How to Inject Life Back Into Your Business

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It’s not unusual for business owners to find that their company appears to be drifting. Perhaps when you first started your business, everything began well. However, as time went on, it started to level out, and now your company doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. If it’s in total power failure and you need to give it a kickstart, there are plenty of things that you could do to get it going again. Whether you find a way to invest in something new or you just try to make do with what you already have, you don’t have to keep coasting along.

Evaluate Your Business

Before you do anything else, it’s smart to understand just what might be going wrong with your business. There might not necessarily be some big mistakes that you’re making or some significant pain points, but if there are, it’s important to discover what they might be. An honest assessment of your company should help you to identify any potential issues for you to correct. Take a good look at your numbers and some of the things you’ve been doing recently. You might be able to find a certain point when your business stopped growing or even started going downhill.

Start a New Marketing Campaign or Plan

Promoting your business in the right way is vital if you want to keep growing and improving it. If your business has stalled, you might need to consider a new approach to marketing. It could be time to launch a new marketing campaign that helps to renew interest in your product or service. Or it might be the right time to reconsider your marketing plan and perhaps come up with something different to the one you created before. Refreshing your marketing could really help to show your brand in a new light.

Consider a Rebrand

If you want to take an even more drastic marketing step, you could consider rebranding your business. This might not be too big of a step for some companies, but it depends on what changes you decide to make and the current level of your brand awareness. Rebranding could mean anything from changing your company’s name to reconsidering your brand colors and tone of voice. It might be that your current brand isn’t resonating with your target audience, and you need to adjust your approach. A rebrand can give your business new life and help you to get some momentum back.

Find a New Market

Discovering new customers can help you to start bringing in more business. It might be that your target market isn’t giving you enough sales, or you might be focusing on the right market entirely. Perhaps it’s time to start looking elsewhere for your customers, whether it means slightly changing your approach or completely switching directions. Doing some research into where you might be able to discover new customers should help you to make a decision. Take a look at your existing customers, and you might notice some patterns that you hadn’t previously realized were there.

Create More Focus with a Narrower Niche

Sometimes, you might not have a strong enough focus on how you are promoting your products. It might seem like a good idea to cast your net out as wide as possible, but this can actually be a disadvantage. Narrowing your niche and creating more focus can be beneficial for your business. It’s often better to develop and market your product for a specific group so that you can make decisions that are more informed by what they want. Instead of trying to appeal to everyone at once, you could get more business by paying attention to a particular group.

Get a Cash Injection

If you’re struggling to grow your business, it can be difficult to give it the kickstart it needs if you don’t have the funds. You need money to grow your business, but you’re finding it hard to get the money when your business isn’t growing. Obtaining funding through a loan or other financing can help you. If you need to buy some specific equipment to grow your business, equipment financing will give you the funds that you need to make your purchase. Make sure that you’re going to be generating enough new business to cover the payments to repay any money that you borrow.

Talk to Existing Customers

When you’re trying to figure out how to give your business a new lease on life, speaking to your existing customers is a smart thing to do. They can give you insight into what you’re doing right and how you might be able to improve. You might ask them to complete a survey or, depending on your business model, even call and speak to some of your customers personally. With the information that they offer you, you could make various changes to the way that you do business. You could make changes to your product, or you might consider a new approach to marketing it.

Redesign Your Offering

Rethinking your product or service could be the way to get your business back on track. You don’t necessarily have to make any major changes, but there could be something that your customers are looking for and that you’re not providing them. You can speak to your customers about whether there’s anything that they would like to change, but there are other ways to discover if you should change anything about what you have to offer. Sometimes doing research on your competitors can help you to work out what you can change. If there are particular things that your competitors’ customers are complaining about, there could be a possibility for you to fill the gap and meet their demands.

If your business has been going slower than you would like, there could still be a chance for you to revive it. Before it starts to fail completely, you need to come up with some ways to inject some life into it. You don’t necessarily need more money to do so, although it can help.

