PROFIT FIRST – A Simple System to Transform Any Business… (Obsidian Press, 2014)


Profit First by Mike Michalowicz

The summer months have been full of family travel and events.  While I've been off my blogging schedule I have been catching up on my business reading.  

Profit First… gives a great reality check and action steps to help insure our business is profitable. Check it out and let me know what you thought of it!  

Customers for Life – 3 Marketing Tips to Get You Closer…

Original post by, 

As a small business owner, you’ve probably given some thought to your target market. After all, you’re not trying to sell life-coaching services (or basket weaving classes, or SEO eBooks) to everyone in the world. Right?

You’re simply trying to sell your product or service to the people who want and need it most.

Finding out who those people are, and learning to connect with them in a meaningful way, is what marketing is all about.

When you get crystal clear about your target market, niche, and ideal client, you’re able to create marketing materials that easily turn prospects into paying customers.

The terms target market, niche, and ideal client get tossed around an awful lot. The first step to streamlining your marketing efforts is to understand the difference between the three.     

Target Market – This is the broadest section of the population you’re targeting.

Consider what group of prospects will get the best results, in the shortest amount of time with the least amount of effort because of working with you.

For example, perhaps you run a private cleaning company in Philadelphia. Is your target market “everyone who lives in Philadelphia?” Certainly not!

Why? Because not everyone in Philadelphia needs or wants their house cleaned. Of the people that do, who is it that needs and wants what your company has to offer?

Do you do your best work with affluent, college-educated married couples with children? Then perhaps you brand your company as an upscale, top of the line and exclusive service.

Do you consistently get business from coupon clippers, single parents or young professionals on a budget? Then perhaps you brand your company as the most affordable cleaning service in town?

There is not necessarily a right answer to who is your target market. However the wrong answer is “everyone”. The old saying “you can’t please all of the people all of the time” definitely applies to target markets.

Niche – What you do for your audience

Target market deals with your customer. Niche is all about you.

“Health and wellness” is an industry. “Private pilates coaching” could be your niche – that is, what you offer to people interested in health and wellness.

“Dating and relationships” is an industry. “Dating advice for new divorcees” could be a niche to pursue within that industry.

You can’t differentiate yourself from thousands of other businesses if you attempt to market a “travel website” or a “weight loss product.” There are millions of travel websites and weight loss products out there. What makes yours different?

Here’s what niche-ing down looks like:

Travel agent -> Solo travel expert -> Career break solo travel -> Career break solo travel for 40-somethings

Business coaching -> Business coaching for solopreneurs -> Business coaching for tech-challenged solopreneurs

Ideal Client – The detailed description of your perfect client or customer.

It’s difficult to connect with a nameless, faceless group of people, even if you’ve done your homework and “niched down.”

That’s where an ideal client profile comes into play. An ideal client profile is a made-up person who represents your perfect customer. They have the exact problems your best customers have, they need your help, and they’re ready to buy right now.

By creating a detailed bio of your ideal client, including biographical information and emotional needs, you’ll be able to create email newsletters, blog posts, website copy and products that resonate with your audience on a deep and personal level.

Why?

Because using an ideal client profile is like writing a letter to one person instead of thousands – the result is that each person who reads the letter feels like it’s written just for them.

Remember, choosing a target market, niche and ideal client is for the purposes of your marketing efforts. You will likely attract people who don’t fit what you’ve chosen and that’s ok! We’re not talking about turning anyone away. We’re talking about F-O-C-U-S-I-N-G the limited time, money and energy you have to spend on marketing on the people that will yield the best results.

Define your target market, see if you can “niche down” within your chosen industry, and spend some time crafting your ideal client’s bio and backstory.

The more specific you get, the more effective your marketing will be and the more qualified your leads will become as you begin to create customers for life.

Sydni Craig-Hart, The Smart Simple Marketing Coach, is founder of SmartSimpleMarketing.comKnown for her easy, strategic and results-focused approach to marketing, she also has the unique ability to find untapped profit centers in her client's businesses so they can create money NOW. Visit www.SmartSimpleMarketing.com for your FREE training course, "5 Simple Steps to More Clients, More Visibility and More Freedom" and apply for a FREE "Profit Breakthrough" session with Sydni!

Mid-Year Review – Are you reaching your 2014 goals?

Jenelle in Action

Have you made progress or completed your 2014 goals?  Are you doing "stuff" and not really accomplishing what you'd set out to?

