a great coach is not the right coach for you. Here are some ways to evaluate coaches.

Look for a coach who’s run a small business. Before I started coaching I built two successful small businesses. I’ve really “been there and done that” so I know what my clients are going through.

I also use coaches myself. The ones that work best for me have small business experience. Small businesses are different from big businesses and you need a coach who understands the special challenges.

Look for a coach who’s been doing it for a while. My job as a coach is to help you know what to do, but it’s also to help you do what you know. It takes time to learn to coach well.

Look for a coach who won’t nickel and dime you to death. It seems to me that there are two kinds of coaches when it comes to billing. There are coaches who charge you by the minute, hour or session. And there are coaches who are always accessible or available for short conversations between sessions, if needed without piling on extra charges. I find the latter works better for my clients.

Look for a coach that you’re comfortable with. Successful outcomes demand a productive relationship between you and your coach. It won’t work if you feel talked down to or belittled or if you feel like your coach doesn’t care about you. If you feel any of those things, look for a different coach.

Look for a coach who’s picky. The best coaches are selective about the kind of clients they work with. We expect a lot of our clients and we limit the number of clients we work with so we can concentrate on helping each one succeed.

After some soul searching and some research Rosa started working with a small business coach. It wasn’t always easy, but together they found ways to help Rosa’s business grow and help her reap the benefits of success. They took her business and life to a whole new level.

It can happen for you, too. If you’re ready, if you’re willing to embrace change and if you’re willing to pay the price, a small business coach can help you become an amazing success story.

 

Ten Strategies to Get Clients

Managing your own business can be stressful, but then getting clients to keep your business growing? That can be one of the most complex and anxiety-inducing challenges for a business owner.

Now in this post, I’m sharing 10 strategies that will help you get more clients for your business. Want to be booked in advance? Here are my favorite ways to do it:

 

1. Actively Participate in Facebook Groups

Yes, Facebook can be your ticket to grow your business. Although many people have been throwing the idea that “Facebook for business is dead.” Since Facebook pages now have a very small organic reach, so its easier for them to say that. Facebook pages might be going through something now but as a whole? Facebook can still be the best way to find clients and build your business.

How are you going to do it? Try to join Facebook groups where you think your ideal client might be hanging out. Like for example, you are a content writer, you might wanna join groups that has a number of members who are bloggers or small businesses. Then you can post or offer your services in the group to be able to find clients who might be in need of the services you are offering.

 

2. Try to perfect your current client’s processes to get more referrals

Take your time and plan out the processes that your current client will have. This way you will be able to plan out thoroughly the things that you need to get done with your client and try to be specific as much as possible. When you are able to do a smooth and perfect process, it will increase your chances to be referred to your client’s peers and friends.

Here’s an example of a professional process: Initial emails >> Phone consult (sometimes) >> Contract >> Deposit Invoice >> Questionnaire >> Proofs (Rounds 1, 2, 3) >> Final Invoice >> Installation >> Phone call instructions (if needed) >> Thank you email

 

3. Be Active on Social Media Platforms

Being active on social media platforms, not just Facebook but also Twitter, Instagram and other platforms where you can answer questions and post actively to promote your services, is another way to get more clients. You can make use of the hashtags related to the services you offer so can find potential clients specifically.

It’s very simple, but can be an incredibly effective way to find people who need what you’re selling right now. If they’re asking a question? Answer it! If they’re looking for someone to hire? Be sincere, let them know you can help, and give them a link to your portfolio.

 

4. Work with Clients who have a Large number of audiences

Working with clients who have a large number of audiences means that it could possibly help increase your chances to get more clients to work with you also! It could help increase your leads and give you bigger chances to be found through your clients’ site. Of course, if you work terrific and your work outcomes are outstanding it would give your current client’s audiences an opportunity to appreciate everything they find in your client’s site and look for the reason behind it!

 

5. Follow up with potential Clients who didn’t purchase

You probably have some emails from clients who initially inquired about your services and then never emailed you back. Follow up with them and shoot them an email. Try something like:

Hey (name),

Thank you so much for considering my services recently. Even though we weren’t able to work together, I’m glad we were able to connect! As a new business owner, I’m eager to find ways that I can improve my business and enhance the experience for my future clients. If you’re up for it, I’d love to hear why you decided not to book my services. I know this might be an odd question, but I really do appreciate any feedback you can share.

