Monthly Archives: November 2016

wookie-feet

Never Ending Cycle…but it’s Never Dull Either!

Never ending cycle…but it’s never dull either!
By Talmar Anderson

Being a business owner feels like one long to do list sometimes.  You must keep on top of vendors.  Make sure your staff feel heard and appreciated.  Check the numbers regularly to protect profit margins. Be accessible to clients and continually improve on customer service. Develop communications. Develop new opportunities.  Reject mis-matched possibilities….and so on. And so on. But it is fun too! At least it can be if you let it. Here are some of the ways YOU could make space. As the business owner, give yourself permission to be human.

Calendar it or be spontaneous but consider giving yourself space. Make space to celebrate the completed and accomplished. Space to think about and research an entirely new service or product.  Space to decide which position to hire next.  Space to meet a fellow professional and have a drink and LAUGH out loud.

Maybe not even talk about business at all. Start small if you are not already doing this. Maybe you would enjoy…

  • Calendaring a day to play…mid-week. (Imagine…You and a loved one going to the movies. There is something particularly decadent about being in a mostly empty movie theater when everyone else is at school/work).
  • Sleeping in when you are extra tired or feel “something” coming on.
  • Turning off the computer 2 hours earlier than usual to go grocery shopping for your home.
  • Refusing first appointments twice a week to workout.
  • Refusing to book anything on Tuesday evenings to cuddle with your family and go to bed early.
  • Meeting your spouse for early happy hour to connect 1 on 1 before the family launches into the evening circus.
  • Go sit, alone. Not talking to anyone. Watching the people, birds, boats go by.

I recommend that you do this regularly!  That is the whole point of being a business owner, right? Or at least a major reason.  Doing what YOU want. Supporting your personal needs as well as business growth needs.   ONLY you can set realistic expectations with staff and clients on your availability.  STOP over promising. Tell them you are busy or don’t. Just say “No”.

If you can’t get it on your day to day calendar, then schedule time to get away.  1 day or 2 weeks can give your business a whole new perspective.  (Be clear on whether you are going to focus on business or take space away from business during your trip. As always, have a purpose to your action!) Make it about you some of the time.

Knowing you have personal time to take care of your needs can alleviate a lot of that “I have to” stress. Clients, kids, friends…they willing let you prioritize their needs because they ARE looking out for themselves. I give you permission to look out for you too!

Don’t feel guilty. Don’t think about the phone calls going to voice mail. Unless you are a heart surgeon (and most of you reading this are NOT!) life will go on without you for a little while. But you will not be able to go on if you do not prioritize your own personal space. Who knows…you might have some fun too!

Are you on the Talmar It Up mailing list yet? Join now to be sure to directly receive insights, clarity and business operation answers. Or reach out to chat with Talmar for structure and process to grow your business HERE

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Surveys and Polls. Yes but the Proof is in the Bottom Line!

Surveys and Polls. Yes but the Proof is in the Bottom Line!
By Talmar Anderson

Understanding what needs and results your market will be moved to purchase can be a changing target.  Specific review and checking in with your customers and prospects is always a great step as a focused effort ( at LEAST annually). Technology changes accessibility to solutions, economic swings can inspire more or less spending and innovation can change an entire industry.  (VHS anyone? I still say “tape” to digitally record anything!) If you have been following the Talmar It Up blog or worked with me in any way, I hope you have heard me say, “Sell what your audience wants to buy instead of what YOU want to sell”.  The idea is that some business owners will be convinced that a product or service is what their target market really wants or needs. “Really. They need this.”  During these conversations, I love to get it straight from the “horse’s” mouth.  There are a few ways to do this…let’s check it out.

Surveys and polls are a great a way to reach out and create a separate conversation opportunity outside of the in the moment service or purchase. Maybe you have a system that delivers the survey to the clients at the end of the engagement or perhaps you just want to do a focused assessment of a general concept.  How is one solution working for the market?

Even if you regularly collect this data, a big picture overview with an eye to the next 12 months can be hugely beneficial.  These efforts can start internally but may need to include research for a larger market not just your clients. However, don’t let this stop you. At least start with your current contacts, prospects and clients to gather data.

