What Is Preventing Growth for Small Businesses?

As a small business owner or manager you will be faced with a great number of things to do to grow your business! It is likely that you will neglect some while focusing on others that perhaps you may be more comfortable with performing.

Did you know that more often it is the things that you may not be doing that will have a much greater impact on your business growth than those that you do? What are these? – read on!

  • Understanding your Customer Market
  • Adequate Planning
  • Managing Cash Flow
  • Operating a Marketing and Sales Development Process
  • Targeted Marketing Campaigns and Programs

Understanding your Customer Market

Every business must make a priority effort to truly understand their customers and what drives them to purchase your products or services. Without an ‘intimate’ understanding of your target customers you will be undermining ALL your efforts to grow your business.

Dispose of any shot-gun approaches you may have to marketing and advertising and use your smarts to achieve Better Marketing Results. Get started by developing your own ideal customer profile.

Make sure your ideal customer profile includes a description of the attributes of your target customers and the buying criteria that your ideal customer will use in selecting your product or service. This is a very crucial point, it is not your criteria that you consider important – it is what your potential customers considers important.

Find out what is involved in their buying cycle, what risks if any are perceived in their buying cycle and where your potential customers go to research and engage within their buying cycle.

Adequate Planning

“Businesses that fails to plan, plans to fail” It is a simple truth – you need to know where you are going to get there!

Marketing planning is crucial for small business owners and managers to maximise their company’s ability to succeed in the marketplace. The marketing plan does not have to be a large voluminous document that gathers dusk after it was developed. Be practical and prepare a condensed version of between two to three pages that you can frequently refer to in a highly visible location within your work area. This way your marketing document becomes a useful plan and guide to growing your business.

Marketing planning has several key benefits for your business:

  • Gives real focus that drives ownership and motivation to achieve success
  • It provides a firm foundation to evaluate priorities
  • It defines your market and matches the communications needed for your prospective customers
  • It is a definition of your business success

Managing Cash Flow

Many a small business owner will neglect this critical aspect of managing their cash flow. Small businesses that do not have positive cash flows will encounter significant challenges with insufficient funds to pay creditors severely limiting their business growth potential. Lack of cash flow management in small business is evident in “feast and famine” situations.

You must make cash flow planning a central element of your management priorities. As a business owner you must be able to identify your cash flow status on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis in order to make sound decisions for your business. Keeping your finances in order and your cash flow healthy is essential to growing your business.

Cash flow is the lifeblood of your business. Successful business owners always maintain a firm grasp on their cash flow and are able to describe and predict their cash flow situation for the week, month and year.

Operating a Marketing and Sales Development Process

Better marketing results are qualified potential customers or sales leads for your business. Sales development takes those qualified leads and works to convert them into paying customers.

Unfortunately, many small businesses do not have a structured process or procedure to manage these sales leads into customers. There is nothing more painful for an interested customer to be ignored because of a lack of prompt and professional follow through. All ‘hot’ prospects need your immediate attention before they grow ‘cold’ or purchase from your competitors. It is absolutely essential to formulate a process for follow-up and conversion of your sales leads into customers. For example, you could set-up a defined day of the week for all your sales development activities. For those prospects that are not yet ready to buy you must make them become part of your on-going nurturing engagement marketing until they are ready to buy.

Unlike traditional approaches to marketing where you specifically target prospects with direct response offers, engagement marketing allows your audience and potential customers to interact with you and shape how they would like to communicate with you.

Targeted Marketing Campaigns and Programs

In today’s business environment the customer will control when and how they would like to receive your marketing messages. Your marketing message must be highly relevant and compelling for your target audience. Your message must resonate with the ‘conversation’ that is happening in the minds of your potential customers.

Marketing is business development and must take place for your business to grow! Integrated marketing that makes use of the Internet with your web presence and social media is the approach that small business must implement for your marketing campaigns and programs.

Essentially, an integrated multimedia campaign allows a one to one personalised engagement with the recipient. It has the ability for the recipient to immediately accept the offer or secure additional information with readily available technology such as their mobile phone or access to the Internet.

If any of these issues are holding back on your business growth you must immediately take the appropriate action to remedy your situation. There are many sources of external expert assistance in the form of business consultancy firms like as PMZ Marketing that will be able to assist you overcome these issues.

Related Articles:

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  • What is the Profile of a Successful Small Business Owner?

Why Using Corporate Marketing Can Kill Your Small Business

So you’ve put your ads in the Yellow Pages and you’ve taken out advertising in the local press. It’s cost you a nice chunk of change.

And yet the phone still isn’t ringing.

