The “spark” for many entrepreneurs is seeing an opportunity that doesn’t yet exist. Ted Turner, for example, launched CNN because he perceived that people wanted more television news than they were being offered. It took a lot of patience on Turner’s part to realize the vision, but he had read the market in a way that few “experts” did at the time.
In realising the promise of CNN, Turner demonstrated another facet of the entrepreneurial spirit, persistence. There are a lot of bright ideas that never reach fruition; taking a “raw” idea and converting it into a successful business model is very hard work.
And that work never stops. No matter how innovative your idea, the competition is always just behind you. With anything less than constant creative effort on your part, they may not stay behind you.
Are you still with me? Here is where I reveal why everyone isn’t an entrepreneur:
No opportunity is a sure thing, even though the path to riches has been described as, simply “…you make some stuff, sell it for more than it cost you… that’s all there is except for a few million details.” The devil is in those details, and if one is not prepared to accept the possibility of failure, one should not attempt a business start-up.
It is not indicative of a negative perspective to say that an analysis of the possible reasons for failure enhances our chances of success. Can you separate failure of an idea from personal failure? As scary as it is to consider, many of the great entrepreneurial success stories started with a failure or two.
Some types of failure can indicate that we may not be entrepreneurial material. Foremost is reaching one’s level of incompetence; if I am a great programmer, will I be a great software company president? Attitudinal problems can also be fatal, such as excessive focus on financial rewards, without the willingness to put in the work and attention required. Addressing these possibilities requires an objectivity about ourselves that not everyone can manage.
Other types of failure can be recovered from if you “learned your lesson.” A common explanation for these is that “it seemed like a good idea at the time.” Or, we may have sought too big a “kill;” we could have looked past the flaws in a business concept because it was a business we wanted to be in. The venture could have been the victim of a muddled business concept, a weak business plan, or (more often) the absence of a plan.
When small businesses fail, the reason is generally one, or a combination, of the following:
* inadequate financing often due to overly optimistic sales projections;
* management shortcomings,
— such as inadequate financial controls, lax customer credit, inexperience, and neglect, and;
* misreading the market,
— indicated by failure to reach the “critical mass” required in sales volume and profitability, — usually due to competitive disadvantages or market weakness.
In a recent Wall Street Journal article titled “Why My Business Failed,” Ken Elias cautions that “even if the concept is right, it won’t fly if the strategy is wrong.” Still, on being asked whether he would start another business today, he answers: “Absolutely. The experience is fabulous, exciting and the possibility of success is always there.”
Value: The customer’s perception of your worth, excellence, usefulness, or importance. Value addresses the customer’s question, “What can this person or company do for me?”
Value can be articulated by explicitly answering these questions throughout the sales cycle:
- How much? (what the customer can expect to gain by doing business with you — in increased sales, lower costs, etc.)
- How soon? (when the customer will be able to receive the value)
- How sure? (proof that the customer will in fact attain the value stated)
Provide norms for the customer so that there is little question of what the customer can expect from you: “We have a track record of providing a 15% cost savings and 90% product availability within 2 days of order.”
What are norms that your customers can expect you to live up to?
Remember, it is YOUR job to tell your customers what value they can expect — customers shouldn’t have to work to figure out the value themselves. If you don’t explicitly quantify the value your customer can expect to receive — and your competition may be doing this work for your customer — who is going to win the sale?
Competence: The customer’s perception of your skill, knowledge, and experience with respect to them or their business. Competence addresses the customer’s question, “Can this person or company do what they say they can do?”
Competence is demonstrated by the following:
- Completing and implementing an organised and logical sales approach
- Conveying an understanding of the customer and their business
- Demonstrating research and knowledge
- Substantiating your capabilities
- Involving team members appropriately and on a timely basis
The perception of competence is gained over time. As you work these guidelines into your approach to your customers, you will gain credibility and enhance your business relationships.
