A business should perform like a championship sports team. That means protecting your turf while aggressively pursuing new opportunities, and making full use of technology.
For new or existing businesses, here’s a checklist of strategies:
1. Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats — including yours, key employees and the mission of your business.
Consider a SWOT analysis at every level. You need to understand your talents, and your special niche.
2. Study your marketplace. Your customers want to anticipate how your products and services will work for them.
3. Develop a new marketing approach to differentiate your business from your competitors.
Design a unique message with a minimum of five value propositions, a branding slogan and logo that demonstrates value.
Use the right verbiage. Increasingly, customers favorably respond to words that connote security, convenience, good, new, proven, results, community involvement and green or environmentally safe.
4. Write a vision plan, strategic action plan or a business plan, which is even better. Determine clear, pragmatic goals and how you will achieve them for the short and long term.
5. Get the right advice. At the least, get a mentor who is successful and understands your business. Additionally, a network of business advisors will work.
6. Monitor your expense and eliminate unnecessary costs.
7. Leverage the insights of financial, legal and insurance professional, whom you can trust.
8. Determine where your most profitable customers are. Get to know and understand their concerns and needs. Provide exemplary service.
9. Recruit and hire the best talent. Look for attitude, education and soft skills. Pay them well. Be mindful of their lifestyles and family concerns.
10. Continually look for multiple revenue streams and new product lines that make sense for your business.
11. Don’t become a low-price leader. Be careful in using loss-leader pricing, and remember coupons only attract price-conscious customers. They will not be loyal and become repeat customers.
12. Be pro-active, which means doing the footwork, and making old-fashioned cold calls.
13. Nurture your relationships by sending greeting cards, thank you notes, special offer notifications, and an occasional visit or phone call to just chat and not sell.
14. Make certain your small business voice is heard – vote, and make your business concerns known to lawmakers.
15. Develop a succession plan and exit strategy, especially if you’re approaching retirement.
From the Coach’s Corner, here are more resource links:
10 Scholarly Solutions for Selling More Products –Small business owners face more predators than ever, which makes decision-making about growth seem very challenging. In order to minimize the likelihood of entrepreneurial migraine headaches during bad-hair days, a business owner needs to perform like a masterful clairvoyant when decision-making about growth.
Marketing Essentials on a Shoestring Budget — Why do businesses sometimes falter? Let’s get the perspective of a retired longtime business professor and business counselor who is actively pursued for his opinions. “One reason is they fail to understand their special niche or their market,” said Neil Delisanti, who enjoyed a unique, long career as a business professor at the University of Puget Sound and The Evergreen State College. He also ran the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Tacoma, WA, where he advised more than 2,000 firms.
Management and HR for higher performance — In analyzing the growth rates of small businesses – every great entrepreneur has one salient quality – the ability to be an effective manager. An effective manager efficiently allocates resources for achieving goals. Quality management usually results from an independent SWOT analysis – assessing internal strengths and weaknesses along with evaluating external opportunities and threats.
You Can Creatively Manage Your Cash Flow 7 Ways — If you’re taking the pulse of your business, of course, the first thing to consider is your cash flow. If your cash flow is poor, you feel poor because you can’t pay the bills nor can you use money for what you’d like to do. Your image can also suffer with vendors or with customers, if you don’t manage your cash flow.
Cutting Costs — 9 Best Practices to Avoid Making Reactionary Decisions — In chaotic times, it’s common for businesspeople to be fearful and reactionary when they feel they must cut expenses. But entrepreneurs need to be unemotional so that they make decisions that will bolster their objectives. They can take the emotion out of their decision-making — by eliminating stress factors — if their priorities are clearly defined with values. This is facilitated by documenting goals and priorities.
“If your goal is anything but profitability – if it’s to be big, or to grow fast, or to become a technology leader – you’ll hit problems.”