profit builder

How to Turn 1% Into Double Digit Profit Growth

Profit growth or improving the bottom line is a priority for business owners — especially now as they look to bounce back from the Pandemic. But too often they look for the magical silver bullet.  The one big innovation or idea that will turn a business around and make people notice.

Innovation is important in all areas of your business, but often small improvements over time can make a big difference on the bottom line. In fact, a mere 1% improvement in revenue or sales, cost of goods sold and expenses can produce double-digit profit growth!

The Power of 1%

Here’s a simple example to demonstrate the Power of 1-1-1

Revenue:  With a 1% increase, revenue goes from $500,000 to $505,000

COGS:  With a 1% reduction, cost of goods sold goes from $300,000 to $297,000

Expenses:  With a 1% reduction, expenses go from $160,000 to $158,400

The result, Net Profit goes from $ 40,000 to $49,600.  An increase of $9,600 or 24%!

Check it out with YOUR numbers to see for yourself.

So now ask yourself “Do I have what it takes to achieve a 1% improvement in these three areas”? Absolutely! Can you do more? Probably. The key is to start – so set a goal. By focusing your efforts in these areas, you too can make progress 1% at a time.

Of course, a goal without actions won’t do much to get you there. So here are some things to consider as you plan your profit growth initiatives:

Revenue / Sales: There are hundreds of ways to grow sales. While generating more leads is an obvious one, here are a few that are often overlooked. You can improve revenue by improving your sales conversion rates, get customers to spend more or buy more often or expand your products or services. Need some ideas, check out 155+ Profit Building Ideas

Cost of Sales or Goods Sold: Based on experience with hundreds of small business owners, this area offers a lot of opportunity for profit improvement. The costs included in the cost of sales or goods sold will vary based on your type of business. These are variable – and link directly to sales levels. Examples of costs include inventory, incoming freight, direct labor (associated with service delivery or production), raw materials, service related suppliers and sub-contractors.

So how can you improve this area? Consider some of the following: improve labor efficiency by eliminating waste, renegotiate prices with key suppliers and vendors, outsource or utilize sub-contractors, improve scheduling, plan purchases to get volume pricing, and eliminate rejects or reworks.

Expenses / Overhead: These are relatively fixed and include everything from wages and benefits to marketing and rent. In today’s economy, many have focused on trimming the fat – but the key is to do so without impacting your ability to grow and deliver on your promise to customers.

Here’s a few things to consider: re-evaluate staffing levels to align with sales and service requirements, re-evaluate benefits, develop compensation model that includes pay-for-performance elements (not just guaranteed wages), evaluate outsource options or leasing, re-quote service contracts and insurance, renegotiate rent or relocate where appropriate, track marketing to improve ROI, and establish a budget – and live with it.

Small improvements in all areas have a compounding effect on your bottom line. They build on each other. All it takes is a clear focus, some simple proven strategies and a commitment to do it. 

Ready to Put Your Business on the Path to Success?

Would working with a business coach help you take your business to a whole new level? Then let’s explore the possibilities with a complimentary 30-minute session.  It’s a chance to get to know each other, discuss your goals and the obstacles that hold you back. Together we can determine if there is a good fit between your needs and my services.  Book appointment now.

Got questions? Call Joan Nowak at (856) 533-2344 or email Joan@HybridBizAdvisors.com

systems.teams.technology

Business Systems | Build Profit As You Grow

Business systems make life easier, drive profitability, and leverage your business. Many small businesses learned the importance of operating systems when a pandemic caused changes in the way they had to operate. The old way of doing things didn’t work. With safety as a priority, everything from sales and hiring to customer service, daily operations, and billing were impacted to some degree.  These businesses also learned that it’s easier to modify your current systems instead of building everything from scratch.

Business Systems Make Pivoting Easier

The businesses with quality systems and technology to support them, found ‘pivoting’ was a lot easier. 

