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Business Growth Buying Personas

Your business growth in 2015

Your business growth in 2015

Have you thought about using a coach-cum-marketing professional to grow your business?   Before you zap away I promise it’s not fluffy nonsense!
1. Why might you need help and support?  The value of business coaching is brilliantly explained in 45 seconds by Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google.   See here 
A coach gives you someone who is outside of your business who you can support you and whom you trust. A bounce.
2. Update your business plan for 2015 – including short and long term goals, time scales and “who/what/by when”.
3. Update your marketing strategy for 2015 including

  • an overview marketing audit so you can reflect on what has worked, what hasn’t, how you can improve
  • your marketing communications – thinking about your different buying personas, how is it best to communicate with them; what would they most prefer?

4.  Having monthly conversations gives you a focus to look objectively at your financials to see what could be improved/adjusted. Test and Measure. Always.
5. Having a bounce for issues in the business, from leadership to HR to whatever has presented itself as a challenge to you.
Whether using the great GrowthAccelerator support scheme, or directly with me, I’d be delighted to talk to you.
Email Debbie Newman

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Business Growth Buying Personas

Your New Year Reminders and Actions

Your New Year Reminders and Actions

Who loves your business more than you?  Answer: No-one. No-one will ever love your business as much as its owner – do remember that when delegating your marketing within your company and /or if it’s up to you to ‘do’ the marketing. How much time are you going to allocate yourself each day /week to spend on marketing and all that makes up this wonderful word?
Don’t make working harder on your marketing one of your New Year Resolutions –  Statistics show that these resolutions generally don’t last too long.   “Marketing is not an event, but a process . . . It has a beginning, a middle, but never an end, for it is a process. You improve it, perfect it, change it, even pause it. But you never stop it completely.” Jay Conrad Levinson.   So a rush of energy into your marketing in January only to forget it for the rest of the year won’t give you the success you want.
Focus on what you want to achieve in 2015 –  Not just “more of the same without a plan”. But make goals. Write them down. Pin up above your PC/laptop where you can see them every day and calculate how you’re going to get there.  They won’t just happen.
Start an Action Plan and a Marketing Calendar –  doesn’t have to be complicated.   I’ve added most of the ‘national’ dates , then you need to add your local industry dates, look at your peaks and troughs, add specific dates for the business, eg birthdays/ anniversaries, milestones. Think too about your ‘buying personas’ and the different ways you’ll be communicating with them.   Then think broadly about the marketing activity to support what you’ve written.

  • So for lawyers and accountants, what new legislation is coming in that you need to communicate to your clients and prospects, and how are you going to do this?   If say you produce a quarterly hard-copy newsletter, how about introducing an email update between times?
  • If you’re into hospitality jot down all the key dates throughout the year including the special ‘food ones’ and see how imaginative you can be
  • And for a florist, with so many dates throughout the year, it’s easy to find a new reason to keep in touch.
  • Does your business have a ‘big’ birthday this year you can use to gain some PR?
  • Will you be involved with any of the ‘fun’ fund raising campaigns  you can post to your web and use social media to talk about?

Show your customers you ‘love ‘em’ – with Valentine’s Day around the corner – it’s a great way to show your customers you appreciate their business and support and that you look forward to a great ongoing relationship.  What are you going to do to demonstrate your customer/client is important to you?    Being ‘unique, special and different’ doesn’t only apply to you and your own business but also in what you do.  Think what impact a New Year or Valentine’s Day thank you could have on your clients.  Far more powerful than something in December when it could so easily be ‘lost’.  And I’m not necessarily talking about ‘gifts’.  A tasteful hand written card from the ‘boss’ can be very effective!
Buying Personas – Do you really understand who your Buying Personas are?  This is a drilling-down from just thinking about your ‘target customer’  Give each segment a name, a persona, consider the type of language they would use, what they need to know.   This makes a great sales training session with your team – very happy to oblige!
How effective is your Data Base?  Such a hugely important asset to your business  – and yet some businesses don’t think that ‘a data base is for them’.   There’s no excuse at all for a customer not to know all your offerings and services, but it’s down to you to tell them.   Your communications don’t have to be intrusive or pushy, in fact they mustn’t be either of these, but it is down to you to keep in touch and not for your prospects and clients to be experts on your business and all that it offers.  You want to keep uppermost in your customers’ and prospects’ minds when it comes to their next buying decision that affects you.
When did you last read your web site?   Does it grab your attention in those first critical few seconds?   Is it all written to show the reasons why a prospect/customer should buy from you, showing the problems / issues you are solving for them?    Does your web copy have ‘you’ all the way through it?  It needs to if it doesn’t.  Do all the links work?  Is the info all up to date?  How often do you post articles on your blog page?  Are your social media sites linking to/from your website?  Is your web copy and SEO still right for the work you want to do now in your business?
How far have you got with Social Media presence?  All professional business owners must have a proper LinkedIn Profile with a professional photograph (not of you with your kids/skiing etc.). The scope of LinkedIn is growing all the time.  This really isn’t an option any more.
Then you need to consider which of the other social media channels are right for you, decide how much time you’ll spend each week and stick to it.  It doesn’t have to be hours, but you do need to get started.   A blog, using info from your newsletters is easy, Tweeting and using something like HootSuite makes life easier.   Can you get your blogs to auto-fill you Facebook for business profiles and your Twitter feed?
Free Business Directory listings are also a valuable way to raise your web presence.  Yell.com (Hibu or is now Yell again?) can be useful for this.
What Testing and Measuring do you have in place so you can check the effectiveness of your marketing?  Renewing ads ‘blindly’ is not great, even if you’re pushed for time.   Before you place any ‘hard copy’ ads you need to be sure they’re going give you a return on your investment (ROI) .  Look at the size of Yellow Pages now v what it was years ago.  If you attend an exhibition or run a specific promotion, you want to be able to trace response to these efforts.  If someone wants to consider using you or your services, they won’t be guided by the copy in any ad; they’ll Google you and see what others have said, or they’ll ask friends for a referral.  It’s all about customer engagement .  Are you  there or getting left behind?
“Marketing takes a day to learnUnfortunately it takes a lifetime to master “ – Phil Kolter  There are many subscription schemes out there which offer you lots of marketing info in return for a monthly fee.  Trouble with these, on the whole, is that they are ‘general’, can generate a huge amount of data but not necessarily geared to you and your immediate needs to follow your plan.  Would it be any different to buy a large marketing book and take a chapter each month than respond to stuff sent to you to action each month?
Using a marketing professional  – It’s funny if you take the analogy with, say, a legal practice drawing breath in horror, I imagine, at some of the unregulated will writing services out there which don’t have the legal expertise or knowledge to think around all the potential pitfalls which may occur.  Is there such a difference in this principle with marketing when done in house by a non-professional?   Oh,  XXX looks after our marketing – and often XXX also does 101 other jobs and isn’t trained in the subject.  Answers on a postcard, please!
December and the New Year is a great time to start with an ‘audit/health check’ of where you are now – and ensuring you and all your colleagues have a professional profile on LinkedIn. Would be delighted to work with you on both if I can help. Just zap me a mail or give me a call on 01225 869 240.
If you’d like a copy of my calendar and my ‘who/what/when’ table then please email me on debbie@armstrongbeech.co.uk
 

