It's the top of the New Year and most businesses have already put 2014 in the back seat and are starting to take the wheel with a strong sense of direction for 2015. You probably have a few grand ideas about how to attract new customers, build a social network or just get the word out about your business floating around in your head. It's time to get them on paper and create a plan of action for success.
Here are my top 3 tips for getting from where you are to where you want to be this year:
1. Make a list of your objectives and be specific. It's not enough to say that you want to make more money. You need to determine just how much you want to increase your revenue...by $20,000, $40,000 or $100,00 this year? Break down that number into bite size chunks so you'll see exactly what you need each week to reach that goal. For example, if you want to increase your revenue by $100,000 this year, you'll need to draw $1,923 each week or $384 per business day. How many new clients/appointments/services/products will it take to achieve that? You get the point...
2. Set up an Accountability Team. When you work with an accountability partner, they're responsible for making sure you're on target with your project timelines and tasks. You'd be surprised how many business associates and entrepreneurs use this method to stay on track and record real success. Each month, make a standing appointment with your "partner" to review the prior month's list of objectives and outcomes. Oftentimes, seeing project progress and results on paper can provide a real sense of accomplishment. Let's face it...how many times have we gone through the entire day, (fully engaged in our work) and then can't remember a single thing we accomplished for the day?
3. Build a creative team. You may have a bunch of creative ideas in your head, but you're not selling to yourself. You're selling your product/service to people who don't look like you. When you get quantitative feedback from a variety of consumers or businesses, you may be better able to integrate ideas that you hadn't thought of before. Your creative team could consist of a group of fellow entrepreneurs you've connected with in the past at a networking event. Reach out to 3-4 professionals from a range of industries and ask them to join your informal, monthly brainstorming group. You'll be helping each other!
It's wishful thinking to assume that your great product or service is perfect for everyone. I learned the hard way when I started my first business. I thought everyone in the entire universe was a candidate for my products. Enter: reality.
Understanding exactly who your market/audience is before you start knocking on doors, will shave time, loss of revenue and frustration off your "to do" list. Know who you're going after in order to formulate your marketing strategy. Otherwise - you'll be traveling in an unknown direction without a map or even GPS. Build marketing "personas" and get to know what your best customers look like - literally and figuratively.
Start with these 5 simple questions and define these demographics about your target customers as completely as possible:
For B2C businesses:
For B2B businesses:
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