 

6. Check with your past client to see if they need anything more

This would give them the impression that you are still willing to work for them. You can offer them new services or an upgrade or update that anything they may need to improve their business. Similarly, you might have recently discovered something that you think will surely help your clients. Perhaps it’s a new favorite plugin or an e-book you just wrote that you know they’d love. Send your past client an email letting them know about it. It won’t feel salesy if it’s genuine and they can tell that you’re just looking out for them.

 

7. Guest Blog on other people’s site

Doing a guest blog post may not be easy but it sure does help get you your potential clients! Try to search for sites that talks about or does anything related to the services you are offering and write them a guest blog post. Also, you should make sure that the website has a high number of engaged audiences to get you more chances of getting discovered. Then try to write genuinely and promote your business in between post but not too much. Be more like a helpful guide than on the services promoting side.

 

8. Build an Email list and Keep in touch

Building your email list of getting your own number of subscribers would help a lot. But you also need to make sure that you update and send them email every now and then. It could be an email about the new services you are offering or some freebies and other stuffs that you think might be helpful to them. But it’s very likely they will check their email, meaning you can “talk” to your potential clients and subscribers just about any time you’d like.

 

9. Do some Facebook Ads

Now for this one, you might’ve to spend some penny to run your Facebook ads but it does work! In my business, I do this often and it does help me get my potential clients. Facebook ads help you reach out to those people who are looking for specific services or interest which could highly increase your chances to get found! You can customize the ads to whichever you like, which country to target and what age you would like to see it.

 

10. Search Engine Optimization

Optimizing your website would give you the chance to be found on Google! Yes, although it might not be as often as possible, there are so many people who uses search engines to find anything they want to find on the internet and it might increase your chance as well! You might think that it would be difficult to get clients from search engines for the same reason I did, but if you work hard on your Search Engine Optimization (SEO), then it’s definitely possible!

Defining Top-Line and Bottom-Line For Your Business Growth

Computer with line graph

On Wall Street, financial investors speak of CEOs improving their companies’ “top line” by increasing sales volume. Their “bottom line” by reducing their expenses to expand the margins from their current sales volume.

For Internet companies a similar “top line – bottom line” approach should be taken by business owners determining where to direct their improvement efforts.

 

Defining Top-Line versus Bottom-Line Business Growth

An Internet business improves their “top line” by increasing the number of unique visitors to their website or their “bottom line” by increasing their “visitor-to-sale” or “visitor-to-lead” conversion rates.

Let me illustrate.

After an online business establishes their performance metrics, it can predict with confidence the expected results from their visitor traffic. For example, a business’ performance metrics may show that for every 1,000 visitors received, 15 sales are complete – a sales conversion rate of 1.5%.

With this understanding, the business can increase its “top line” growth by driving more visitors to its website. For example, if the industry invests money in traffic generation efforts to improve their visitor traffic from 1,000 to 10,000, 150 sales will be achieved from the 1.5% sales conversion rate – a ten times growth rate.

 

Top-Line Improvements Focuses on Traffic Generation

What are “traffic generation efforts”?

In brief, traffic generation efforts are ways a business attracts visitors to their website. They may include online initiatives such as search engine optimization, pay-per-click search engines, affiliate marketing, email campaigns, and media or offline ones like direct mail, television, radio, and public relations.

On the other hand, the business may decide to spend their money on improving their “bottom line” by concentrating efforts on website conversion strategies.

For example, if the high business invests money in website conversion strategies to increase their sales conversion rate from 1.5% to 2%, then for the same 1,000 visitors, sales will increase from 15 to 20 – a 25% increase.

 

Bottom-Line Increases Focus on Website Conversion Strategies

So what are website conversion strategies?

Website conversion strategies are website design changes that connect with your visitor’s wants and persuades them to take action to achieve your goals as well as theirs. There are endless strategies to increase your bottom line to establish your business growth although some have greater significance than others.

Depending on your type of online business, different strategies may achieve more significant results for your website and offer greater relevancy for your visitors.

If you manage a consumer or business product website than website conversion strategies that focus on reducing shopping cart abandonment may provide the most significant conversion improvement. Meanwhile, a service business’ lead generation website will find improvement from website conversion strategies focuses on “contact us” form completion.

 

Implement These Website Conversion Strategies

There are website conversion strategies that will improve conversion rates for all online businesses regardless of their objectives. These strategies include improvements to:

Website’s sales copy including writing headlines and sub-heads with stronger visitor appeal, defining stronger calls-to-action, using more visitor-relevant and benefit-oriented words and positioning popular visitor keywords in prominent areas connect with visitors and persuade action.

