How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

Succeed in business
The Movie: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

If you’re a Baby Boomer, you might know the title reference to a 1960’s movie. The story centers on an ambitious young man, J. Pierpont Finch, who reads a book about how to succeed in business and uses it to rise at a dizzying pace from mailroom to executive suite. (More recently, it was adapted into two Broadway musicals, one starring Nick Jonas and the other with Daniel Ratcliffe.)

This is our take – without the romance, drama, and musical numbers – on the things that might make it easier to succeed in business.

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

Stay open to trying a new approach or considering a worthwhile suggestion, and go further than you expected to succeed in business without really trying hard.

Choosing Your Small Business

If you’re 100% sure that you want to start your own business, but not 100% sure of what business you’ll choose, then we’ve got some suggestions for how you can succeed in business with minimal agony.

Loving The Business You Start

For those starting out, the best advice for an easier path to succeed in business is to do what you love … or at least enjoy a lot. Maybe you’d adore making a living by creating art sculptures, recycling furniture, or running an animal rescue. Maybe you yearn to start a business doing landscaping, graphic design, or blacksmithing. 

From the following story, it’s not hard to understand how much more successful you can be if you really love your work.

It’s also about feeling real passion for an occupation. After years of the corporate grind, many people want to create a business to help others – which could center around specialties like counseling, environmental conservation, or coaching.

Here’s a story about how a passion became a path to succeed in business.

Paul Tima of Solutions-4-You – Industry: health & wellness products.

Along with his wife Cheryl, Paul sells natural personal care items, vitamins, and organic foods. Their business sprang up from years of research which disclosed how commonly used household products and foods are poisoning us “one cell at a time.” Their long quest began after Cheryl contracted scoliosis (which causes the spine to “collapse”). As they learned more, Paul was shocked by the fact that 85% of their household articles (from soap & makeup to cleansers & sprays) contained carcinogenic ingredients. He felt as if “God was hitting me on the head” to do something about it.

This all turned Paul into a man with an intense passion for educating folks about the damaging effects of common household goods on our health, and for providing new and time‑tested natural therapies, food, and household products that puts prevention before prescriptions.

“We still need our medical community of nurses and doctors,” he says, but we also need “to understand the body and how to take care of it.” We should make a choice to know what’s in the products we eat, drink, inhale, and use on our skin, and what it’s doing to us.

Take Advantage of Neglected Business Markets

One way to succeed in business without really trying is to choose a business without a lot of competition. Are there no acupuncturists in your town? Very few event planners? Not enough DJ’s, nutritionists, or life coaches? Is your area lacking an upscale restaurant, dance studio, delicatessen, or winery? Improve your chances of success by providing a business that’s in demand but lacking in your community.

To succeed in business you could consider offering a less common service:

  • Concierge for high-end clients. Executives, politicians, and TV stars don’t want to waste their time or energy on tasks like lining up concert tickets, finding handymen and contractors, or making reservations for a weekend getaway. There are 10.8 million U.S. millionaires out there who could be your next client.
  • Providing expert witness services for legal cases. Maybe you have skills that a lawyer might want in court – like a physician, security pro, or forensic scientist. You could also be a broker of expert witnesses – locally, nationally, or globally.
  • Services for seniors. As the Baby Boomer generation (born 1944-1964) ages, there is high demand for in-home companions and care providers. This group of 76 million Americans is also seeking an assortment of services to navigate:
    • Medicare, Social Security, Veteran Benefits, Long-Term Care
    • HHHousing, Downsizing, Reverse Mortgages
    • Legal Help (will, power-of-attorney, medical directive)

What Businesses Are in Demand?

Alternatively, consider providing products or services that are new or emerging. Changes in technology, lifestyles, and our stress levels are constant. We’re listing a few industries that seem ripe for the pickin’. If these aren’t just right for you, let it be a jumping board to discern what fits you in particular.

  • CBD or Hemp Oil. Become an online distributor of health-related trends. These oils are free of THC (the hallucinogenic stuff) and have become very popular.
  • Everything pet-related. When I heard a co-worker say she was building a $30,000 sunroom just for her four cats, I was shocked and dumbfounded. I then heard about a nearby restaurant just for dogs. Fido can play with his new buddies on Astroturf and have a doggie birthday party. Amazingly, I read that owners spent $69 million on their pets in 2017.

