Want a simple, cheap and easy way to increase profit? Increase how often people buy from you!

It is very common for business owners to be so caught up in trying to find the best ways to gain more customers, that no one is thinking hard enough about how to increase their current customers’ average number of transactions. Yes, gaining new customers will most definitely increase profit, but think about this… your existing customers clearly already like what you do, which makes it about six times easier (and cheaper) to get a past customer to buy again than to acquire a new one.

Now, I want you to ask yourself this question…

How many times a year do your clients buy from you? How can you increase this frequency? And what will you increase this average to? It’s time to start devising the ways you can encourage past clients to buy from your more often. Get brainstorming!

Need a few ideas? Consider these…

Hairdressers often end their appointments with asking their client when they would like their next appointment to be. Not only does this lock in their next sale, but it also gives the hairdresser a great opportunity to build a relationship with their client and to get to know them more.  When you’re with a customer, be sure to position their next purchase as well.

Boost Juice is a company which any business owner could learn from. They have a very simple and easy-to-use membership program which gives their customers a free boost for every 10th visit. As well as that, they make sure to say thank you to their client by using the name that comes up on their membership card. This is a great incentive to encourage clients to come back and buy, as well as making them feel good by knowing their name.

Imagine how much your cash flow would improve if all your customers bought once more from you each year or quarter. You would be steps closer to your financial goals!

So here’s a note to leave you with… Have a good think about creating products and services that encourage clients to buy off you more often. Then be sure to proactively trigger more purchases.  It is a great way to build your business more quickly.

Need help brainstorming some ideas? Click here or call me today on (02) 9146 4439 to book an appointment with one of our coaches.

Till next time…

“Every contact we have with a customer influences whether or not they’ll come back…”

conversion rate

Improve your conversion rate with these 5 simple tips!

Are you frustrated with how many of your leads never turn into customers? That is a quite common stress for small business owners. You’re doing all the marketing activities you planned, and are sticking to your target market, but why isn’t your customer base growing?! Unfortunately, the businesses who experience this challenge more than often ‘wing’ their sales process and hope for the best. I am here to tell you… that isn’t good enough! If you want to see a great conversion rate, you must build, follow and track a documented sales process.

“Conversion” is the percentage of leads which actually end up becoming clients. So I want you to think about this… of everyone who calls you, or walks into your shop, how many end up buying something? By tracking your conversion, you are already one step forward to increasing it! Once you understand your current conversion rate, it is time to start improving it.

There are around 80 different strategies that can be used to improve your conversion rate. Out of those, here are my favourites:

  1. Sales Process: When you get a lead, do you follow a clear, step-by-step process through which you lead your prospects? A sales process allows you to interact with your leads in a way that builds trust, that identifies their needs and that communicates the right messages at the right time. As well as this, by implementing a sales process you are able to track the stage that your leads are at, and measure the success of your process, allowing you to recognise the biggest areas of improvement. Many may think that constructing a sales process is a timely task, however it is not only among the cheapest ways to improve your conversion but you will also save time as through converting prospects in the most efficient way possible.
  2. Sales Scripts: A sales discussion consists of a number of important sections including the opening, the questioning, and the close. Many business owners believe that they are skilled enough not to follow a script. However, many of those business owners have not tested nor measured the response from script use. If a script is not used, how can you ensure that you employ rapport-building and persuasion techniques? Following a sales script not only allows you to feel in more control, but ensures that you are getting the most out of your sales discussion. Furthermore, this is the only way you will ever get multiple sales people all converting prospects at a rate that will truly grow your business. And once again, it requires little-no cost, saves time and increases your conversion success.
  3. USP: Your Unique Selling Proposition should be clear, tangible and differentiated. You want to give your prospects complete clarity about how their lives will improve as a result of working with you. If your USP does not communicate this, it is time to make some adjustments. After all, prospects become more emotionally interested when they are told about how it will help THEM.
  4. Guarantee: Now that you have a clear, tangible and differentiated USP, is it backed up by an effective guarantee? A common factor contributing to losing a potential customer is the prospects fear of making a wrong decision. How do you overcome this, you ask? Give them a guarantee that makes them feel safe and confident in buying from you! With an effective guarantee, they won’t have a reason to say no!
  5. Testimonials: As technology expands, prospects look for reasons to buy through researching the internet. So take advantage of it! Are your prospects receiving sufficient evidence of the quality of your products or services, of how many people are using them and just how much they have benefited from them? Make it a process and ask your current clients to make a testimonial following their purchase. You will be surprised as to how much it impacts a prospects buying decision.