Trust: The customer’s confidence in your integrity, ability, and intent. Trust addresses the customer’s question, “Do I trust this person?”
Trust is demonstrated by the following:
- Using third party introductions
- Providing a letter of recommendation (objective references help build credibility)
- Displaying honesty, candor, empathy, and respect (show that you’ve done your homework, show a concern for their time and issues)
- Conveying win/win intent (concern for positive outcome/success for both parties)
- Above all, substantiate with action:
o Establish a track record of follow-through
o Set new norms (guidelines for expected behavior that are agreed to and that can be counted on)
Propriety: The customer’s perception of the appropriateness of your actions with respect to them or their business. Propriety addresses the customer’s question, “Is this person behaving properly or appropriately?”
Part of exhibiting propriety is in the way you present yourself. Over half of others’ perceptions of you is based — at least initially — on your appearance. Therefore, take care in your physical appearance, mannerisms, vocabulary, and business etiquette. If your first “appearances” occur on the phone, pay special attention to your tone, enthusiasm, and vocabulary.
A second, critical part of demonstrating propriety involves your adaptability to other people. In business, the Golden Rule — “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” — is usually inappropriate. In fact, if you treat others as you want to be treated, you may end up ignoring their needs, wants, and expectations, which may be completely different from your own.
You must be astute enough to recognise others’ needs, wants, and expectations AND you must be flexible enough to treat people the way they want to be treated.
Relate to your customers in a way that makes them feel most comfortable. This decreases “relationship tension” and increases trust, credibility, cooperation, and the commitment to work with you.
Build your business relationships — and your future — by focusing on these critical elements of Value, Competence, Trust, and Propriety.
This week on Scotch O Clock we are joined with our Special Guest; Kim Barrett from Your Social Voice. Kim Barrett is a world renown Social Media Marketer, focusing on Facebook. He Is an International Best Selling Author, Speaker and Trainer, having taught marketing around the world and helping businesses grow to 6 and 7 figures.
Featured Whiskey: Glendronach 18 Year Old Allardice – Oloroso Sherry Cask
Business Topic Covered: In this episode we talk all about the importance of Efficiency in Business and how it can help you in your Business.
7 Factors of Efficiency
- People Efficiency
- Educational Efficiency
- Sales and Marketing Efficiency
- Operational Efficiency
- Financial Efficiency
- Mental Efficiency
- Technological Efficiency
Scotch O Clock Episode 31 Featuring Kim Barrett:
Featured Scotch Intro: 1:21
Whiskey Tasting: 4.19
Main Topic – Efficiency: 7:24
Continuous Improvement: 7:56
How to improve Systems: 9:30
Forward Thinking in Business: 10:40
7 factors of Efficiency: 11:30
Theory of Constraints: 13:37
Sales Process: 15:09
Finding the right Expert: 16:33
Interactive Cash Flow: 18:45
Summary of Efficiency: 23:07
We Hope you enjoy this Episode guys and remember to please comment and share this video to reach those who are seeking ways to improve their Business.
Proper sales training is crucial for the success of any business! The efficiency of your sales depends on various interrelated factors such as the efficiency and the skills of your business members, the ability of your company to create and explore new sales opportunities, as well as the ability to close potential sales. In addition, a proper customer relationship management can maintain the clients’ interest in the products or services offered by your business. Considering the fact that the profitability of a company is determined by its members’ relations with clients, a successful business should focus on better understanding customers’ needs, enhancing the communication with clients by providing good feed-back and also on improving interactions with clients. With the means of effective sales training programs, you will be able to strengthen the relations between clients and the members of your business.
Whether you are the owner of a large, prominent company or a small business, proper sales training of your team members is the key in achieving and maintaining a strong position on the market. In order to strengthen the relations with your loyal customers and to attract new clients to your products or services by increasing the exposure, popularity and credibility of your business, you have to make sure that your business team has a solid sales training. A proper sales training program can help you boost the profits of your business by familiarising you and your team with a wide range of strategies for attracting new customers. In addition, sales training programs offer you effective solutions for selling more to your already existent clients, by maintaining them interested in your products or services.
