Shhh… I Have a Secret

Customer service is a pretty hot topic and can make or break your business. Consumers have little patience for lousy customer service and easily get tired of waiting in long lines, trying to get a live person on the line, going through an interrogation to return something or trying to communicate through a language barrier.

If you provide them with a simple, efficient, pleasant experience they will revisit your business over and over. More importantly, they will tell everyone they know!

There are three secrets to good customer service, the first one we’re going to conquer is knowing exactly what YOU want.

You are the captain of the ship and the visionary for the future of your business, so you need to have a clearly defined plan for your business and that includes customer service. There are three main goals you need to consider:

1. It needs to be easy for your customers to do business with you. You can do this with advertised discounts, kiosks, your website and other technology based programs to help them shop.

2. Doing business with you needs to be a warm and pleasant experience. Your staff has to be knowledgeable, approachable, warm and patient. Your customers need to feel like they are getting a good value for their time and money. Perceived value goes beyond the price of the products and extends to their shopping experience.

3. Change your mind set and ask yourself “How can I NOT afford to do these things?” This shouldn’t be a question of expenses, but making and keep happy customers.

Which these thoughts in mind you also need to take a few things into consideration when deciding on the actual programs and standards you’ll put into place.

  •   Share your customer service vision with the rest of your staff.
  •   Connect your incentive programs and bonuses directly to customer service.
  •   Monitor the level of customer service your staff is putting out.
  •   Know when you can ignore what your customers want.
  •   Continuously focus on your goals.

Now, that you know what you want you can starting thinking about how to meet those wants and create a positive customer service experience.

If you’re having a hard time deciding on what you want, the tools, resources and coaches in our FREE test drive can help you define the wants and needs of your company in relation to customer service.

The Corporate Puzzle

The 7 specific areas you need to consider in your franchise prototype process:

  •   Primary Aim
  •   Strategic Objectives
  •   Organizational Strategy
  •   Management Strategy
  •   People Strategy
  •   Marketing Strategy
  •   Systems StrategyThese 7 areas will fine turn your plan for the ultimate level of success. In this lesson we are going to cover the first three.

    Primary Aim

    It’s essential in business development to set goals and see a vision for the future. This needs to go beyond the business and you need to think about what you want out of life. What do you dream about? How do you see your success unfolding? Knowing and understanding these things will give you the momentum to get started and the stamina to see it through. Even take a minute to write them down and tape to your desk for a constant reminder of what you’re aiming for.

    Strategic Objectives

    These are essential in taking your business from surviving to thriving. All of these objectives should offer solutions for how to get to your primary aim. There are many things you can use to set strategic objectives, but here are a couple of the most popular:

  1. Money: Setting monetary goals is a great, simple way to see how you are doing at any point in the game. It’s easy to measure and easy to find adjustments to help meet this goal.
  2. Worthy Opportunities: When considering partnerships and other business opportunities you need to think about whether or not they will help you reach your primary aim. Those that will are the best opportunities to seriously consider.

The key in setting standards and goals is not to limit you or stress yourself out. You need to find some quantifiable things you can use to measure your progress toward your primary aim. These are just two suggestions, but make sure no matter what you standards you set you are paying attention to the details, as these are one of the biggest keys to your success.

Organizational Strategy

The strength of your organizational structure can make or break your business, so it’s important to take the time to put together a solid structure for your business to grow from. Generally a company is organized around the roles and responsibilities that need to be taken care of on a daily basis and the personalities that need to fulfill those roles.

No matter what roles and responsibilities you’ve defined for your employees, you must always keep your personal primary aim separate from your company’s primary aim or mission statement. Once you’ve identified the primary aim for your company it will be easy to set up a position structure that will work.

Don’t forget to put together position contracts. Your employees should sign a statement of their roles and responsibilities. This helps keep them clear for you, the employee and other employees/vendors or other individuals.

You can see how these areas all work together to build a solid structure on which to build your business. If you need help defining any of these areas, you can check out the resources, tools and speak with one of our fantastic coaches during your FREE test drive.

Mortar Makes it Happen

Today I’d like to talk about the three keys to business development and how you can put the right bricks in place to build a solid foundation.

There are three main areas of business development:

 Innovation
 Quantification

 Orchestration

If done well these three areas will help you build a solid foundation for you business. Let’s talk about each one of these for just a minute.