During these surveys pick 3-5 questions that are targeted at a certain product or service satisfaction level.  If you try to capture too much at once, your few willing participants will get interrupted, frustrated or lose interest and you will receive far fewer responses. Look at interaction on the value or benefits your company’s solutions offer to current client pain points.  If your company offers more than one solution, you can ask them to rank their preferred product or solution. Regardless of how you structure your surveys remember this is just a sampling of the views of a few within your market. Certainly, there is value here but it is a limited perspective.

A poll is a quick and focused way to lead your market to respond to one specific question. This single question with multiple choice answers allow you to lead and limit choices.  As we know, there is usually one person who will choose ‘None of the Above” because they feel the choices do not perfectly fit their way of thinking.  You can consider allowing “Other” as a choice with a write in field.  Some innovative and clever ideas can come in this way but it can dilute the focus if you are trying to understand how your offering fits with your thought out alternatives in the pol question.

If you are choosing this time to understand what your market wants from you…I would also consider talking to their wallets! Let’s do a 3-6 month review of YOUR company.

If you are trying to decide where to focus your next marketing effort or which product service to be promoting, make sure to go back to your numbers.  What has ACTUALLY resulted in revenue for your company? Is anything trending up?  This can be enlightening and get you ahead of either a growing need.  Take the time to understand why these customers purchased because you have readily available access. What you have sold over the last few months IS what your market wanted.

Asking you clients, prospects and target market what they need and want to buy is a regular part of any business looking to have longevity.  Very few companies sell exactly the same item, exactly the same way 5, 10 or 20 years down the line.  Certainly, more than a few companies that have kept the nose to the grind stone and just kept pounding out the products have been run out of business.

By asking we can gain insight, inspiration and validation for our company and its services. This can also uncover a new opportunity or segment of your target market to access. Growth, my friends, is often on the other side of an ask. The most successful entrepreneurs and business owners LOVE a good question! Now GO! Grow.

Are you on the Talmar It Up mailing list yet? Join now to be sure to directly receive insights, clarity and business operation answers. Or reach out to chat with Talmar for structure and process to grow your business HERE

what-time-is-it

Time for a Big Push!

Time for a Big Push!
By Talmar Anderson

How is business?  Are you looking at your goals? If you are like most business owners, end of the year is when you start to consider how you will finish your fiscal year.  While you can start planning for the new year, don’t be so quick to call this year done! Have you broken down each specific goal item to see where you can create a push?   Not just the big money goal.  Let’s look at your history. Here are three areas you can look at to find some cash flow and prospect opportunities to smash your goals!

  • Is one service or product more popular with your market at this time of year?
    • If you have been in business for a few years you can look back to understand what specific product or service is in demand this time of year. Spend focused energy there with the prospects that need/want your offering. Consider a new marketing outreach to educate others of the reason for the current demand and how they could benefit too.
  • Is one service / product trending up in your business right now?
    • Let’s look at the last 3-6 months and consider blowing up that trend even more! Look to see what piece initiated that upward tick.  Was it one specific product / service benefit that you newly highlighted?  Was it new pricing?  Maybe a new referral source? You could create a promotion to ramp that trend even higher.  Maybe some educational marketing on the benefits of buying your service or product?
  • Have a piece of your offerings that needs a shot in the arm?
    • If you are missing your goals in one specific area, now is the time to refocus resources. Can you pull a small bite out of the product /service and offer it at a special price for a limited time?  It could be a “try this” offering that can easily lead into the full engagement.  Setting limits on time is especially critical if this is structured as a loss leader to a larger sale. SPECIAL NOTE: Develop a strong and consistent follow up process for the upsell into the full product.

This is where all that work you have been doing all year can quickly pay off.  All the tracking, measuring and data recording you have built into your company.  This structure allows for agile actions and specific decisions that can save your company from “throwing money after bad”.

Last thought. If you are going to put these specific pushes for more business in place, don’t forget to plan for success! Make sure you consider how you will fulfill each new order and track what “Sold out” could be very specifically. This will protect your reputation, quality of deliverables and sanity!…It is NOT too late to effect change.  This is a great moment to look at your goals and metrics to take action.  Now GO! Grow!

 

Are you on the Talmar It Up mailing list yet? Join now to be sure to directly receive insights, clarity and business operation answers. Or reach out to chat with Talmar for structure and process to grow your business HERE