This industry is open for pet sitters, walkers, and trainers. You can start a mobile pet grooming business or a doggie daycare.  Or, start your own pet bar.

  • Tiny houses. There’s a growing trend toward downsizing and living more simply. From singles to retirees to young millennial families, people are choosing to move from their large suburban homes into a 300-square-foot tiny home on an 8-foot wide trailer. They not only want to reduce their “footprint,” but also have the flexibility to move when and where they’d like.
  • Selling alternative energy sources. Solar, wind, bio-fuel, photovoltaic, geothermal. As research, technology, and costs make environmental-friendly energy more attractive, business- and homeowners are wanting to become more “green.” Opportunities can be found in design, sales, distribution, repair, installation, and maintenance.
  • Personal coaching. This field has boomed in recent years due to society’s increasing struggles like divorce, layoffs, stress, and addiction. People are also looking for answers in the areas of spirituality, health, relationships, and self-improvement. Life coaches, business coaches, and marital coaches are needed to fill the demand.
  • Healthy fast food. Quinoa, free-range chicken, tailored juices, and tofu burgers. It’s a thing. The calorie-rich burger, fries, and soda just aren’t cutting it for everyone. Not only do we feel guilty eating that kind of food, but our waistlines grow proportionately with each happy meal. You could open a drive-thru restaurant, operate a food truck, or become a personal chef.
  • Virtual assistants. Every year, more people go into business for themselves. The owner may have a great product or service, but they need help with the office work:
    • logging appointments and checking email
    • finding suppliers, contractors, or vendors
    • making or fielding calls
    • ordering goods and equipment
    • tracking data like invoices, customer information, or budgets

This is an attractive option for a work-at-home business.

  • Software developers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for software developers is expected to increase by 17% each year through 2023. The median pay in 2017 was slightly over $100,000 per year.
  • Skilled trades.  Masons, electricians, plumbers, and carpenters are recession-proof jobs. A significant portion (40%) of current tradesmen will retire in the next few years, so this field will be open.

Pressing the Easy Button In Your Business

There are other easy ways that your business can be a joy rather than a job.

Using Your Business Network

A great way to succeed in business without really trying is by leveraging your network of friends, business contacts, family, relatives, clubs, and other alliances. Connect with neighbors, social media lists, and former co-workers.

Build a community of support, word-of-mouth, and referrals through people you already know. Send them emails and social media posts to forward on to their network. Give them business cards and brochures to share. Sweeten the pot by offering discounts or gift cards when they refer someone who becomes a client.

Make a point of talking to members of groups you’ve joined such as clubs, associations, networking groups, masterminds, or meetups. Ask the group host if you can set up a table in the back of the room, or give a 5-minute pitch. Offer a free showcase event, e-book, or video about what you do and how it benefits the audience.

You can expand your network by joining a trade group like a barter exchange. Members provide products and services to each other cash-free. The work you perform for other members accrues credit to purchase services within the exchange. You not only save on expenses for services like website design, coaching, and marketing, but you also are now a part of a strategic community.

Apply Your Business Talents & Gifts

Instead of setting up a business just to rake in the cash, consider following your calling instead.

Are you artistic and creative? Then you can start a graphics design shop, photography studio, or art gallery. These pursuits may certainly make you money, but you’re using your artsy talents and fulfilling a dream.

Do you hate clutter? The world is looking for organizers to help purge, sell, donate, and re‑organize the things accumulated over the years.

Are you someone who loves to write? So many people need help to make their content clear, well-organized, useful, and compelling – from blogs and web copy to magazine articles and books.

Settling for a high-paying job might bring in a healthy paycheck, but may make you feel as if you sold out. You know what you were really meant to do.

Follow your intrinsic talents. A business won’t be hard work if you do something that comes naturally.

Become the Business Go-To Person

If you prove yourself as the reigning expert in your field, then to succeed in business will come easier. Our suggestions for establishing yourself as the guru for any particular job:

  • Do one job. A lot of entrepreneurs have many talents, but if you want to be that go-to person who known for one niche then stick to just that. You may be renowned as a business coach but can also do website design … keep that secondary skill under your hat because that can confuse your client and muddle your message.
  • Develop deep knowledge. Read books, take webinars, attend classes, and practice. Knowing your business exceedingly well will cast your reputation as the go-to person in your field.
  • Define your unique selling proposition. Take time to flesh out what makes your business stand out from the competition. Tell the story of how your company is different or better. These questions might help:
    • What customer problems are we solving and how do we do it better?
    • How do we compare to the competition – faster turnaround? guaranteed one-day service?
    • What do clients say is best about what we do or provide?
    • What are our distinguishing qualities – customization? open 24/7? American-made?