Whilst these are my personal favourite conversion strategies, there are countless more that may fit into your business better.

Any lead who has failed to turn into a customer has used up some of your time, effort and money… so why not increase your conversion rate with simple, easy, and cost-effective strategies! Can you afford to have a low conversion rate?

Click here to register for a FREE 1 on 1 meeting with our very own coach, or call me today on 9146 4439 to discuss the best strategies for your business!

Here’s a thought to keep in mind…

“Every touch point in your sales process is an opportunity to delight…”

marketing plan

Get your marketing plan into shape with these 5 easy strategies!

Have you ever felt like your marketing activities just aren’t generating enough profits for your business, so you just give up on them? Or do you pause your marketing plan in order to save more money? Well consider this…

…If you put an end to your marketing plan, will you really save money? Yes, you will… in the way that stopping your wristwatch saves time. In other words, don’t kid yourself.

A marketing plan needs to be clear, simple, and most of all, consistent. Then you have to actually stick to it and, rather than halting its use, update it and make it better. If you let it go after 3 months of not seeing any results, you are guaranteeing that you’ll never see results.

Most business owners think that you must be a marketing guru to generate and implement a strong and profitable marketing plan. Well this should be music to your ears… there are only 5 key areas of marketing and sales that you need to focus on to build your business!

Over the next few months, I will cover each key area in detail. Here is a summary to start your journey to becoming your own marketing guru:

Number of leads – This area is all about how many potential clients you attract. Unfortunately, being unable to generate leads is one of the main reasons that so many small businesses fail in the first few years. The lead generating strategies we will teach you are both simple and mind-blowingly effective.

Conversion rate – Now that you are generating enough leads, how many of them do you convert into clients? Many business owners ‘wing’ the sales process and hope for the best. If that’s you, how is that going for your business? Having a detailed sales strategy will not only improve your conversion rate, but make it much more reliable.

Number of transactions – How many times a year do your clients buy from you? Increase this frequency by devising the ways you can encourage past clients to buy from your more often. Think about this… your existing customers already like what you do, which makes it about six times easier and cheaper to get a past customer to buy again than to acquire a new one! Get brainstorming!

Average dollar sale – How much do clients spend with you each time they buy? Imagine what would happen if you increased the value of each sale by 10%. That’s not a big jump, but it makes a big difference. By executing only one well-implemented price increase strategy, you could make a big difference to the bottom line.

Margins – What is the gross or net margin your business achieves? Improving your margin is one of the quickest way to improve your cash flow. Our clients are often left shocked when they learn that this, the easiest part of a marketing and sales plan, is the fastest and least costly to implement and will have the most immediate impact.

If you are thinking ‘this is too much to work on right now’, remember that all you need is a slight 15% improvement in each area, and that will be sufficient to double your profit! These 5 areas provide you with more than 350 different strategies to explore. All that’s left for you to do is to select the ones that are right for you, implement them effectively, and watch your business soar.

If you feel like you are investing in expensive marketing; that being, marketing which you do not receive a profit from, and just aren’t seeing the return, join one of our coaches for a coffee to discuss the ways in which we can help you.

Can you afford any more expensive marketing? Register here or call us today on (02) 9146 4439.