How to Succeed In Marketing Your Business in Any Niche

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No matter if you are a dog trainer or a business coach, you should not expect customers to just come knocking on your door. In fact, you will need to go out and find them, searching for ways to engage with them and communicate your offers. Your business idea might be great, but without marketing it will be pretty much dead. You will have to make the most out of your reputation and your branding tools, so you can create a system that will generate business leads automatically and turn them into customers. Below you will find a few skills you will either need to learn or gain though outsourcing to make your marketing work for you.

Have a Clear Vision

Before you are able to communicate your offers, you will have to come clear about what you stand for. One of the most common mistakes people make when they set up their website and online presence is that they talk about what they do, their products and services, but not the benefits for the customer. You will have to answer their question: “what is in it for me” in just a couple of seconds, or they will leave your pages never to return.

Do Your Research

Having a business idea will not guarantee success. There might be other companies out there that do the same thing, even cheaper. You will also have to find out what the size of the market is, how you can add value, and how much it will cost you to deliver the services and products. After all, you go to business to make money, not to lose it. You can find loads of free industry reports and statistics online, or conduct your own survey if you are targeting a specific niche.

Identify Your USP

To create effective marketing messages, you will need to make your brand stand out from the crowd. You should sit down to find out what your unique selling proposition is, and how you can best communicate it with your potential clients. It is crucial that you do this task first, so you don’t find yourself shooting in the dark or barking up the wrong tree. Once you have identified what makes your offer special, you will find it easier to locate the people who will appreciate the features that are unique to your brand.

Find Out Who Your Ideal Client Is

If you have ever said that you can work with anyone, you will have to think again. There is a specific niche market that is much more likely to appreciate what you offer than the rest, so you will need to target them, speak their language, and address their most urgent problems through your content marketing. You can brainstorm ideas, read review sites, or simply check question and answer sites such as Quora, so you can find out more about the market and the customers’ buying triggers.

Learn SEO

Setting up a website is not enough if you would like to get traffic and conversions. The cheapest – but also the most time consuming  – way to get traffic is search engine optimization with your niche in mind. You can learn basic SEO from Google Digital Garage, or other alternative training sites, but you will need to double check that you are not provided with outdated information. Search engine algorithms change, so does customer behavior, so you need to have the latest tools and technologies to make it work for you.

Invest In Your Learning

Apart from SEO, there are plenty of skills you can learn in your own time. Every business owner needs to learn what makes a successful marketing campaign, even if they are planning on outsourcing it. You might enroll in a marketing course online, or take private training from someone who has already cracked the code of social media marketing and content creation. You can never stop learning, and investing in your own skill development is likely to give you the most return on investment.

Create a Sales Funnel

To automate your processes, you should create an advanced sales funnel that will keep your audience and leads engaged, so you don’t have to manually follow up every query. This step, however, should only be completed after you have a clear target market and brand message. You can talk to a digital marketing sales funnel expert who will look at your market and help you get your messages right. You can get a startup marketing funnel designed by an industry expert so you can focus on getting traffic and leave the rest to automation.

Provide Value Before You Ask for the Sale

If there is something that can make your audience turn away from you, it is delivering the sales pitch before time. It is crucial that you make your prospects know and trust you, and the best way to do this is by providing value all the way. If you are good at blogging, provide them information that will help them improve their lives. If you are a video person, create a series of quick tips to educate your audience and to position yourself as an expert in the field. Once you have created reciprocity, your leads will convert much easier.

Manage Your Reputation

It is not enough to build a strong brand; you will also have to maintain it. If you don’t keep an eye on your comments, feedback, and ratings on various review sites, you can lose the trust of your market without knowing. You can sign up for alerts from your Google account to get notified every time your brand name or company is mentioned online, so you can respond and manage your reputation. Once you have a few customers, you should ask them for a review or recommendation, so you can strengthen your online visibility and brand.

Consider Your Marketing as an Investment

Most business owners, especially those who are new to the world of entrepreneurship consider marketing as a necessary expense. It is not just about ticking the boxes to run ads or get a brand image and website designed; it is an investment in your business future. If you are spending a dollar to get a lead and every 20th converts, you will need to make at least five dollars on a sale for your marketing to be worth it. The better your conversion is, the more money you can make using digital marketing.