(Read the related blog about USPs on our website.)

  • Publish. Write a book, blog, or post around your area of expertise. Find the right magazines, newspapers, or trade publications, and submit related articles.  Keep the content appropriate and relevant for your intended audience. (Note: Make sure to have it edited; nothing kills credibility like typos and mediocre writing.)

Starting a business can be exciting and heady at the start, but can be a tougher path to follow than expected. You can succeed in business without really trying by doing something you love, know thoroughly, or that which comes naturally. It will also help to use your existing connections, to choose a market that’s in demand, and to establish yourself as an expert. 

 

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Importance of Business Networking

Business Networking

Do you feel awkward or afraid when going to business networking events? You are not alone!  Many people avoid networking events and many others make big mistakes while networking. Simply showing up at a networking event with your business cards is not enough! Successful business networking requires planning and strategy.

Business Networking

Importance of Business Networking

Networking is important and networking works! According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70 percent of all jobs are found through business networking. As a business owner, you want to constantly grow your network of contacts.

How Have You Been Impacted by Meeting Other People?

Think about some ways that meeting other people has impacted your life. The position you now hold likely happened because you met someone somewhere. How did you meet your spouse, your friends, and your work associates? In many cases, you were introduced or you met them somewhere. Many of us have gotten something free such as tickets to an event through networking. Don’t miss out on this great way to grow your business!

Here are some tips to make your business networking effective:

Go with the networking plan to serve others.

The best way to set yourself at ease during networking is to focus on other people. Go with the mindset that you are there to give. Listen well! Think about ways you can help them: people that you can introduce them to, resources and tools that could benefit them. Make them happy that they met you!

Have a goal with your networking events.

You are attending events to make contacts that will be mutually beneficial. Decide in advance how many people you want to meet. If possible, decide in advance who you want to meet. Arrive early and view the attendee name tags and the companies they work for. Arriving early is also important to start the event in the right manner. You can position yourself to meet attendees as they arrive.

Don’t get into cliques while networking.

Remember your goals for the event. If you get into a circle of people you already know, you will limit your ability to meet new people. Spend a few minutes with everyone you meet, but move on. You can say, “excuse me, I need to freshen up my drink.”

If you are anxious while networking, go with a friend.

This is a good way to get your feet wet. You can talk with your friend during the gaps between meeting new people. As you get more comfortable you and your friend can split up.

Get introduced at networking events.

Another advantage of arriving early is to ask the host to introduce you to some of the guests. Or if you see an acquaintance talking with someone you want to meet, approach them and ask your acquaintance for an introduction.

Take your business cards and a pen to networking events.

However, don’t offer your card too quickly. If you meet someone that would be a good contact for you, ask for their card. Once you have ended your conversation, write down key information about your new acquaintance. This will help you later to remember details about them and will aid you as you begin your next conversation. Of course, when people ask for your card, be ready to provide one. Don’t give them more than one card unless they ask for it.

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Be a good interviewer while networking.

For a great example, watch how newscasters interview people. Listen twice as much as you talk. Keep good eye contact while they are speaking; don’t look around the room while they are talking. Nod your head, smile and laugh where appropriate. Interject short responses from time to time to relate to your acquaintance. Make affirming comments and sincere compliments. Most people will ask what you do, but if they don’t, feel free to briefly tell them about what you do.

Have a thirty-second commercial while networking.

Be ready to briefly describe what you do. Talk about the benefits (how you impact your client’s life) of your product or service rather than the features (what you do). Know what makes you unique and better than your competition.

Be ready to describe your ideal client while networking.

Know how to describe your prospects in terms of demographics. For example, “My clients are young married couples who live in working class neighborhoods in Greenville SC.”

Look for “Networking Orphans.”

At just about every event there will be someone who is new, uncomfortable and anxious. They may be standing awkwardly against the wall looking out of place. Find them and become their friend. Introduce them to others. They will be very thankful that you rescued them.

The most important thing…follow up after networking!