Whether back-to-work plans included simple modifications, a whole new business model, or something of a hybrid approach, we are reminded that updating and documenting systems is important.  Here are a few things to consider:

  • Hiring people is on the rise. Training and helping them to succeed without documented systems is far more difficult.
  • Getting customers back (or getting new ones) is a priority.  Consistent methods to implement your strategies are important for results.
  • Defining your customer experience is easy. Delivering on your promise time and again is more difficult without systems and technology to support your efforts. 

Business Systems | How to Get It Done

Whether you simply need to update what you have or build them from scratch, here is some good news. You can do it while you continue to grow your business. Here’s the best way to approach it.

Set the right goal.  Yes, I’m also a big advocate of setting goals! Avoid setting a goal to complete a how-to manual. It is just plain boring and overwhelming.  Instead, set a goal to build systems into your business – as you are building it.  You will eventually end up with a practical, how-to manual, but you’ll build profit and efficiency along the way to keep you motivated.

Take it one procedure at a time.  For every system you document and implement, you will see improvements in efficiency, productivity, and profit.  So you don’t need to reach the end of the project (a how-to-manual) to see results:  more sales, customers, profit, control, and freedom.

Start with the most critical.  Business systems, like customers, are not created equal.  Focus first on the ones that impact YOUR sales, delivery, profit, and time. 

When evaluating the systems in your business, you need to consider two factors. First, consistency. Is the procedure performed the same way by all involved?  Second, effectiveness. Does it deliver the outcome or results you want? 

For example. You have a sales system that is documented so everyone does it the same way.  But if your process doesn’t help you achieve a better outcome – more sales or a higher conversion rate – then it’s consistent but not effective.  In your business, you want both!

Make Your Systems Effective

Keep it simple.  Procedures must be understood by those who implement them if they are to deliver consistent results.  Include scripts, checklists, and samples where appropriate to help people perform the task at hand. And always take advantage of technology that is out there for you. 

Include limits of authority.  Procedures will explain what to do and how to do it.  But some tasks such as preparing a customer quote, closing a sale, paying vendors, or resolving a customer complaint may require you to spell out how much authority others have to complete these tasks.  Limits of authority empower others (with limits) so tasks get done without you while also reducing potential risks (aka bad decisions). 

Here’s a common example.  If quotes are needed to close a sale and timely response plays into getting the business, you don’t want approvals to become a bottleneck.  With guidelines, only proposals that fall outside the parameters you set need to be held for your approval. Therefore, your quote process may include language such as “All quotes or proposals over $5,000 OR under 35% gross profit margin require owner approval”

If you really want less stress, more profit, greater freedom, and the ability to effectively pivot in the future, then make systems more of a priority.  Take it one at a time and build as you grow.  It’s not hard, you simply need to kill the excuses.

Get Serious About Systems

If you are serious about leveraging your business with systems but struggle with where to start and how to do it, then check out my Ultimate Systems and Procedures Guide. Designed specifically for small business owners, my step-by-step guide with templates and examples makes it easy to do it yourself.

About Joan Nowak.  As a business improvement expert, I’ve been helping entrepreneurs turn ideas into profits for more than a decade. My whole-business approach empowers clients and drives improvements in key areas including revenue, operations, team development, customer satisfaction, and profitability.

prioritize-business-goals

4 Ways To Prioritize Your Business Goals

When it comes to planning, most business owners are not short on ideas for growing sales and profit. They set goals and identify what they need to do to get there. But as you set goals and create your action plan, you need to prioritize business goals and activities. 

You only have so many resources – people, time, and money. You still have a business to run and customers to serve. Be realistic about what you and your team can accomplish each month and quarter. Set priorities.  What’s first, then second, and so forth. Here are a few things to consider as you prioritize business goals and tasks.

