Achieving Your Goals In Business

Achieving Your Goals in Business

Achieving Your Goals In Business

In simple terms business goals are the goals and aspirations you have for your business. They are the specific objectives you set in line with your company vision and the end point you want to achieve. You may set out to create a company that will provide you and your family with security and an income or you may have a grand vision to turn your idea into a large profitable global business. No matter what the end goals are they need to be backed up by a well thought out Business Plan. The goals you set should be relevant,  precise, measurable, realistic and time achievable.

The importance of a Business Plan cannot be underestimated as it will provide you with valuable information about your own company, its competitors, market potential and future growth opportunities. You can use this information to set the goals you want to achieve.

Organising and Setting Business Goals

To frame your goals in an achievable manner consider doing the following:

  1. Have an overall goal for your business – This might be the value of sales you would like to reach of the level of profit you want to make or just simply that you want to grow your business by a certain percentage.
  2. Set some specific goals and be precise – for example I want to double my client base, increase my sales by x% or expand into new territories.
  3. Make sure that you set goals that you can measure and that are achievable.
  4. Set a sensible time frame for you to achieve the goals.
  5. Adjust your goals to suit the current climate and opportunities that may arise that initially you had not included.

List of business goals I should have?

List of business goals I should have

There are hundreds of goals that businesses may set, and they encompass many facets of the business. Your goals may be long-term strategic goals for your business or short-term specific goals that focus on precise outcomes. Here are just a few examples:

  • Increasing profit margin by a set percentage
  • Establish sales in new geographic markets
  • Expand your product range
  • Improve efficiency of production or processes
  • Gain a greater percentage of market share
  • Become a well-known brand
  • Raise price levels for your products or service
  • Reduce the cost of goods you purchase
  • Improve customer service
  • Improve customer retention
  • Create a training programme to raise the level of your employee’s product knowledge
  • Reduce accidents in the workplace
  • Reduce wastage
  • Improve customer satisfaction levels
  • Reduce staff turnover
  • Improve your website
  • Create a social media campaign for your company
  • Implement a customer survey
  • Create a client referral programme
  • Reduce absenteeism
  • Eliminate errors in quoting and invoicing

Tip

It is obvious that this list could be endless, however, set a small number of important long-term goals and use carefully selected short-term goals to help you achieve long-term outcomes.

How to achieve your goals

How to achieve your goals

There are several rules and important points to remember when setting business goals:

  • Keep in mind your long-term goals when setting annual goals. Understanding where the company is going long-term will help you set shorter-term goals.
  • Each goal requires a specific action plan broken down into achievable steps.
  • Involve the people who will carry out the plan when setting short-term goals. These individuals are often called Stakeholders and they could be employees, customers, suppliers or others.
  • Put a system in place to help you measure your goals and keep you on track.
  • Communicate progress to the stakeholders and reward success.
  • Don’t set a goal then leave it, goals require commitment at all levels and should be led from the top.
  • Be prepared to accept suggestions and criticisms from stakeholders.
  • Create accountability for specific parts of your goals.
  • Be prepared to adjust your goals.
  • Don’t lose sight of the end goal.
  • You will make mistakes and it is important to learn from them.

In conclusion

Falling short of a goal is not a disaster, particularly if you have already achieved more than you started out with. Individuals will make mistakes just trying to achieve the goals you have set, and it is always important to discuss these with them and learn from events. Celebrate every goals’ success as it happens and communicate progress to stakeholders along the way.

Remember, goal setting is important, and it all starts with a well thought out Business Plan.

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What ways could I do offline marketing

Offline Marketing

What ways could I do offline marketing

Offline marketing has been with us forever and it is only in the 1990’s that we saw the advent of web based online advertising and marketing. Offline methods are still as valid as they were before, but they now can be augmented with online strategies aimed at target markets and geographic regions. There are good reasons for many businesses to use the both methods in a co-ordinated strategy.

What is offline marketing?

Offline marketing strategies utilise offline media channels to create awareness of a company’s products and services. These channels include radio and print advertising, billboards, signs pamphlets, telemarketing, cinema and television ads.

What ways could I do offline marketing?

It is important that you choose a medium that will give you the best possible reach and return on your investment. Some of the points to consider are:

Radio

Radio advertising can reach people in a “prime time” setting, the life of a radio ad is very short, you get a 15 – 30 second slot, and once it has been played it is gone until your next time slot rolls around. Radio is a passive medium, often on in the background and not really paid attention to, it is interruptive and can annoy listeners when all they want is to listen to music or the news. You cannot show a potential customer what your product looks like which for some can be a negative.

Magazines

Magazine advertising is a popular highly visual method that delivers images and messages to a target audience. As the saying goes ‘a picture paints a thousand words’.

The shelf life of a magazine is far longer than that of radio and because people tend to keep magazines advertisements have the potential to reach far more people over a much longer time frame. Because magazines contain content that specific audiences buy it is much easier to directly reach your target market.

Billboards & Signs

Billboards are a way to reach people where they live, commute, work and socialise. Unlike other mass advertising media such as TV or radio, billboards can’t be switched off. Or with magazine print advertising, it can’t be put down.