If you don’t follow up with your new acquaintances, you have just wasted your time at the event. Be unique in your approach. Send a card, or make a phone call thanking them for meeting with you. If appropriate, invite them for coffee or lunch to deepen the relationship.

Conclusion

Remember that people do business with those they know, like and trust. Business networking works! Serve your business contacts well and you will be on the road to great clients and referrals!

Questions about our small business coaching services?

Call us at 1-888-504-0777,

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Finding and Training Great Employees

finding and training great employees
Part 1 of 3.

The people you hire to work for your business can be your biggest assets and your biggest headaches; finding and training great employees can be a challenge. They can support and help you to achieve the vision you have for your company – but they can also prevent you from reaching that vision.

Finding and Training Great Employees

Too many businesses overlook the role of employee recruitment and retention when planning for the success of their organization. Staffing is an important exercise that needs to be purpose-driven and strategic, just like marketing.

Employees Think: What’s in it for Me?

It is vital to understand in today’s market that the relationship between employee and employer is a two-way street. Now, more than ever, employees have a “what’s in it for me?” attitude that extends beyond salary and benefits expectations into incentive and rewards programs. The days of simple compensation structures are over.

Now, this may sound like a big headache, but it’s actually a good thing! With some simple systems and open dialogue, you will be able to effectively create – and keep – your dream team.

The Power of Your Dream Team

How much of your own personal time has human resources – staff hiring, firing, issues management, etc. – taken this year? No doubt staff recruitment and retention is one of the biggest challenges facing any business owner today.

The truth is, if you spent half as much time on human resources as you do on marketing, I guarantee your sales would increase dramatically.

Employees Treat Customers Exactly the Way You Treat Them

Customers know the difference between happy employees and disgruntled ones, and it makes a difference when it comes to purchasing decisions. I’ve heard it said that your employees will treat your customers exactly the same way that you treat them. Would you rather have your car serviced by a grumpy mechanic who doesn’t feel his good work is rewarded or a pleasant one who just stepped out of a weekly team meeting?

A successful business owner has confidence in the people who work for him because he believes they are the best people for the job. Employees who know their employer believes in their skills and abilities will go over and above to get the job done, to make the sale.

Successful Business Owner Invest Time and Money in Employees

Successful business owners invest time and money in finding, keeping and training great employees. These are the people who share and support the collective vision of the company.

I’m not talking about a complicated formula or magic concoction. I’m talking about some careful thought and a proactive strategy that will make your business shine from the inside out.

how to get the best employees

 

Finding Your Dream Employees

Building a dream team starts by finding and hiring the right people for the job. Sounds simple enough. You post an ad, find someone who has the necessary qualifications and hire them on.

Not so fast. Recruitment is a complex process that can dramatically impact your business operations. Just like finding and securing the right customers, finding and hiring the right candidates requires pro-active planning and careful evaluation.

Create an Internal Recruitment System

If you currently work with a recruiting agency to build your team, now may be a good time to stop and evaluate the effectiveness of their service. While a recruiting agency can save you the time and hassle of working through the hiring process, it can also cost more money in the long run.

I always recommend creating an internal recruitment system, not because recruiting agencies do a bad job, but because no one knows your business like you do.

 

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Create an Attractive Business Culture

If you want to attract and retain the highest quality clients, you must have a culture that is attractive and a future that is compelling. Developing an effective strategic plan and including your employees in the process is a good place to start. Determine where you are going, what your mission is and how your organization will treat others. Once you have established your vision, mission, and values, then you must deploy them throughout your organization to ensure that you “practice what you preach.”

An internal recruitment system ensures that the true essence of your business culture is communicated – from advertisement to interview. You also have the opportunity to communicate expectations from the outset, instead of relying on the recruiter to relay this information. The middleman’s thoughts and impressions are eliminated, leaving you to make decisions based on your impression of the candidate and no one else’s.

Step One: Advertise the Opportunity

The first step in recruiting candidates is obviously letting potential candidates know about the opportunity with your company.

But before you pick up the phone to place a classified ad, remember that advertising for potential employees requires just as much consideration and planning as general advertising for your business.

Before You Place an ad ask yourself:

• Who is your ideal candidate?
• What are their skills and qualifications?
• What is their personality or demeanor?
• What are they passionate about?
• What are they looking for in a job?

