If you do everything like everyone else in your field, you won't be giving people a reason to choose your product or service over the competition. Expand your marketing to attract new prospects and keep your customers coming back for more.
revisit the next level page
By now your business should be operating smoothly and profitably and you've worked out most of the kinks. It's worth re-reading the Next Level page to confirm you're on the right track.
expand or remove services
In the beginning, entrepreneurs want to be and offer everything for everyone. It's time to take a look at your offerings and decide what is worth keeping in inventory or as a service you provide. If it distracts you from putting time into the products and services that sell the most, look at outsourcing, referring, or eliminating those items. And for the items that sell well, what can you do to enhance your offerings?
learn new skills
After you have honed in on the products and services that best suit your clients, it's time to look into what else you can offer them to enhance their experience. That may require you to learn new skills - whether that's learning how to automate production, add additional skillsets to become the one-stop-shop for your customers, or to stay relevant in the changing marketplace. Where can you invest in yourself to amplify your business?
ready for success
This statement references two different meanings: (1) is your business ready for growth in terms of staffing and operations; and (2) are you mentally prepared to receive an income beyond anything you've made before? You can fairly easily remedy number 1, but most entrepreneurs fail to address money blocks. This usually requires rewiring of your mindset in terms of value proposition and receiving money.
find your value
One of the biggest challenges business owners face is pricing their products or services. There's always someone out there willing to do things for less but you have to balance business operations costs with what the market will support. It's important for you to look at the cost of running your business and include a reasonable wage for yourself for the area you live in. Some businesses sell products that are hard to place a value on such as photography, art, music, etc. A blog post is coming soon on this subject...
At a minimum, websites should be reviewed twice a year for small businesses (not including your weekly blog or page changes). This should be a review of material in terms of relevance and keywords, as well as the speed and mobile friendliness of your site. After you have been in business for a while, you may want to consider a website update with a new look, new features or to hone in on your business' focus. Regular audits and changes to your website show search engines that your business is active and relevant.
social media plan
"Experts" say you need to post on social media every day (although those experts are starting to come around to my side!). I believe in quality over quantity and warn against becoming "white noise" to users. How often should you post? The apps want to see 3 - 5 posts a week, with no more than 2 days in between posts. What should you post? Share How To or BTS videos, examples of how your product or service alleviates your clients pain points or a humorous jab about your industry. The key here is to have a sustainable, written plan that works for your business. And, don't worry about being all business all the time - ask your followers about themselves and share posts about your extra lazy cat, Sherman. The Social Media Planner is available in The Shop to help you schedule your content.
hire sales professionals
Since you've been in business for at least 5 years, at this point you should have a systemized way you conduct your business, even if it's not written down (yet). Consider hiring sales professionals to bring in new business. Start with training your existing staff to be "salespeople" of your business. I'm not talking about sending Becky in Accounting or Juan in Product Development out on sales calls - they likely wants to keep their income so business growth becomes everyone's job from every business process to client or vendor interaction. Once you've put your staff through your newly designed training program and elicited feedback, it's time to start looking for sales professionals you can send out to new prospects. If you are concerned that nobody can represent your business or handle your clients like you can, it's time to put that ego aside, refine that killer training program you developed and grow your business!
review your usp and build on it
Your USP is your unique selling point or unique selling proposition that tells the consumer the benefit of your offer, why you're better than others on the market and attracts people on an emotional level to get them to buy it - all in one or two sentences! It needs to be front and center on your website and the driving message on your social media and other marketing campaigns.
create a marketing plan
It's time to update, dust off or start from scratch on that Marketing Plan. It should outline your goals, tell you what you need to do, when and how. It's the perfect roadmap so you do not waste time, mental energy or money on haphazard marketing tasks.
While you can create legal partnership entities in business, there are also ways your business can team up with complementary businesses that provide products or services for the same client demographic. Seek those businesses out and determine how you can partner to leverage your products or services to be the go-to business for consumers!
keep testing your product or service and soliciting feedback
In this quickly evolving world, you always want to make sure you are innovating your products or services so you don't fall behind or become obsolete (Blockbuster vs. Netflix). You want to be ahead of the game by soliciting consumer feedback and innovating solutions to your customers challenges. Never coast in this area.
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