4 Ways To Set The Priorities in Your Plan
Top Challenge.

What is the #1 challenge you face today in your business?  Is it getting new customers, getting more from the ones you already have, making more profit from your current sales, delivering consistent service to customers, having the right people, or getting more from them?  Choose at least one or two that address your biggest challenge and work on them first.

Complexity.

How much work and other resources are required to complete the tasks or projects you identified in your plan. The more complex, the fewer you can reasonably handle in a short period of time.

With large, complex projects break down the tasks and spread them out over a few months.  This allows you to make progress without getting overwhelmed, putting them off, or ignoring other areas in your business.  For example, a new website or how-to manual will take more than a month. A marketing campaign or customer feedback survey can be done within 30 days.

Natural Prerequisites.

Sometimes there are things you must do first because they are tied to the success of something you want or need to do in the future.  Here are a few examples.

  • If you plan to use social media, email, or other online strategies but don’t have a website (or your current one needs updating), then the website should be done first to get the most bang from your other efforts.
  • If you get a lot of leads but struggle with converting them to paying customers, you might want to focus on ways to improve your sales conversion rates before you invest in new lead generation or marketing.
Time versus Money.

In a perfect world, we seek balance.  But if money is tight, then focus initially on things that are low or no cost to help you build more revenue, profit, and cash flow.  Then invest in strategies that require additional financial resources.

One caution as you set the priorities in your plan.  Don’t prioritize based on what you like or what is easy.  Putting off what is important for what is easy is just another form of procrastination.  Focus on what will get you results – more sales, profit, control, or freedom.

It’s Never Too Late to Plan

Planning Resources - Act NowNeed help creating your road map for success? You can do it yourself by using my Ultimate Action Planning Guide.

Prefer to work on it with me? Then check out my Action Planning Program just for small business owners. Click here to learn more. 

About Joan Nowak.  As a business improvement expert, business coach, and consultant, I’ve been helping entrepreneurs turn ideas into profits for more than a decade. My whole-business approach empowers clients and drives improvements in key areas including revenue, operational performance, team development, customer satisfaction, and profitability.

team stepping up

Does Your Team Step Up or Sit Out?

It’s been a crazy year. One filled with a lot of changes. And for those who own a business, it is taking leadership, innovation, creativity, and a lot of teamwork to keep it together (or maybe afloat). During difficult times, we learn a lot about ourselves – and the people we have in place to support our business.

Some of you saw your team step up. They brought new meaning to the word collaboration. Looked for better ways to serve customers. Came up with new product and service ideas. Developed systems to help operate efficiently and safely. In short, they embraced change, worked together, and made a difference. You know you have the right team so the future looks good on that front.

Others weren’t so lucky. Some business owners realized they didn’t have a team. They had a group of individuals who were content to sit on the sidelines. No commitment to the business, customers, or each other.

The good news is that you can change the storyline at any time.  Make hiring a priority – and have a system in place to help you do it right. Bring in quality people to support the business. Then create a culture that promotes collaboration and teamwork.

Related: Hiring | 7 do’s and don’t to make your efforts pay off

Team Building Secret

So, what is the secret to building a great team? It’s not about paying them a lot of money, but always paying them what they are worth.  It’s not about giving them weeks and weeks of paid time off. But getting paid to enjoy time away is always appreciated. You may be surprised to learn that some of the best ways to build a strong team cost you very little.

#1 – Get Them Engaged.

Vince Lombardi had the right idea. “Individual commitment to a group effort is what makes a teamwork, a company work, a society work, and a civilization work.” Individual commitment comes from participation and understanding.  The more involved your team is, the more committed they are to its success.  And since some of the best ideas for business growth and improvement come from employees, it’s time to get them engaged.  Then everyone wins!

#2 – Show Appreciation.

As human beings, we want recognition and need to feel appreciated. It’s natural. So what do you do to make your team feel appreciated? Again, it’s not about money.  Yes, token gifts or group lunches are nice; but simple things like thank you for a job well done, recognizing them in front of peers and customers, and soliciting their suggestions goes a long way.  All it takes is a little forethought and some of your time!

