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Posts Tagged ‘entrepreneur’

10 steps to business success in 2014

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Looking to succeed and grow your business this year? Here are ten tips from business growth guru Paul Green on everything from how to market your enterprise, to managing your cash.

To work effectively, every product needs a solid foundation to enable it to function in the way it was designed to. Love technology? Then, consider your smartphone, tablet or smart TV for a minute. All of these items need an operating system to ensure they work as well as they were intended to.
Your business is no different. Just like a smartphone or tablet, there are certain things that need to be in place within your operation to ensure that you are as successful as you can be as a business owner – your business’ operating system if you will.
Want to ensure your business’ success in 2014? Here are ten tips and things to think about over the next 12 months which should help give your enterprise a boost.
1: Know your market. Who is your ideal customer – the sort of buyer that you want to attract? Don’t try to be all things to all people, this actually makes your job so much harder when it comes to promoting your business to potential customers.
There are a number of demographics to consider, for example, when thinking about selling to other companies: turnover, number of staff, position in the company, geography, age, sex, etc. The more specific you can be, the more likely you are to attract the perfect match for what you are selling.
2: Think – what is your competitive advantage? Why would someone come and buy what you have to offer rather than purchase it from your nearest rival?

Yahoo/Fotolia: Think carefully about who is your end customer

It is important that you can distinguish your offering from something else that does the same job or solves the same problem, so that prospects are drawn towards you. Ideally you should become seen as the recognised expert or specialist in your field.

3: Get your message right. Ok, so you’ve identified your ideal customer and you’ve established your competitive edge. Now you need to ensure that you focus on the benefits your product or service offers your chosen marketplace and communicate that effectively.
People are motivated to buy emotionally based on the idea that something brings them more wealth, better health, more security, makes them more popular or attractive, maybe increases their level of fun, gives them more free time or even inner peace. Make sure your message speaks to those needs.
4: Get your message out there. There are numerous channels to market that can be summarised as passive and active, online or offline.
Active marketing is where you are engaging directly with your target audience, such as through networking or telemarketing, not just passively advertising or waiting for a response from a website or leaflet. Either way, you should be using multiple channels to market, not just relying on a few.

Yahoo/Fotolia – If you can’t measure, you can’t manage it

5: If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Whatever channels you are using to promote your business, make sure you can measure the return on investment. Why? Because you want to know what’s working and what’s not, so you can respectively turn one up and the other off.

6: Understand price versus value. Being the cheapest in your market is not really a competitive advantage, because there is always the chance a competitor can make something cheaper. Also, customers who tend to buy on price are less loyal than those who recognise the value of what they are investing in.
7: Focus on bottom line profit. You’ve heard the expression, “Turnover is vanity, profit is sanity” – well, it’s true. There is no point turning over millions if you are only left with a few thousand pounds of profit. Focus on the margin you are making.
8: Cash is king. Whatever business you are in, if you run out of cash it’s pretty much over. Make sure you understand how cash flows in and out of your business, look ahead and ensure you are reviewing your numbers on a regular basis. Don’t get caught out by a VAT bill landing on your lap, for example.

Yahoo/Fotolia: If you run out of cash, your business is over

9: You’re not an expert at everything. No one person has the ability or expertise in every aspect of business, therefore, if something is a chore or not a core competence for you, consider outsourcing it or employing someone for that function. This will allow you to focus on the sales and marketing activity for your business.

10: Have a written plan. Whatever the aspirations are for your business, put them on paper and have your business plan be a dynamic, working document that you use to guide your firm to success.
By documenting your goals and objectives, you can measure your performance against them on an ongoing basis and this will enable you to make informed choices about your enterprise’s direction.
While there is no guarantee of success, hopefully at least some of these points will have made you think about how your business can be more successful throughout the year ahead.
Here’s wishing you continued and hopefully increased success in your business.