Tag Archives: marketing strategies

Owning A Business – Part Seven

Owning your business involves more than walking in the door every day and saying: Let’s see what happens today. Your strategy for success could be as simple as developing key activities. Identifying annual activities can even be broken down into monthly and  weekly plans. These activities need to accomplish your goals.

Know your goals.

First things first

#3 on Stephen Covey’s 7 habits of highly effective people

Then you can develop easy-to-implement business and marketing strategies. Avoid making complicated plans. When you encounter tasks or areas where you or your team lack understanding, engage a consultant familiar with that area. If you have tax liability issues with out-of-state customers or vendors, involve your tax authority or Certified Professional Accountant (CPA). Professional consultants exist to reduce your risks, save you money, and make your life and work easier.

Some business owners find they are most productive early in the morning. They get to the office before other employees. They have time to work without worrying about the phone ringing or people popping their head in with problems. If this description fits you, make sure you make it productive time. Develop a list of tasks you need to accomplish. Start with the most important. If it’s payroll, get it done. If it’s strategic consideration about expansion, take the time to think things through.

As you go through these tasks, develop what your list of activities. Prioritize those critical to the growth and overall success of your business. You need to know what must be done to drive sales, meet production goals, increase efficiency, manage your team, and keep customers satisfied. Any activity that fails to have positive influence in one of these areas should be considered non-essential. Eliminate it from your priorities.

Focus on key activities.

Whatever are not key activities waste your valuable time. Would you rather spend time earning an extra $10,000 today or lose $5,000 on an  unproductive challenge?

Brand Your Work – Work Your Brand



A Positive Spin

It is easy to head down the road of negativity.  It is an element of our human nature to want to bring other people down, especially if they have better looks or more money or whatever else irritates us about something or someone.  When it comes to marketing your business, however, take the high road because a positive spin brightens your image with prospects and customers and with your overall corporate culture.

Putting a positive spin on your business builds brand loyalty.

Putting a positive spin on your business builds brand loyalty.

Being in the midst of political campaign ads as we are, the mud-slinging is rampant.  What the candidates hope is that their negative ads ripping their opponent will have an impact in a positive fashion (by getting the electorate to vote for them) and not backfire because the message is a slam on their adversary and they’re seen as bullies.  The more effective message has a positive spin and focuses either on their record of service or what their plans are once they’ve been elected.

Enough about politics.  We had a client that had a small, easily-contained fire at their place of business.  They wondered whether they should notify their customers about the fire.  When asked about the damage and the impact on clients, our initial response was that letting customers know didn’t matter since damage was minimal and the fire had no impact on the level of service provided to customers.

On reflection, though, a positive spin emerged that we shared with the client.  The idea was to notify clients about the fire in a positive manner.  We suggested the company advise clients to update internal safety procedures such as checking fire extinguishers and smoke alarms, teaching staff how to use fire extinguishers, reviewing emergency evacuation procedures, assessing computer system back-ups, and other steps to keep the business operating should something like a fire occur.

The suggestion came from being pro-active and the concept it’s much easier to prevent a fire than to fight one.

Think about your business for a minute or two.  What’s the worst thing that could happen besides a fire or other natural disaster?  Will it have a negative impact on your business?  Do you have a plan for dealing with that catastrophe or a strategy that can put a positive spin on it so your company survives and/or thrives?

Those steps are important, and it’s also a good idea to have a positive approach to marketing your products and/or services.

This strategy comes down to knowing what it is you’re marketing to potential customers and what those consumers are buying.

For instance, selling life insurance has a negative connotation with most people.  Providing peace of mind or the ability to sleep well at night has a positive spin.

Another common example:  Consumers have a negative impression of used car sales people.  The positive spin would be to let people know you provide reliable or economical transportation options.

Business and marketing consultants exist to provide business owners with the clarity they need to ensure that their business and its products and/or services are portrayed in as positive a light as possible.  This perpetuates the corporate culture and builds brand loyalty.  We like the adage that a pat on the back goes further than a kick in the pants.

Brand Your Work – Work Your Brand


Stay Focused

In this age of ever-changing technology, it is more easy than ever for a business owner to lose focus.  Yet it is even more important that you stay focused on your business to avoid being side-tracked.

The new insurance mandates from the federal government are a good example.  Most business owners know that changes are coming, but have little comprehension of what those changes mean to them.  There will be workshops and seminars and E-mails about the changes, including the implications once a more clear picture is developed.  Either way, this mandated change will require time away from your business and your customers.

So how do you stay focused? 

If there is someone on your team you can dedicate to learning the ropes about the insurance laws, get them on it now so they have time to gather the information and assimilate it.  Their challenge is to ascertain how it will impact your business and employees, if at all.

Another option is to rely on professionals you trust who are up on the changes, such as your CPA, legal counsel, tax preparer, financial planner, or insurance agent.

The 3rd option is to spend the time to understand it yourself.  Certainly the first two are better choices.

Another distraction facing business owners are employee issues.  It would be a perfect world if every employee showed up on time, knew what they were supposed to do, exceeded those expectations, and spoke highly of the company all the time.  If it were a perfect world.

So how do you stay focused?

It is improbable to think that employee issues won’t arise in your company, so the key is to be prepared for every eventuality.  Have a professional such as legal counsel prepare an employee handbook that stipulates employment conditions, expectations, and consequences.  Relegate that responsibility to your human resources department if you have one, and make sure they take time to keep you apprised of their actions.  You’re the one with ultimate legal responsibility – along with your Board of Directors and others with liability.

What is critically important when it comes to these types of issues as well is how clearly you convey the company’s mission to employees and share your vision with them.  The more closely they are aligned with your line of thinking, the more productive they are likely to be.

Your business plan and market strategies are also methods that enable you to remain focused on your objectives.

Cats, for example, are hunters.  When they have identified potential prey, they are focused on getting that prey over everything else.  They will stalk, crawl, sneak, pounce, or chase that object of desire until it’s caught.  They are focused.  When the prey is caught or becomes unattainable, the cats move on to other tasks.

Your business and marketing strategies identify your target consumers, what you will deliver to them, how and why.  Your company should be focused on accomplishing that objective.  If you lose sight or interest in that goal, it’s easy to move on to other tasks and later wonder why the business failed … or you went hungry in cat language.

Professional consultants are there to help you stay focused.