#3 – Volunteer Together.

With so many needs in local communities, this is an opportunity to work together outside the traditional work environment. These projects help you get to know co-workers as people. It’s a great way to build personal relationships. Find a volunteer project the team can get behind – and do it together. Have fun while you help others.

#4 – Give Them Authority

When you give people the opportunity and authority to be their best, you will get the best out of them. Provide your team with the guidance they need. Then give them the authority to make decisions and solve problems. It’s the best way to demonstrate trust.

Get Your Team Off the Sidelines

When your people are committed and in the game, you set yourself up for success. So, make sure you hire the right people, invest in their development, and create a collaborative culture. When you do, you and your business will be in a better place. One where you will survive whatever the world throws at you – even a pandemic!

Need help? Let’s discuss. Schedule a free 30-minute consultation.  Book an Appointment

About Joan Nowak

I’ve been helping business owners turn ideas into profits for more than a decade. My whole-business, common-sense approach empowers my clients and drives improvements in critical areas, including revenue, operations, team development, customer satisfaction, and profitability.

Hiring Process

Hiring: 7 Do’s and Don’ts to Make Your Efforts Pay Off

A strong team makes it possible for any small business to accomplish great things.  But when it comes to hiring, many owners  just wing it, and often end up disappointed and frustrated.

Getting  the right people is not easy, but if you do it well, you won’t be doing it so often!  Here are some do’s and don’ts to make your hiring system pay off – in terms of sales, productivity, and profit.

Do Build a Case for Your Hiring Decisions.   Before you rush out and replace an employee or bring in additional help – stop!  Be clear on what you need, why you need it and what it will cost.  Think long-term not just quick fixes.

Do Create a Good Job Description.  Think beyond just duties and responsibilities.  What skills must the person possess to accomplish the job and add value to your company? A good job description sets the expectations for the position and can provide the clarity you need – so you attract what you want.

Do Require a Resume. With online job sites for almost every position out there, most candidates have a resume of some type. Resumes are a great way to evaluate written communication skills and can be helpful in weeding out those you don’t want.  So make them a part of your hiring process – ask for them!

Do Phone Screening of Applicants.  A 10-minute phone screen, with relevant questions,  can save countless hours of time.  Beyond getting clarification on resume information, a phone screen is a great way to evaluate verbal communication skills.

Don’t Go It Alone.   As a small business owner, you likely interview most candidates.  But why not allow other employees to participate in the interview process.  We all pick up different things and input from others can be very helpful in making good hiring decisions.  If you are a solo owner, ask another solo-owner to interview your candidates and return the favor for him/her when needed.

Do Reference and Background Checks.  Face it, some people polish the apple a bit or just flat-out lie on resumes and throughout the interview process.  Before you jump in and offer someone a position, do your homework.  Get business references and call them.  Confirm their employment and the dates – then ask the magic question, ‘Would you re-hire the candidate’.  A simple yes or no will speak volumes.  And don’t forget to do a little online research.  Facebook, Linked-In and other social media platforms are helpful. Google and other search engines can also provide information, good and bad, on potential employees.  Use it.   If background checks or assessments are part of your process, do them too.

Do Not Settle.  I know that being short-staffed can be frustrating, but hiring the wrong person, just to get someone in there, will cause more damage.  It can hurt productivity even further, kill employee morale and cost you in the long run.

Finally, believe you can get quality people within your company.  If you believe you can, you will.  Unfortunately, the opposite is also true.  So whether you are replacing a current employee or hiring for the first time, invest the time to do it right.  The people in your company represent YOU – so set high standards and integrate these suggestions into your hiring process or system.

New Monthly Article & Business Tools

For new business improvement articles, exclusive tools and insights on entrepreneurship, click here to subscribe to my monthly eNewsletter. When you do, I’ll also send you my free eBook, How to Build Profit Through Leverage.