Know Your Competitors

Knowing your market and your ideal client is useful, but you will also have to get to know your competitors, so you can find out what you can do better and how you can provide more value than them. Your strategy should not be reactive, more like proactive, still you want to know when your competitors are running a promotion, so you can focus on increasing loyalty and come up with a plan to prevent your clients from leaving you. After all, no business exists in an empty space.

Track Your Conversion Rates

If you don’t know where your visitors and sales are coming from, you will never be able to come up with an effective marketing plan. There are plenty of free and low cost tools online that will track the engagement level on your social media pages, your website, and your ads. If you would like to take the guesswork out of your promotions, you will have to create a system that will give you a snapshot of all your campaigns, so you can make adjustments and focus on the traffic sources that are the most likely to get you sales. Some people say that the fine line between success and failure lies in business intelligence.

Use Email Marketing

If you generate leads, but cannot turn them into buyers, your marketing investment will not deliver the results you expect from them. Instead of spending hours following up leads, you should implement an autoresponder and use a copywriting service to craft your messages professionally. It is crucial that you make technology work for you; not only delivering your emails, but also tracking open rates, clicks, and conversions. This will help you make the most out of your business without having to spend too much time with administration and customer service.

Tweak Your Campaigns Continuously

It is crucial that you know where your website visitors are coming from, where they land, and which pages they leave on. If you don’t have Google Analytics set up yet, you should integrate it in your site, so you can tweak the campaigns and set up AB testing on your pages, finding out which headlines and images your readers are the most likely to react to. Marketing is a numbers’ game, and  – thankfully – you don’t have to do the number crunching yourself; there is a software for that.

Many new business owners struggle to come up with an effective marketing strategy. It is crucial that you educate yourself on the basics and get help with the specialist marketing tasks to achieve the best results possible.

Business Inspiration Starts With Strong Foundations

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On this site, we talk a lot about the steps a business needs to take to start growing forward. But the most important thing is to build your company on strong foundations. As an entrepreneur, it’s important to be ambitious yet level-headed. Many business owners make the mistake of leaning towards one extreme or the other. Chasing innovative strategies without any sort of business acumen will bring your company to a grinding halt. However, running a company too safely will stop it from growing and competing with exciting brands in the industry. To be a successful entrepreneur, you need to value flexibility and stability. Business inspiration starts with strong foundations. With that in mind, here are some ideas to help your business evolve with the goal of long-term success.

Create a strong financial plan.

When it comes to your business finances, you need to get into the pattern of regularly returning to the boardroom to assess your spending habits. The way in which your company uses its money has a huge impact on its growth. As discussed in the introduction, being level-headed is about avoiding extremes. Being too frugal stops businesses from growing, but wasting money can cause drastic problems for your business too. If you want to grow then you need to be brave enough to invest but do so in fiscally responsible ways. Make sure you assess your expenditures to ensure that you’re spending your money wisely. Cut back on non-essential costs. You could prioritize digital documentation over paper-based documentation to save money. You could also negotiate with suppliers to get cheaper deals.

You might even want to seek the help of a full-service CPA firm. You’d get professional help from accountants who could advise you on smart ways to use your business’ funds. The goal isn’t just to save money but spend it well. You might be pulling in respectable sales, but that doesn’t matter if you’re spending those profits on the wrong aspects of your business. To build stronger foundations for your company, think of the departments and operations that need funding. Think of the most cost-effective ways to achieve your goals. If you want to deliver a more extensive service then consider outsourcing instead of hiring new employees; it’s cheaper, but it achieves the same result at the same standard.

Create a strong team.

If you want to develop an inspired business then you need an inspired team. Obviously, you can come up with innovative ideas as the boss of your business, but you’ll be able to develop even fuller plans if you have a team helping you to come up with ideas. Two minds are better than one, and you probably have more than one other company. Work on creating a strong team. That’s how you’ll compete with the big names in your industry. Hiring the best employees is a good place to start, but you should be helping your team to grow. Professional workers can easily become unproductive if they’re not inspired by their work. If you treat them like cogs in the machine then your employees will become apathetic.