There are a lot of good reasons why that could be, but one of the main reasons is getting sucked into the idea that the type of advertising used by big business is the best sort, and perhaps the only sort you should use.

But this is a fallacy, and most of the companies that use the TV ads with their catchy nonsensical jingles and glossy magazine ads with pouting models are successful because they’ve built a brand over decades. In most cases they’re successful even though their advertising is useless, and they could probably stop advertising tomorrow without any effect on their business.

But when you run a small business, you really can’t afford to take chances and wait years for a branding campaign to (hopefully) take effect. Using the glossy big business type of marketing is likely to leave you penniless and holding a one way ticket to a bankruptcy hearing.

The reason is simple: branding type marketing is all about image and, for the people who create it, the overpaid creative types in the big advertising agencies, winning advertising awards. And the marketing executives who work for the big companies get paid whether the marketing brings in any new business or not. If the marketing campaign won an award, it must be good, right?

But as a small business owner you’re in a completely different type of situation. If your marketing doesn’t bring home the bacon, you go hungry. An advertising executive working for a big company doesn’t have to worry about the power bills, the shop rent, the staff costs. The small business owner sees these (often substantial) costs go out of his bank account week-by-week and month-by-month, and he’s the only one responsible for making sure there’s money coming in to cover things.

What The Small Business Owner Needs To Do

The most important thing about marketing is that it can be measured, so you can see right down to the last penny how much it’s costing and how much it’s bringing in return. The way to do this is to forget about “branding” and “image” and use direct response marketing techniques that have been proven to get a response.

Every single part of your marketing, every ad you run or letter you send, should have a strong call to action. And then you should measure exactly how many sales leads a particular ad, sales letter or email brought it, and try to improve on it.

Don’t Trust The Ad Salesmen

The tragedy is that some of the people selling marketing services to small and medium-sized businesses have also swallowed the hype about branding. These people persuade small business owners to run ridiculous campaigns that makes the business look good but often doesn’t bring in a penny in revenue. These types of “marketing consultants” often think they’re doing the right thing, and when the marketing fails they feel blameless. But it’s the small business owner who feels the pain, not the consultant.

The advertising salesman from your local paper is often no better, and neither is the rep from the Yellow Pages. Don’t listen to them and be seduced by a pretty ad that makes you look good. In the end the only thing that matters are sales leads and profits, and to get that you need to use good old-fashioned direct response marketing that uses tested methods for bringing in the sales.

How To Never Miss A Lead With Three Features Of Small Business Phone Systems

To stay on top of the competition in a tough economy, chief executive officers authorize large amounts of money to be spent on generating leads. From paying high quality employees to find these potential customers to services that help with making sales, company owners don’t scrimp when it comes to getting new clients. However, many organizations actually send future clients to their competitors without even realizing it. When someone calls a company and never gets to talk to anyone or keeps getting the run around from people who don’t know the right person to transfer the call to, they hang up and call the competition. Not even answering calls is another huge money waster. Companies must consider a business VOIP provider that offers voice to text, “Contact Us Plus” widgets and find me/follow me features in order to gain new clients and make those sales.

Voice Mail To Text Saves Valuable Time

Staff members work very hard to answer calls and deal with customers’ concerns in a timely manner, but some small business phone systems make this impossible to do so. Without the voice mail to text feature, employees can spend hours listening to voice mail messages and trying to jot down the important info and contact numbers. Sometimes a person has to replay a message several times before getting everything they need on paper. Managers who accidentally write down the wrong name from a voice mail message can lose a sale. A business VOIP provider that includes voice mail to text options will allow users to read a written transcription of their voice mail, making sure they get all of the data they need at one time.

Never Miss An Important Call With A Business VOIP Provider

With find me follow me features that are incorporated into some small business phone systems, individuals can be sure to never miss that one call that leads to the highest sale of the year. These options allow users to directly transfer incoming calls to other local or long-distance numbers, whether landline or mobile. Executives who have to work late at night and take calls from customers in other time zones appreciate this opportunity to do so from home just by entering their home number into the account. The system automatically transfers the calls from the office to the home number if the user has turned on the find me/follow me feature. More than one number can be put into the system, allowing calls to reach a cell and home or other location. Traveling employees can rest easy with these options, knowing a call will never go unanswered. This benefit also prevents a company from needing to hire one or several staff members to constantly answer phones and take messages for staff who are away from the office. Large corporations can even utilize find me follow me by not forcing a receptionist to hunt down an employee when someone is calling. Instead they can turn on the find me option to allow that person’s calls to go directly to their cell.

