Category Archives: Business Challenge

How to Create a Powerful Business Strategy for 2020

business strategy

business strategist in virtual office

Evaluating Your Business Strategy

A new year, a new business quarter. This is a great time to look forward and develop your business strategy for the months ahead.  Management thinking suggests that you start by examining your key strengths.  Obviously, these are basic factors that have got you safely through to 2020 so spend a moment examine them critically.   Perhaps you are great at customer relationships and that you outgun your competitors in responding to customer queries and complaints.  Perhaps your key strength is market awareness or keen prices.  A successful key strategy is something that is reliant on you and your resources and not on something that you depend on elsewhere.  This is often the case in internet marketing where your strength depends on your affiliate relationship to another company entirely.  It might make you money but the key strength does not ultimately lie in your hands.

Grab Your Opportunities

Second, the best strategies seize one of your biggest opportunities and play into it.  Seizing a key opportunity is the attack strategy that lets you score points and win the game.  This may be investing heavily into a specific product or a market niche.  This is the idea of feeding your winners and starving your lowers. The secret is that any winning strategy must help you seize a key opportunity that has genuine potential to yield significant results and help you scale up..   For example, if you are exporting to a region like Italy, perhaps you should look at the opportunity to set up your own distribution on the ground in that marketplace rather than us an agent.  It night cost money in the short term but if a realistic opportunity arises then maybe you should grab it and run with it.

Lessen Your Business Threats

Third, the finest strategies reduce or make irrelevant  one’s  gravest business threats. For instance, if you sense a threat in that 65% of your turnover is with just one client, then by following the first 2 strategies I mention, it will help you grow other customer fulfilling relationships so that you have some safety net from the loss or diminishment of this giant customer. Certainly this is one of the hardest areas for many business owners to look at, since we don’t wish to acknowledge our flaws or shortcomings, but by identifying our achilles heels.  However, by doing this, we can then develop a path  to overcome them or lessen their impact on our future development .

So as you plan out the year ahead take a  look at your strengths, weaknesses and opportunities and try sketch out a careful plan to achieve your goals and reach the next goal within your business plan. Remember our team of experts are here to help you grow your business.

 

Use Your Empathy to Help lead a Successful Team

There is something very ominous about the word ‘boss’.  It evokes the concept of bullying and hassling staff.  When we say ‘he bosses you around’ you think of an executive who has poor man-management skills and relies on brute management force to move his team onwards.   A recent article I read by John Monarch on ‘Entrepreneur ‘ site very clearly sets out his thoughts on the best way to manage a team thoughtfully.  I will mention some of his excellent ideas.

  1. Avoid ‘hustling’ 24/7 and be more chilled. Constantly working long hours without a break, he says, isn’t a recipe for success. It’s a recipe for burnout. Motivational and Youtube videos constantly advise young entrepreneurs and executives to work 14 hours a day and “hustle” every minute of every hour. That’s probably the worst possible advice to give someone in a leadership position.
  2. Treat the team as you would like to be treated.  this makes sense and has a biblical ring to it.  Basically the suggestion is by nice to your team ands they will respond in a positive way.  the reasoning being  that a tough job always presents its own issues for workers. Why would you compound those issues by spreading negativity and treating people poorly?
  3. Choose your management wisely.  This makes good sense.  Just being in a job a certain amount of time doesn’t mean you should automatically be promoted. You might have already have reached your personal level of competence. The truth is, some people are really great at specific roles, but their ceiling is lower because they aren’t great leaders.
  4. Keep your expectations realistic.  To be a good leader and manager, you also need to understand the work your team is doing. If you don’t think you have a solid grasp on what your employees do, then start learning. Part of being an effective leader is always looking for new subjects or concepts to learn about.
  5. Open channels for cross-company communication. Whether it’s among one team or between groups, you have to provide people with channels for strong communication if you want your business to operate efficiently.

This is the essence of the argument Monarch is making and I think it open some interesting points for consideration.  If you are scaling a startup it is very important to engender some sort of corporate spirit and that is best done by treating staff wisely and communicating effectively.  This style of management is particularly important when you are dealing ‘at distance’ from your team and maybe working out from a virtual office environment. I any case the maxim ‘do unto others…’ makes sense in business as it does in life.

5 Helpful Rules for Budding Entrepreneurs

When you come into contact with aspiring entrepreneurs every day of your working life as we do running a virtual office in Central London we notice that certain qualities mark out business success.   My own thoughts and observations are well reflected in a recent article by Cheryl Snapp Conner who writes regularly on business development.  She identifies 6 important qualities to develop when you are building your business.

1. Add value first — and always.

Regardless of the obstacles in consulting and business, this rule is akin to the laws of gravity and physics. Be as interested and devoted to your client’s successes as you are to your own. When this is the case, there’s no need to talk about your hero stories or the ego numbers you’ve reached. Every contact should begin and ends with the thought, “What kind of massively important difference can I make for my clients today?” There’s no need to hard sell.