Band Aid Problem Solving

How To Turn a Quick Fix Into a Permanent Solution

No matter how difficult the problem, there is always a quick fix.  And with so many fires to put out, the quick solution is often welcome by business owners because it allows you to move on to the next crisis or opportunity.

By definition, a quick fix is a problem-solving technique which involves using the fastest solution to keep the problem from escalating or recurring in the near future.

Solving the immediate problem quickly is a good thing, especially when it impacts customers, team or money. But the quick fix is often nothing more than a band-aid. It doesn’t address the root cause; it’s not the long-term solution. The problem will likely return again.

Is It a System Or People Issue?

Here’s an example to demonstrate this point.  Your technician performed a service.  The customer was unhappy and called to complain.  You apologize and send someone out to re-do the work and smooth over the customer.  Problem solved. The customer is now satisfied and you move on.

But what have you done to fix the problem moving forward? This is the missing piece in many small businesses. After you employ a temporary solution, you should evaluate the source of the problem in a more in-depth manner – to create the best solution for the future.

In the above example, it’s easy to assume the employee did a poor job or needed more training. In this case, the office staff scheduled two additional service calls and he was running behind. Concerned about being late to his remaining customers, he took shortcuts to make up the time.  So is it a people issue or a system issue – or maybe a combination of both?

Fix Then Solve

This principle applies to all areas of your business. While customers may create obvious fire drills, here’s a few others to consider:

  • Key employee resigns unexpectedly – and you have no one cross-trained.
  • Primary supplier goes out of business or increases prices dramatically and you have all your eggs in one basket!
  • Your biggest (or best) customer merged with another company and they have their own preferred vendor (and it’s not you).
  • Sales plunge and you have no ongoing, consistent method to generate more sales from new leads or existing customers – cash flow is getting tight.

All of these issues require immediate action, so go for the quick fix.  But afterward, work on the best solution for the future. From the above examples, that may include documenting or improving procedures, cross training employees, creating multiple supplier arrangements, expanding or diversifying customer base, and ongoing marketing and sales efforts.

While the best solution will take more time, it is often worth it in the long-run. Think about the impact these problems have on costs, profit, customer satisfaction, team satisfaction – and you personally.  Do you really want to spend your days putting out fires?

Determine The Source of Problems

How do you determine the source of problems?  Ask more questions.  How do we make sure this doesn’t happen again?  How can we do this better in the future? Think systems and people!

  • What systems and procedures do you need to run all areas of your business? Are they documented so others can use them consistently? Are they effective – work the way they should?
  • What people (employees, vendors, contractors, power partners) do you need to run your systems? Are they trained properly? Are the expectations clear?

Get others involved and encourage people to speak up without fear. It’s difficult to get to the root cause and solve problems without honest communication from everyone.  Make the commitment to really improve your business.  Get rid of the band-aids and fix the problems for the long-term.

Tired of Hitting Roadblocks?

Would another set of eyes, ongoing support and accountability from an expert help you to get moving in a new and better direction? Let’s explore the possibilities with a brief, complimentary consultation.  No obligation, only opportunity. Click here to schedule your free consultation today.

Effective leadership

Ready to Lead Your Team?

Leadership is tested most during times of crisis or change. Are you ready to lead your team? To be the leader your team needs, start by focusing on these four areas.

Communication

Good communication skills are important at all levels of business. But it can be challenging with some or all employees working remotely.  Keeping a pulse on what’s going on is more difficult. Casual chats as you walk around and lunchroom conversations aren’t there for you. Getting informal communication or feedback requires planning and initiative.

  • Schedule brief catch-up calls with your staff. Encourage others to do the same. Nothing says I care more than a one-on-one conversation.
  • Zoom and Google Meet are great tools for bringing the team together. They can replace onsite meetings. Just don’t overdo it! Keep them brief and have an agenda.
  • Keep email communication clear and simple. They are a great way to keep your team up-to-date on what is going on.
  • If you use text, use it wisely. Would you want to receive text messages all day and night from your boss or colleagues?