Innovation

Innovation should not be confused with creativity, which is the expression of ideas. Innovation is taking these ideas and putting them into action. This is where a large amount of your focus should be in the beginning and even throughout your business’ entire lifespan.

Quantification

This, of course, refers to the numbers. We are talking about the value of your innovation. The best way to gauge this is by your customer response. Look to positive responses for what you are doing right‐and keep doing it. Look to your negative responses to find out what you’re doing wrong‐and fix it. This will enable you to keep growing and progressing with the needs of your customers and business climate.

Orchestration

Once you’ve had a chance to find what areas are working, you can narrow down those areas and concentrate on making them the stand out ideas. You shift your focus here to get the most out of your business and to meet the needs of your customers.

We can help you work through these three areas to put together your franchise prototype during your FREE test drive.

In the next few lessons we are going to transition to the 7 specific areas you need to consider in your franchise prototype process:

  •   Primary Aim
  •   Strategic Objectives
  •   Organizational Strategy
  •   Management Strategy
  •   People Strategy
  •   Marketing Strategy
  •   Systems StrategyThese 7 areas will fine turn your plan for the ultimate level of success.

You Turn Me Right ‘Round Baby, Right ‘Round

 

The biggest area of turn‐key businesses is franchises. There is franchise for ever industry in the world and they are fairly easy to acquire and come with practically a pop out of the box pre‐assembled system. McDonald’s is a prime example. In fact, a $40 billion, 28,707 strong example.

There are a few things we are going to talk about:

  •  Business Format Franchise
  •  The Franchise Prototype
  •  Franchise Prototype StandardsBusiness Format FranchiseThe business format franchise came from an earlier model call the “trade name” franchise. The big change was in the rights. During the “trade name” days the franchise owner only had marketing right’s, now franchise owners have owning rights to the entire business including systems. This has allowed for a shift in focus to go from the quality and name recognition of the products carrying the business to sales techniques that carry the business.

    The Franchise Prototype

    It was really the franchise prototypes that allowed for the changes to be made that help today’s franchises really shine with the techniques developed by the owners instead of the corporation. This can make a significant difference in the success of the franchise as the owner can custom tailor their marketing and promotions to the direct needs of their local target customers.

    Franchise Prototype Standards

    Now, the above being said, no one in their right mind would purchase a franchise if the parent company didn’t have a solid plan of action set up to ensure the prospective success of the business. So, there are a few standards that are put into place that helps jump start the process of opening a successful franchise.

    Build model of prospective customers/clients, suppliers, creditors and employees who will consistently offer high quality work.

  1. Build a user‐friendly model that can be used by individuals of any skill set.
  2. Build a defect‐free model.
  3. Build a model with Operations Manuals.
  4. Build a model that will provide guaranteed, consistent results.
  5. Build a model that encompasses the same branding in color, dress and facilities codes.

These are all ways the parent corporation makes sure their brand stays the same and in the front of the minds of customers. When you are purchasing a widely‐known brand you will attract customers just for being you.

If you are considering purchasing a franchise, talk with one of our experienced business coaches during our FREE test drive.

Expand the Life of Your Business

Today I’m going to talk about the life cycle of a business and how to get the most out of each cycle while also extended the lifespan of your business.

The four different stages of a business life cycle are:

  •   Infancy
  •   Adolescence
  •   Growing Pains
  •   MaturityWe’ll talk a little about what each of these cycle’s means and how they can each help expand your business’ lifespan.

    Infancy

    This is generally consider the technician’s phase, which is the owner. At this point, the relationship between the business and the owner is that of a parent and new baby. There is an impenetrable bond that is necessary to determine the path your business will follow.

    The key is to know your business must grow in order to flourish. You cannot stage in this stage forever.

    Adolescence

    In this stage you need to start bringing your support staff together to delegate to and allow growth to happen. The first line of defense is your technical person as they need to bring a certain level of technical experience. This cycle really belongs to the manager though. The plan stage needs to start and a relationship should be built with the entrepreneur to plan for the future.

    Growing Pains

    There’s a point in every business when business explodes and becomes chaotic. This is referred to as growing pains. It’s a good problem to have, but a problem nonetheless. You are often faced with a number of choices:

 Avoid growth and stay small

  •   Go broke
  •   Push forward into the next cycleMaturity

    The last cycle is maturity, though this doesn’t mean the end of your business. Your passion for growth must continue in order for your business to succeed. You need to keep an entrepreneurial perspective in order to push your business forward.