The advantages of billboards are:

  • Size is a huge advantage
  • Large, bright, eye-catching graphics with one key message
  • They can leave people with a lasting impression
  • Ads on billboards are free to passers by
  • With more commuters on the roads than ever before, billboard advertising reaches more people faster and cheaper than any other mass marketing media
  • The message gets repeated views and becomes more engrained in people’s memory

The disadvantages are:

  • Viewers only have a few seconds to glance up at a billboard
  • High costs for brief exposure
  • Risk from vandalism, weather conditions
  • Stationary mode of advertising
  • No feedback from customers
  • Does not target a specific market
  • Short term advertising tool
  • Limited information can be displayed and absorbed

Pamphlets

Pamphlets

Pamphlets and leaflets remain one of the key tools for small and medium scale businesses to promote their brand without making much expense.

The advantages are:

  • Cost-effective
  • Easy to produce
  • Relatively cheap
  • Easily be designed
  • Can contain a lot of information
  • Easy to read
  • Can be eye-catching

The disadvantages are:

  • Easily discarded
  • No long-term impact
  • Sometimes not considered to be important
  • Can be considered as ‘Junk Mail’

Telemarketing

The advantages are:

  • Easy to Get to Customers
  • It allows you to answer any questions people might have about your service or product
  • You can reach more customers over the phone more easily than in person
  • It allows you to sell from a distance
  • Reach reach people on a national and global scale
  • Can be cost effective by selling more in less time
  • Phone numbers and other contact lists can be purchased
  • The results of telemarketing measurable

The disadvantages are:

  • Telemarketing has a Bad Reputation
  • It is governed by many legal rules that must be followed
  • People are using technology to screen out telemarketers
  • It is subject to government regulation
  • Customer Lists and Training Personnel can be Costly
  • Many calls can be made without getting through to customers

Cinema advertising

The advantages are:

  • A movie has a captive audience
  • There is no immediate distractive competition
  • People are not preoccupied on their phones or on a laptop computer
  • Ads cannot be blocked, muted or fast forwarded
  • The target market demographic is movie related

The disadvantages are:

  • Can be expensive on a per person reach basis
  • Audiences may be small subject to quality and popularity of the movie
  • Recall can be variable as the audience’s attention is solely focused on the movie
  • It may not reach your desired target audience

Television advertising

Television advertising

The advantages are:

  • TV reaches a much larger audience than local newspapers and radio stations, and it does so during a short period of time
  • It reaches viewers when they’re the most attentive
  • It allows you to convey your message with sight, sound, and motion, which can give your business, product, or service instant credibility
  • It gives you an opportunity to be creative and attach a personality to your business, which can be particularly effective for small businesses that rely on repeat customers

The disadvantages are:

  • Expensive to produce
  • Cost of airtime
  • Pricing by time of day and the programme it is run with
  • Difficult to make changes
  • Whereas with newspaper advertising, updating sale pricing or a special offer is often as simple as swapping out a coupon, with television advertising it means updating your script and reshooting the entire ad, which costs additional money

Should I still do offline marketing for my business?

Should I still do offline marketing for my business

You don’t have to choose between offline and online marketing strategies using both is more powerful. By combining the two approaches, you can increase your company’s visibility and, at the same time, attract more attention to your online brand. When implemented together, offline and online marketing techniques can support and amplify one another, creating a unified strategy.

Online Activities Offline Activities
·         Social media

·         Webinars

·         Blogs

·         Online Networking

·         Email

·         Online advertising

·         Social network groups

·         Physical networking

·         Radio

·         Billboards & signs

·         Magazines

·         Cinema

·         Television

·         Direct mail

·         Trade shows

·         Public speaking

 

In conclusion

Both offline and online advertising are important and effective ways of creating brand awareness and making sales. Choose your mediums carefully by comparing cost, reach and target market demographics.

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How to start network marketing

How to start network marketing?

How to start network marketing

There is a fundamental difference between using your network to market your product or service and Network Marketing also known as Pyramid Selling. Understanding the differences is very important.

Using your network to market your product

Most entrepreneurs find networking is the most cost-effective form of marketing available. Networking should be part of every start-up’s marketing plan, it helps you build alliances with other businesses that will promote your product or service to their customers.

Here are some ways to make networking more successful:

Target prospects

Spend a few minutes with a targeted number of people and then follow up. You might meet them through your existing business contacts, an industry group or forum.

Choose the right setting

Attend functions where these types of people will be. Make sure that the purpose of the function is to promote your business and not just to socialise. Select events that are designed to introduce people and promote business.

Have a goal

Decide what you are trying to achieve for your company before you start networking. It helps with new contacts to talk to them about their concerns before you talk about your company.

Be prepared

Always carry your business cards and know what you are going to talk about, how you will frame it and what your objectives are.

Don’t bombard people

Boring people you have just met with excessive details about your is not a way to make a good first impression. Save the specifics for a second meeting, unless your new acquaintance asks to know more. Always seem genuinely interested in contacts and try to determine their problems so you know how to help them.

Marketing through Affiliates

Affiliate marketing is the process by which an affiliate earns a commission for marketing another person’s or company’s products. Marketing your product through a network of affiliates can also be very effective and multiply your chances of selling more product. The affiliate is responsible for tracking transactions and attributing the correct affiliate to the sale.

Marketing through Agents and Distributors

The differences between agent and distributors are:

Ownership of Products

Agents do not take ownership of goods while distributors own the products. Distributors need to purchase the products and resell them to local wholesalers, retailers or end users.

Revenue Model

Agents are paid by the supplier with a commission on sales value.

Distributors make their own profit by adding the price supplier providing to them.