  • The graphics and layout design to generate visual relevancy and message consistency for your visitors.
  • It guarantees, returns, shipping, privacy, customer support and security policies you present to gain confidence and trust from your visitors.
  • Navigational structures to make it more comfortable and more convenient for your visitors to locate the products and services they desire to purchase.
  • Buying or contact options to increase how a visitor can buy or receive contact from you including alternatives to a shopping cart or online forms like phone, mail, fax, online chat, and email.
 

How to Decide Between Top-Line or Bottom-Line Improvements

Your decision to pursue “top-line” or “bottom-line” improvements should be evaluated by:

  1. The objectives you plan to achieve.
  2. The amount of money you have to spend,
  3. The timeline established to meet your goals,
  4. The amount of visitor traffic, your website, currently receives and
  5. The conversion rate your site achieves presently for your calls-to-action.

Establishing a plan before you make any decisions is critical. As the old joke goes, “I’m making progress climbing the ladder of success–I just don’t know if it’s leaning against the right wall.”

The plan should include measurable goals based on your current perfomance metrics.

Knowing your budget is essential in the selection process. Why, because specific conversion enhancement strategies can implement for a small investment of your time and effort. While traffic generation efforts may require greater investments of time, energy or both, figuring your budget enables you also to forecast the potential return you may receive from improving your top-line versus your bottom-line. The areas that provide the biggest bang for your buck are the ones to start one first.

Identifying your current visitor traffic volume and conversion rates, especially for new Internet businesses, is also very important when determining top-line or bottom-line improvement. If you currently have low visitor traffic, then you will have difficulty in deciding if a conversion enhancement strategy had a real effect on improving your conversion rates.

Improve Your Bottom-line

For example, if your website receives 100 visitors a month, it will take you at least a month or two before any real, measurable changes occur to your conversion rates.

In this case, you would be better off focusing on top-line (traffic generation efforts) first and then returning to bottom-line improvements for increasing your conversion rates.

Home Business Tips To Make Your Venture a Success

Business Coach on laptop

So you’ve started a home business venture and are looking for home business tips to make your venture a success. There is no doubt that there is a vast opportunity for entrepreneurial people to make a very good living with a home business.

So what are some good home business tips to maximize your profit potential and increase your chances of success? The first of our home business tips is all about marketing. Your business cannot possibly succeed unless your target customer base knows about it. It is important to promote your business wherever you think you can garner interest in the products and services you have to offer. There are plenty of places you can do this at no cost to you. Post messages on Internet message forums dedicated to subjects related to your business. At the very least, you will get interested people to your site and they will remember it even if they don’t buy immediately. This also creates the opportunity for word of mouth viral marketing to other potential clients as well.

Other home business tips for marketing include attending conferences or gatherings or joining membership groups related to your business. This allows you to network with other people involved in your business area, thereby maximizing your opportunity to make business contacts on the client and the partner side.

Further home business tips include making the most of every opportunity to claim expenses. Save every receipt, because everything from your home phone line and internet connection to your vehicle expenses to your gas to your business wardrobe can be claimed against any income you bring in from your home business.

There are many blogs and websites dedicated to proven home business tips that will help you. Before diving in to your new home business, it would benefit you to read through some of these tried and true methods for success and determine how you can apply the concepts to your own home business. Good luck!

Get More Clients for Service Based Businesses

Components of Online Marketing

To get more clients, marketing plays an important role in business. Because it is the basis for reaching out to potential more clients and customers to expose what the business offers. With the massive impact of inventions and more importantly that of information communication technology, the way and method of promoting and marketing services and products have changed from the age-long use of electronic and print media. The best marketing options of this present age are internet or digital marketing. In this article, I will discuss in details, how service-based business owners can generate lead, get more clients, conversion and expand their business using the many platforms of the internet.

 

1. Website And SEO

The website signifies another office where all the services rendered are explained, itemized and structured. Any prospective customer can access the website at any time of the day. With website created, a need for a good ranking of the website is very important. The search engine optimization of the website makes it rank on popular search engines like Google, Baidu and Bing. The ranking provides an organic traffic to the website. Local SEO is perfect to capture the local lead. The search engine optimization requires a technical expertise to make the website rank higher using an ethical and safe method. Serviced based businesses can also get leads from search engine marketing which includes paying searching engine websites for advert promotions of their website for targeted leads that converts to sales.