    You see how all three of these cycles are connected and depend on a strong foundation for each one of them for your business to be and continue to be successful. All three of your key roles must also work together to work through these cycles.

    If you’re having trouble putting together your business life cycles and figuring out which of the key roles you fit into, try our FREE test drive and work with one of our amazing coaches.

Gather the Troops

Today I’d like to chat about the different types of support staff you need and what makes them so important.

There are essentially three key roles that need to be filled to set your business up for success:

  •   The Technician
  •   The Manager
  •   The EntrepreneurAll of these roles need to be played simultaneously by different people with the right talents. It’s all about balance.The Technician

    This person represents the present and all that needs to be done for the physical aspects of the business building process. They are the “doer”. This is usually the most visible person of the entire operation.

    The Manager

    This person represents the past and works to fix problems through learning from past mistakes. They are the practical side of the business and is in charge of putting together the business and overseeing the planning.

    The Entrepreneur

    This person represents the future and the vision for the business. They are responsible for the creative side of the business and are always considering ways to enhance products/service, business image, branding and more.

    All three of these characters are essential in the success of any business and to build a solid foundation from the start, you need to work harder to find the right people to put in these roles. Obviously, you need to be one of these key people, but ensure you find the role that fits your skills and talents, not necessarily what you THINK you should be doing.

This may be a hard process for you as you will need to relinquish some control over the business and instill trust in people to allow them to do their jobs.

Remember, our business coaches can help you through this entire process and teach you how to avoid falling victim to e‐myths when you try our FREE test drive.

Are You Aiding & Abetting E-Myths?

We are going to embark upon a journey through the world of e-myths and debunk them to help you avoid falling into the e-myth trap.

First, let’s take a minute to talk about what an e-myth is. An entrepreneurial myth, or e- myth, is an assumption that anyone can succeed at business with:

Desire

  •  Some capital
  •  Projected a targeted profitThis sounds great, but it just not realistic. Think of starting a business as a marathon. Sure, everyone starts out of the gate at record pace, but after a few miles people start slowing and some drop out entirely. Building a successful business takes stamina and agility.

    The reality is that there are many different facets to a successful business and none of them can be ignored if you plan to find success.

    Let’s take a minute to talk about entrepreneurial seizure. This defines the roller coaster of emotions that comes with starting, nurturing and the potential failure of a business.

    The emotions that occur, in order, are:

    Exhilaration Exhaustion Despair

Sense of self-loss

This is usually cause by the e-myths and assumptions we talked about. You can get your hopes so high on instant success that even the smallest lag and you are sent into an emotional tailspin. This is also brought on by the stark realization that you can’t do it all and will need help in the areas where you don’t have the knowledge. Now, faced with limited choices you may feel like you need to back out and hide, but don’t do this.

Use our FREE test drive to get the business coaching you need to avoid feeling overwhelmed and defeated.

Put Them in a Trance

We’re going to go through the 5 essential keys to a successful and reusable marketing campaign launch. Once you have these basics down, you can use them over and over again.

The 5 essential keys are:

  •  Define your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
  •  Put an effective sales offer to work
  •  Avoid the marketing pitfalls
  •  Use a world-class marketing perspective
  •  Get results!
    We’ll go through each one of these, so you can see exactly how to use them and howthey all affect the overall outcome of your marketing campaign.

    Define your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

    Take the time to ask yourself some questions from the prospective of the customers/clients. What would it take to get your attention? What needs do you have that need to be met? What are the promises you want fulfilled?

    Once you know the answers to these questions you can start putting together a plan to meet these needs. Then take a look at what USP your competitors are using to help you develop your own USP. Your USP is what you are “promising” your customers/clients. This is what’s going to set you apart from your competition.

    Put an effective sales offer to work

    To develop an effective sales plan, you need to:

1. Put together a headline that gets immediate attention.

2. Share benefits of your products/services speaking from the customers’ perspective.

3. Identify the specific needs met by your products/services.

  1. Make it easy to do business with you by offer guarantees.
  2. Share your specific sales proposition.
  3. Walk your customers/clients through how they should respond and act.
  4. Motivate with a call to action.

What this all means is, you need to put together what makes your products/services special and compel customers to buy. If they don’t feel like they NEED your product, they won’t buy. You need to answer a question, solve a problem or feed an obsession.

You need to provide them with all the information they need to make an informed and confident decision. Buyer’s remorse is one of the worst things that can happen.