Product Range & Responsibility

Product Range & Responsibility

Agents generally have smaller product range , but agents don’t normally take care of  after-sale services.

Distributors usually sell multiple products provide support and after-sale services.

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Advantages and disadvantages of working with Agents

Pros

  • Working with sales agents, you don’t have to mark up the quotes to customers which would increase the end price
  • You quote the customers directly and control the pricing
  • Sales agents are more willing to tell you customers’ information and market information than distributors.

Cons

  • Agents are often smaller and have more limited sales reach, established network than distributors
  • Agents specialise on specific products offerings
  • Do they understand your products and your market?
  • Do they represent any other products from any other company?

Advantages and disadvantages of working with Distributors

Pros

  • Distributors have a lot of established contacts
  • They have a local sales network and sales force
  • They are usually market and product specialists
  • They can have an established reputation and trust factor
  • Distributors hold inventory, they shorten the product to market lead times and better serve the customers with finished goods, consumables, spare parts and or other commodity-based components

Cons

  • A distributor, may have high mark-ups
  • A distributor is unlikely to share customers information with you
  • Distributors may just want to use your products to broaden their product portfolio

Using a Network Marketing approach (Pyramid Selling)

Using a Network Marketing approach

As mentioned earlier in this article Network Marketing is often a disguise for Pyramid Selling, a practice that is often illegal. Pyramid Selling is also known as Multi-level marketing (MLM), network marketing, and referral marketing, it is a marketing strategy for the sale of products or services where the revenue of the MLM company is derived from a non-salaried workforce selling the company’s products/services, while the earnings of the participants are derived from a pyramid-shaped compensation commission system.

The common feature that is found across all MLMs is that the compensation plans theoretically pay out to participants only from two potential revenue streams. The first is paid out from commissions of sales made by the participants directly to their own retail customers. The second is paid out from commissions based upon the wholesale purchases made by other distributors below the participant who have recruited those other participants into the MLM; in the organisational hierarchy of MLMs, these participants are referred to as one’s down line distributors.[5]

MLM salespeople are expected to sell products directly to end-user retail consumers by means of relationship referrals and word of mouth marketing, but most importantly they are incentivised to recruit others to join the company’s distribution chain as fellow salespeople so that these can become down line distributors. According to a report that studied the business models of 350 MLMs, published on the Federal Trade Commission’s website, at least 99% of people who join MLM companies lose money. (“The Perils Of Multi-Level Marketing Programs”. Texas Public Radio. October 4, 2017. Retrieved February 16, 2018.) and (^ “Legging company, LuLaRoe accused of misleading consultants”Valley News. Retrieved February 16, 2018)

Because down-line participants are encouraged to hold onto the belief that they can achieve large returns, while the statistical improbability of this is de-emphasised. MLMs have been made illegal or otherwise strictly regulated in some jurisdictions as merely variation of the traditional pyramid scheme.

In conclusion

In simple terms, using your network to market your products is a great idea, Pyramid Selling is NOT.

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Lateral thinking solves problems

Lateral thinking solves problems

Lateral thinking solves problems

A personal experience – Alex Paine

Sometimes entrepreneurs and business owners are faced with a problem that, if not solved, could make or break a company. Two such instances occurred earlier in my career, the first when I was an employee of an Australian multi-national company Dulmison Australia Ltd and the second with my first major startup, SmartSalary Ltd. How each of these problems were resolved was key to both company’s financial future. Here is an overview.

Dulmison Australia Ltd

Dulmison Australia Ltd had won a million-dollar contract to supply power line transmissions hardware to an Indian Government Authority who were engaged by The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Finance to install power to remote villages in the Gizan region on the south west coast of the country adjacent to the Yemen border. The equipment was manufactured in Australia, a Letter of Credit (LoC) established, and the items were shipped to site in Saudi Arabia.

The deadline for the LoC was approaching and we had not received sign-off/acceptance from the Indian company and were at risk of losing a significant amount of money. As International Development Manager for the group I discussed this issue with the Managing Director who asked my advice on how we could resolve the problem. He knew that I was the only person in the company that had ever been able to gain entry into Saudi Arabia, (as they did not permit visitors), and asked if I thought I could get into the country and try to get signoff.

My response was that I would go home immediately, pack a bag and requested him in the interim to book open flights from Sydney to Singapore, Singapore to Bahrain and Bahrain to Jeddah. In addition, I asked him to call the Australian Consul in Singapore and set up a meeting for the next day, the reason being that Saudi Arabia maintained a consulate in Singapore but did not have one in Sydney.

The next day I met with the Australian Consul in Singapore explained the situation and requested he accompany me to the Saudi Consulate to gain an entry permit. In previous visits to Saudi Arabia I had worked directly with the Ministers of Finance and Agriculture and intended to use this connection to get a speedy entry. The plan worked and I boarded a plane to Bahrain.

In Bahrain I knew that the region I was heading to, Gizan, was remote and communication in English almost impossible. I had to get to Gizan to the Indian company working 100km into the desert and to do this I needed help. I wrote down the name of the Indian company in English and asked a person to translate this into Arabic and write it on a piece of cardboard. I flew to Jeddah where another hurdle arose, there were no flights to Gizan as it was the holiday season. Gizan was so remote there were no roads. It was in the Saudia Airline booking office that a verbal altercation broke out between a European and the booking staff, apparently, he also wanted to go to Gizan. The argument became intense and the customer picked up a marble name plate that was on the counter, smashed it into pieces and stormed out. He was chased by the two booking agents but disappeared and they returned.