With bulging daily to-do's we can easily continue to move forward and not take a moment to reflect and refocus for increased success.

Popforms does a wonderful job of sharing leadership ideas and simple strategies to lead with purpose.

A few weeks back Popforms wrote a post focused on the importance of conducting a mid-year review.  With all the productivity tools, tricks and tips, we

often just need quiet and focus to be more strategic about goals, in life, business, and as a person.  Check that post out here.

A key few areas to review mid year are:

– Uncovering strengths and weaknesses

– Defining values and principles

– Crafting your purpose

– Reflections of the past

– 5 year plan

Like many I'd like to think im super-organized, have it all planned out, and am working progressively toward intended goals.  The challenge is life throws us many curveballs testing our agility at every turn.  I'm still in the process of reviewing and recharting my course as necessary.  What about you?

Do you take time for a mid-year review?  What adjustments have you made after doing this?

Let's continue the conversation!  Use #midyearreview2014 on Twitter and I'll tweet you back.

Be effective in ALL you do!

Jenelle

 

Content is the New Currency – Business Blogging

Content is Key – Social4retail.com

Content is the new currency.  From experience creating fresh content for a business blog takes time, energy, and a plan.  Nevertheless, it is one of the simplest ways to boost website page rank, connect with target market, and spotlight current programs or services.  According to WordPress.com over 409 million people view more than 14.4 billion pages of blog content each month.  Online blogs take on various forms:

Blogging as a hobby or for fun allows folks to share and build personal community based on special interests

Blogging as a business focuses on making money via sponsored posts, affiliate links, and even e-books.

Blogging for business is a marketing strategy to gain exposure, visibility, thought leadership, and build a permission-based marketing list.  Blogging for business is a must for growing your business in 2014 and beyond.

A business blog offers value far beyond marketing…

Gaining online visibility when thousands of new websites are added to the mix every single day can be challenging.  If you want to compete seriously online and get the results you want from your website, a basic 5- 10- or even 20-page static website can be limiting.  A great way to breathe life to your current business site is to begin a business blog.

COMPELLING STATISTIC: Did you know that nearly 40% of U.S. companies use blogs for marketing purposes?  And companies that blog have 55% more visitors – Hubspot

BEST PRACTICE: Focus on content. A well-structured blog, content tailored to your ideal audience, can gain much attention.

Get ahead of the competition…

Blogging is one of the most cost effective, and easiest ways to gain visibility for your brand and get your business in front of customers.  Each new published blog post, creates an added unique URL or page to your website that can be crawled and indexed by search engines. Google loves blogs!!  A new opportunity to show up in the search listings helping your business get found is accomplished all with your blog.  If you blog once a week for a year, you will add 52 new opportunities for consumers to find you online. Twice a week for a year will net you 104 new ways for buyers who need what you’re selling to find you.  Most likely you have exactly what you need.  Share it!!  Your expertise, opinions, perspectives, stories, and resources provide a host of fresh and unique content.

BEST PRACTICE:  See more ideas on writing at http://www.copyblogger.com/blog/.

How this translates to new clients, business growth, and list building…

Remember the main purpose of your blog is to create unique content your audience loves and needs. In addition your blog will increase traffic to your website from organic search, social media, social bookmarking, links, and referrals.  Once visitors get to your website, the goal is to keep them as long as possible, having a call to action – to sign up, subscribe, buy, register, click, share, opt-in, enroll, or purchase will facilitate this.

BEST PRACTICE: Use images, bold headings and phrases, colored sub headlines, short paragraphs and smart formatting in posts to keep visitors’ attention

Why wait any longer?  Need help getting your business blog started?  Contact me TODAY for a business exploration session.

Jenelle

 

Roar into Business Planning for 2014

Last night after a productive and fun local Chamber of Commerce mixer I was out of energy and needed to refocus.  What did I do?  Watch the current season of The Voice artists continue to wow us with their artistry, risk taking, and unique approaches toward music.

Olivia Henken performed “Roar” a pop favorite by Katy Perry.  Her courage to push limits as a country star hopeful and deliver an unexpectedly amazing performance made me think of my 2014 business plan goals.

lions-tigers-and-leopards-oh-my

Business planning for 2014 will need to be flexible and SIMPLE for Efficacy Plus, here are a few goals I’ll be implementing.

Plan to COMPLETE at least 3 things each day.  You read that correctly.  If overwhelming task lists are staring at you a feeling of defeat sneaks up slowing momentum and progress. Completing high importance business tasks daily gives me time and energy to focus on what is critical for that day then move on to the next priority.