“Contact Us Plus” Widget Keeps Customers Connected

In today’s world where so many transactions take place through the Internet, widgets are becoming more and more popular. Small business phone systems that offer a “Contact Us Plus” widget allows companies to gain more leads just from people browsing the web. This benefit is a copy-and-paste web widget, letting customers and potential clients to click-to-call the right person at a company. Online public relations can greatly increase through this one application. In addition, this tool ups brand awareness without much hassle, cost or effort. Many companies have reported that this type of application has improved audience experience and provided interactive and engaging content that raises search engine optimization.

A business VOIP provider with a “Contact Us Plus” widget gives employees the opportunity to assign three user specific items to the widget. Twitter, LinkedIn and Gravatar can be utilized through this option. Customers can automatically link to a company’s Tweet stream when they click on the “Contact Us Plus” widget. Also through this feature, a person can view an organization’s LinkedIn public profile or see a profile picture.

By choosing small business phone systems that come with the three features mentioned above, companies can always stay on top of their game and never miss out on that one lead that could make their organization very successful.

Creating Wealth With Small Business Ideas

Entrepreneurs are exceptionally good at a few things, and one of those is creating wealth. They understand the basics of what wealth really is, and what it is not, and they understand that to create wealth today they must be masters at developing small business ideas.

What Wealth Really Is

An important aspect of creating wealth is understanding wealth. Now most people think they know what wealth is, but if you ask them to define it, they usually come up with an answer such as “money” or “possessions”. These kinds of answers to the wealth question clearly show they do not understand it.

So, what is wealth?

Wealth is value. Dollars and cars and houses and oil reserves are evidences or tokens of that value, but they are not the value. This difference is a key element of understanding wealth, and understanding the difference helps one to view it properly. There exists a limitless supply of wealth in the world. Literally limitless. And this is because more can always be, and always is, created.

Many people think of wealth as being a large pie from which all people or societies or businesses can take a slice; some bigger, some smaller. This picture seems to make sense, but it is very inaccurate. If this were true, then the more people that existed would necessarily make the available slices (or size of each slice) smaller. But if you look closely, you will see that is simply not the case. Wealth is created, produced, and disseminated by people to people, but there is always more to be made, more to be given, and more to be taken.

For an example, consider a company which employs a group of people on a project and there has been $1000 allotted to it. When the project is done, the manager is paid a $1000. He has nine people who work under him. Each of those nine have done some work to generate the $1000 which came from the company they all work for. If the manager gives each one an equal share of the money, and includes himself in the pay out, each will get $100. Simple enough.

But what if there were only four people working under the manager? If he divides the money equally to himself and four others, each will get $200. In this scenario, the people working did the same work but received twice the money. This is an example of people sharing parts of a pie, which in this case happens to be $1000.

But we can’t stop there, because it must be understood the $1000 was not the wealth created, but the token of the wealth shared by the company to the workers. The company could have allotted $2000 for the project, or $4000, or any amount they chose. And the manager could have hired nine people or four or even twenty four. These are arbitrary decisions made by the company and manager but have no real effect on the value of the project… they are merely tokens of the value.

How Wealth is Created

The real wealth created here was the project itself: what was done, what was created, what was accomplished. The actual benefit produced is the real amount of wealth created. Perhaps a new public park was planned, or a new gate latch designed, or a new training manual written. The wealth was the project accomplished. The company may have paid a $1000 for it, but the real value of the project is unlimited.

A new park will likely generate fun and healthy exercise for years and years for thousands and thousands of people. How could anyone put a dollar amount on that?

The new gate latch may be the best design ever and start a whole new line of products which lead to employment for hundreds of people which leads to better livelihoods for thousands. How could anyone put a dollar amount on that?

The new training manual could lead to better work production or to new businesses being created which generate millions of dollars which in turn enrich the community and lead to jobs and…

Creating wealth has limitless effects, and there are no dollar amounts to define it. Understand this and you understand how to build wealth.

How You Can Create Wealth

Creating wealth has an almost inherent characteristic of newness. If you consider the most notable illustrations of wealth, you will notice they involve the promoting and acting on IDEAS. Yes, the idea concept is the most valuable commodity on planet earth. And this is precisely where the average man or woman has an opportunity to make something phenomenal, something powerful.

The unmatched impact of small business ideas.

Not everyone has outstanding athletic skill, or a house in the best neighborhood, or rich parents. But we all have one thing for sure: our minds. And we are given the gift to be able to control our own minds, and use our minds, for good purpose. No one can take that from us. So it behooves us to take every opportunity to build, strengthen, and use our minds, all of the time.