As the only person in the office at the time I waited while the two agents seemed to be writing a report, they turned to me, gave me the document and asked me to sign it as a witness, it was all in Arabic. My response was that I did not understand a word of what had been written but assumed it was an account of the incident and would not sign it. They became more concerned at which point I struck a deal to sign the document if they got me a seat on the next plane to Gizan. I was on my way.

Arriving in Gizan I found a village that looked as if a cyclone had hit it, broken down buildings, no infrastructure and a couple of old taxis standing near the airport. I hung the cardboard sign around my neck and walked up to the taxi drivers hoping that one would recognise the name. One nodded and I found myself in a taxi heading into the desert. Eventually a worksite appeared with a few transportable buildings located near a village that consisted on of circular stick huts. Next to the transportable buildings were the crates of equipment that we had sent months earlier.

A discussion with the site manager revealed that the reason the signoff/acceptance had not happened was that they had no way of testing whether the cable splices we had sent would work. I asked if he would sign the release if I could prove that the items were tested and proven to be up to specification. I then asked him to arrange for a bulldozer to dig a hole 100 metres from the transportable building, wrap a cable around one of the telephone poles that they were erecting and then bury the pole in the hole. To the end of the cable I attached one of our cable splices and then joined it to another cable which I asked to be attached to the transportable. The cable tension was increased and left for 24 hours to see if any slippage occurred at the splicing. It did not and the manager signed the release. I felt somewhat relieved but that was short-lived as I was informed a second signature was required and because of the amount the only person who could sign was the MD who was in Mumbai.

Back in Jeddah I purchased a ticket to Mumbai through to Bangkok and on to Sydney. At the check-in desk I was asked for my Indian Visa, I did not have one and explained that as I held both Australian and British Passports on previous trips, I had not needed one only to be told the rules had changed. I pleaded with the airline to allow me to board and I would talk with Indian Customs in Mumbai to see if they would allow me entry. They agreed to let me board. On arrival in Mumbai and after a discussion with Customs regarding the high-level official I was meeting and that I held onward tickets for the same day they allowed me entry.

I met with the head of the Government Electricity Authority in Mumbai, gained his signature and returned to the airport. I was on my way back to Sydney. A week after leaving I was back home, and the Dulmison Group received the million-dollar payment.

SmartSalary Ltd

As the Founder and Executive Director of SmartSalary Ltd I had been lobbying the Australian Department of Defence to adopt salary packaging for some time. In 1999 they agreed but protocol meant they would go to tender and decide who the provider would be. The bidders were narrowed down to SmartSalary Ltd and the Defence Credit Union who were both invited to present on the same day.

The Australian Department of Defence had a requirement that representatives of the chosen administrator have a physical presence on more than 300 bases across the country. SmartSalary had a total of 13 employees so the requirement could not be met.

During a lunch break I sat down with Kevin Maloney, MD of our competitor Defence Credit Union and learned that their organisation did not have the technical expertise to deliver the service but had offices on the ground where needed. I proposed that we join forces and present a single solution. Defence Credit Union employees would be trained by SmartSalary and the Defence Credit Union would hold the bank accounts where salary sacrifice funds would be deposited. SmartSalary would visit bases, deliver presentations to troops and administer the funds. We agreed on this strategy and SmartSalary retained 100% of the revenue it originally set out to create.

The Department of Defence accepted the proposal and awarded SmartSalary the contract in 1999, SmartSalary Ltd (now known as the SmartGroup Ltd) has retained the contract and still provides the service today.

In conclusion

Problems can become overwhelming and, if left unsolved, can seriously affect the future of a business. The above examples are taken from real life and were solved, not with a brilliant academic solution, but a common-sense reaction using only the resources that were at hand. Every business owner and entrepreneur will face hurdles and my advice is, take a deep breath, consider what resources you have available and try to use them to solve the problem.

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How an idea becomes something quite different

How an idea becomes something quite different

How an idea becomes something quite different

A personal experience

The following is a story of how an idea initially failed, changed direction (PIVOT) and became an international success with a ground-breaking product.

In the late 1970’s Alex Paine was the International Development Manager for Dulmison Australia Pty Ltd. On a trip to Georgia USA to buy land and build a new factory (Dulmison Inc.) Alex was travelling in a car across Alabama with Dulmison Australia’s MD Clive Mackness and the newly appointed USA General Manager Colin Morriss. They were discussing how to store the data on the business cards that they had collected and decided it would be possible to produce business cards with a magnetic strip and wipe the card through a calculator similar to the scientific calculator produced at the time by Texas Instruments.

The idea of a storage calculator was explored, a business proposition formulated, and they were excited about taking this to the next stage. Expressions of interest were sought from Texas Instruments, and Hewlett Packard but to their disappointment there was no interest. A dead end had been reached and it seemed the potential venture had failed.

Dulmison Australia Pty Ltd was founded and owned by a brilliant engineer and entrepreneur, Philip Dulhunty, with whom they discussed the situation. Philip had designed and patented several inventions in the electrical engineering field and as Dulmison Australia Pty Ltd owned foundries, machine workshops and had significant expertise it was decided to produce the calculator storage device in-house.