Keep blogging. Companies that blog more than 15 times a month get 5 times more web traffic and 10 times more inbound leads. (from Hubspot report 2012)  During the mixer I attended a fellow business owner shared his excitement about winning a new customer because of his blog.  Providing relevant industry trends, tips, and sharing more about my brand will be a continued activity.   Reading statistics then actually speaking to REAL business owners benefiting solidifies why blogging for business is a must.

Stay active in local market.  The last quarter of 2013 has been full of new relationship building opportunities.  Many of the business owners I’ve met are looking for help with marketing and blogging.  It’s been enlightening to understand how and why providing project support for these folks will truly help them grow their brands and ultimately increase revenue

These are just a few of the items going into my 2014 business plans.  How do you plan to “roar” into business for 2014.  I’d love to hear from you!!

Jenelle 

 

 

Business Blogging Stats 2013

Business blogging is a challenging feat for many business owners.  When speaking with professionals I’ve heard a myriad of responses as to why they struggle to keep an active blog. Have you expressed any of the below sentiments relating to your business blog?

Typing Business Person

Some reasons for not keeping an active business blog   (1) Not enough time (2) More pressing priorities (3) Perceived lack of topics (4) Writing skill limited.  Well know that you are not alone. Check out the latest stats on business blogging according to a study by https://home.passle.net/.

For the full report, see: https://home.passle.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/The-State-of-Business-Blogging-2013.pdf

In my next post we’ll share tips on getting an active business blog started and keeping it going.

Be effective in ALL you do!!

Jenelle

Business Building on a Shoestring Budget

Business owners should never tire of fresh resources to stay creative, be abreast of market trends, and ultimately grow revenue.  Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) are open to all small business owners seeking training on a myriad of topics.  This organization’s mission, “The Small Business Development Centers of the Northern California SBDC Network help individuals manage the growth of their businesses. Our sole focus is on helping you improve your bottom line.  Even better, these resources are at no cost or a small fee depending on the service utilized.

Yesterday I attended a “gratis” seminar session hosted by my local library.  During this session a group of approximately 50 business owners came together to Grow Business with Email and Social Media.  This session offered an intense four hours of market trends, tips, and tools to move business branding further.  The speaker for the day, David Mitroff of Piedmont Avenue Consulting offered great statistics and realistic ways business owners could utilize social media to build their brands.  

After this session I was armed with additional resources and new contacts.  A thought David shared that stuck with me was simply, “Do something!”  Many business owners don’t take the time to research and build strategic marketing plans that will make social media work for them.

How do you stay up on the latest business trends for your business?  Have you benefited from the resources your local SBDC offers?

Enjoy your weekend!

Jenelle

http://acsbdc.org/events2 – Alameda County SBDC

Value Based Pricing Increases Client Outcomes

Screen Shot 2013-10-11 at 8.02.21 AM

Source, Breaking the time Barrier…How to Unlock Your True Earning Potential

During a recent business mixer a consulting professional and I were sharing our experiences with value based pricing.  We laughed at the thought of being considered hourly employees by a client and having to answer the question, “What is your hourly rate to finish this project?”  My colleague and I agreed pricing of our work must be based on the outcomes achieved as a result of our work.  

A value based pricing model allows freelancers, consultants, and solopreneurs to focus on outcomes and solutions for clients.  “The value of what we do is based on the impact I can have on my client’s business.” – Mike McDerment and Donald Cowper, Breaking the Time Barrier…How to Unlock Your True Earning Potential.  

During the conversation with my colleague I was reminded of 2 lessons I’ve gleaned from building a value based pricing model into my practice.

1. Value based pricing insures the right client fit.  If a client lead is adamant about an hourly rate they may not be right for your practice.  It makes for a mutually satisfying agreement when your rates are accepted as just that your rates which are a sum of the expertise and knowledge you provide.  Once this is expressed clearly it should be respected.

2. Value based pricing allows for focused and solution oriented results.  A huge part of being a consultant is to analyze and provide customized solutions to your clients specific problems.  Your time and energy must be focused on activities that allow for creativity and educating your client where needed to achieve the greatest benefit from your knowledge and experiences.  Counting hours is not part of this.  Working by retainer via a value based pricing model really lends itself to the best outcome.

What has been your approach or experience with value based pricing models?  Please share your comments.

Be effective in ALL you do!!

Jenelle

Last updated by at .