How Your Small Business Can Outmaneuver the Sharks

Should every small business owner have big ambitions? Certainly almost anyone who enters into the world of the entrepreneur or starts up their own, whether based at home, the high street or the web, has dreams of becoming a future success. After all, every large high street store, every national or international chain and every top name on the web started out as a small, fairly obscure business once. However, how can any small businesses manage to succeed in a world that seems dominated by big brands, big names and colossal empires? It can certainly frighten off many people who see the world of business like the ocean, with sharks round every coral reef, and danger lurking in the dark depths. Add to this the current economical climate with many seemingly secure names crumbling, and even entire nations finding themselves crippled, and many would be business owners may well consider that now is not the time to start up a new venture, or aim to develop an existing one. However, this is a terribly defeatist attitude, and brings to the table so many assumptions and myths that those who believe them to be true may well never make it in business, whatever the climate and conditions, and whatever the competition. Let’s look at the truth, and see why these assertions are untrue, and why not only is the ocean not full of sharks, but the current economical climate makes it perfect for the small business entrepreneur to jump in and try the water for themselves. To stretch out our metaphor just a little longer, so many people suggest that...

Does Your Small Business Need Digital Or Printed Letterhead?

A small business’s letterhead is one of the most essential marketing pieces. A letterhead enables you to send your company’s brand out on all of your communications with your clients and vendors. This not only gives you the opportunity to build up more recognition of your brand, but it also makes your business look established and credible. But many small businesses don’t wind up sending out a lot of printed communications—instead, they’ll send out an email with their document attached. And if they do need to print up a piece to mail, it will often just mean printing a few documents over the course of a year. Which brings us to the question of whether it’s really worth the cost for your business to invest in a stack of printed letterhead. The disadvantages—and advantages—of print letterhead One disadvantage of printed letterhead is the cost of getting it printed. Many traditional printers will begin to print with a minimum order of 500 pieces of letterhead. The price per-piece of letterhead will often be very high at this low of a quantity. It makes more sense from a pricing standpoint to print at least 1000 or 2000 pieces of letterhead. Another disadvantage of printed letterhead is its’ permanence. Once you’ve printed those thousand pieces of letterhead, you’re stuck with them as they are. If you move or change any of your other contact information, your letterhead immediately becomes outdated. The same goes if you change your tagline or your logo—all of those costly printed pieces head directly to the recycling bin. The advantages of print letterhead are that it often looks...

Small Business Retail Spaces: Post Recession Considerations

Despite the official end of the most recent UK recession, many businesses (particularly small retail businesses) are still feeling the pinch. In such situations the general consensus is to stick to tried and tested methods of marketing. Retailers and buyers alike aim for the same thing trusted brand identity. In times of financial hardship most buyers will stick to what they know broadband provider, parcel delivery service, hairdresser, silk flowers crafts, fruit and vegetable stall the importance of brand identity is relatable and changeable through every level of business. For retailers, nurturing strong brand identity encapsulates techniques ranging from shop floor dcor and sale pricing to customer service and stock quality. Arguably the most important factor of frugal business brand growth is brand promise. Break that promise and it could prove incredibly difficult to win back customers. An important lesson to be learned from Americas Great Depression of the 1930s is the value of customer service. Take care of customers competently through both fruitful and financially difficult times to boost business/customer trust, foster strong brand identity and increase customer loyalty that will likely span times of economical abundance and hardship alike. Successful retail design neednt be showy or expensive to convey business identity and enhance brand promise. The simplest retail spaces are often the most effective. Take the burgeoning art of colour psychology, for example. Identifying the most appropriate colour for a brand message isnt hard, and could thriftily help create a soothing, buyer-friendly atmosphere. Why are floral arrangements and silk flowers delivered to patients in hospital? Nature-inspired decoration like floral arrangements and the colour green encourage feelings of...

Scout With a Plan to Increase Sales

A scout is someone who listens or hears ahead of the main force. From yesterday to today, a scout listens for obstacles whether they are animals, vegetables or minerals. By taking this action of scouting ahead of mapping the potential obstacles, the main body was able to “work smarter not harder” when it came to handling future events. Salespersons also have the opportunity to be their own scouts. Unfortunately, as the authors of It’s Not the Big that Eat the Small, But the Fast that It’s the Slow, executives spend less than 15 minutes a day focused on scouting the future. The tasks of yesterday and today interfere with the ability to listen or hear the future. So how those who are in the position of selling truly embrace this role of scout as they think about their future? Maybe the answer lies in the word map. Before the invention of GPS, having a map was standard operating procedure for anyone traveling by a car or even walking in a large zoo or amusement park. You can use a map or what I prefer call My Action Plan as the scout for your future personal, professional or organizational success. This MAP has these key areas: Purpose Statement Values Statement Vision Statement Mission Statement for the next year Key Performance Indicators Written goals in these 6 growth areas: Time Management Productivity Revenue Personal Life Balance Continuous Learning Self Leadership (sales skills) Additionally, you will need to make an appointment with yourself to allow you time to scout for future obstacles. By investing a minimum of 60 minutes each week that...

Increase Your Sales by Eliminating Poor Leadership

When was the last time you came out of a sales meeting or conference call and felt as supercharged for success as you did after listening to Tony Robbins or Zig Ziglar? When any sales person, entrepreneur, or desk clerk comes out of a motivational talk of any sort, they feel ready to conquer their world. Sometimes folks need help getting their finances under control. Others it is their love life. But, today, I am talking about the Sales Force in your company. Whether you are the Sales Manager or the Salesperson, the leadership you exude is what is going to make or break your success in business. If you are the Sales Manager, you will keep your sales staff motivated and encouraged to sell and if you are the salesperson, you will keep your customers coming back for more and encouraged to buy. Everything trickles downhill, even the good stuff. I was speaking to a dear friend and he was saying that he feels so great when he is helping his customers just to be kicked down by his upper management on the next phone call. Sometimes this conquers his whole day and he is no longer as productive as he was before. So, loud and clear, he receives the message: beatings will continue until morale improves! Why is it that so many sales scenarios include threats and scare tactics to increase salesforce morale and performance? Do you respond with supercharged passion and desire to please when you are told you are not worthy? Isn’t that a bit backward? Anyone ever heard of more bees with honey? Let...

Location Marketing : The Latest Small Business Tool

The basic concept of location based marketing has been around for years but the internet, social media websites as well as ‘smart phones’, together are set to change it forever. Simple yet brilliant phone applications such as Foursquare and Gowalla which rely on Global Positioning Satellites (GPS) have made it possible for business to communicate with their customers online. More commonly known social networks such as Facebook, Google Maps and Yelp too are catching up and helping make social media become an integral part of real world commerce. Social networks and the so called ‘lo-so’ networks are an all new medium for Advertising and Marketing and the quicker do business comprehend them and adapt to take their advantages the better it is for them. How does it all work? Everything’s digital. Gone are the days when everyone kept a phonebook and a hefty copy of the Yellowpages directories, most of us today look for services and businesses online. Say it’s your first ever evening in San Francisco and the only thing in on your mind is ‘Sushi’. What do you do? You pull out your smart phone or switch on your laptop, visit a search engine website like Google and type “Sea Food in San Francisco” or perhaps even “Sushi in San Francisco”. Trust me, Google will let you in on thousands and thousands of results and is quite capable of leaving you all confused. What do you do? You click on the new Local Search Result Only feature. This would enable the search engine to provide you with results relevant to your physical location. You can then choose...