As with most ideas one thing led to another and over the course of the following twelve months, specifications were modified, and the result was the Dulmont Magnum (Also known as ‘Kookaburra’) laptop computer.

The path to sales was not straightforward as, at that time, there were no commercial programs available to be used e.g. word processing, spreadsheets etc. It was expected by the manufacturers of desktops at that time that users would be able to write/code their own applications. Microsoft had a handful of employees and had DOS as their main program so Dulmison Australia Pty Ltd decided to write two programs in-house (MagiCalc and MagiWord), embed these in the hardware and sell each Dulmont Magnum equipped with its own user-friendly word processor and spreadsheet. The result was the first laptop was born. The design was unique, it was light, had a flip-top screen and embedded programs.

Packaging was produced and an external drive manufactured, the idea was conceived in 1979 and the first units were put on sale in 1983/4 following which $50 million of sales were recorded internationally in the next two years.

The first laptop in the world

Worlds first laptop

 

Specifications

Dulmont Magnum
Also known as Kookaburra
Type Portable computer
Release date September 26, 1983(Australia)
1983 (International)
Operating system MS-DOS 2.11
CPU 8-MHz Intel 80186[7][8]
Memory 96KB-384KB RAM,
128KB-384KB ROM
Storage Optionally External Duel 5.25″ floppy disk drives, or an external 10 MB hard drive
Removable storage Dual 128K ROM cartridge slots
Display 8 lines, 80 characters LCD screen (1982–1983)
16 lines, 80 characters LCD screen (1984–1985 international release)
25 lines, 80 characters LCD screen (1985-6 final version)
Earlier versions were able to be upgraded to the larger displays.
Input 76-key Keyboard
Power Battery
External mains power
Dimensions 32 x 27.5 x 5.5cm
Mass 4.8kg
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Can I start a business without any money?

Can I start a business without any money

Often you hear someone say, ‘I have a great idea, but I don’t have the money to make it into a business.’  If that is your problem, then read on;

Do you have a good idea?

Firstly, is the idea one you have randomly thought of or is it something that has its basis in your own experience, maybe working somewhere or knowledge you already possess. It costs very little to do the research necessary and search the internet to see if there are any solutions or products that have already been created and are on the market. If you cannot find a similar idea already on the market, then it is worth taking the next step.

Start to write down everything you can about who you think your target market might be, how much they are willing to pay and how you can get it to market (i.e. sell it).

Next look at what you are trying to create and estimate the cost of producing it. Even if it will take an amount of money to realise the idea all may not be lost. Please read on….

A personal experience

A personal experience

At one stage in my career I was a business consultant working in a small consultancy practice called Remuneration Planning Corporation (RPC). I worked with three partners in the area of remuneration for employees and employee benefits and during that time RPC came up with some unique taxation rulings one of which was called the Novated Lease. The Novated Lease was approved by the Australian Taxation Office and a Ruling was issued (IT2509) for public use. RPC had become known in the finance industry as an innovator and was frequently approached by journalists and publishers for articles of interest. Publishers had approached RPC and offered deals where they would cover the cost of printing and marketing and pay RPC a royalty on sales. Sound good!!! However, after several publishing deals very little revenue was received from the publishers, not because the books did not sell but because RPC received 10% royalty and once a single edition had been published the publisher moved on to the next big thing.

 

It was after the Novated Lease was approved that I thought there might be another way to turn publication into a business, so I compiled all the information into what became a 600-page business manual. We estimated that to print this ourselves would cost at least $40,000 for the first run and tens of thousands of dollars to market it, a big risk for a company with limited finances. So, what did I do next?

I went to a bookshop and purchased ‘Publishing for Dummies’ for $15, read it from cover to cover and learned the basics of desktop layout for publications. Back at the office I set about applying what I had learned and finished up with a half-decent looking finished publication. So far this had cost only my time and $15.

The next problem was how would we find $40,000 to print the book. This is where ‘mutual leverage’ is useful.

Mutual leverage

Leverage is working with people or companies that have like-minded interests to achieve benefits for both parties. In this case, I thought about who would be interested in a book that told employers how to economically provide a vehicle benefit for employees. It was not as you might think employers or finances companies, it was Fleet Managers.

Fleet Managers want to manage as many vehicles as possible for companies and the drivers are employees. I created a business plan and pitch deck and called a large fleet manager, Fleet Systems (owned by General Electric). I arranged a meeting and presented the case. The response was positive, Fleet Systems could see the benefit to them, and they offered to pay for the entire publication printing costs in return for us placing their logo on the cover. They would sell the publication to their customers (companies) who would pay $400 per copy, all of which would be paid to RPC.

The result of this exercise in mutual leverage was that in its first year of publication $1 million of sales were made with only $20,000 in marketing costs.

In conclusion

Think about how you can take the idea you have, combine it with the knowledge you have accumulated, work with another business for mutual gain and get your idea off the ground. It is possible..

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Why a marketing plan is important

Why a marketing plan is important?

Why a marketing plan is important

A marketing plan is a report that outlines your marketing strategy for the coming year, quarter or month. Typically, a marketing plan will include these elements: An overview of your business’s marketing and advertising goals. A description of your business’s current marketing position. A Marketing Plan should be an integral part and related to your overall Business Plan.

Types of marketing planning

There are many reasons why marketing plans are created, each has a specific purpose and is designed to achieve a specific outcome.