There are various online professional services that offer a wide range of effective sales training programs for companies. By attending to the latest, cutting edge sales training programs, you and your business team will be able to quickly assimilate an extended package of knowledge, skills and abilities that are vital for achieving success. Sales training programs account for all the features of a successful business, ranging from customer service and sales skills to sales management and leadership development. By attending to a set of specialised sales training courses, your sales staff will be able to improve their overall sales skills, negotiation skills, communication skills and conflict resolution abilities.
Advanced sales training programs also include executive coaching, sales management coaching and leadership development, courses suitable for your team members that occupy higher positions inside your company. Thus, sales training programs are appropriate for all the people in your business, regardless of their role and position inside the company. By attending to a set of specialized, professional sales training programs, your team will learn new, effective solutions and strategies for promoting and selling your products.
Regardless of the success of your business, there is always room for improvement! After following a set of reliable, effective sales training programs, lots of businesses have been able to increase their profits by up to 30 percent! Sales training programs are strongly recommended for all business owners who wish to enhance the efficiency of their company.
Creating a successful and profitable business is no easy task. It’s reliant on many outside factors, including competition, timing and demand, which you have very little to no control over at the beginning. Assuming all of these outside factors are in your favor, having a sound business plan can lead to having a successful business. Here are five steps to consider when you’re building your business from the ground up:
1. Determine your business. What are you selling?
This question isn’t as easy to answer as you may think. For example, Nike is in the sportswear business, but the truth is that when you buy a pair of Nike shoes and a t-shirt at the mall you’re buying a lot more than sportswear — you’re buying an image, a feeling. You’re buying the Nike brand. Richard Thalheimer, the former CEO of The Sharper Image and the founder of RichardSolo.com, has worked in specialty retail for more than 30 years. When asked what business he’s in, he’ll tell you “convenience” or “innovation” before he specifies any particular industry, and he’s built one of the most powerful brands in America. Keep in mind, there’s more to a product than, well, the product. Your brand is what sets your product apart from your competitor’s.
2. Select your market. Who are you selling to?
This step is a bit less interpretive as the first, though equally important. Who are you selling to? or more importantly, what do you know about this person? Understanding your consumer is a key to success. What do they do? Where do they hang out? What do they watch on television? These are just a few of the questions that you should be able to answer about your consumer. Knowing the answers to these questions can answer a lot of questions of your own when it comes to a devising a marketing strategy. Richard Thalheimer understood his market for The Sharper Image, probably as well as they understood themselves. From an article in the LA Times, Tracy Wan, who was president and chief operating officer under Thalheimer says “Richard has the amazing ability to figure out the things that people want to have.” This ability to perceive your consumer’s desire can only be a result of knowing them like your neighbor.
3. Create a marketing strategy. How do you speak to these people?
This is a culmination of understanding your brand and your consumer. As mentioned in number two, understanding your consumer can answer a lot of questions concerning your marketing strategy: Where should you advertise? What’s the voice of your brand? What kind of prices are reasonable for this demographic? In order to engage your consumer, a.k.a. sell your product to them, you must know where your advertisements will be noticed, how to speak to them, and how much they will be able to spend, among many of things. Really, this step should have been combined with the last because who your market is dictates your marketing strategy entirely.
4. Learn by example. Seek advice from those who have done it.
There are many books written by professionals who have already started their own business and have been successful in doing so. One that comes to mind immediately, as we’ve already mentioned him a couple of times, is Richard Thalheimer. “Creating Your Own Sharper Image” shares the story of how he grew his tiny office supply company, The Sharper Image, into the thriving enterprise that it has become today.
