All Articles Tagged "business strategies"
(Entrepreneur) — Sales plummet. Long-time clients disappear. Markets dry up. The economic downturn has been merciless on small business owners. But there are many resilient entrepreneurs who refuse to give up, remaining steadfastly determined to turn their companies around. And indeed they do. Consider the advice gleaned from the turnarounds featured in our ‘Small Business Comebacks’ series and how it might be useful in your business.
1. Rally your team for ideas. When revenues at Suzanne Bates’ Wellesley, Mass.-based executive coaching firm took a $600,000 recessionary dip in 2009, she turned to her employees to help find a solution. The 10-employee team at Bates Communications brainstormed how to make coaching services more relevant — and current clients more engaged in the business. Bates’ coaches then reached out to clients with everything from weekly emails to grabbing lunch to sending them leadership articles.
(Inc.) — In a world saturated with innumerable modes of instant but occasionally impersonal online communication, events, today something of a throwback, can be a unique way to connect with customers. If they’re done right, events are a classic way for businesses to engage their customers, whether consumer or corporate. The personal interaction with a targeted demographic can build brand loyalty or generate new interest, adding to a customer base and building business. ”There’s something different about meeting face-to-face and having a conversation that’s not delayed or happening through Facebook messages or limited to 140 characters,” says Karen Hartline, event manager forMashable, an online social-media news outlet based inNew York City with offices in San Francisco.
(Black Enterprise) — “You don’t just want sales, you want profits,” says Mark Thompson, co-author of Now, Build a Great Business! 7 Ways to Maximize Your Profits in Any Market. “You want the ability to re-invest that profitability into growing your company and having something to pay shareholders.” Thompson was part of the team that took financial services firm Charles Schwab & Co. public in the 1980s, bought it back from Bank of Americaand grew it into a global firm in the 90s. He is now a venture capitalist, investing in companies in Silicon Valley. When the recession hit and the US economy nearly collapsed, Thompson and co-author Brian Tracy took a look back at the fundamentals and saw how the top-performing companies that have lasted for 20 years or more have been those who launched in miserable markets. From that analysis, they discovered the following ways entrepreneurs can keep their companies operating profitably.
(Businessweek) — Eventually, all small business owners are faced with a customer who’s ready for conversational battle. Sometimes there is good reason for these combative conversations; sometimes there isn’t. Either way, when faced with this situation, you might get the urge to fight back. Or you might try to submit or adhere to every demand of the other person. Neither of these options is a good idea. Instead, the best way to extinguish a fiery conversation is to be assertive. To do this you need to listen up, pace yourself, and then take the lead. Listen up. In a poker game, the player who bets last has a big advantage because he or she gets to hear the other bets first. Using the extra information, he or she can make better decisions. This principle is the same for conversations, especially difficult ones. Always let difficult customers speak first so you can use what they tell you to craft the right response.
(B2C Marketing Insider) — I don’t know too many business professionals that are avid hip-hop fans. I happen to be a connoisseur of what we hip-hop evangelists like to call the “old school.” Those are the rap artists from the 80’s and 90’s that a lot of our parents told us we couldn’t or shouldn’t listen to. Most of these artists started off young and have grown to be pretty business savvy today. These old school artists have also seen the rise of the internet and felt its effect on their careers both positively and negatively. It is these hip-hop lessons learned that provide us valuable inbound marketing insight. One of my favorite hip-hop groups is Cleveland’s own Bone Thugs N Harmony who got their start in 1994 and was signed and promoted by Eazy-E. I remember rocking out to their music in my college dorm room! Only on the weekends though because I was soooo busy studying (yeah right!). One of the members of Bone Thugs N Harmony calls himself Bizzy Bone. Here’s what Bizzy Bone tells us about inbound marketing:
(Online Journalism Review) — If you’re going to take on Groupon, you’re going to need to find a way to get more consumers in your market taking up your offers than are taking up Groupon’s. As any start-up online publisher knows, the most cost-effective way to spread the word about anything online is to get your readers to do your promotion for you. Make it easy for your readers to redistribute your offers to their friends and family who might be interested in the deal, too. After all, if you’re trying to target better than Groupon, who knows better if a deal will appeal to someone than a friend or family member?
(Reuters) — This year, Dan Pritchett wanted to turn the tables on how businesses traditionally offer discounts. Instead of choosing which products to mark down, Pritchett asked his customers to tell him the items they preferred to see on sale. ”I wanted to find a way to create the buzz and excitement of Black Friday shopping frenzy, while also not offending customers who will see a big discounted price list that they missed out on after the sale is over,” says Pritchett, vice president of marketing at Logos, a Bellingham, Wash.-based online bible-study resource retailer.
(Businessweek) — 1. Treat your consultant as a partner. The most successful consultation relationships I’ve had, both as an employer and a contractor, are when service providers are treated as an extension of the team. This manifests through setting clear expectations, presenting an atmosphere that respects the contract services, and working seamlessly so you enlist the best ideas and contributions to a strategy or a project from both the in-house and external teams. 2. Share information. The more service providers are kept in the know, the better equipped they are to give their best advice and to identify how they can add value. Invite your consultants to important meetings, send them business updates that relate to the project you’ve contracted with them, and share staff and organizational changes. If you expect them to guess your needs or be strategic while only seeing pieces of the puzzle, you may be undermining your own contractors—and diminishing what they can accomplish for you.
(CNNMoney.com) — 1. Stop paying attention to the bad news At Austin-based Falcon Containers, CEO Stephen Shang suggested in 2009 that his sales team quit watching economic news for two weeks and spend more time connecting with customers. Result: The company, which leases repurposed shipping containers as storage units, made a deal to create an Iraqi “village” out of the containers for an anti-IED effort by the U.S. Air Force. That led to more military business — fostering a 20% sales increase. 2. End a contentious relationship Tired of worrying that his creative talent would quit because the main contact for a huge client was abusive, Kim McConnell, founder of agricultural marketing communications firm AdFarm, pulled the plug on the relationship. Morale improved immediately. “Very quickly the revenue from this very sizable account was made up,” he says. “I guess it put pressure on our people to go and find the revenue we lost from this client.”
(Businessweek) — The performance gap between women-owned businesses and their male counterparts is well-documented. Yet the Obama Administration would rather spout rhetoric about how it is helping female entrepreneurs than develop policies to address what its own research shows are the causes of the problem. At least that’s what a recent Commerce Dept. report seems to indicate. Created as part of an effort to show how the Administration is helping women business owners, the 35-page report details the latest data on the gap and summarizes leading researchers’ main explanations for it. An insert sent out with the report summarizing what the Administration has done to help women entrepreneurs, however, shows nothing that will actually help fix the problem.