BUSINESS NETWORKING

Posted on 07 November 2017 (0)

Connect for Success

A business network is basically the name given to the connections formed in the course of business between the people working in designated positions. It is the name given to the social meet ups of business within their own confined circle or with the people of their own industry.  Broadly this can be termed as the connection between entrepreneurs, managers, workers, consumers between a single entity and amongst the whole community along with being horizontally and vertically in the hierarchy.

These networks provide people with the exposure in relation to their work and help them form relationship with mutual interest which results in the accomplishment of mutual goals and benefits. No business or businessman can achieve success in isolation therefore in order to flourish using such relationships in the right manner is important.

Pick the Correct Network

The first important thing to note is that you should be a part of the right network. The people you surround yourself with should be related to your product, brand and position. Only a right group and connection with the right people will help you in achieving your goals. The group should be where mutual benefits can be transferred between the parties.

These networks provide you with exposure to many potential opportunities. This can be in the form of a potential consumer or partner. An opportunity to expand the business in the form of a venture or partnership can also come; by meeting like-minded people and being a part of discussions’ exploration of unexploited market niches can take place which can result in expansion, more success and more profit.

 Stay Connected

These relationships help in keeping your business up to date and in the approaching range of people. Communicating and attending meetings and lunches of such relations keep you and your business profile active along with updating you regarding your target market and any changes in the industry. The on time know how of any change in the market conditions may help you in proactively planning your next step saving a lot of resources and ensuring success.

 Ask for advice

Such networks shall provide you with a learning platform. One can learn from the experiences of others and can then take wise decisions accordingly for example regarding any new venture or the goodwill of any new contractor. Resources can also be shared and the availability in the market of certain reserves and supplies can also be checked through these platforms. Problems can also be sought and advices can be taken through debates in the meet ups.

Make it personal

Business networking should not only be done through social media or e-mails. To make it effective personal attendance should be made at events and meetings, as this still has more conviction and influence.

Such networks are a high confidence booster for the business as an entity and the entrepreneur both personally and professionally. It makes one understand the business community along with enhancing personal confidence and relationship skills. Therefore, this is not only a roadway to professional success but also personal grooming and should be practiced.

Competitive Analysis

Posted on 27 October 2017 (0)

Business is a dog eat dog environment. Yes, you may have some great friends in the same industry on a local basis. But, you want to dominate your space no matter who you’re competing against. Most of the times all personal relationships are out the window in a direct competition on product or services. One of the first things you need to do is get a lay of the land and figure out where you best fit in the market place.

 

SWOT Analysis

Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threats

A fantastic way to do this through a S.W.O.T analysis. These are commonly done by large organizations on an annual basis. However, even in a local service business it is important to do this as you get started and revisit it every couple years or when appropriate.

Strength-

In this section clearly identify what your company’s strengths are. It could be innovation, cost, processes or Key Individuals among other. Have your strengths identified against your competition will help clarify your messaging and the direction of your company.

Weakness-

As important as knowing what you do good is what you do not do good. Rather the areas you need improvements or areas to outsource. Either way having them defined helps you develop a plan to improve. Maybe it’s an area such which you don’t plan to improve, and the better strategy is to outsource to a partner.

Opportunity-

You obviously saw an opportunity to succeed when you started your business. Here you will want to clearly identify what your focus is, and that focus should be around the biggest opportunity in your market. Giving you the biggest chance for success

Threats-

Threats come in many forms from competition to varying state and industry regulations to other legal requirements and buyers’ environment. In most industries there are things you need to do to legitimize your business and operate in each geography. Make sure you know the rules and regulations and comply. But other threats to consider are how are buyer habits changing? How are regulations changing? If these things change how does that threaten our business?

Define these threats and have a plan in place to pivot your operation if needed. The important part about this step is that you are aware that outside forces can impact your business and you are mitigating those effects as much as possible.

 

Competitive Matrix

Another helpful thing to do is to lay out a matrix where you can rank each competitor including yourself. You should have a four-quadrant graph which has left to right cost and top to bottom quality. The intersection of all four quadrants is in the middle or neutral while the top and right are at the high end of the scale. This strategy helps you determine where your competitors are competing and where you should or would like to compete.

 

These steps can seem overwhelming and even seem unnecessary to a startup local business. Even on a small-scale business these planning activities save you time, money and stress. You don’t need a perfect plan, but you need a starting point, and this should get you on your way.

We recently completed these steps on a business with a local Boise pest control service. You would be surprised the results. Even something as simple as pest control you will find gaps in competition and and a wedge into your marketplace. We had determined the competition was not serving a certain geography and demographic which was commercial properties. So we were able to shift focus and obtain some great accounts. The owner know feels like they are on a winning trajectory.

So no matter your industry take the time to analyze your company, the competition and the market place. You will absolutely be surprised what you find

 

Ideal Customer and Key Performance Indicators

Posted on 17 October 2017 (0)

Once you have developed a solid Value proposition you should have a clear idea on your Ideal Customer.

Key Performance Indicators

Your Ideal customer should be a definable segment of a population. For example, Urban Millennials, Or First-time home owner. Whatever it is you need to be able to define the demographics, mentality, buying triggers and likes and dislikes.

Demographics play a vital role as they can help form a common set of beliefs. Every age group was raised under different set of social norms and values. For instance, if you were born in 1940 you likely had a very poor upbringing and your family really valued money, saving everything they could.