In my next blog, I will dive deeper into Lead generation and share with you my favourite strategies which will help you increase the number of quality leads attracted by your business. Till then, here’s a thought to take with you…

“…Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans”

cash flow

Take your cash flow on a date and get to know it a bit better

Now that you have set your goals and are planning out your days, weeks, months and years to achieve those goals, it is time you become a master of your money. Money mastery is not necessarily about making a lot of money. It’s about knowing where your cash flow comes from and where it’s going.

In the end, your financials will tell the story of your business, just like reading a novel…. what sort of novel would yours be?  A drama?  A comedy?  A horror???

To discover your level of Money Mastery, consider these questions:

  1. Do you have a monthly profit and loss statement that you review? Is it understandable?
  2. Do you have a weekly cash flow forecast that looks at least 3 months ahead?
  3. Is your balance sheet up to date?
  4. Do you know what your breakeven point is each month, week or day?
  5. Is your cash gap under control?
  6. Do you issue invoices quickly? And follow them up quickly?

If you answered anything other than yes to any one of those questions, then you don’t know your money well enough. It is easy to form bad money habits early on in business, when there isn’t much money to deal with. Business owners often learn that managing cash flow and income only gets harder as the business grows…and, unfortunately, they often learn it the hard way – when they have a money disaster! But larger cash flow is not the cause of your money problems. It is purely due to the way you approach your finances.

Many business owners are mistakenly under the belief that more money means more headaches, but they’re the business owners who haven’t set the right foundations in place or mastered their money activity early on. But it’s simple!

It personally takes me a total of 10 minutes per Monday morning to update my weekly cash flow forecast. This means that I only invest 10 minutes per week to update and understand what my cash flow in the business will look like for the next 3 months, allowing me to identify possible issues and to make the most of my cash balances too! Do you have a spare 10 minutes to spend a week?

According to American Psychological Association, more than 70% of Americans consider themselves financially stressed.

Join the minority and become a Master of your Money by booking a FREE 1-on-1 consultation with one of our very own Business Coaches who have helped several businesses gain complete control of the money flowing in and out of their business.

My next blog will be posted in 2 weeks, and will teach you the secrets to how to get raving fans, but till then, here is a thought to take with you…

…“If you expect your money to take care of you, you must take care of your money.”

business systems and processes

Use business systems and processes to build a business that works without you there

It’s already a little late for New Year’s resolutions, but do you always promise yourself to work smarter, not harder on January 1 and then feel you never achieve this at the end of each year? Don’t worry, you’re not alone by any stretch. The reassuring news is that there is a way. Have your cake and eat it too during business hours by implementing business systems and processes.

It’s normal to want your business to succeed (and often the thinking is that it’s then you can relax) but smart business owners learn to cleverly incorporate business systems and processes to achieve this goal far quicker.

The key to business success is to combine a profit-making strategy with a vision of personal fulfilment, meaning that the business generates profits while the business owner is enjoying life elsewhere – and this involves relaxing!

So what’s the best way to achieve this? We know from experience that some of our clients achieve this in mere months. We will examine the steps necessary to get there.

The first three steps are about vision, mission and culture. For the vision, answer in just one sentence;    why does your business exist? Your mission goes into more detail about who you are as a business.  The culture covers something essential; that your staff know a set of values in line with what you want from your business.

Another step is about being SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, a Result and Time-scaled). Think about your goals for the business and where it’s headed, and use them to set the compass direction. Plan clear….and make sure your team members have theirs clear too.

This next step is one business owners often overlookhaving an organisation chart might sound obvious, but it is surprising how many businesses don’t have one in place. Does everyone working for you know their reporting chain? Your chart should provide clarity around each person’s role in the company and what they’re accountable for.

It’s astonishing really, how many companies don’t have procedures set out for their business, let alone having manuals in place to show people how they work.  If the knowledge is in your head or in the head of a few key people in the business what happens if they are no longer there?