Overall Marketing Plan ·      Outlines your marketing strategy for the coming year, quarter or month
Brand Marketing Plan ·      To raise brand awareness
Digital Marketing Plan ·      Review digital capabilities

·      Define digital marketing technology

·      Define resource requirements for digital

·      Define how to compete more effectively with digital marketing

Multichannel Marketing Plan A longer-term Marketing Plan that will define,

·      How you will  integrate different digital media to achieve sales targets

·      How you will engage audiences

·      How you will market content

·      How campaign activities will be integrated

Marketing Campaign Plan A shorter-term Marketing Plan integrated communications plan for using different digital media to achieve sales targets through,

·      Engaging audiences

·      Content marketing

·      An integrated media schedule

Within these Plans there can be specific Plan subjects that include,

Advertising Plan ·      How you will employ print, visual and other media e.g. TV
A Social Media Marketing plan ·      How you will use Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter etc, to reinforce your brand image
Conversion Optimisation plan ·      This is the plan you have to convert traffic into sales
Customer Acquisition Plan ·      The plan that outlines how to gain new customers
Email Marketing Plan ·      Details of email marketing strategy, broadcasts, mail chimp and other programmes
A Customer Retention Plan ·      The plan that is put not action to retain customer engagement
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Elements of a Full Marketing Plan

Elements of a Full Marketing Plan

As with a Business Plan your Marketing Plan is a flexible document that requires updating and amendment to adapt to changing market conditions as well as monitoring your company’s performance against the Marketing Plan goals you have established.

A marketing plan can be adjusted at any point based on the results from the metrics. If digital ads are performing better than expected, for example, the budget for a campaign can be adjusted to fund a higher performing platform or the company can initiate a new budget. The challenge for marketing leaders is to ensure that every platform has enough time to show results.

Bear in mind that your Marketing Plan will be viewed by potential investors if you are raising funds to expand your business. The following plan contains some details that investors will require.

Marketing Plans should include the following elements:

SECTION Description
Executive Summary – (Generally included if raising money)
Business Details Name, address etc.
Relevant Owner Experience What experience do the business owner(s) have? How many years have you owned or run a business?
The Market Who are you selling to? Why would they buy your products/services over others? How do you plan to enter the market? How do you intend to attract customers? How and why will this work?
The Future A statement of your vision, goals and objectives
The Finances how much profit you intend on making in a particular time frame. How much money will you need up-front? Where will you obtain these funds? What portion will you be seeking from other sources? How much of your own money are you contributing towards the business?
Awards Any relevant Awards or recognition

 

SECTION Description
Information contained in a Marketing Plan for both internal and fun-raising purposes
S.W.O.T. Analysis A critical overview of your company’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats and how you will use them to grow your business.
Products and Services A list of products, services, descriptions and pricing
Market Position Where do your products/services fit in the market? Are they high-end, competitive or budget? How does this compare to your competitors?
Unique Selling position How will your products/services succeed in the market where others may have failed? What gives your products/services the edge?
Anticipated Demand What is the anticipated quantity of products/services your customers are likely to purchase? For example, how much will an individual customer buy in 6 months or 12 months?
Pricing Strategy Do you have a particular pricing strategy? Why have you chosen this strategy? How do your customers view your products/services? Are they a necessity, luxury or something in between?
Growth Potential What is the anticipated percentage growth of the product in the future? What will drive this growth?
Sales/Marketing Personnel Job title, name, responsibilities.
Customer Demographics Define who your target customers are and how they behave. You can include age, gender, social status, education and attitudes.
Key Customers Identify your key customers. (These can be large consumers of your products or individuals whose satisfaction is key to the success of your business.) How will you target your products/service to them?
Customer Management How will you maintain a good relationship with your customers? What techniques will you use? How will you keep your customers coming back? Have you introduced customer service standards? Do you follow any particular code of practice?
Market Position and Competitors Where do your products/services fit in the market? Are they high-end, competitive or budget? How does this compare to your competitors?
Value to Customer How do your customers view your products/services? Are they a necessity, luxury or something in between?
Revenue Streams and Opportunities [Describe how you will derive revenue.
Road to Market [How will you take your product/services to market?]
Competitor Analysis How do you rate against your competitors? How can your business improve on what they offer?

·           Competitor name

·           Established date

·           Size

·           Market share %

·           Value to customers

·           Strengths

·           Weaknesses

Market Research What statistical research have you completed to help you analyse your market? Did you use a survey/questionnaire? If so, you may like to attach a copy of your survey/questionnaire to the back of this plan.
Market Targets Outline your planned sales targets. What quantity of your products/services do you plan to sell in a planned time frame? Are they monthly or yearly targets?
Environmental/Industry Analysis Detail the results of the market research you have performed. Is the area experiencing population growth? Are there long-term employers in the area? Is the region’s economy stable? Are there seasonal variations?
Marketing Strategy What is your overall marketing strategy? What steps or activities will you undertake to achieve your goals/objectives?

·           Marketing activity milestones

·           Person responsible

·           Date of expected completion

·           Cost

·           Success indicator

·           Weaknesses

Advertising and Sales Strategy What strategies do you have for promoting and advertising your products/services in the next 12 months?

