business owner

4 Tips For Naming Your Company

One of the first steps you need to take after deciding what business you want to be in is to choose the right name. In this video I give you 4 simple tips to naming your business.

Tip #1 - Be Original
Tip #2 - What is Your Company About
Tip #3 - Don't Limit Your Growth
Tip #4 - Add a Slogan

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A Great "How-To": Are You Ready For The Yes?

This is the first book I have read in a long time where I actually studied as if I was preparing for a college exam! Usually I'll read through a book and highlight some key points to refer back to later for myself and/or for my clients. Are You Ready For The Yes? was totally different. It started with me reading 1/2 the book during a recent flight and realizing that I was highlighting entire pages at a time instead of my usual line or two here and there. I couldn't wait to get home and tackle a few more chapters that night. That is until I realized while unpacking that I had left the book in the airport! I immediately put in a lost-and-found claim and went right back to Amazon to order another copy just in case it was never found. The content was too good to "wait-and-see" if it would turn up at the airport. I finished the book in record time - for me - and then immediately proceeded to implement the strategies that are outlined by Audria Richmond.

Are You Ready For The Yes? shows you how to prep your personal brand for lucrative opportunities, as it says right on the cover. The step-by-step nature of her recommendations make it easy for anyone to start from scratch or take the next step in the quest for personal branding. It is obvious that Mrs. Richmond is speaking from experience and transfers that experience to the reader in a manner that makes her words create action. The steps that she outlines in the opening chapters of the book align with the steps I took to launch my personal brand. (Click here to check out my blog post "Tighten Up".) I'm looking forward to studying this book with the fever of a Doctoral candidate as I prepare to catapult my own personal brand to the next level! I highly recommend picking up your copy of this book by Audria Richmond today!

2 Simple Steps to Grow Your Business!

I want to share an experience I had yesterday with a dry cleaners. To set the stage, I was using this company exclusively for a few years while working at my previous employer but I hadn't been there for almost 3 years now. So I stop by yesterday morning because I needed some new shirts pressed and returned pretty quickly. As was customary, I pulled up to the drive-through and was promptly greeted by the proprietor. I handed him my shirts and he went to the computer to plug in my phone number. Once he did, there was a short pause of puzzlement followed by him asking me "From Infiniti?". I replied "Yes" and he asked "Do you still work there?". When I told him that I hadn't worked there in a couple of years, he replied "Ok" with a sigh of relief as he now seemed to accept why I hadn't been there in so long. He told me what the charge would be, confirmed a pick-up time that was convenient for me, handed my the receipt and then something totally unexpected happened: he attempted to upsell me! After concluding the transaction, he said "We have some new services that we now offer since the last time you were here" and he began pitching the 4-5 additional revenue streams that had been added. I smiled in acceptance of his sales pitch before heading on with my day.

My goal with sharing this interaction is that you will see the same two lessons from our encounter that I did:

  1. KNOW YOUR CUSTOMERS. Even if you don't, or can't, take the time to personally get to know your clients, make the best use of your CRM tool. If you don't know what a CRM is, I would recommend starting there. I'm sure he didn't remember that I worked at Infiniti but at some point in the past that information was input into their CRM.
  2. PROVIDE YOUR CUSTOMERS WITH ADDITIONAL PRODUCTS/SERVICES. I was really surprised by the fact that he took the time to actually pitch me on his new services, with a brief example of how I might use each one. Be careful not to add additional products or services just for the sake of adding them. Make sure they are beneficial to your clients as well as compliment your existing business model. It is more profitable to have repeat and referral customers than it is to acquire new ones.

There are two key opportunities that were missed in this interaction as well:

  1. KEEP YOUR CRM UPDATED! Someone did a great job of inputting my employment information previously but he didn't ask me where I worked now so that he could update his records. He could've used that as an opportunity to find out which of his new services I would most likely use in the future.
  2. STAY IN CONTACT WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS! If you recall from early on in the narrative, I hadn't been to his cleaners in a few years. The business made no attempt to find out why! No they didn't have my physical or email address but I still use the same telephone number that is in his CRM. Keep in mind that I was getting my clothes cleaned at least bi-monthly yet I never received a call when I stopped coming in. If nothing else, he could've used his new offerings as a reason to reach out and invite me back to his shop.

Take this opportUNITY to learn from what you've just read. If you implement these two simple steps while capitalizing on his two missed opportunities, your business will immediately experience substantial growth. Work smart and SELL, SELL, SELL!

 

 

Tighten Up!

For those of you who know me well, you know that this is one of my favorite phrases. These two words are usually all that is necessary to let someone know that they are not living up to their potential or they are goofing off when it is time to be serious. Based on several recent interactions with local small business, it is necessary for me to tell them to Tighten Up

Let's review a few basics that too many small businesses still don't seem to "get":

Do What You Say You're Going To Do.

If you tell a customer that you are going to call them back or meet them at a pre-arranged time, then do it. Simple, right? Not so much. I have attempted to patronize at least three businesses over the past few weeks who have failed miserably at this task. One business said that they would call me back and never did - even after I gave them a second chance and called them back. Another business scheduled an appointment to provide a service only to reach out to me the morning of to 1)Ask if we were still meeting and 2)Then attempt to reschedule for 2 hours later. And a third business owner reached out to me 45 minutes after our scheduled appointment to inform me that he was on the way. (He had previously told me that he expected to show up early.)

Even more alarming was that all three business came personally recommended from three different sources. Needless to say that I did not give either of those companies my hard earned money.

Spellcheck

It's sad to say that in our age of communicating to each other with a  maximum of 140-characters-at-a-time that too many people are unable to write grammatically correct. Before you start to defend the position of "English is not my strongest subject", understand that as a business owner you may need people around you to compliment your weaknesses. If you are not strong at financials, hire someone who is. If you are struggling to reach new customers, get someone to help you with marketing. If you are writing ANYTHING that a potential customer will see, use spellcheck AND have someone else proofread it! This goes for your website as well. Your website is a validator of your business so if you just throw something together just to show you have a url address, (potential) customers will feel that you will take the same lackluster approach with them.

It is true that you only have one chance to make a first impression. And what do you think that first impression is if you have misspelled words and grammatical errors?

Look Through The Eyes Of Your Customer, Not Your Own

Too many business owners I've encountered think that just because they are "the boss" means they get to do everything their way. For example, just because your favorite color is green doesn't mean that your company color should be green. (Green can invoke a sense of growth with your customers - like the Starbucks brand - when in fact your business may be strongly based on trust and dependability, hence the blue in American Express.) And yes I did deliberately choose the colors Green and Blue as my company colors! 

Other examples of when business owners neglect to research the market before making a decision include: business name, logo creation, use of a favorite song or genre of music in store or on their website and communication methods with customers. The choices you make may invoke a positive feeling for you personally but that doesn't mean they will do the same for your customers. Ample time needs to be spent on market research before introducing your business to the public.

Unfortunately - or fortunately, depending how you look at it - if you can just follow these simple steps you will be WAY ahead of your competition and well on your way to success!