Find ways to make your members of staff feel valued. Praise them for working hard. Give them bonuses, free lunches, and other perks for putting in extra effort. That way, they won’t fall into the habit of doing the bare minimum amount of work required from them. Talking of habits, make sure their workload doesn’t become too repetitive. There’s nothing more depleting to a person’s morale than repetition. Surprise your team by giving them presentations to do and unexpected projects to complete. Switch up the workday to keep your team on their toes. That way, they won’t slack off. In other words, give your employees a challenge, but don’t work them excessively. Let them recover. Maybe you could put a ping-pong table in the break room so that they have a way to unwind.

Create a strong brand.

Behind every inspired business is an inspired brand. That’s what differentiates you from the competition. If you want the target market to choose your company over the company then your brand needs to make an impact. It isn’t enough to sell high-quality goods. Your rivals are doing the same. If you want to separate yourself from similar companies in the industry then you need to brand yourself in a unique way. For example, maybe you could sell the same products but a portion of your profits are donated to certain charities. That would encourage consumers to choose your brand because they’d know that some of their money would go towards a worthwhile cause.

Plus, people are more likely to choose companies that display a caring side. In the modern age, we all care more about businesses that are connected to the interests of the people. Disconnected corporations aren’t popular with the consumer market. You need a strong brand if you want to build strong foundations for your business. Think of ways to make your identity stand out. The previous point will help in this regard. If you have a passionate and caring team then they’ll deliver a passionate and caring level of customer service. That’ll improve your reputation in the marketplace and cast your brand in a good light.

Create a strong digital marketing strategy.

In today’s world of technology, a strong digital marketing strategy is essential to a strong business model. You need to take an inspired approach to advertising your brand on the internet. You might have a website and social media profiles, but so does every other business on the planet. What makes you different? You need to create content that really draws people in. Perhaps you could create a responsive layout on your site, for starters; if it looks good on all devices then you’ll impress search engine algorithms but also the real-life humans who end up on your homepage. First impressions count in the industry. Don’t create an amateurish online presence or customers might think that your business is amateurish. Create a professional website and post relevant things on social media (don’t go overboard with hashtags or trying to follow trends).

Create a strong relationship with customers.

A stable business needs to focus on its client relations. Strong foundations depend on strong relationships with customers. After all, your customers are the source of your revenue. But rather than seeing every buyer as a statistic, see them as people. As discussed in an earlier point about branding, a successful business needs to really connect with customers on a human level. You need to show that you care about your client base. Reward their loyalty. Offer freebies and discounts to long-term customers to encourage them to stick around. They’ll value your business if you value them. And that’s how you’ll build strong foundations for your business. Yes, you need to chase new leads, but you also need a steadily growing client base. Don’t dismiss your existing customers if you want to enjoy long-term success.

You should also do consumer research. The best way to create a strong relationship with customers is to give them what they want. Rather than taking a shot in the dark and hoping for the best, you have to get to know your client base and your target market at large. Run surveys and polls to get feedback from consumers. You could offer discounts and prizes as a way of incentivizing people to get involved with the research. The goal is to know your audience well. If you can deliver tailor-made services to existing and potential clients then you’ll win over the target market. You could even solve problems that your competitors have missed.

Create a strong range of products or services.

We’ve talked a lot about improving the branding and financing of your business, but the main thing that draws in new customers and retains existing ones is a strong range of products or services. If you want to build and maintain strong foundations for your business then make sure you always prioritize the quality of the goods you’re selling. That’s essential to maintaining a good reputation in your industry. You need to keep the products and services exciting so that you can compete with your rivals. You and your competitors might all sell similar products, but the tiniest improvement in quality can make a difference. Maybe you could simply strive to offer a more extensive range so that you stand out from the crowd. By adding some products to your range, you could expand into wider target markets.