Once you have a mental picture of your candidate, then you can begin to write an ad that will not only reach them but also inspire them to act (and submit an application).

When writing this ad, be as specific as possible and focus on the benefits of the job. Remember that potential candidates screen job postings with an eye for “what’s in it for me.” Tell them exactly that.

Here are a few sample job postings:

Are you the Marketing Assistant we need?

About You

You’re fun, friendly and have a keen eye for detail. You’re always two steps ahead of your colleagues, and eager to take on new and exciting challenges.

You’ll be the glue that keeps the marketing team operating in a seamless fashion, responsible for website updates, copywriting, event coordination and client relations. You’ll be punctual, responsible, and well put together.

You’ll ideally have an undergraduate degree in marketing or English, and some previous office experience, but a fast learner with a great attitude will also get our attention.

About Us

We are a collaborative team of young professionals. We offer a competitive salary, great benefits and performance incentives.

Think you fit the bill? Email your resume and cover letter to John Jones at [email protected] business.com by Friday at 5 pm.

Are Computers Your Life?

About You

You are smart, outgoing, and a wiz when it comes to computer programming. You’re on your friend’s speed dial for computer emergencies, large and small. Helping people understand the complex digital world is your passion.

You’ll be our Lead Computer Technician, managing our computer repair counter and five Junior Technicians. You’ll have great people skills, mounds of patience, and enjoy working as part of a dynamic team.

About Us

We operate Anytown’s leading computer repair store and are known across the region for our customer service. We work hard, play hard, and offer a competitive benefits package to our employees.

Tell us why this job is for you. Email your resume and cover letter to [email protected] by Thursday, September 23.

Both of these job postings speak directly to a very targeted audience. They’re friendly, colloquial, and communicate the job requirements in an informal way.

Every job posting should:

• Be written in the way that you talk
• Be specific
• Describe benefits
• Include skills, qualifications, duties and job title
• Be written in the present tense
• Have a great headline
• Call the reader to action
• Be simple – in word choice and sentence structure
• Be more exciting than the competition

Now that you have a great ad to post, you need to decide where you are going to publish it. This depends on the level of the job (junior to management) and on the specific type of candidate you are looking to recruit.

Here are the five major places to advertise your opportunity:

Government Employment Center

These are great places to find blue-collar or junior level employees. Candidates register with the center, which keeps their resumes on file. Be cautious with this route – it can produce a wide variety of candidates who are not qualified.

Indeed, Ziprecruiter, Etc

This is a great place to post junior to mid-level employment opportunities. You’re looking for basic qualifications from local applicants, perhaps even for part-time positions, with minimal cost.

Linkedin

Senior employment opportunities that require specific high-level qualifications are best advertised with a broad scope. This incurs a greater cost but will return a greater variety of candidates.

Online

This is a cheap way to tap into a massive database of job seekers. Post your ad online on sites like www.monster.com or www.workopolis.com and watch the resumes come flooding in. A large number of highly qualified job seekers who do not wish to register with a recruitment agency will use these services.

Referrals

The most ideal way to find candidates is through your existing network – including associates, colleagues, employees, friends and family. These candidates come to you already vetted by a trusted source. You may also wish to consider giving your staff an incentive to refer their qualified friends and associates to you.

Other Niche Areas

You should also brainstorm a list of any other niche areas that your target market may look for a job. Consider vocational schools, colleges, industry publications, industry associations, small publications, etc.

Conclusion

Once you’ve posted your ad, your next step is to manage the inquiries that come flooding in. These are just a few steps in the process of finding and training great employees.

To read part 2 Finding and Training Great Employees.

Questions about our small business coaching services?

Call us at 1-888-504-0777,

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Develop an Effective Thirty Second Commercial

Thirty Second Commercial

There is a reason to develop a thirty second commercial. Have you ever felt like you were caught off guard when someone asked you what you do for a living? Perhaps you responded with one sentence that included your title and your business name. The person who asked the question may have moved on to someone else, quickly dismissing you in their mind. Or perhaps you went to the other extreme and rambled on and on, providing way too much detail until their eyes glazed over. Every business owner has experiences such as this.

Develop an Effective Thirty Second Commercial

Making a positive first impression is an important key to establishing credibility with contacts, referral sources, and prospective clients. Being able to confidently deliver a short, compelling self-introduction can lead you to follow up appointments, referrals, and new customers. Below are some tips to develop a compelling thirty-second commercial:

Be strategic.