Whereas if you were born in the 90’s the economy was better and most people have credit cards or borrow money. The younger generation is more accustom to credit and willing to borrow more.

Once you have a good idea of their Demographics you can decipher some this type of information and really help nail down your messaging.

Key Performance Indicators, KPI, is just a long term for a measurable aspect of success. Depending on your type of business you may want to drive sales with a certain service or product. Perhaps you want to drive awareness and engagement to your organizations cause. Two very separate goals but both can be tracked with KPI’s.

For instance, maybe, your goal is to launch a new business website. You have been doing a work for a bit but just by word of mouth. Building a website should bring you additional customers, if done correctly.

Your KPI would be how many customers you get from your website per month.

You could track this simply by asking the customer how they heard about you. Or setup a tracking system to track the calls and request the site generates, easily. Either way, you have defined a KPI and how to track it. Additionally, you will want to set goals increasing those KPI’s but first get a baseline of where they are currently.

Maybe a KPI is performance based, the number of shares or likes your campaign got on social media for a certain post. That’s easily trackable and a great indication of awareness to your subject.

Best Practice is to define your KPI’s, define how you will track it, and then review this process once every month or at a set interval over a years’ time.

 

 

Define Your Value Proposition

Posted on 04 October 2017 (0)

In the previous article we discussed how to create a business strategy that works immediately. As we progress on this blog we will break that strategy apart and help define each element in more detail. Ultimately helping you craft a solid business strategy for sustained growth.

 

The first element was to Establish a Value Proposition. In other words, what sets your business apart? If a consumer of your product or service had a myriad of choices in front of them, trust me they do. What is it that sets you apart, what Value do you offer that either the competition does simply does not. Maybe it’s a process or procedure you have simplified for increased consumer satisfaction. Take a good look at your offering, processes, procedure and culture. Identify what you want to be known for and focus on that 80% of the time.

 

Value comes from offering something that solves a problem, at a cost less than the cost of letting the problem continue.

Within each business we have products and/or services offered to solve a problem rather real or perceived. Even if that problem is the consumers need to “keep up with the Jones” or status.

Additionally, almost all products or services have competition, unless you have happened to be first to market, which has its own challenges. Either way you must convey how your product solves that problem and does so in a way better than the other company.

 

By defining your strengths, you can formulate your value proposition and begin to portray that message to your target market. I would start by looking at the following areas and

  1. A) Deciding if you want to compete on that aspect
  2. B) Define what makes you better in each aspect you wish to compete

 

Areas of consideration

  • Cost
  • Quality
  • Customer Service
  • Features
  • Culture
  • Innovation

 

This is just a quick list but should get you started in crafting a compelling” Value Proposition”.

Simply Identify if you want to compete in the previous areas, if so what sets you apart? Take those points and draft a short paragraph defining to your target market what makes you unique in solving their problem.

 

An example might look a bit like this:

 

At ABC Widgets we thrive on innovation in the computer industry. We bring to you the fastest widget on the market. Our widgets are twice as fast as our competitor saving you hours per day. Easy to install easier to use, don’t get left behind get ABC Widget today.

Key Steps to a Business Strategy that Works Immediately

Posted on 15 September 2017 (0)

When starting a business, you have to consider various factors and take necessary steps that will work. Whether you think you’re an expert in your industry or you’re just getting started, you must define your goals for starting the business and understand your target audience. All these can only be achieved through detailed research on the respective areas. Every business that aims at succeeding must ensure there’s a good growth strategy plan in place.

What does a growth strategy do? Well, the first thing a growth strategy does is to ensure your business organization is sustainable. It’s not just about envisioning your business’s long-term success. You must come up with a tangible plan that will ensure you stay ahead of your competitors. The word is, you must be deliberate. Here are steps to help you build a business strategy that will work.

Establish a Value Proposition

The value proposition, in this case, means understanding what sets your business apart from other companies in your industry. To ensure long-term business growth, be sure that you know and understand why customers use your product or service. Do you know what makes you different, credible, and relevant? It’s important that your clients and customers understand why they need to keep doing business with you. Find out the special service or benefit you can offer to your customers and stay focused on it.

Identify your ideal Customer and define your Key Indicators

Never forget that you’re in business to provide a solution to a problem for your customers. The first question to ask yourself is, who is my audience? Who are the people you’re serving? Do your research and identify your ideal customer. Once you’ve identified your ideal customer focus there as you make adjustments to stimulate business growth.

For you to succeed and ensure effectiveness in business, you must be able to measure changes. That means you need to identify your key indicators and determine the ones that affect your growth as a business. You may need to allocate more resources and time to specific areas.

Look at your Competition

Whether you’re in the service industry or you just launched a promising product, your competitors are always working towards excelling each day. Do your research on similar companies that seem to be growing in new ways. That should help in informing your business growth strategy. Be free to seek for advice. Never assume you’re the smartest.

Focus on your Strength and Invest in Talent

Many entrepreneurs spend a lot of resources trying to improve their weaknesses rather than focusing on their strengths. That’s how they get it wrong. A good way to establish growth strategies is to focus more on your business strengths. Make sure the field suits your strengths.

The other thing to keep in mind is your employees. Remember these are the people who are always in contact with your audience and customers. To ensure business growth, hire individuals that are inspired and motivated by your business’s value proposition. They should buy to your mission and goals. You’d rather be cheap with things such as furniture but invest more in talent.