Category Archives: Small business strategies

7 Factors for More Effective Marketing and Better Business Growth

I’ve been working with several private clients on building their businesses more effectively.

One of the things they applaud is how must more productive their activities have become. They cite things like having a plan, being held accountable for implementing that plan and improving the quality of their marketing message as critical components of their success.

These aren’t rocket science concepts, yet in the day-to-day chaos that sometimes consumes them, plans and good intentions fly out the window.

What is it that has some business owners increase their businesses while other struggle?

I’ve uncovered 7 critical components.

1. Establish short-term and long-term goals
I wrote about the value of goal setting a few weeks ago (Read the article). Goals for both time frames are critical. Goals give you something to work toward and also make the path to get on more clear.

2. Assess
How prepared are you to do the work required to get to your end goal? Do you have what you need or do you need to learn something, hire a consultant, reorganize work duties? Maybe you have to shift your thinking, expand your sense of possibility. Adopt a more empowering belief system that says “I can do that!”

3. Identify stumbling blocks
There are reasons you haven’t yet reached your goal. The assessment phase may have brought to light tools and resources you need but don’t have.  If you keep saying, “If only I had “x then I could market my company better”, it’s time to get off the dime and take care of that. It’s costing you money!

4. Lay out your roadmap
Once you know where you’re going and what you need to get there, you can start laying out the steps it will take and the milestones you’ll  have to reach along the way. Knowing the intermediate steps will make the realization of your goal more feasible, certain even.

5. Be proactive
All the best laid plans will produce naught if you don’t get off your duff and do something different. You can’t expect to continue with your old, comfortable habits and expect that magically they’ll turn into more clients and more profits.

When people hear about how painfully shy I was as a child, they always ask ‘What did you do to get over that?’ First came the realization that I could not accomplish what was in my heart and mind being a wallflower. Then came decisions to put myself in front of people, speaking to groups (which petrified me at the time) and to continue doing that until it became a now favorite activity.

6. Track your progress
This is an important step that most people don’t bother with. They may make to-do lists and cross things off, but it’s hard to track your productivity over time by just reviewing crossed off lists. You can’t see trends of things you’re doing well and things you’re consistently avoiding. Plus tracking your activity makes you WAY more conscious of and accountable for what you’re getting done.

7. Get support and master your psychology
No matter how driven you are, having someone or some ones in your corner, watching your back, giving you honest feedback, encouraging you when you’re down, brainstorming with you and opening your eyes to new possibilities while pushing you to think bigger, will go a long way to you reaching new horizons, more clients, happier clients and more money in the bank.

Implement these 7 factors and watch your business grow!

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5 Critical Concepts for Business Growth & Profitability

People often go in business for themselves because they have a special knack or interest in something. They soon realize however, that that knack is not the only thing they need to be a success.

There are many internal factors that influence how fast or how big a company will grow. If the owner doesn’t acknowledge and attend to those critical factors, they are setting their burgeoning enterprise up for potential failure or enduring mediocrity

The most critical factors often aren’t always obvious but I’m ready to share them with you right now to help you navigate the perils and enjoy the benefits of business ownership.

Here are 5 simple, yet critical concepts you MUST master if you are to experience the growth and profitability you desire.

1. Know your strengths and deficits – intimately
When you’re crystal clear about your skills, you can leverage them to move mountains. You can also use them to counterbalance your weaknesses. When you’re working in your blind spots, you’ll struggle to accomplish goals. You’ll try to do things you shouldn’t and fail to delegate profitably.

2. Work within your value system
The whole point of being in business for yourself is to more closely control your own destiny. Without a thorough assessment of what’s important to you, day-to-day and for the long haul, you rob yourself of bringing in experiences that will create the fulfillment you need. Once they’re clearly articulated, your chance for fulfillment increases dramatically.

3. Understand the marketspace you operate in
When you target the highest possible level of clientele for your product or service, your fees have room to expand. When you clearly distinguish yourself from the competition, people will seek YOU out.  If you go to market blindly, you run the risk of stepping into a crowded space, missing out on opportunities to leverage your company’s unique advantages and not being prepared internally for growth.

4. Have a variety of sources of revenue
You’ve probably heard about the importance of diversifying your investments. Well, your business is one of the most important investments you own.  While you can make a great living selling just one product or service, with more options, you’re likely to improve your revenue stream.  During the recent recession, many businesses had to expand their offerings to appeal to additional markets. Even as the economy recovers, having various offers for various kinds of customers can help maintain your revenue stream. Just remember to not diversify to far afield. If that happens, you run the risk of spreading yourself too thin and becoming ineffective in your efforts.

5. Utilize your time in the most effective manner possible
It’s tempting to work on that which is easy, comfortable and familiar. Unfortunately, those kinds of activities rarely lead to outstanding results. “Magic occurs outside our comfort zone.” Work in your personal ‘sweet spots’, delegate the rest and focus on the highest profit potential activities possible.

These concepts are critical for your success. Implement them and practice them consistently. They will pave the road to profitability for your business

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7 Requirements to Turn a Dream into a Business

One of the things I hear over and over again when I work with my clients is “Wow!” I never thought of that!”

There’s something about the process of talking out loud with another person skilled in thought facilitation that generates insight, creativity and innovation that simply isn’t possible on one’s own.

A recent new client spent an afternoon with me sorting out the ideas in her head about the business she dreamed of launching.