Rather than just “winging it,” take some time to develop your thirty-second commercial. Aim for impact, effectiveness, and results in your message.

Practice until you know it well.

Practice your short presentation until you can deliver it at a moment’s notice. You will have many opportunities each day to use your thirty-second commercial with people you meet.

Talk about benefits, not features.

Your features are what you do in your business: your services or products. Your benefits are how your products/services impact your clients’ lives: you help them make more money, give them more time with family and friends, etc. List some frustrations (client pain) that your clients experience and which your service/products eliminate. Below are examples of our business coaching benefits:

Client Pain

  • Tight cash flow
  • Missing family events
  • Can’t find good employees

Coaching Benefits

  • Owner making more money
  • Getting dates with spouse
  • Excellent, loyal employees

Develop some short stories that illustrate your benefits.

These stories are one of the ways that you educate your contacts and move them to a level of trust in you. Think about how you have helped your customers in the past. Write down four to five sentences to describe how you impacted their life. You may begin with one story. But keep in mind that if you cultivate your contacts, you will communicate with them on multiple occasions and you will need to demonstrate your expertise with multiple stories.

1. First five to ten seconds: introduction.

Say your name, your company name and a brief summary of the benefits your company provides to clients. For example, here’s my introduction: “””My name is Alan Melton. I’m with Small Business Coach Associates. We help business owners earn more income while working fewer hours.””

Next twenty to twenty-five seconds: tell a short story illustrating your introduction.

We were working with an HVAC company owner who had a large bad debt that was forcing him into bankruptcy. He was working 70 hour weeks and told me the number one thing he wanted was a date with his wife. We identified 12 areas of improvement that immediately increased his profits by more than $176,000 per year. Now he is working 50 hours per week and he has enjoyed a number of dates with his wife.”

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Be flexible upon completion of your story.

At that point, your contact may ask you a question about your service. If not, shift the focus to them. “Joe, tell me about what you do…” or “Tell me more about what you do…” Remember to focus on your contact for approximately 2/3 of the time. Ask good questions and listen!

Discuss your Unique Selling Propositions.

Know what makes you unique and better than your competition. A couple of the USP’s for SBCA is the fact that our coaches have all been business owners themselves and we collaborate with one another to provide the best solutions to our clients. Some examples of that are our weekly coaching calls and the assistance we give to one another on coaching assignments. Recently Craig Reimer who formerly owned a construction company joined me on a business assessment with the owner of a construction company.

Expand your commercial to five minutes and twenty minutes.

From time to time you may have the opportunity to deliver a longer presentation to a networking group or other organization. You can easily expand your presentation by telling more stories to illustrate your expertise.

Give “thirty-second commercials” within any speaking or writing topic.

People are drawn to stories. Include your short stories any time you are communicating, and this will add to your credibility.

Questions about our small business coaching services?

Call us at 1-888-504-0777,

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Selling: Ten Things to Know and Do Before Making a Proposal

Ten things to know and do before making a proposal

Many small business owners simply “spout off” what they do with prospects, and lose the opportunity to win a new account. With selling, there are things to know and do before making a proposal.

Ten Things to Know and Do Before Making a Proposal

If you try to shortcut the process, you will likely lose the business. On the other hand, if you cover the following bases, you can move rather quickly to winning a new account. Below are the ten things to know and do before making a proposal to a winning business:

1. Know that you should have a good relationship with your prospect(s)

prior to making a proposal. Remember that people do business with people that they know, like and trust. If you have not moved to some level of likeability and trust, you will not likely win a proposal.

2. Do make a concerted effort to establish a strong bond and rapport.

You can only do this by asking good questions and listening well. Repeat back and summarize their answers to help them know that you are listening. Briefly relate to experiences and activities that you have in common. Give your 30-second commercial, but keep the main focus on your prospect(s).

3. Know that you and your prospect should have an “out clause.”

Both should have the ability any point to walk away. Many salespeople are so eager to make a sale that they lose their dignity and the prospect’s respect during a proposal. The prospect may mislead the salesperson about their true intentions after a proposal is made. Eventually, the prospect stops returning phone calls and a lot of time is wasted by the salesperson.