 

2. Social Media Marketing

The social media represents a pull of billions of people from different regions, countries, and languages to create a perfect and flawless place well poised for marketing of service based businesses. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube. All these platforms and many others have advert services for business to tap into the massive number of people visiting the social media daily through websites and applications to chat with friends and families. The social media marketing is a huge place to generate and draw leads for any of the services you offer. A business page or account is needed to run an advert and this page will indicate the service the business renders. For example, a business offering dental and oral health services will indicate it fully while another offering account auditing will also do same.

 

3. Email Marketing for More Clients Connection

This is another method through which online leads can be generated for service-based businesses. It involves the collation of e-mail address collected or captured from traffic visiting the websites. These e-mail addresses contain those of more clients that already paid for services and others that have not. Online leads can be generated by sending bulk e-mail messages to all the active addresses so as to get conversions and sales. E-mail platforms like Aweber are very useful for e-mail marketing. In conclusion, all the above options to gain more clients except one requires making payment to the platform concerned to have the advertisement and promotion running. Online lead generation is the most effective method for marketing and increasing sales and revenue through better reach, exposure, and engagement. Making the best of online lead generation options, however, requires a digital marketer, an expert that knows about how to set up an effective and productive online advert.

Kick Start Your Marketing

Today I’d like to teach you about the three most important start up marketing tools you need to get and keep new customers.

  1. In person: It’s essential you meet with customers/clients in person whenever possible. This shows you respect them and take the time to work with your clients to give personal attention to each of them.
  2. Follow up letter: Always take a moment to send a follow up letter about what you talked about, new agreements or partnerships made and to thank them for taking the time to meet with you. Likewise, you should always send thank you letters or small gifts to partners you find success with.
  3. Phone call: Use a telephone call to follow up with them to talk again about the matters you talked about in your meeting and offer any assistance you can to help their business run smoothly and more successfully.

None of these will work if you don’t have a quality product/service to back you up!

Here are the key steps for putting together your start-up marketing tools:

  1. Research potential customers, buyers, competitors and their preferred methods of distribution.
  2. Talk to potential customers. Take a hard look at your product from a customer’s perspective and see what it needs to be successful.
  3. Follow up with your 3-step process from above.
  4. Develop systems for contact follow through, quality control standards and customer service.
  5. Develop post-sale follow up system to keep lines of communication open is customers and build on your current relationship which increases future purchases.

“Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs” Peter Drucker, management consultant

Here’s another one I love from an icon:

“If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.” Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motor Company

This lesson has offered you the tools to put together a start-up marketing plan that can be used over and over again to help your customer base and business grow in a manageable way.

Stop Wasting Your Resources!

Today you’re going to learn how to find a target market of potential customers so you aren’t wasting precious resources on blitz marketing. So, the two questions you have to ask yourself are:
  • What do people really want to buy from me?
  • What related products are they already buying?
Once you figure this out you will know who is more predisposed to purchase your products/services. Then, you find other businesses with the same customer base who you can customer share with. Come up with an incentive and great arrangement to encourage both of your customer bases to shop at both of your stores. The basic concept is this: You want to find existing businesses who have the customer profile that you are looking for to market your products/services to. Then strike up a relationship with those business owners to work out an incentive for customers to purchase from both businesses. As a result, you have an audience to market to and they generate an added value from their current base. So, how do you figure this out? There is a great formula from Jay Abraham you can follow with great success. LV = (P x F) x N – MC Here’s what it all means:
  • LV is the life time value of a customer
  • P is the average profit margin from each sale
  • F is the number of times a customer buys each year
  • N is the number of years customers stay with you
  • MC is the marketing cost per customer (total costs/number of customers)
Once you know how much you need to spend to attract a new customer, you will know how much of an incentive you can offer to a business to help attract new customers. So, here’s your step-by-step process:
  1. Find companies who already have the customer base you are looking for.
  2. Negotiate an incentive for them to share that customer base with you.
  3. Focus your marketing resources to this group of predisposed customers.
If you need help working through this process, please contact us and we’ll set you up with the most comprehensive system of marketing tools and resources.

Educate Your Customers

Educate them about what, you may be thinking. Well, consider this, many businesses focus solely on attracting new customers, but you NEED to spend a good chunk of your time retaining current and former customers. These are people you already know to be a good sales potential…they’ve already bought from you!