All these steps lead to a final one, and in some respects it’s the most critical. That’s the implementation of management systems, it’s the glue that holds it all together. This is a detailed and vital step (it’s the one that will finally give you more time for yourself). You can read more about it in our eBook on Making Your Business Work without You Being There.

Rest assured, if you invest in the steps briefly outlined here you will be able to grow your business so it can work well without you there.

Do you want to have your best year in business in 2017?  Speak with one of our business coaches today.

 

Business-planning

Success is inevitable – how to ensure you hit the ground running for 2017. Sub Title: Business planning for the New Year

There is something invigorating and exciting about the start of a new year. You can put behind the previous 12 months and wipe the slate clean with the promise of fresh opportunities and new horizons. This is never truer when thinking about your business. You know that success is possible and waiting for you – so we want to share with you how to ensure you hit the ground running for 2017 with the right business planning for the New Year.

Setting goals and establishing a plan on how to achieve them could be one of the best things you do this year. It may sound like common sense but the mere act of sitting down and setting out a plan is in itself one of the stepping stones to success – and it’s one of the ways to ensure you hit the ground running for 2017.

Here are a number of the specific areas to look at in your business planning for the New Year:

In the area of money mastery, what are your financial goals for 2017? What are your revenue and profit targets? What are your reporting goals and how will your forecast look?  A great exercise to do in relation to your business plan is write down your three main objectives in connection to these.

Next you need to consider delivery mastery. How will you deliver your products or services to meet your financial goals?  How would you be able to improve on your customer service? What will you put in place to make it easier for customers to buy from you?  What’s going to make them say “WOW!”?

Think now about Time mastery. Define important and urgent tasks and learn to delegate appropriately to ensure that you’re spending more than half your time on the truly important tasks – those that will have a meaningful impact on the value of your business.

What about your niche? How clearly and compellingly is it articulated?  Can you get more detailed and specific about who you target?  How can you increase the frequency of purchase? Is there room to adjust your margins?

Another focus ought to be leverage.  Are you confident your team knows and understands your company’s vision and purpose? Is it clear to all who you are and what you do? How do you measure your staff’s performance?Are they empowered to do their jobs, is it clear what those jobs are and are you all accountable for your respective contributions?

It’s not always easy to turn the spotlight on yourself but how would you rate your management and leadership? This is an important key to business success. How would you want to improve on your management and leadership skills?  What else can you do to get the best out of your team?

Last but by no means least are two areas: synergy and results. With synergy, will you be factoring in time to launch a new product in 2017 or expand geographically? As for results, well, that’s the Holy Grail, isn’t it? What are your personal goals for your business? Make sure you factor in time for health and wellbeing as well. There is no point running a business if you are not well enough to do it!

Check out these great resources on business planning on our resources page here, you can download these for free. Happy planning!

lead-generation-strategies

What lead generation strategies will you be implementing for 2017?

We all want our businesses to grow and prosper.  Assuming that’s true for you, how were your lead-generating strategies this year?  Did they measure up to your business plan and expectations? If not, what lead generation strategies will you be implementing in 2017 to improve on that?

It’s a question you need to ask as it’s closely linked to small business success – or failure – and that’s often because the processes that have been put in place aren’t what’s needed. With each and every customer incredibly valuable to your business, you need to be clear on the best methods to generate leads.

 

So who are the best people to generate new leads for you? Sometimes we can’t see the woods for the trees: it’s your existing customers!  If you can turn your top customers into enthusiastic ambassadors of your business you have gone a long way to ensure the long-term viability of your company. Why? When one of your customers just loves your company, what are they likely to do? They will tell friends, who will tell their friends, who will tell their friends and so on.

 

How do you make sure your top customers are referring your business to their friends?

 

First, start with outstanding customer service. Train your team to know exactly what to say to customers and how to say it. In recent polls, customer service has been found to be the most important reason customers choose businesses, but also the most lacking category for businesses themselves. Too many businesses don’t concentrate on customer service, instead focusing on discounts.