4. Do confirm your “out clause” with your prospect.

Do this early in your discussions. To remain on equal footing with your prospect, lead them to an understanding that either you or your prospect has the right to walk away if either one of you determines that there is not a good fit between the two of you. Agree with them that either party will immediately inform the other should that occur, and neither one of you should feel offended if that should happen.

5. Know who the decision-makers are.

Many salespeople spend a lot of time talking and making proposals to people who don’t have the authority to make a decision. In larger businesses is it not unusual to have more than one person or even and committee that makes spending decisions. Prospects may not reveal that they don’t have the authority to make a decision. Ask the following question: “In addition to you, who else will be involved in making the decision?”

6. Do make your proposal to the decision-makers.

Always ask for a meeting with all of the decision-makers. Meeting with all decision-makers will be easier if you invested the time in getting to know each person prior to making a proposal.

7. Know the “pain points” of each decision-maker.

Understanding the prospect’s pain points may be the most important part of making a successful proposal. How can you help a prospect if you can’t relate to their problems? You need to know three to five pain points and how much money this pain is costing them. For more on this topic, see the coaching tip “Winning the Business: Focus on the Prospect’s Needs.”””””

8. Do address and solve their pain points in your proposal.

This is where the rubber meets the road. If you can clearly articulate the prospect’s pain points, the costs associated with the pain points, and how your product or service can save them money and make their pain go away, the decision to go with you will be a no-brainer.

9. Know the amount in the budget.

Knowing the amount in the budget will help you to determine whether to make a proposal. Although many small businesses do not use a budget to run their companies, many mid-size to large companies operate on budgets. Always strive to determine the amount of budget dollars available for your service or product. Sometimes your prospect may try to evade the question. You can ask, “In round dollars, how much is your budget for this service?” Or “What’s a ballpark budget range for this service?” Another approach is: “I’m trying to determine which package to propose to you. Would you say that your budget is closer to the $5,000 to $10,000 range or to the $15,000 to $20,000 range?”

10. Do tailor your proposal to the available budget dollars.

This goes without saying. But you would be surprised to know how many salespeople just throw out proposals that are way too high. Or even worse a salesperson will leave money on the table because they proposed well below the amount in the budget.

As you can see, if you do the extra due diligence before making a proposal, not only will you increase the chances of success, you will put more in your pocket. Go for it!

Questions about our small business coaching services?

Call us at 1-888-504-0777,

or 

Enter your information below to start growing your revenues and profits today…

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small business coach

What is the One Missing Key to Your Business Success?

business success

Just like humans, every business has weaknesses. In some cases business owners simply need to work on one or two areas to propel their business to amazing growth and profits. What is the one missing key to your business success?

One of my business ventures was a small service company with 130 employees. Our largest customer was a Ritz Carlton hotel, and the hotel chain was involved with the Malcolm Baldrige Process, a way for organizations to achieve outstanding results. Our leadership team decided to get involved with this process at a state level, and we hired a business coach to help us identify areas of improvement. We grew our profits by more than one thousand percent!

What is the Missing Key to Business Success

There are seven keys to business success according to the Baldrige criteria. Over the next few blog articles, I will be writing about these seven keys. How is your business doing in these areas? Growth normally requires things like small business loans and access to business credit lines but without these 7 keys you will not be managing that growth as effectively and efficiently as you could.

1. Leadership.

Most small businesses are strong in the area of leadership. It takes strong leaders to start and run business. However once your business is going, how do you keep the momentum going? Do you communicate a clear vision, strong values and a compelling mission? Is your team growing, learning and adjusting to the business environment?

2. Strategic Planning.

In my work with small business owners, many do not have a current business plan. That is a huge mistake, especially in this volatile business environment. For example, you would be surprised how many businesses are fortunate enough to get a small business loan but then they don’t use the funds for revenue-generating initiatives and the end result is just more debt and no new clients or business. Every business owner should have short and long term goals, and every employee should understand the goals. Consider all your stakeholders during your planning.

3. Customer Focus.

This area is also a strength for many small business owners. But as a business grows it is easy to lose touch with customers, and without customers your business is dead! Do you have ways of measuring customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction? Are you improving?

4. Measurement.

Speaking of measurement, do you know your business “stats?” In the same way that sports teams know statistics about players, coaches and their offense and defense, you need to track important information. Nearly everyone tracks sale and profits, but do you know the value of your business? What are your key business success factors? Do know how your numbers compared to competitors? You should.