·           Planned promotion/advertising type

·           Expected outcome

·           Cost

·           Target date

Social Media Strategy What do you want to achieve/communicate (brand awareness, online sales etc.)? What social media tools do your customers use (e.g. Blogs, Twitter, Facebook etc.)? What strategies can you use to network and communicate effectively with these customers? Who will upkeep your social media presence – do you have the internal staff, or would you need to engage an external organisation?
Sales Strategy What sales techniques do you use? What are your strategies behind these techniques? How is this different/better than your competitors?
Sales & Distribution Channels ·           Channel type

·           Products/services

·           Percentage of sales

·           Advantages

·           Disadvantages

12 Moth Marketing Budget A table of all anticipated costs by month.
Monitoring/Measurement Activities Reviewing the impact of your marketing should be a periodic activity. List the details of each review in the table below.

·           Marketing activity

·           Date of review

·           Monitoring methods

·           Review outcomes

 

In conclusion

conclusion

A Marketing Plan details the strategy that a company will use to market its products to customers.

The plan identifies the target market, the value proposition of the brand or the product, the campaigns to be initiated, and the metrics to be used to assess the effectiveness of marketing initiatives.

The marketing plan should be adjusted on an ongoing basis based on the findings from the metrics that show which efforts are having an impact and which are not.

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Social Media

How to use social media marketing

Social media is universally accepted as a legitimate way to promote businesses tapping into the behaviour patterns of

consumers and reaching new levels of sophistication and penetration in its application and reach.

The benefits your business can get from using social media

The main reasons that business extensively use social media is to:

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Drive traffic to websites
  • Generate new leads
  • Grow revenue (by increasing signups or sales)
  • Boost brand engagement
  • Build a community around your business
  • Provide customer service
  • Increase mentions in the press

Cost-effective ways to do social media marketing

The key ingredient for effective social media marketing is having a strategy. Without understanding what your goals are, who your target audience is, and what they want, it’ll be hard to achieve results on social media.

One of the simplest ways to create your social media marketing strategy is to ask yourself:

  1. Why do you want to be on social media?
  2. Who is your target audience?
  3. What are you going to share?
  4. Where are you going share?
  5. When are you going share?

Different strategies can used for each social media platform for example:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter

The individual strategies can be combined into a single overall strategy.

Goals for the overall social media strategy

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Drive traffic to your website
  • Generate new leads
  • Grow revenue
  • Boost brand engagement
  • Build a community around your business
  • Provide social customer service
  • Increase press coverage
  • Get feedback about your brand

Understanding your target audience

Understanding your target audience will help you more easily answer the following questions on what, where, and when you are going to share.

  • Who are they?
  • What are their interests?
  • What social media platforms are they using?
  • When are they active online?
  • Why do they consume the content?
  • How do they consume the content, do they read content or watch videos?

 

How do you decide when you are going post content?

Depending on your business the place and time you post will be different and understanding your target audience behaviour is important. To give some examples:

  • Sports fans are likely on social media just before, during, and just after sports events to find and interact with content about the event.
  • Athletes might be on Instagram while they are cooling down after their morning or evening workouts.
  • People who travel might be more active on social media during the weekends when they are planning for their next trip.
  • Parents of babies might be scrolling through social media when they are awake in the middle of the night.

Executing your social media strategy

Some of the things you need to consider include:

  • What should your profile reflect?
  • What tone and voice will you use?
  • Will your posts include video, images etc.?

Increasing Brand Awareness

In 2018, there were over 3.2 billion people on social media globally Ensuring your business is sharing content related to your products and details about your company has the potential to help you improve brand awareness.

Social media has been proven to boost brand awareness by driving up engagement including things like comments, likes, shares, and re-posts. Social media is useful by directing traffic straight to your site which can be achieved by including direct links to your website in your profile, bio, and posts.

Generate Leads and Boost Conversions

Examples of ways you can use social media to generate more leads:

  • Create contests for your visitors and followers
  • Include links to your website and offers
  • Host live videos to make announcements about products and provide updates
  • Implement a social media marketing campaign on one of your channels
  • Sell your products through your social profiles
  • Organise a schedule for your posts

Foster customer relations

Interact with customers on your posts, respond to their questions and comments, and provide them with any help they may need. Ask questions about your products, what customers want or their pain points, or create giveaways to build trust and value their input and support.

Learn from Competitors

Follow and research your competitors their social media tactics, the products they’re promoting, the campaigns they’re implementing, or their level of interaction with followers.

Know where your target customers are

Audiences on social media can be roughly summarised as:

Instagram – millennials cover the largest portion of users on the platform.

SnapchatGeneration Z makes up the largest portion of the 300 million users.

Facebook –  Millennials make up the largest portion of the 2.2 billion users.

YouTubeMillennials, closely followed by Generation Z, make up the largest portion of the 1.9 billion users.

TwitterMillennials make up the largest portion of the 335 million users.

Pinterest Older millennials and younger baby boomers make up the largest portion of 250 million users.

Tools you can use for your social media campaigns

Different strategies can used for each social media platform for example:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter

The individual strategies can be combined into a single overall strategy.

To schedule for your posts there are a number of solution options available for examples:

Sprout Social

a social media marketing and management solution designed to help your team organize and plan content creation, manage campaigns, understand engagement, and review content reports and analysis.

HubSpot

Publish and monitor your content and create real connections with your followers. Schedule and publish your content in advance and compare in-depth reports on your posts’ engagement to understand the performance of various platforms, types of content, and posting times.

Hootsuite

A social media management platform for finding, scheduling, managing, and reporting on your content. You can schedule posts in advance on all your channels at once and measure your ROI with a comprehensive content analysis.