 

Then, be sure to give your customers the ammunition they need to talk about you properly.  Do they understand who you’re looking for?  Do they know how to talk about your business?  Do they have “the story to tell”???

 

Another area to consider when planning your lead generation strategies for 2017 is your targeting and your customer acquisition costs?  It is vitally important for businesses to understand that you don’t just get customers, you buy them. When you have that mindset, you can begin to understand just what you need to spend on your marketing. And when you know what those costs are you can start measuring what works and what doesn’t from a return on investment perspective.  If it costs your business $5 to obtain a client and your product is only worth $4 per unit, then that would not be a great way to go about it. If it costs you $5 to obtain a client and your product will make you $100 then that would probably be a better return on investment.

 

Furthermore, for small businesses, in today’s world, it is important to have an online presence for lead generation. Having this, and especially a presence on social media networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, is a great way to market to potential customers without the concerns of outrageous costs while creating the buzz every business needs to thrive.

 

One of the greatest resources for generating leads for your business is other businesses.  Working in strategic alliances with other organisations that sell to the same group you target as customers, but sell a different product, can be incredibly beneficial to all parties, including the customer.

 

If sales and marketing is not your strength, check out this eBook to help you determine a few more lead generation strategies for 2017. Alternatively you can speak with one of our business coaches who have helped many businesses start the New Year off on the right foot with the right business plan.

business-plan-template

Why not all business plan templates are equal

As we approach the end of 2016 this is an excellent time to reflect on the last 12 months and ask yourself some tough but necessary questions about the year ahead. This is when you may want to draw up a business plan but not before we explain why not all business plans are equal.

As you begin to look at the next calendar year, you might want to rethink your business plan and this is where we can help. We know from experience why most business plans are barely worth the paper they’re written on.

If your business plan doesn’t capture the right steps to develop the business towards the end goals you have for it, you need to re-write it.  So what are the right steps to developing the business?  Here are the main elements you must ensure that your business has in place; so, to the extent that any are not in place, appropriate steps should be planned to implement them:

The first step would look at: time mastery, money mastery and delivery mastery. With time mastery, for example, start to ask yourself whether what you’re doing is urgent or important and plan your time accordingly. If you plan well, 60 per cent of your time should be spent working on tasks that are important but not urgent. These are the tasks that build a great business.

As for money mastery, what are your financial goals? What can you do in the first 90 days of 2017 that will help support the growth of your business? Do you have the appropriate financial reporting in place to manage any financial risk in the business?  Monthly Profit and Loss Statement?  Weekly Cashflow Forecast?  And so on….

In essence, delivery mastery involves ensuring that it is easy for your customers to buy from you and that you deliver your product or service in a way that wow’s them!

Step two is about creating a niche that sets you apart from your competition, such as to avoid having to compete on price. ActionCoach can show you five activities that will then allow you to dramatically increase the growth of your business, along with the profit that it generates.

Step three is about leverage – how can you do less to gain more?  In its ultimate business form, leverage is about ensuring that your business runs without you.  To achieve that, you must implement the nine steps to systematizing your business – which of those will you complete in the next year?  Make sure you have the right ones in your plan!

Step four is about your team and how to develop a winning team that will help your business prosper. Questions you need to consider include how can you make your team more effective and who do you need to recruit in the next year?

The fifth step requires the first four steps to have been completed or be near completion first. This step becomes possible when you’ve reached the point where you can sit back and gain such much needed perspective on where the business is now and where you want to take it. You now have your time back so a range of exciting and potentially significant growth strategies are possible.

The sixth and final step in your business evolution involves selling your business. For some of you, this will occupy a significant part of your plan for next year so make sure you’ve mapped out the steps to enjoy a successful sale.  If you’re completed the previous steps properly, you’ll certainly have a salable asset!

Like we said, not all business plans are created equal.  Use this outline to ensure that your plan for the next year will take your business toward your goals for it….making it a great year!