5. Workforce Focus.

Many business owners struggle with finding good employees. Your employees are critical to your business success. Cutting edge leaders believe that their employees are more important than their customers. How do you attract and retain good people?

6. Operations Focus.

The way you deliver your product or service can make you or break you. If you can provide excellent products and services consistently every time, your customers will likely stay with you. Otherwise, you are “rolling the dice.” Wise business owners develop measurable processes that ensure a great customer experience with few exceptions.

7. Results.

This, of course, is the bottom line of all your efforts in business. Once you have determined what is important to measure and have established measures, how are you doing? Are your “stats” improving? How do they compare with your competition or industry? Are your sales and profits growing, or are you struggling like many small businesses? Is your business value growing?

Conclusion

After reviewing these seven keys, what are the top one or two areas that could use some attention in your business? Focus your efforts on the area where your business needs to improve. If you need help, don’t be afraid to seek it out.

Questions about our small business coaching services?

Call us at 1-888-504-0777,

or 

Enter your information below to start growing your revenues and profits today…

small business coach

What is the One Missing Key to Your Business Success?

business success

Just like humans, every business has weaknesses.  In some cases, business owners simply need to work on one or two areas to propel their business to amazing growth and profits. Entrepreneurs can benefit from the services of small business coaches, who can assist them in identifying areas that require improvement while also guiding them toward business success.

One of my business ventures was a small service company with 130 employees. Our largest customer was a Ritz Carlton hotel, and the hotel chain was involved with the Malcolm Baldrige Process, a way for organizations to achieve outstanding results. Our leadership team decided to get involved with this process at a state level, and we hired a small business marketing coach to help us identify areas of improvement. We grew our profits by more than one thousand percent!

Seven Keys to Success in Business

There are seven keys to business success according to the Baldrige criteria. Over the next few blog articles, I will be writing about these seven keys. How is your business doing in these areas?  Growth normally requires things like small business loans and access to business credit lines but without these 7 keys, you will not be managing that growth as effectively and efficiently as you could.

1.  Leadership in Business.

Most small businesses are strong in the area of leadership. It takes strong leaders to start and run business. However, once your business is going, how do you keep the momentum going? Do you communicate a clear vision, strong values, and a compelling mission? Is your team growing, learning and adjusting to the business environment?

2.  Strategic Planning in Your Business.

In my work with small business owners, many do not have a current business plan.  That is a huge mistake, especially in this volatile business environment. For example, you would be surprised how many businesses are fortunate enough to get a small business loan but then they don’t use the funds for revenue-generating initiatives and the end result is just more debt and no new clients or business.  Every business owner should have short and long term goals, and every employee should understand the goals. Consider all your stakeholders during your planning.

3.  Customer Focus in Your Business.

This area is also a strength for many small business owners. But as a business grows it is easy to lose touch with customers, and without customers your business is dead! Do you have ways of measuring customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction? Are you improving?

4.  Measurement in Your Business.

Speaking of measurement, do you know your business “stats?” In the same way that sports teams know statistics about players, coaches and their offense and defense, you need to track important information. Nearly everyone tracks sale and profits, but do you know the value of your business? What are your key business success factors? Do know how your numbers compared to competitors? You should.

5.  Workforce Focus in Your Business.

Many business owners struggle with finding good employees. Your employees are critical to your business success. Cutting edge leaders believe that their employees are more important than their customers.  How do you attract and retain good people?

6.  Operations Focus in Your Business. 

The way you deliver your product or service can make you or break you. If you can provide excellent products and services consistently every time, your customers will likely stay with you. Otherwise, you are “rolling the dice.”  Wise business owners develop measurable processes that ensure a great customer experience with few exceptions.

7.  Results in Your Business.

This, of course, is the bottom line of all your efforts in business. Once you have determined what is important to measure and have established measures, how are you doing? Are your “stats” improving? How do they compare with your competition or industry? Are your sales and profits growing, or are you struggling like many small businesses? Is your business value growing?

Conclusion

After reviewing these seven keys, what are the top one or two areas that could use some attention in your business? Focus your efforts on the area where your business needs to improve. If you need help, don’t be afraid to seek it out.

Questions about our small business coaching services?

Call us at 1-888-504-0777,

or 

Enter your information below to start growing your revenues and profits today…

small business coach