For example, you could keep your generalized product range but start offering more specialized goods and services to appeal to niche corners of the market. Make sure you don’t spoil the quality of your existing services by stretching yourself too thinly, of course. Whenever you’re expanding your business, you have to make sure you do so in a way that doesn’t affect the standard of your existing service. Biting off more than you can chew is never a good idea. Remember, business inspiration starts with strong foundations. Chase your innovative ideas, but do so in a way that ensures you can maintain your existing business services at the same standard.

Good Branding Is All About Consistency, Consistency And Consistency

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There is a lot of thought that goes into creating a great brand. Having a good knowledge of the target market, the design language of the industry, and a clear message and goal behind the brand are all important. But they are all reinforced by one thing and ruined by a lack of it. In case it wasn’t obvious, we’re talking about consistency, consistency, consistency. Here are a few guiding principles and tools to help you ensure it’s always there for you to rely upon.

Set the ground rules

Before we get into what exactly your branding should be based on and what it should look like, we need to consider the tools you use to ensure that consistency is always a part of it. There’s already a broadly used tool that does exactly that: the brand identity visual style guide. As shown by https://Visme.co, a visual style guide keeps a record of all the different aesthetic elements that go into your brand’s design. Whenever you’re creating new packaging, a new webpage, or any marketing materials, you can refer to it. It can include logos, colors, fonts, and just about every element of design language that comprises the look of the brand.

Use communicative design

That brand consistency goes into any of the products you sell, too. In fact, some of your design choices will, and should, be defined by the products. In particular, when it comes to packaging and designing products, you need to consider design that’s communicative. Using sites like https://Freundcontainer.com as a guide, you can make sure you’re choosing containers that fit the expectations of the market regarding your product. Is it in the shape and style they will readily recognize correctly as the product that it is? Does your branding fit with that product? If not, you might have to think about changing your design guide to better fit your products. After all, your product is what you’re trying to sell, not the aesthetic of the brand.

Keep the focus where it should be

There’s one group of people that matters more than any when it comes to deciding the direction of the brand: your market. You have to make sure that the brand appeals specifically to them, whether you have a certain demographic or a certain niche that you want to appeal to. The best way to make sure you have that basis for your brand is by asking them. Market research to help you get feedback on web design and packaging design often yields results most relevant to the aesthetic over anything else. If it isn’t landing, then it’s time to think up a redesign with that audience in mind.

Without consistency, your message gets confused, your market gets lost, and your brand is much weaker as a result. Make sure you have those rigid principles and design guides that you can rely on time and time again. This doesn’t mean that the brand can’t evolve, it just means that it has to evolve across the board, too.

What McDonalds Can Teach You About Failed Branding

ronald-mcdonald-sad

Have you seen the recent McDonald’s commercials featuring wholesome ingredients in family settings?

That’s a far cry from their previous campaign geared towards a “cool” hip-hop crowd…

Confusing. That’s what McDonald’s marketing is currently.

Apply that to your professional life. When you’re asked the question, “Why should we hire you?” in a job interview would you state what makes you unique or go with what’s trendy nowadays? (I hope you choose the former)

My point is when it comes to branding it’s important to know your identity.

Using McDonald’s as a bad example, they’ve flip-flopped on who they are trying to be and to whom they’re trying to be it to. Newsflash: people don’t buy McDonald’s products because of sustainable procedures, family values or the perception of being part of the “in-crowd.” It’s sole appeal is: it’s cheap, fast-food. I guarantee if they spent more money marketing their dollar menu, combo meals and sale items profits would rise quickly.

Trying to be the jack-of-all-trades results in being a master of none.

That’s why tools like the StrengthsFinder are helping in defining your identity (personal brand).

Your strengths determine your style which reveals your brand.

Don’t be afraid to niche yourself according to your speciality. People need to know who you are and what you do clearly.

If you communicate various descriptions it sounds confusing…and the problem is when someone is confused they will always say “no” to buying you.

Don’t be like McDonald’s. Be clear about you.