Avoid the marketing pitfalls

There are 5 major marketing pitfalls many businesses fall into and you should avoid:

  •  Ignore market testing and push on with an inaccurate plan.
  •  Offer an incomplete case, or reasons, throughout their marketing plan.
  •  Fail to notice the needs of their prospective customers/clients.
  •  Fail to diversify their marketing options.
  •  Fail to get market opinions on their offers.These are all areas to avoid. If you’ve been working through these lessons, avoiding these pitfalls should be easy and natural.

    Use a world-class marketing perspective

    World-Class marketing perspective is important, especially if you want to attract customers/clients from all over the world. You can do this a number of different techniques and activities:

  1. Keep a marketing journal and scribble down anything innovate you see.
  2. Keep encouraging your marketing department, or yourself, to try new things and dump the ones that aren’t working.
  3. Order from your own company under a different name and analyze the process of ordering, shipping, online store, customer service and the product itself. This will show you where the areas for improvement in the customer experience.
  1. Read every quality ad you can find and keep a file for future ideas to consider.
  2. When out in public, watch how consumers behave in different situations and how they consider their purchases.
  3. Step down a notch or two and work on the front lines with your sales and customer service staff.
  4. Continuously acknowledge your staff, vendors and customers. Everyone works and shops better when they feel appreciated.
  5. Always listen to feedback from employees and customers.
  6. Continuously test markets, ads, and marketing techniques. This is the only way to stay successful and know what’s working and, more importantly, what’s not.

10.Offer more information in your marketing than anyone else. The more information you offer, the more products/services you’ll sell.

  1. A great marketing plan can only get better. Continue to fine tune and refine your marketing plan based on testing results and feedback.
  2. Be classy in your marketing. Make sure your marketing and advertising fits your company image, products/service and quality.
  3. Improve your best marketing areas and drop those that aren’t working.
  4. Focus on what you say, not how you say it. The best marketing ideas turn into the best marketing naturally.
  5. Develop all your ads, campaigns and sales materials with an attention to compelling and factual information.

By using these techniques you can put your name out there to the world and become one of the top brands in your industry.

Get results!

The last area we are going to talk about is the best-satisfied customers. If your customers aren’t satisfied, you’ve wasted all your marketing resources and all chance of positive word-of-mouth advertising. You can satisfy your customers by:

Providing quality products/services

  •  Providing high quality customer service
  •  Providing a low-pressure, highly informative sales experience
  •  Taking all the risk away with a great guaranteeTo generate more business there are a couple of simple techniques that work every time:
  •  Build your database with a contest.
  •  Do regular mailings with sales, discounts, or other incentives.
  •  Find other creative ways to keep your current customers coming back for more.“As long as the reward is directly related to your product or service, you can’t lose. Why not get started today? It’s so simple, it’s so seldom done, and it’s so profitable. And that’s the bottom line.” Jay Abraham

    It is so simple! So, why aren’t you starting today? We can help you put together a great marketing plan that will get you results. Try our FREE test drive and find the tools and resources you need built by some of the biggest names in the marketing world.

Do It Like the Big Dawgs!

Today we’ll take a look at how the kings of industry wine, dine and otherwise cajole prospects.

Most of successful professionals use a series of information based ads that build emotion and a call to action. These are much more effective than a standard company branding advertisements. The same principles that go into putting together a high impact (and, often, high priced) ad campaign can be adapted to fit your needs with similar results.

Here are some ways to put together and execute a professional, effective ad campaign:

