1. Re-evaluate Your Presentation – Your Business Materials
What are your business materials saying to the world? Re-evaluate your marketing materials to include your website, business cards, etc… Is it professional or is it shabby? Despite the fact that you may have a small budget, there is no excuse for shabby marketing materials. It doesn’t matter how great your product(s) and/or service(s) are, your customer will not invest in you if it doesn’t look like you are serious about your business. You most likely need a trusted friend or colleague to evaluate your business materials and tell you the truth, the good, the bad and the ugly. You need to find someone who wants to see you succeed even if that means stepping on your toes sometimes.
Hint: Grandma is probably not the best person for this task. Constructive critics may be hard to swallow, but it is worth it in the end. If you want others to invest in you, invest in yourself first. The best people to ask for feedback…your customers!
2. Re-evaluate Your Presentation – Your Business Image
What does your personal image say about your business? I think most entrepreneurs miss the fact that your personal image is important. Invest in yourself, no need to go overboard with expensive suits but be presentable. Be well groomed at all times, if you look like you don’t take yourself seriously, no one else will.
3. Re-evaluate What You Are Doing – Right Product, Wrong Market Positioning
Are you marketing to the wrong crowd? Your product may be just what the doctor ordered; only the patient can’t find it! Look at your advertising mediums to determine if they are sending the right message. Do some analysis to determine if your message is getting your target audience?
4. Re-evaluate What You Are Doing – Where’s The Value?
This is my spin on that popular 80’s Burger King Commercial with the famous line “Where’s the beef?” What is your value proposition or as some call it, your USP. Why should I purchase from you as opposed to Susie Q? More importantly, how will my life change for the better due purchasing your good(s) or service(s) or both? Start to sell your products not on the features, but on the benefits. I don’t care if Widget 5000 has some new fancy chip, but I do care if I am able to iron the clothes, cut the grass and make breakfast at the touch of a button. Okay, this is a bit of an exaggeration, but you get my point here.
“Where passion and purpose collide”
Don’t assume that people will extract the value of your product or service; you have to tell and sometimes show them. I think most small businesses miss this critical piece, the sooner you learn the art of the selling on the benefits (not the features) and adding value, the better.
5. What’s The Customer Saying? Understanding the Voice of the Customer
What does your customer want? Are you listening to the customer or just pushing what you think your customers want and need? Many business owners make this particular mistake of offering products and services based on what they think people will want. Fortunately, the customer is giving you data all the time on what they want. You just have to learn how to turn this data into useful information and use it in your favor. Then you will be able to provide something that customers will see value in and gladly buy.
6. Get Back To Basics
Sometimes the answer is clear and easy. We can be so deeply rooted in running complex linear regressions in order to solve a problem we ignore the obvious. Are you taking for granted some of the “givens”? Try going through the fundamentals, before making any drastic or costly adjustments.
7. Give Your Business Card out to Ten People Today
This is usually a tactic used by those in network marketing or direct sales. It doesn’t matter what business you are involved with. Give your card out to 10 people today! Just strike up conversations with people while in line or at waiting at an office. People will ask you what you do and will want to learn more about your business. By just explaining your business to others will help re-ignite the passion for your business and renew your mind. You will begin to remember why you are doing and what you are doing in the first place. These people may never call you, but that’s ok! You are doing this spark your own ignition again, but if someone turns into a client, even better! No matter what happens, this is a win-win situation!
8. Is It All In Your Head?
I once got stuck on an “issue” that never really existed. For those of you who have never had this happen to you, you probably think I need a shrink. But for those of you that have had this happen, you know exactly what I mean. I was once tormented over something that existed only in my brain. There was no real issue, only the perceived “issue” of what wasn’t really happening. There are two ways this can happen:
A. Misdiagnosing something as an issue when in fact it is just a mere oversight. Here is an example, ever tried touching base with someone who you were working with only to have that person not return your call or emails? That’s when the imagination starts running wild, giving you all types of thoughts such as “they don’t want to work with you anymore”, “they are taking your idea and are planning to make it into their own”, “you really must have done something to piss them off!” or my favorite “maybe they just don’t like you”. So, your brain has concocted all of these hypotheses out of nothing! So now, you are trying to figure out how to remedy an issue that doesn’t really exist. The truth of the matter could be that the person you have been trying to reach out to may have been sick with the flu, there could have been a mis-communication, and your emails could have been going to the “spam” folder and other mishaps.
B. Slow or no sales due to an ambiguous product offering. This is a good one. The issue: slow or no sales. The culprit: small or ambiguous product offering. If people don’t know what you are offering, they won’t buy it! Stop hoping that people will “get what you mean” and let your customers know what you are offering and ask for the sale. So the real issue here is not that people are not buying your wares, it’s just that they don’t know what to buy! Clarify your product offerings and/or services, answer all the questions, so that customers know what you are selling. Don’t hide your products in your website, put at least a few on your homepage so that customers can learn more and be directed to another page with your full product suite. So, is your problem really just all in your head?
9. Call A Meeting of The Minds
There is power in numbers. The saying goes that two heads are better than one. If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to form your board of advisers. Your board of advisers is just that, a group of people you can turn to for advice and assistance. Choose sharp, intelligent individuals who can significantly add value. They need not be subject matter experts in your particular field, but they do need to have experiences and knowledge that they can draw on to provide good counsel. Even if you don’t have a formal advisory board, pick up the phone and call someone whom you trust and value their opinion for advice. You don’t have to put into action every piece of advice you receive but hopefully you can gain several viewpoints on your issue that will allow you to move swiftly towards a decision.
10. Take A Break
Just relax! Do what you do to wind down. Focus on another area of your business that needs attention. Watch television, do something other than focusing on the issue that plagues you. Clear your mind, and then revisit the situation.
Tammy Freeman is living out her passion and walking in her purpose by helping others do the same. Tammy realized that she could not longer measure her success by the worlds’ standards and begin to pursue a life that allowed her to liberate her thoughts and actions from the shackles fear and doubt. Tammy is inspired to share her talents of vision, inspiration and thought-leadership with all those she comes into contact with.
Tammy offers a wealth of information on her websites and blogs geared towards anyone who has a dream that she wants to see achieved. Visit http://www.walksinthesand.wordpress.com or http://www.passionandpurposeinc.com for more great inspirational and motivational content. Sign up for the mailing list for a free gift just for you!