2. Put Your Brain in Gear Before You Speak.

And then think again. This is interesting in that some entrepreneurs, leaders and even elected officials (think Trump or Boris Johnson) suffer from the chronic impulse to fill the air with words before their brains have fully engaged.  whoSome are living by the motto that “if you’re brazen enough when you say it, it’s true.”

3. Creative Thinking is Essential.

In business and life, beware of the parties who declare “this is how it has to be done.” There are myriad paths to success. What can you add, subtract or tweak to get a situation to work? What would turn it into magic? If option A and option B are both untenable, don’t settle. Continue to think and strategize on ideas about what will work instead of bemoaning what can’t — or what didn’t.

4. Be Clear and to the Point.

Brevity is a virtue in our harried business and personal worlds. We all know the person we unconsciously flee or avoid calling because we know the conversation will never be short. In selling, planning, and every aspect of a business, distill your message to its essence. When you can tell it in a single breath or while standing on one foot, you are probably there. Make the details of your proposal easy to find and verify, but don’t feel the need to overwhelm your listeners. Think about whetting their appetites enough that they come to you, asking for more. This is where you succeed.

5. Gratitude is a Powerful Ingredient.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed about everything that goes wrong in the world of business. Taxes rise, systems fail and rush hour traffic is worse by the day. Health concerns and stress put us all to the test. But imagine the power of stopping at least twice a day to consider at least three things you are intensely grateful for. Family relationships. Seasonal colors or scents or the clothes you love wearing, Your company’s strategy and the customers and clients you serve. Imagine the power you’d instill if you showed gratitude to your employees every day.

We would also add some guiding principles of our own.  The fact that every budding entrepreneur needs expert support in their office to free their minds from the mundane so that they can pursue loftier business ideals.  Having someone answer your phone and pass on messages correctly can be crucially important.  Knowing that business mail is attended to in a timely and secure manner is vital even in our ‘paperless age’.  This is why so many of our clients at Hold Everything build and maintain successful businesses in a rapidly changing business landscape.

 

Secrets to Scaling Your New Online Business

As the year draws to a close many would be entrepreneurs stare out of their office windows and wonder how they can really make 2020 the online success they dream it could be, finally breaking through that barrier between good idea and serious money.  It isn’t easy but if you go about starting and scaling correctly you can capture your vision.

Smiling entrepreneur working from home,

Top tier influencers with substantial followings are now raking in a whopping $100,000 per sponsored post. Online platforms are as lucrative as they are important for customer engagement. And, believe it or not, they’re continuing to grow.

According to Brand Watch, even though there are 3.5 billion social media users in the world, another newcomer creates an account every 6.4 seconds. With almost everyone online — and with that number growing daily — the sheer potential of your online platform for building a business or sharing your message should not be taken lightly.

There is, however, a fly in the ointment: the competition is fierce. Every man and his dog is running around chasing their customer base.. But, don’t be downhearted here are some helpful suggestions to put you on the road to success.

1. Content is always king.

It can be discouraging when you keep posting content and nothing seems to take off. The secret is to just keep going! Case Kenny is the host of the “New Mindset, Who Dis?” podcast. It found success initially, but several months in, he wasn’t hitting the download numbers he was looking for, which was frustrating for him. Now, his podcast has hit close to 2 million downloads.

There are many such cases and if you google around you will see lots of inspirational stories to get you excited and inspired. Follow the IM gurus like Alex Becker or Joel Comm and they will put some entrepreneurial fire in your belly

2. Go big or go home.

Peter Pru, the founder of ECommerce Empire Builders, learned all about scaling an online ecommerce platform through dropshipping. “It takes money to make money,” Pru said. He encourages anyone who needs to work part-time or even a full-time job to fund their business to do it. “Almost every startup needs money to begin, so you have to be willing to do what it takes to earn that money so you can invest in yourself and your business.”

Investing in a publicist who can get you media exposure or a social media strategist who can help grow your platform is a great use of funds to get you started. Whatever you do, do not invest in buying fake followers. These will hurt your engagement rate and can be very obvious to new potential followers who can come across your page.

3. Tracking is vital to stay on top..

Whichever online platforms you use, it’s crucial to take stock on what’s working and what isn’t. Nowadays, there are a number of tracking or analysis tools to help you determine which type of content yields the highest engagement rate. The first element to look at is which social media pages drive the most traffic to your website. Many experts recommend using Google Analytics to evaluate this. Personally I prefer the Crowdfire App but Google Analytics is free and well structured. For example, if your Instagram is sending 18 followers a day to your page but your YouTube is only sending three, you know to focus more effort on Instagram.

Instagram has a built-in feature for business pages that can tell you how well your post does. When you click “View Insights” on a certain post, you’ll be able to see the number of impressions and compare it to the number of engagements (likes and comments).  The next step is to use the data you derive from these analytics to pivot in your strategies moving forward, so you’re always doing what drives the most engagement.