  1. Put together a short report that’ll you’ll automatically send to prospects when they contact you. This should include a short description of your business and what you specialize in. Don’t forget to include case studies, samples or other proof of your success.
  2. Develop value-oriented yellow page ads.
  3. Consider newsletters as a way of educating and informing customers about your industry and services offered.
  4. Offer a free seminar, webinar or other lecture to build awareness of your business, but make sure you make the information pertinent to your target market and find speakers who are respected and known in the industry.
  5. Buy an existing business, introduce better marketing and grow this new business faster than a “from scratch” business.
  6. Always test different versions of your ads to find the most effective ones.
  7. Use direct mail marketing to grow your business.
  8. Put together a database of previous customers and send them new information.
  9. Offer incentives such as frequent purchasing benefits, loyalty programs, referral programs or others.
  10. Approach large firms who may need your services and negotiate a deal to be their exclusive expert in your field.
  1. Offer a 24-hour information line with a regularly updated recorded message. Make this available to all past and future customers/clients.
  2. Donate time or materials to local charities to show support in your area.
  3. Offer public clinics for the general public to come along and discuss what they need that’s free and approachable.
  4. Organize seminars your customers/clients can pay to attend by putting together a high-perception value package.
  5. Approach local newspaper by offering to write a weekly column about your area of expertise. Don’t ask for money, just a byline and bio.
  6. Develop a weekend or other destination seminar for customers/clients, not only does this give you an action-packed weekend with the most important people, it gives them a tax-deductible business adventure.
  7. Take a good seminar and turn it into written form as a home study, member site program, audio or video program.
  8. Approach large companies and offer to give seminars to their employees, investors or management.
  9. Be proactive with your marketing plan.
  10. Barter for your marketing. Offer products or services in lieu of payment.
  11. Be willing to bring in new clients, even if at an initial loss because it will likely pay off later.
  12. Regulate your marketing budget to maximize the potential income from them to hit the next year and try to push back advertising costs for the next year to offset your expenses.
  13. Make offers to target markets or target market businesses to pay them for referrals or shared databases.
  14. Offer loaner products to replace equipment that’s be repaired or refurbished.
  15. Give away something free to everyone who brings in a print version of your advertisement. This is a great way to see which ads are giving you the most bang for your buck.

26.Continually consider what new products/services you can offer to current customers/clients.

  1. Develop a mail order division of your company.
  2. Offer a proposition to your competitors to trade customers/clients you were both unsuccessful in selling to.
  3. Use different marketing tactics as an excuse to attract new customers/clients with new offers and goodies.
  4. Offer a “you-choose-the-price” program. This is especially good for product you just can’t seem to sell.

So, there are 30 great ways to market to other professional and businesses. Some other great ways to get your name out there for little or no cost are:

  •   Get involved you in your community-volunteer, donate to local events, etc.
  •   Join your local Chamber of Commerce and attend the networking and otheractivities throughout the year.
  •   Join a local, state or regional professional associates for further networkingopportunities.
  •   Become a board member of a local organization.Advertising should never be your only method of marketing, there are a myriad of ways to get your name out there in a way that feels personal to potential customers/clients.

    “Effective advertising…must be used to get your name out to the public. If your name is not familiar to people, they will not come to you.” Jay Abraham

    If you’re not sure where you start with your marketing plan or how to reach out to your local community, competitors, customers/clients and others who could influence your business in a highly positive way, try our FREE test drive to experience the tools and resources we have to boost your business to the next level and beyond.

PR Equals Free Publicity

There are three key areas of public relations you can use to boost your advertising results ten-fold over your paid advertising.

The key to public relations lie in:

 Public relation or publicity  Merchandising
 Promotions

With a solid plan in place that encompasses all these areas, you’ll have a great approach to use public relations in the best way possible.

Public relations include all that is the media. Don’t limit yourself. The attention of newspapers, television, radio, magazines, bloggers, ezines and more are all equally powerful. Online marketing is just as, if not more, important as conventional media.

Here are the steps to get noticed by the media:

  1. Put together a press release for your company. The press release should be relevant to your target market and address consumer interest, not just announce your business.
  2. Compact your press release to include one hook and one angle. Choose the most attention-getting to make sure the media person you are sending it to is interested in reading it.
  3. Put your press release in professional formatting. With press releases you need a dateline, the most important information at the top, facts, figures and wrap it up with contact details including who and how. Print the press release on your letterhead.
  4. Send your press release to all television and radio stations, local and metro newspapers, national newspapers, industry magazines, and any other form of media that reaches your target market. Don’t forgot to include relevant blogs, ezines, press release submission sites and to industry professionals.

More importantly than a perfect press release is to make sure you have addressed the needs of your target market in the products/services you offer and made that clear in the press release. If you are provided people a solution to a problem, a way to avoid a

problem and an opportunity to enhance their life the media and public will be interested.

If you have a connection (or the ability to get a connection) with a celebrity, this can practically guarantee you’ll get attention. Make sure you are offered newsworthy information, and then follow up with media outlets to make sure they are publicizing that information.

“One of the most powerful techniques every business should use is free publicity. As the name implies, there is no cost, just the time and effort required to attract attention to your business.” Jay Abraham

Our FREE test drive can show you how to put together press releases that work! Check out how the pro’s do it and craft the perfect press releases for your business.