Tag Archives: business branding

Ten ways to grow your business and your income

 
 
 
 

 

Top tips to make money in an economic downturn
Ten ways to create a booming business in a recession

 

Top tips and survival strategies to create a booming business in an economic downturn

Times ahead look challenging for business owners but you can actually build your business and grow your business income, even during this tough economic climate, if you employ the right strategies.

I’ve interviewed scores of company owners and self-employed people to establish just what it is that separates the winners from the also-rans in times like this, and here’s my summary of what they are doing right, that you can do  too:

1. Refocus: in good times it is easy to have a scatter-gun approach to sales and marketing. Clients, customers or companies who might not be natural buyers from you have the budget to indulge side-projects, and you are the beneficiary.
When budgets are more tightly controlled, only the essentials are purchased. Therefore, it’s time to refocus your business and identify which customers regard your products as essential.
2. Define your customers:  In order to know your core market, you need to define your key customers. How to define your customer? Think about the following: from whom have you had your best repeat business? Who provided the funds for your single biggest source of income last year? If your market is seasonal, what additional products might your key customers need at other times of the year?
3. Visualise your ideal customer as a person, give them a name and think about what is their definition of a good day. Repeat business comes from happy customers whose needs have been met by your product or service.
4. Identify your unique offering:  What are your personal qualities, and those of your business, which make you different from other competitor businesses? Go through the feedback you have received from past clients – what was the recurring theme of their positive experiences? When you distil down what it is that makes people return to you, you can build on this and incorporate it into your marketing message.

5. Be confident in your pricing: How to charge more for your business and services? When you have defined your USP, then you can explain to customers the added value that you are offering. It is business suicide to compete on price alone, because there will always be those who are cheaper than you. If you can justify being “reassuringly expensive” – in terms of enhanced client or customer experience, value and outcomes – then you don’t need to reduce or discount in order to grow. You can’t do this unless you have followed step 2, which is to identify who your key customers are, and what they define as “value”.
6. Be disciplined about your time: Try to establish which effective marketing campaigns – newspaper ads,  website, blogging, Twitter, Facebook, personal referrals, webinars, trade shows, speaking engagements – have generated the greatest and most lucrative leads. Especially if you are an owner-manager of a business you can’t afford to spread yourself too thinly, so work out what is the most productive use of your time. Measure your results through Google Analytics and other web tools.

7. Create positive habits: When you work alone or in a small business it can be mentally challenging to stay focussed during lean periods.  Have a strategy for dealing with times when income is not coming in regularly – such as budgeting for quiet periods, keeping cash on deposit to maintain positive cash flow when clients pay late, and building in sufficiently daily periods of rest, relaxation, and exercise.
8. Let go of the old stuff: it may have worked in the past, but if the market has shifted and it is not working now, don’t continue to flog it. Move on. You need to know when to change business branding, especially if you have identified that you are not currently playing to your full strengths. The book “Who moved my cheese?” takes only an hour to read, costs less than £4 but will make you rethink your objectives and challenge your attitude to change.

9. Think positively: Resolve to implement one positive action every day that will grow your business, produce additional income, raise your profile or promote your brand. To quote Aristotle:  “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence therefore is not an act, but a habit.”

10. Pay down your debt:  Position your business well, maintain healthy cashflow, and reduce your overheads as much as you can. Debt is often necessary when you are establishing a business, but you should aim to get out of debt as quickly as possible, because until you do, the profits you are making are benefiting the banks, not you or your business.
Regards, Marianne Curphey

Ten things they don’t tell you in business school about running your own business

Water lillies
Nurture your business

By Marianne Curphey

1. Business plans don’t work…. or rather, they don’t come to fruition in the ways you expect. When you have a fledging business it is very hard to predict the speed and way in which it will develop over the next year, never mind the next five years. So although it is important to have goals and objectives, don’t be too rigid in implementing them if new opportunities come along.

2. The business idea you start with won’t be the one you finish up with. One of the most exciting things about running your own business is watching it evolve into a bigger and better project than the one you started with. Dream big!

3. Nobody pays on time. Many a brilliant business has suffered and/or collapsed because creditors were tardy in paying up. Plan for late payment, and put measures in place to ensure you chase up unpaid invoices at regular intervals. This means having a robust system for logging work, invoices and payments, which will become more important as your business grows.

4. It’s harder work….and better fun than you could ever imagine. No more office politics, boring meetings, tiresome commutes to work…..but also no more being paid to chat by the water cooler or take long lunchbreaks.

5.People in PAYE jobs secretly think you watch daytime TV all the time. Some of them say it to your face. Relax, they’re just jealous. Disarm them by telling them how they too can make the break for freedom.

6. Cashflow, not a great business concept, is what keeps your business afloat in the long run. You can have a whole stadium’s worth of fantastic ideas, brilliantly executed, but if you don’t keep on top of your utility bills, tax payments, NI costs and other administrative tasks, your business will fail.

7. Diversification can save you in tough times. Try to think of as many ways as possible to monetise your ideas, both through active and passive sources of income. Think creatively.

8. Carry your business card everywhere. There is nowhere that’s out of bounds for networking, as long as you do it subtly and respectfully.

9. You are the brand. Your unique blend of skills and experience are what makes your business special.

10. Admin takes up about 50% of your time. When you plan your week, make sure you factor in enough time to deal with the boring stuff – bills, insurance, and well as the fun bits.

In my next blog I’ll be looking at how to manage your finances in a small business,

regards, Marianne