4. Sharing & caring your way to success.

A key part of scaling your platform further — especially once you’re confident on what content performs best — is heightening your content’s exposure to other audiences. Finding creators who post similar content to what you post is a great way to expand your reach. Consider reaching out to other influencers on the platform you use most frequently and asking to collaborate or share each other’s posts.

A good rule of thumb here is to approach other creators with a similar number of followers to you so that you can do more of a “trade” rather than paying for the exposure. The Social Media Examiner shares that some potential opportunities for these collaborations include co-created content or product co-branding, such as launching a joint online course with another creator who shares the same expertise that you do.

Scaling an online platform is more of an art than a science, but these must-know secrets will help you direct your strategies so you can start scaling more, faster.

So as you can see the route to your brighter future requires a roadmap and some funding but the online market will carry on growing for years to come so you are building for a future that is really out there.  Like many entrepreneurs before you, having a managed virtual office is a great way to control office rental expenses until the moment you can actually rent an entire floor at a smart city office block or a cool warehouse in Shad Thames.

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3 Top Ways to Improve Your Small Business Marketing Using Psychology

 

Here at Hold Everything, our main concern has always been for the small business which is why we are enthusiastic to dispense helpful information about small business marketing. Which is why we are glad to share advice from Melinda Emerson’s site who is a recognised American guru on small business marketing ideas.

Small business marketing can be tough sometimes. As well as focusing on lead generation, you have to spend time nurturing and pushing customers through your sales funnels to create essential customer loyalty. Sometimes, you could benefit from extra strategies to give your small business marketing an edge. Using the power of psychology in your marketing will add power and potency to your marketing messages, generating more customers and ultimately, more sales for your small business. 

How to Use Psychology to Boost Your Small Business Marketing

In this article, we’ll take a look at 3 ways to use psychology to make sure your small business marketing is as powerful as possible.

The principle of reciprocity states that humans have a tendency, as well as a need, to want to give something back when they receive something. Or, put another way, people feel obligated to do something when something is done for them. This is GREAT news for your small business marketing! 

You can use the principle of reciprocity for new customer acquisition as well as nurturing existing customers by simply giving them something extra. A discount, a free coffee, a free product from your store or another free benefit. These strategies give customers extra value and the result is that they’ll be more likely to spend money or leave a review for other products or services (which boosts your brand awareness as well as sales). The principle of reciprocity is an important psychological tool for developing stronger and longer-lasting customer relationships too. It’s a win-win.

Top tip: Use your ‘gift’ to make customers feel unique and valued. Achieve this by using demographic insight or use existing customer data to send individualised rewards to each customer. 

2. Social Proof: Get Those Reviews

Think about it, when you see a long line at a store or restaurant, you immediately want to join it, don’t you? In your mind, something must be worth having at that business because so many other people are waiting to get in. That’s social proof- the psychological theory that says we all want to have or do what everyone else is just because they are. This is a really powerful marketing tool for any small business. 

You can capitalise on social proof in your small business marketing by building strong social media profiles on platforms such as Instagram or gathering great reviews on Yelp or TripAdvisor. For your customers, seeing how other people have visited, interacted with, or purchased from your business will make them want to do so as well; it’s kind of like FOMO (fear of missing out) for small business marketing. Taking the time to constantly boost your social proof by asking for user-generated content or customer reviews will really pay off, so don’t skimp on it.

Top tip: Make getting those essential reviews easier by automating your review request process via email or push SMS. Making it as easy as possible for every customer will increase your social proof, leading to more reviews and more customers.

3. Halo-Effect: Supercharge Brand Awareness

Every small business knows that for customer sales and new leads, brand awareness is essential. But the halo-effect takes brand awareness to the next level

The halo-effect is the tendency for positive associations of a person, brand or company in one area to influence positive associations for other areas too. For any small business, this amplification of brand values is a marketing goldmine. 

Use social media platforms to continually promote your brand reputation to customers and followers. Include case studies, testimonials and ask for user-generated content on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat to consistently share what makes your brand or business great. 

Top tip: Your customer stories and experiences are essential for boosting your halo-effect. Make asking for reviews and user-generated testimonials a clear priority, highlighting every single time your small business does something great.

Psychology Can Amplify Small Business Marketing

Small business marketing is constantly developing. Small businesses need to create stand-out marketing campaigns that not only create new customer leads, but that also help generate lasting customer loyalty too. From the principle of reciprocity to the halo-effect, your small business marketing will benefit from utilising psychology and the tendencies of human nature to amplify your message and reach. Your marketing will be more powerful and cost-efficient, helping to make sure your small business is a lasting success.

Remember, the team at Hold Everything are waiting to help you expand your small business projects by giving you the support of a prestigious London office base and a helful secretarial team to answer your phone and forward your mail.