Redefine Goals & Expectations

Most small businesses have undergone changes over the past year. Some changes were as simple as safety protocols. Others changed their business model, products, or operations. 

But with the knowledge you gained and trends you’ve watched, take a hard look at your overall business. Your team, operations, customer service, products, systems, and margins may need revamping to handle changes in attitudes and behaviors. It’s not about surviving – but thriving in years ahead.

Communicate your new vision for the future. Clarity from you can also reduce stress on them! Set clear goals and expectations so everyone is on the same page.

Accountability

Communication and clear goals are a good start and something your team needs from you. But make sure you give people the tools, support, and authority to do their jobs and achieve the results you all want. Build-in accountability.

By definition, accountability is the acknowledgment and assumption of responsibility for actions, decisions, and implementation within the scope of their job. It comes with an obligation to report, explain and take ownership of results.

The best way to build accountability within your company is through follow-up. Check on progress along the way. When you follow up on projects or tasks you reinforce their importance. It also gives you the opportunity to recognize their work, keep them motivated or help get them back on track if necessary.

Delegation

“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things, but the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” If you believe the words of President Ronald Reagan, you have the ability to be a great leader. You simply need to open doors for others on your team to accomplish great things.

It starts with delegation. Sure effective delegation saves you time and allows you to focus on the right stuff. But it’s really more than that. When you effectively delegate work to others, you allow them to learn new skills and take on more responsibilities. It helps you empower others to accomplish great things for you and your company.

Related: How to Delegate Effectively

Mentoring

If you take care of your team, your team will take care of your business. Good leaders understand this so they make teamwork and developing others a priority.

We’ve all had people in our lives who we admired or learned from. They make a difference and are often unforgettable. Many of these individuals are former bosses, coaches, teachers or business colleagues. And when you ask people about them, you will often hear “I learned so much from him/her”.

You too can be that person in your company. Whether you teach them directly or open the doors to learning, you have the ability to help your team reach their full potential. Share your knowledge. Promote training and development within your company. Be the serving leader your team needs to excel at work and in life.

Related: Leadership: What Makes Some Great

How Can I Help You Better Lead Your Team?

How can personalized advice and coaching help you reach your business and professional goals? Let’s start with a conversation about what’s important to you — and what is holding you back. Book a free 30-minute call today.  Click to schedule now. 

products services

Do Products & Services Need a Facelift?

Products and services have a shelf life because customer needs change over time. Do your need a facelift? Are your products and services a want, need or must have? The right products and services make marketing and sales growth easier. 

5 Ways To Improve Offers and Grow Revenue

#1 Create a new product or service

What do your customers want or need today that you could easily offer or integrate into your services? They can be big or small. The key to success here is to ensure it’s a natural fit for your other products.  They should compliment your current offers and be logical to customers based on your company’s reputation and experience.

#2 Offer a simpler or smaller version

Can you take something away or simplify it to make it more affordable to your target customers? This may be a way to create an easy entry to your company. From there, you can up-sell or cross-sell products in the future.

#3 Upgrade a product or service

What can you add to create a premium version or upgrade to something you already sell? What would your ideal customers value? Consider what your competition does or does not provide. One of the keys is to do a little research by talking to your ideal target customers. What do they want, what are they willing to pay?

#4 Bundle into a package

While bundled services may cost more as a package, they typically deliver more value in the long-term and ultimately save customers money. The key with packaging services is to create them for a niche or small segment of your market. Do not try to create packages that serve everyone or you will ultimately serve no one.

#5 Update your current products or services

Since the needs of customers change over time, your products and services need to keep up. Do the value-added features you include still matter to customers? If not, remove them and save the money. Are there services that you need to add that are now expected? If so, find a cost-effective way to incorporate them. Feedback from customers makes this easier to do. So evaluate your services and modify them as needed.

