Dec 222011
 

Starting a small business on the right footing from the beginning

If you’re thinking of starting a small business, have you thought about where you want it (and you) to be in 3 years’ time? Five years? Ten years? It may seem like a minor thing now but it’s really important to think about this because it will affect many aspects of how you develop your business. Continue reading »

Dec 202011
 

Use the Ansoff Matrix to help grow your business

Very often when thinking about how to grow and improve a business our minds get confused by the options available to us and, as a result, we either don’t do anything or we end up making a mess of it.  But in very fundamental terms there are only really 4 things we can do and they are:

  • Develop a new product or service;
  • Expand our market area;
  • Diversify our offering, and
  • Increasing penetration into our existing market.

These basic ideas were developed by Igor Ansoff and are a really good guide to helping to  sort out all our ideas.  Ansoff explained them by use of a matrix as shown below. Continue reading »

Dec 202011
 

I wish someone told me these things before I started my first business

Starting a business can be a real roller-coaster – there are highs and lows every day.  Having been through the process myself I thought it might be useful to highlight a few things that I can now look back on and say “I wish I knew that before I started” so that others might be saved re-inventing the wheel. Continue reading »

Dec 162011
 

Here are some key lessons from those who are already successful business owners

I’ve been reading a book of case studies of business owners who got their companies to make the big leap from being ok companies to being great companies.  As I read through the various chapters I started to see a set of trends emerging. Continue reading »

Dec 162011
 

Waste not, want not

It’s very easy in a business to focus on the big stuff and forget about the impact the small stuff has.  But it’s the small stuff that can really end up making a difference to the overall success of your business.  However, getting the message across to the team can sometimes be difficult. Continue reading »

Dec 162011
 

Daily meetings are important for the efficient functioning of your business

You do have one, don’t you…?  Look at any thriving company and you will see a daily routine that includes a daily get together to catch up on progress.  But it’s not enough just to have a meeting – it needs to be run and structured properly if it is to be effective rather than just a talking shop.  Here are a few tips. Continue reading »

Dec 162011
 

Is your business ready to be sold if someone want to buy?

Many new business owners don’t think beyond the point where they will get the business up and running and – most importantly – profitable.  But done properly the time when you will really make really big money is when you sell and that’s what your ultimate goal should be. Continue reading »

Dec 162011
 

Think outside the box and increase your profit potential

I have a friend who’s business is designing and making clocks – from scratch; he’s very skilled but limited in how he can expand his business due to the skills involved.  At another friend’s birthday party he was complaining about his lack of opportunities to move the business on and we got talking about how he could increase his profits and make his business more viable.  Here are a couple of small business ideas that came up. Continue reading »

Dec 162011
 

Getting the customer is just stage one; now you need to really make them love you

If you want to build a successful business you need to build your customer base.  Building a customer base is always easier, better and cheaper if you are able to keep the customers you have rather than lose them after every purchase and have to start again.  Ideally, the longer you keep a customer the higher they will move up your relationship ladder.  Here’s how the ladder works. Continue reading »

Dec 152011
 

How to maximize your productivity

If you were given $86,400 and told you had to spend it today or lose it, the chances are you would spend it all on things you wanted.  However, translate that $86,400 into seconds (that equates to the number of seconds in a day) and the chances are that you either spend a lot of those seconds doing stuff you don’t want to do or you waste them by not doing anything at all. Continue reading »

Dec 152011
 

When you first start out there’s often the worry that no-one will take you seriously because of your size.  Although that’s not always the case there is some truth in it and it usually doesn’t harm your likelihood of success to make yourself look bigger than you are (that’s one of the advantages of buying a franchise – you may just be starting out but you have the franchise name behind you so people consider you to be something bigger).  I’ve put together here a few things that me and some of my past clients have done to give the impression of being a bigger business. Continue reading »

Dec 152011
 

Is your small business starting to drift?

Sometimes, a year or two after you start your small business, you suddenly find that you’re not actually doing what you expected, or the business seems to have drifted away from what you thought it should be.  If that’s the case then it’s probably time you did a quick re-set of your ‘business compass’ to get you back to the right track.  When I’m working with small business owners I usually recommend they take time out of the business at least once a year and, to do it properly, to take a few days off and away from the office to concentrate on it properly.  Here are a few questions I usually ask them to ask themselves. Continue reading »

Dec 142011
 

Beware of growing pains as your business takes off

It’s a great feeling as business improves and your business starts to grow; you think the struggle for survival is behind you, that everything is fine from here on in and you start to relax.  The next thing you know you’re back to where you started thinking “what happened?”  Running a small business that’s expanding can be complicated but it’s not impossible. Here are a couple of things you need to keep an eye out for: Continue reading »

Dec 142011
 

The best person to buy from you today was the person who bought from you yesterday…

It costs about 7 times more to sell to a new customer than it does to sell to an existing one. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist, therefore, to realize that if you can keep your existing customers for the long term then your profits are going to be much higher – plus you won’t have to spend a huge amount of time and effort wondering how to get business in through the door. Below are a few strategies to help you keep hold of the customers you have. Continue reading »

Dec 142011
 

You need to get people in the door to be able to sell to them!

Before you can make any sales you need to attract leads to your business. Leads are not customers, they are only potential buyers, or prospects, because they haven’t bought from you yet. What we’re going to look at here are a few examples of how you can attract prospects through your door. Some of the ideas will be better for people selling products, others for those selling services. Regardless, they are all tried and tested methods that will improve your business. Continue reading »

Dec 142011
 

Do you know what your customers really think about you?

When you’re starting a small business one of the best ways to get feedback is to ask questions of your customers. Not only does this make the customers feel they are valued and being listened to but it also provides you with a huge amount of data that can be very useful for improving your business in many ways. For example, if you know who your customers view as your main competitor then you can target your marketing effort to showing people how or why you’re better than the opposition. Continue reading »

Dec 142011
 

Question: how should you run a small business?

Answer: like a big one.

Most small business that are started don’t get beyond the 3-5 year point.  Many of those that do are still struggling along with only one or two employees and not making much profit.  Why does this happen?  Because the business owner hasn’t started and run the business with the right mentality and goal. Continue reading »

Dec 142011
 

Flyers are old school advertising but they still work

Whether you’re buying a franchise or starting a business from scratch you need to advertise but advertising can cost money and very often you don’t know which adverts are working and which aren’t. There is, however, a good cheap way to advertise your business and that’s through flyers; here’s why you should be using them. Continue reading »

Dec 132011
 

Running a business can be easy – if you do it right

Running a business is like anything else in life – there is the right way and the wrong way. Run the business the right way and life will be a lot easier and you will be able to achieve more. Here are three simple tips that will help you make the business run the way you want it to and not the other way around! Continue reading »

Dec 132011
 

When it comes to advertising it’s amazing how much you can do with little or no money

Sometimes in a business you need to ramp up your advertising but lack the funds to do something ‘proper’, like take out ads in a newspaper or buy a slot in the listings directories. But don’t worry, there are other – cheaper – ways of advertising businesses that can be just as effective; all it takes is a little bit of imagination and a little more personal time and effort. Continue reading »

Dec 132011
 

How to make your business advertising work

There’s a famous saying in advertising of a business owner saying “50% of my advertising works – I just don’t know which 50% it is”. If you want to avoid this sort of problem for your small business then read on. Continue reading »