Take the time to market and sell new products to your old customers and less time trying to sell old products to new customers and you will see a drastic change in your sales, customer quality and branding position.

Here are a couple of key elements to use to retain your current customers:

  1. Stay in contact: This means by phone, email, e-newsletter, in person-by pigeon if you have too!
  2. Post-Purchase Assurance: This means you need to follow up with customers. Your customers need to feel like they are being supported for their purchase and with the item they purchased. How many times have you purchased a product, then felt completely abandoned? Something as simple as a Thank You note with your contact or customer service information can go along way in retaining a great customer.
  3. Deals & Guarantees: Always offer your current customers the best deals and guarantees you have. Show them you appreciate their business or even come up with a club specifically to reward loyal customers. You can also do this with a preferred pricing option.
  4. Integrity: Using good business practices and simply upholding integrity, dignity and honesty go along way with customers. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of swindling and crap out there and the safer and more confident you make your customers feel, the more they will trust you and that makes for an amazingly supportive and loyal customer.

There are three cornerstone ideas to a successful business:

  • Quality product/service
  • Offering useful products/services that solve a problem for or enhance the life of a customer
  • Offer subjects your customers find interesting

Use this approach of educating your customers and offering them real information and insight and you will be rewarded with loyalty and success.

Stop wasting all your time on new prospects while your current customers fall by the wayside!

As Jay Abraham says, “Your best prospects are your existing customers. If you’ve been putting all your marketing efforts into acquiring new customers, stop and diverts some of your resources into reselling, upselling, cross-selling to those same customers. In every ways possible – through package inserts, regular mailings, special offers – stay in touch with those customers and get them used to buying from you.”

So, there it is! Remember, we can help you put together the resources and tools to do exactly that. We can help you educate your customers and you can watch the benefits pay offer many-fold.

Lessons I Learned from Paris Hilton

Today we’ll talk about shameless self-promotion. That’s right, I said it! Shameless! After all, we are learning from Paris Hilton here.

It’s all about self-promotion! Self-promotion comes in many forms and you can use different tactics to get your name out there. Look at politicians! Talk about self-promotion and in some not so discreet ways, at that. But, seriously, consider some of the major superstars we all know. Madonna, Donald Trump, Howard Stern and Bill Clinton, just to name a few.

We all self promote. Did you raise your hand in class to show the teacher you knew the answer? Of course! That’s self-promotion. This is the kind of self-promotion we are talking about. With dignity, class and the knowledge to back it up. If you self-promote only to prove you don’t really know what you’re talking about, you’re going to lose business.

Natural self-promoters are the former and I want to tell you about the three major traits they have and use to build themselves and their businesses.

  1. The first is position. You need to position yourself around people who can make a difference in your life. You need to do this frequently. You need to wake up every morning and ask yourself “Who can I meet today who will make a difference in my success?” In fact, go a step further, write it in big, bold letters and tape it on your bathroom mirror.

Also consider:

Who can help me meet my goals?

Is it a prospective customer/client? A colleague with contacts? An association with key members who may become prospects?

Don’t settle into interacting with the people who are the easiest to access. You need to reach outside your comfort zone and there you will find a wealth of new connections that will bring you great success.

  1. Now, let’s talk about Style. No, this doesn’t mean you need an Armani suit to bring in more business (though, let’s be honest-it wouldn’t hurt) ☺ What this really means is how are you different from your competitors and others in your industry. What makes you memorable with customers?

If you are meeting a lot of people and they don’t remember you once you leave the room, you have a serious problem! This means you have an opportunity to present yourself in a more memorable way.

There are lots of little subtle changes you can make. Reassess your:

  • Business cards
  • Company message
  • Your picture
  • Your wording

Maybe even, your hairstyle (of course, now we’re back to the expensive suit, but it really works!)

You get the idea. There are lots of little ways you can work on making your image and business more successful. Also, consider how you sound on the phone and how you great people at meetings or other events. Think about your 30-sec elevator speech.

  1. The third trait of natural promoters is repetition. You can’t say it once and leave it at that. Successful self-promoters say it as many times as they need until they get a response. Would you remember a commercial for Coca-Cola if you only saw it once, no! You see it over and over and eventually you head out to the store.

You, also, have to make multiple impressions on those you are networking with in order to build brand awareness. Repetition is in direct connection with positioning. Once you find people to network with, reach out and find hundreds more who can help in your success as well.