Communicate Changes and Improvements

When you give your products and services that much-needed upgrade, remember to communicate it! While many small businesses promote a new product, they often overlook communicating improvements or changes to existing products or services. Announcements in newsletters or email campaigns, press releases, a simple business letter, direct mail piece, updates on social media or even a ‘New’ icon on your product website can often do the trick.

Don’t overlook the product or service development side of your business. It’s an important part of marketing. And rem to communicate the changes you make. Your bottom line will thank you.

Ready to Put Your Business on a Better Path?

Would another set of eyes, ongoing support and accountability from an expert help you take your business to a new level of success? Then let’s explore the possibilities with a complimentary consultation

To learn more or schedule an appointment, call me at (856) 533-2344 or drop me an email Joan@HybridBizAdvisors.com

customer churn1

How to Fix Customer Churn

Even if you do everything right, some level of customer churn is going to happen. Customers may move away or outgrow the need for your product or service. But if you dig deeper, you will find that most customer churn is controllable. You and your team have the ability to retain valued customers.

Why Customers Churn or Leave

When businesses lose valued customers, they often assume it is related to price or competition. But too often, that’s the go-to reason to justify the loss – covering up the real issues.

Related:  Pricing: 6 Common Mistakes to Avoid to Build Profit

  • Outdated products or services. Customer needs change. So should your products or services. Do yours need a facelift?
  • Lack of engagement or perceived indifference. Most businesses invest a lot of resources on new customers. What are you doing to make valued customers feel important? Make sure they know you care.  
  • Poor customer service or quality. It’s all about your customers’ expectations. They deal with a lot of companies and industries, not just yours. What should your customer experience look like? Does your team have the tools and know-how to deliver it consistently?
  • Attracting the wrong customers. It is not easy to turn away customers. But too many one-and-done sales or dissatisfied clients do not help your business. You want people who value, want and need what you offer. People whose problems you can solve – and are happy to pay for it. Is your marketing and sales attracting the right customers?
  • Over promise and under deliver. If customers expect the Taj Mahal and get a hut, they feel cheated. When it comes to quality, service, performance, lead time, results or other benefits — be honest.

How to Retain Valued Customers

Get Your House in Order. If customer service or quality levels are broke, work to fix them. It’s the number one way to reduce customer churn and retain customers. If you fail to deliver what you promise, customers won’t stick around and will share their bad experiences with others. Identify what you want the ‘buying experience’ to look like and have procedures and tools in place to help your people deliver it consistently. 

Related: 13 Ways to Make Your Service Business a Profit Sensation

Talk to Customers. Customer needs change over time. So, take the time to ask them for feedback on what they need and how well you are meeting their needs and expectations. It’s also a great way to uncover new product or service opportunities.

Reward Retention. If retention is really a priority in your business, demonstrate this to your team. Set goals for improvement areas and reward the team when they are accomplished. This approach works for any improvement you wish to make. It becomes a focus for your team. And with focus comes improvement.

Choose People Wisely. When you hire employees or select subcontractors to interact with your customers, make sure they value customers and possess the skills to deliver to your standards. Are they empathetic and trustworthy? Can they communicate well and listen? Each customer contact with you, your team or other partners is an opportunity to build your reputation or destroy it. Make the selection of people a priority.

Say Thank You. Sounds obvious but consider this. When was the last time you received a personal thank-you note from a company you do business with? This simple strategy can really make an impact and says a lot about your company and the value you place on customers.

Stay Connected. Social media can certainly keep your name in front of customers, but nothing beats a personal approach. Whether you do it by phone, mail or email, make sure your customers know you are thinking of them. Too often, we only connect when we’re trying to sell something. A simple thank you, a request for feedback, or a holiday greeting card can all do the trick. If you want to add a special offer, just for them, even better! While the frequency may vary based on your business or industry, quarterly contacts should be your minimum goal!