To quote her, “We’re caught in our own heads and world and thoughts. We need an outside agent to pull the ideas out.

As I evaluate what it is I consistently do that evokes the sparking of new ideas that provoke committed and inspired action, I’ve boiled it down to seven things.

1) A proven process
Depending on the client’s goal, one or more of several processes are employed to guide the client toward the desired end result. Whether it’s defining the perfect market, evaluating your readiness for the venture or surveying the competitive landscape, you can’t just have a random, meandering conversation that goes nowhere.

Surely there must be flexibility in the system, but having a definitive track to start on, helps the process flow smoothly.

2) Mirrored thought
Ideas when articulated become more clear. Even faulty thinking is identified more rapidly when expressed out loud.

Often just repeating what someone says makes them come to grips with it’s truth or fallacy.

3) Shared observations and recommendations
Years of experience in banking, technology, marketing and management have generated a practical perspective and literally thousands of opinions 🙂  on a variety of topics that can be invaluable to someone who isn’t quite sure how to proceed on their quest. Well-informed counsel can make life easier.

4) Appropriate doubt
“Are you sure about that?”. Another client was about to take action that was fundamentally a good idea, but about to be implemented without appropriate research and advice. Questioning her encouraged her to seek other professional advice that equipped her with the proper strategies and approach to protect her investment in her business.

We are enamored with our own ideas. The intent here is not to rain on anyone’s parade, but to help avoid the pitfalls of certain decisions. By identifying potential risks in advance, plans can be made to minimize them or avert certain situations altogether.

5) Support that evokes commitment
By the same token, we sometimes doubt our abilities. Belief in an idea and the person holding it will go a long way to building their confidence for making it happen. Think about it. When some has believed in you, didn’t you feel you could conquer the world?

6) Action planning
All of the brilliant insights are of little use if not applied in the real world. Goals are accomplished one step at a time. Knowing what those steps are keeps you from procrastinating or wasting time flailing around on non-productive activities.

7) Follow up and follow through
Most people are more likely to get something done if they’ve told someone else they will do a thing. When commitments are made and kept privately, there is too much temptation to let them slip or to replace them with some other activity.

Going public with your goals and reporting on your journey will help ensure that the journey actually happens. Getting support and coaching along the way, empowers the experience of accomplishment.

I believe accountability makes magic happen. When we’re held accountable for making progress on our dreams, it opens the door to a life of purpose, fulfillment and prosperity.” -Loretta Love Huff

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Lush Business Growth Workshop


Uncover the secret motivations that drive your ideal client’s decisions so  your marketing results in more sales

Identify the weak links in your business that are robbing you of your revenue

Expose the criteria that people use to make purchase decisions about what you offer.  Ignore this and your marketing will fall on deaf ears. Master this and business will flock to you.

Distinguish specific opportunities your business is facing that could mean a dramatic increase in profits for your firm

Evaluate your current revenue streams and determine which ones are primed to produce even more in the future.

Brainstorm on potential NEW revenue streams you can create easily without doing a ton more work

Evaluate your current sales channels and marketing strategies to make sure you’re capitalizing on what’s right in front of you

Create concrete goals and strategies for their fulfillment to accelerate your success

Calendaring templates to make mapping out your marketing plan simple and easy

Get details emeraldharvest.com/lushbusinessgrowth-ws.htm

Skilled questioning, not pressuring, generates more sales

I attended a festival recently and visited a jewelry booth while I was there. (Jewelry, photography and pottery are my favs!)

The jewelry designer was a talented, but modest woman. Her sister, on the other hand, was quite the promoter.

She engaged me in conversation immediately. She asked me question after question while showing me different pieces of jewelry. I definitely knew she was aiming to make a sale but didn’t feel pressured by her activities and comments.

If you struggle to ‘close’ the deal too often, it’s likely you’re doing something in the process that is preventing the other person from stepping forward to take advantage of your offer.

What is it that has some people be great at sales while others struggle?

Here’s what I learned from this sister-promoter that could help you improve your close ratio.

One of the biggest mistakes people make in sales is talking too much. They are uncomfortable with silence and erroneously think they are ‘controlling the process’ by talking all of the time.

One of the biggest lessons I learned from my first sales coach is “People love to buy. They hate being sold.”

Armed with that info, here are some of the things the Sister-Promoter did that ended up with me buying a trinket from the designer plus a few more choice tips that should help you increase your sales.

1. Ask pointed questions
Your aim is to get the other person talking. You’ll learn more and they’ll be more invested in the conversation. People won’t walk away from you or hang up on you when they’re talking!

2. Ask open ended questions mixed with closed ended questions.
Open ended questions (How, What, Where) reveal info to guide your inquiry. They also get the other person thinking. Closed ended (Do/Have/Would) questions get people to some decision point and allow progress toward the end goal to get made.

3. Ask questions about the future
Get people to imagine a future with your or your product. Hypothetical questions suspend reality and allow your prospect to dream about the future they want and what it would be like to get their with your support. (Imagine/What if/Suppose)

I’ve learned another important sales lesson from Sharla Jacobs. She said “Your job is to ask great questions until your prospect convinces themselves, they have to work with you.”

When you can skillfully guide your prospects through that process so that they arrive at the conclusion, they have to have you, on their own, your sales will increase and both parties will leave the conversation happy and inspired.

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