Want to ensure 2017 is your best year yet? Check out this awesome Business Planning Workshop for more information here.  Or speak with one of our business coaches here.

 

Does your business plan include these six fundamental steps?

So you might have written a draft business plan and you might be confident you have covered all the bases but to ensure ongoing success does your business plans include these six fundamental steps?

Let’s ask why you need a business plan in the first place. A business plan is one of the best ways to ensure you’re not overwhelmed when you’re setting important and far-reaching goals. A business plan is an excellent way of taking baby steps, but ones with purpose.

  • Step one involves breaking it down into manageable goals. This is a good way to approach your business plan. Set annual, five-yearly, monthly and weekly goals. Keep referring to – and refreshing – these as you go along so you always keep in check what your aspirations are and when you obtain them.
  • Step two requires you to ensure that your goals are all SMART – that is, Specific, Measureable, Achievable, a Result and Time-scaled.

When you’re setting your goals be careful not to put in place goals you think you need to achieve rather than ones you’re passionate and driven about. What’s the point of having a business plan if your heart and mind aren’t really in it? You’ve got to really want it.

  • Step three is being realistic. Once you’ve written your goals, ask yourself how achievable the entire plan is (not just each goal individually). Remember to consider factors such as holidays, meetings and other events that could get in the way. As well, it’s wise not to try to overachieve – the last thing you want is burnout!
  • Step four requires you to track and monitor your progress, it’s vital to keep going back to this. You can use a variation on SMART which is SMAT. That is, each individual step in the plan should be Specific and Measurable (so you can tell when each step is completed), they should be Achievable and they should have a Time allocated to them.  However, individually, they are just a step in a process, not a result….hence SMAT, not SMART!
  • Your fifth fundamental step for your business plan is to include your own development. What new skills will you be learning? Will they include constructive habits and beliefs? Will you be developing the right capabilities and habits to execute your plan and achieve your goals?
  • Finally, step six is involves stepping back and ensuring that your plan allows for and includes other things in life such as leisure, family time, sport and whatever else you need to keep you fresh, balanced and motivated.

Do you want to have your best year in business in 2017? Check out this business planning workshop and register today to start planning for 2017.

unique-selling-proposition

Is your Unique Selling Proposition strong, clear and effective?

You will have heard the saying “it’s a jungle out there” and never more so these days than in business which is why you need to determine: is your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) strong, clear and effective?

When you are trying to work out your Unique Selling Proposition, a helpful process is to think about it in relation to your competition within your industry or another comparable industry which is making impressive inroads in the market. There are many questions you can ask to determine how strong it is, whether you need to make it stronger and how to best articulate that.

These questions cover a number of important areas and considerations for your business goals and they include: your competition; industry trends; perceived standards in sales and marketing; your average customer now and in the future; what problems do they have that you can solve; what particular capabilities your business has; and so on.

When you think of your competition, for example, who are your main three? What do they do well and what’s unique about them? What do they do poorly? How do you separate your USP from them? What is the perceived standard of customer service in your industry? What do you guarantee about your service? What would customers have said about your business 12 months ago? What would they say today?

What you are trying to achieve with your Unique Selling Proposition is to stand out from your competition in a way that is specific, tangible and of value to your target segments.

It’s actually not that difficult to get your business into shape, it does take a bit of time and forethought, though. To build yourself a bigger or better business there are only five key areas of marketing and sales   you need to focus on. While we won’t be examining all of them in this blog, having a strong Unique Selling Proposition is key to all five of them.

Another great question to ask in defining your Unique Selling Proposition is: what is the one thing that if you could guarantee it, would make you the market leader? It is an excellent question and one that goes to the heart of finessing your USP. After all, isn’t part of this process working out what makes your customers come to you rather than another business?

 

To find out more about what makes your business different and the many sales and marketing activities that will help you grow your business, download this free eBook called Working with your Niche so you don’t have to compete on price here.