Make Customers Feel Important. Your current customers need to feel more appreciated than non-customers or prospects. While new customers are important to growth, make sure current customers get some VIP treatment. Programs, offers or specials that are exclusively available to them work well – so build some into your marketing efforts.

Make Service Everyone’s Job. Does everyone in your company understand the value of customers and are they ready to help them regardless of whose job it really is? Train your team on customer service and give them the tools and ability to take care of your customers. From the receptionist to the technician or delivery driver, your team will make an impression. The kind they make is up to you!

Ready to Put Your Business on the Path to Success?

Would another set of eyes, ongoing support and accountability from an expert help you take your business to a new level of success? Then let’s explore the possibilities with a complimentary consultation. To learn more or schedule an appointment, call me at (856) 533-2344 or drop me an email Joan@HybridBizAdvisors.com

mktg strategies

Choosing the Best Marketing Strategies

Is growing your customer base your top priority in 2020? The good news is you have hundreds of ways to create leads and new relationships. But with so many options, is it any wonder small business owners get overwhelmed? Yet choosing the best marketing strategies for your business is a key to getting more customers — and doing it profitably.

Past performance can be a good indicator. So start there. When evaluating previous marketing strategies, consider three things:  the number of leads generated, the quality of those leads and your return on investment.  If something is working, keep doing it.

If it’s not producing enough quality sales, then it’s time to look in other directions and add some new methods to your mix.  

7 Questions to Choose the Best Marketing Strategies

What products or services do I want to promote? You don’t need to promote every product or service you offer. Invest in the most profitable or those that are in highest demand. Avoid trying to sell everything to everyone with your marketing. It’s costly and a recipe for failure. 

Related: Do Your Products or Services Need a Facelift?

How do my target customers like to give and receive information? Too often businesses choose what is trendy or maybe low-cost. Do your customers prefer communication in-person, by phone, email, snail mail, digital, or social media? It may vary based on the type of information. And they may be okay with multiple methods. Choose what works best for them.

How many contacts do I actually need to build relationships and create sales for my business? It takes more than one or two contacts to build awareness, nurture relationships and create a sale. With so much noise in the market, seven to ten is more the norm. For higher priced services, where prospects may perceive more risk, the number of contacts may be greater. So build a variety of possible touch-points and deliver the same message consistently.

How can I get existing customers to keep buying, buy more or buy more frequently? The short answer is stay connected and continue to market to them. Invest some of your marketing dollars on your current and past customers. It’s also a lot cheaper to market to those who already know and like you!

How much time and money should I invest? Consistency in marketing matters. Marketing strategies have both a time and money component. Some, like networking and social media, are low-cost but consume a lot of time. Others, like direct mail or pay-per-click, require a higher money investment but little time. The key is to balance out your time and money investments so you can do marketing consistently throughout the year.

What do I like and what am I good at? Let’s face it, nothing happens until you implement your marketing strategies. When choosing, most people avoid what they dislike or struggle with. It makes them uncomfortable. First, recognize this bias and try some things outside your comfort zone. Then do what others do: delegate, outsource or learn how to do it effectively.

How do I systematize my marketing so it gets done easily, effectively and profitably? Once you have decided on what you want to do, create the campaign, implement it, monitor it, modify it and document it! Look for ways to make it easy, repeatable and more effective the next time. When your marketing takes less time and effort and still delivers the return on investment you want, you will find it’s not so overwhelming. You may actually grow to like it!

Ready to Put Your Business on the Path to Success?

Would working with a business coach help you take your business to a whole new level? Then let’s explore the possibilities with a complimentary consultation. It’s a chance to get to know each other, discuss your goals and the obstacles that hold you back. Together we can determine if there is a good fit between your needs and my services.

To learn more or schedule an appointment, call me at (856) 533-2344 or drop me an email Joan@HybridBizAdvisors.com