Remember, building a successful business in not all about the dollars and cents. Equally as valuable is you brand equity and your ability to engage your consumer, which is only attainable by understanding them. Assuming there is a demand for your product, and you can compete with the other brands, following these four steps shall guide you in the right direction.
Grabbing opportunities with open arms is often easier to talk about than to actually do. Most people find themselves dreaming about being rich but never actually doing anything about it. A combination of procrastination and ‘what if’ syndrome can cripple your creative spirit and might mean your idea will never become a reality.
Socrates said “Action equals knowledge’. He was one of the greatest philosophers of our time. What he meant was that it is through action that we achieve results.
For example, you could think about learning Spanish for months, imagining the holidays you will take and the people you will communicate with. You can dream forever but accomplish nothing unless you actually make the effort to start taking lessons.
Much like the martial arts approach – the idea is to take action immediately and avoid over analysing the situation.
Do you want to start your own business but are afraid of what kinds of things can go wrong? What if your initial investment doesn’t pay off? There are millions of things that could go wrong but likewise there are many things that can go right! Fear can be paralysing. When thinking about starting a business particularly if you keep waiting for the right time. There will never be a perfect time. It’s now or never when it comes to starting your own business.
Overcoming your fear is a step by step process.
– Do you have a clear idea of what kind of business you want to start? A clear plan will help keep your worries at bay.
– Do you have access to the resources you will need? This includes the necessary start up cash as well as anything else you will need.
– Do you have access to clients or do you know enough about marketing basics to ensure you will have enough interest in what you are offering?
Just like anything – taking action is the most important part. Make an itemized list of what you feel needs to be done in order for you to start that business you always dreamed of.
Prioritizing your list will help too. Don’t wait for all your ducks to be in a proverbial row before you begin but make sure you have all the basics covered. Don’t wait for that ‘perfect someday’. Make an imperfect start.
Don’t over think everything. Sometimes the best approach is to just jump into the deep end.
Don’t wait to start discovering your own entrepreneurial spirit. Take action today!
Are you thinking about setting up your own business? Have you an idea for a new business but are unsure about how to proceed? If you have answered yes to either of these questions, this article could be of benefit to you. I am going to write about how to plan and create a successful small business.
Many people are looking at ways in which they can become self-employed as they have had enough of being dictated to and fed up of long and frustrating commutes to work. They want the freedom of being their own boss and to be able to choose their own hours of work.
Leaving a full time career can be quite a scary prospect however. The security of having a regular income and other benefits such as a pension and a share save scheme can seem hard to let go. I am sure many people whether rightly or wrongly have opted to stick with this security and to merely keep their business plan as an idea, which they never see through or use.
Other people are willing and happy to take the risk and see it as a way of getting out of the rat race.
When you have an idea for a new business you then need to think of a name to call it. I would keep this name quite short as it makes it easier to remember for people. It obviously needs to have something to do with the business sector you are entering.
You will now need to work out how much money you will need to set up the business. This can be quite daunting but is essential. In the short term I would advise to keep these start up costs as low as possible, you can always buy or rent better machinery in the future as an example.
Once you are aware of how much money you need, you then have to find it. You may have enough yourself via savings or a redundancy payout, however most people are not in this position. If you do not have enough money, you could try and raise money via the family, by seeking a partner or by releasing the equity from your house. There is also the option of a business loan.
The next stage is to market your product or service. There are many ways of doing this including:
-The internet via a website
-An advert in the newspaper
-Direct marketing in the form of leaflets
-An advert in the yellow pages
I would advise finding out where other people from your industry advertise as they will have tried and tested many of the above options.
You then need to work out how much to charge for your product or service. I always keep these charges fairly low at the outset in order to attract as many people as I can and to get some income in. I then hope that word of mouth will take over and the idea is that after a few months I will be in a position to increase my fees.
It is also important to realise that we will make mistakes along the way. When this happens we need to think positive and not to beat ourselves up. It is an experience we can learn from.