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Armstrong Beech Marketing Business Growth Coaching Funding for your Business

Grants and Funding for your business

Grants and Funding for your business in and around Bath, Swindon and Wiltshire, Bristol, Somerset, Gloucester – UK

I’m working with Business West and Wiltshire Business Schemes with business owners who want to grow using grants and funding for your business. Like to know more? just give me a call or email me for my one pager on these schemes.
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Business West’s GrowthAccelerator

Designed to support ambitious business growth with established businesses on a part-funded basis. Plus a brilliant match-funded offer for leadership and management training.  I’m so enjoying working with my clients on this scheme, do contact me if you’d like to know more.

Business West’s Superfast Business

A fully funded support programme to help exploit digital technologies for your own specific Business needs, improving every day working practices and tasks as well as finding out whole new ways of doing things.  Designed to support rural businesses the programme excludes Bristol and Swindon, specialist advisors are available to visit your business, complete a review of your website and open your eyes to the latest digital technologies.  The Superfast Business  website has a huge amount of really good “How To” guides, Case Studies and Videos – from developing your website to deciding on a CRM.  Here’s a link to some fab seminars put on by Superfast Business and a further link for eligibility to attend.   

Business West’s Ready4Business for start ups

Currently free support and facilitated support for SWIG and Virgin  loan applications at 6%.    Full details here

Approved Growth Voucher Adviser

I’m also an approved Growth Voucher Adviser for “Marketing, attracting and keeping customers”
Advice in this area aims to help businesses develop effective marketing strategies, and to ensure that they provide the right product/service at the right price, in the right place, at the right time. The advice could be used for market research, targeting existing and potential customers, using social media to extend your reach into new markets , developing pricing strategies and closing sales.  Here’s the PDF about what’s covered here:
Marketing, attracting and keeping customersr

The Criteria for applying for growth vouchers to help your business grow are :

  • ither registered with Companies House or HMRC if self-employed). ie NOT UK but England. 

Growth Voucher Website and Market Place Website

How the Growth Voucher Programme works

 

Wiltshire Business Support Service
Wiltshire Business Support Service

Currently there are no schemes left with funding available under the Wiltshire Business Support Service.    Probably no more available until April 2015.

Fredericks Foundation

Fredericks Foundation is a charity that helps people wishing to set up, or expand their own business as a means to achieve financial independence whilst rebuilding their  confidence and self esteem but are unable to access the finance required from conventional sources.  Check out their details here
 
This information is prepared in good faith and correct at the time of issue. But do please check exact current details of funding.  Thank you.

Categories
Business Growth LinkedIn Social Media

LinkedIn celebrates 200 million members on UK – neat infographic & nice thank you from Senior VP


and a nice ‘thank you’ from the senior VP.  When did you last thank your customers?
“””Hello,   Recently, LinkedIn reached a new milestone: 200 million members. But this isn’t just our achievement to celebrate — it’s also yours.
I want to personally thank you for being part of our community. Your journey is part of our journey, and we’re delighted and humbled when we hear stories of how our members are using LinkedIn to connect, learn, and find opportunity.
All of us come to work each day focused on our shared mission of connecting the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful. We’re excited to show you what’s next.
With sincere thanks,
Deep Nishar – Senior Vice President, Products & User Experience”””

Categories
Armstrong Beech Marketing Business Growth Coaching Leadership/Management

10 tips for high-growth businesses owners/managers

10 tips for high-growth business owners/managers

by Jan Bowen-Nielsen

  • Jan Bowen-Nielsen

1. Work smarter, not harder

Prioritise your own efforts carefully. Whether you are starting up, or running a large business, your time is precious. It is natural to focus your attention on tasks you feel most comfortable with, that you are trained to do and enjoy.

But are these the activities that will make your business successful? Are you the right person to do these? In our experience, this is one of the most frequent areas we help business owners and managers tackle – getting their priorities right and being effective. And closely linked to this:

2. Stop being a hero

High growth businesses are often in constant crisis mode. Every day brings new challenges that need resolving (and always urgently), so business owners often spend most of their time responding to queries and trouble shooting.

It can become addictive and end up as the culture of your business: “We are really great at pulling together when the s**t hits the fan”. However this is not sustainable and will limit the growth of your business. So …