Always have belief in yourself. At times any business will go through a rocky period, this is when we need to be strong. In my opinion the more work we put in, the more rewards we are likely to obtain.
Self-discipline is one of the keys to your success. Being able to choose your own hours of work may seem like a dream but it can prove to be many peoples downfall. We have to ensure that we work the required amount of hours. It is far too easy to stay in bed for that extra hour or to arrange yet another game of golf. These things are fine once you are established, but this is a long way off at this stage.
Successful business owners all have one thing in common, they are never satisfied with sales levels. Whether you are making $10,000 a year or $1 million a year, there is always a possibility for growth.
Growth only comes when you realize it can happen. You will not grow if you are content or can’t see the future possibilities for growth.
Here are three easy ways that you can transform your business from the level it is at, into a profit making machine.
- Always track statistics
This may seem obvious, but most people never do it. You should always track and gather as much information as possible. Track walk in customers, track purchases, evaluate marketing, monitor amount of purchases, frequent visitors, non-buying prospects, etc.
With this knowledge you will be more informed as to how you marketing dollars are doing and where you can increase production.
- Find people you can trust
For my website, I have one person that writes nearly full time for me. I can send her topics for articles or websites, and she does the research and writes well thought out articles. I can pay her in advance and know that she is going to be there when I need writing at the last minute.
You definitely need people you can trust as well. These people may be your managers, family members, or just friends who can help in a pinch.
- Develop your passion
Sometimes I need to take a drive through the country to remember why I love what I am doing. It is easy to get caught up in the fray of customer service and deadlines, but for me the most productive time is always when I am out of my business element. Use this time away to revive your passion.
Next time you are thinking that it is not possible for your business to make money, remember and put these 3 easy tips into practice!
As an entrepreneur, you’re hardwired to enjoy a greater level of risk than the average person. But do you enjoy the thrill of business and investing so much that you’re willing to risk:
-Being hounded by creditors?
-Being denied a mortgage?
-Paying more than your fair share of interest on your loans?
-Losing your house?
If you answered “no” to one or more of these questions, this may be the most important report you’ve read in a long time.
Because, if you’re like most entrepreneurs, investors, and business owners I’ve met over the past 28 years, you’re in danger of facing all of these horrific problems. And it’s all because of your business.You see, entrepreneurs typically make one or more financially devastating mistakes when financing the launch, operation and/or growth of their businesses. In most cases, they don’t realize that they’re making a mistake. And to tell the truth, even when they do realize they’re making a mistake … they lull themselves into thinking that the consequences will be a minor annoyance. Until, one day, they can’t qualify for a mortgage. Or they can’t get the to-die-for financing offered on the new car they’re buying. Or they’re hounded by creditors and eventually have to declare bankruptcy. And it is all because they use their personal finances to fund the launch or expansion of their business. They then use personal credit cards to pay for business expenses. If you are in business or thinking about starting a business, business credit is a must.
Let me explain, most business owner have no idea that they can establish business credit and even fewer know how to how to establish business credit. If owners would take the time necessary to educate themselves about establishing credit they would no longer have to use their personal funds for start up capital or working capital.They would also be able to use business credit cards which don’t report to their personal credit reports, therefore, not lowering the personal credit scores.
The most important goal of business credit though is to obtain unsecured business lines of credit, which can be done once the business credit profile is set up properly. Once a business obtains unsecured business lines of credit, they then have the working capital they need to start a business or expand their business. The business owner has check book control to use the business lines of credit as they wish. And best of all, the business lines of credit don’t report to the business owner’s personal credit report.
If you have set up your business profile correctly there are a number of banks that will lend to brand new start up business. That is right, brand new start up business with no track record whatsoever. The banks will extend unsecured business lines of credit so they can have the start up capital they need to finance the business of their dreams.
Make no mistake about it; business credit is a MUST for every business owner. Don’t put your personal assets at risk finance or fund your business!