Social media analytics tools

What you analyse is important, some of the key terms are:

  1. Engagement:This includes clicks, comments, likes, and replies on your social media posts. There are also platform-specific types of engagement such as “Saved” posts on Instagram and “Pinned” posts on Pinterest.
  2. ReachThe number of people who have seen any content associated with your page or profile is your reach.
  3. Followers: The amount of people you have on your profile who have clicked your “Follow” button and see your content in their feeds regularly.
  4. Impressions: The number of times a post from your profile or page is seen, whether or not your audience members click on it which is what happens when someone is scrolling through their newsfeed, but not clicking on anything.
  5. Video Views: On Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, or any other social channel with video capabilities, Video Views is the number of views each gets.
  6. Profile Visits: The number of people who have opened your social media page is your number of profile visits.
  7. Mentions: The number of times your profile has been mentioned by audience members in their posts.
  8. Tags: When your audience adds the name of your company’s profile or your hashtag to another post.
  9. Reposts: When a member of your audience posts a piece of your content on their profile.
  10. Shares: These are the posts your followers and audience take from your profile and share with their network.

Tools that help you measure social media metrics

You can use the analytics tools built into the various platforms you use:

In conclusion

Using social media for your business is all about brand recognition and translating that into sales. Today it has become an art that requires those who manage campaigns to be up to date with changing trends, platforms algorithms and tools. The benefits of getting it right are significant.

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LinkedIn Social

How to use LinkedIn for business networking

How to use LinkedIn for business networking

 

LinkedIn has become the go-to place for professional networking. Founded in 2003 it was acquired by Microsoft in 2016 expanding from a platform for individuals to now encompassing business, job vacancy posting, and business advertising. LinkedIn has in excess of 500 million members who can connect with others and grow their networks for both personal and commercial reasons.

How to set up a LinkedIn Company Page

Step 1. Add your company

Step 2. Add a cover image and logo

Step 3. Create a company description

Step 4. Fill in your company details

Step 5. Publish your page

Step 6. Add page administrators

Step 7. Optimise

Promoting yourself on LinkedIn

Whether you already have a LinkedIn profile or are creating one for the first time there some important points to bear in mind:

  • Use a professional looking photo of yourself.
  • Invite people and business acquaintances that you no to ‘connect’ with you.
  • Ask them if they would like to endorse you on your skills as this will raise your profile.
  • Consider using a customised URL.
  • Make your history interesting so that people will want to connect with you.
  • Let others know if you are open to offers of new employment.
  • Write articles and post them that are of interest to your target group.
  • Search for LinkedIn members with like-minded interests and businesses.
  • Share your LinkedIn status on social media.
  • Search Engine Optimise (SEO) your LinkedIn profile.
  • See who has been viewing your LinkedIn page.
  • Keep your profile relevant and up to date.

 

Strategy for marketing on LinkedIn for Business to Business

Strategy for marketing on LinkedIn for Business to Business

There are few businesses today that do not have a social media profile. LinkedIn is a platform that allows you to showcase not only yourself, your business and to promote your brand. In order to do this, you could take the following actions:

Create a LinkedIn company page

This will help you establish your business, brand, products, services and job opportunities. To do this you will need a personal LinkedIn account and a verified email address. You will be asked to enter a business description, information about your products and company contact details,

Create a career page

If your business is looking for employees, then this is an effective page to create.

Create and Join LinkedIn groups

You can promote your business on LinkedIn by creating a LinkedIn group connected to your company page. This is an excellent way of building a community that is related to your business and who will help it grow.

LinkedIn Groups can help you be an industry expert and have more people visit your company page. It is not somewhere that you place or share ads for your business.

Publish and share relevant content

You need to know who your audience is and what their interests are. Publish and share content that benefits your followers – not just content that promotes your company. Try to aim for 4 articles out of every 5 to concentrate on information that educates people and does not sell to them.

Use LinkedIn’s tracking and analytics.

Monitor and track your posts determine what works and what doesn’t, identify trends, understand your follower demographics and learn more about your visitors to your post.

You can find more about LinkedIn Analytics at Company Page analytics

Try using videos and photos

Videos and photos add interest and are also effective in driving viewer engagement than other media types on LinkedIn.

Create LinkedIn Showcase Pages

Showcase Pages helps to generate additional content and publish messaging that is highly relevant to subsets of your target audience.”

Use sponsored ads

Sponsored Ads are more effective than regular content because you can target a specific audience and can be customised.

To find out more click on sponsored ads on LinkedIn

Understanding the LinkedIn algorithm

Understanding the LinkedIn algorithm

The LinkedIn algorithm controls how your page is seen by using several processes:

  1. LinkedIn uses a bot to evaluate your content to see if it is spam, low-quality, or clear.
  2. The algorithm measures initial user engagement to see if your post is getting likes and shares?
  3. The algorithm does additional checks for spam and credibility based on the quality of your account and your network.
  4. At LinkedIn Human editors review content and determine whether it should continue to be displayed, or even boosted.

LinkedIn ads

LinkedIn has exceptional targeting capabilities, allowing you to make focused strategic decisions about incorporating LinkedIn ads into your social media marketing strategy.

LinkedIn advertising options include:

  1. Sponsored content: Amplify your content to reach a wider audience than you could reach organically.
  2. Text Ads: These are pay-per-click or CPM ads that appear on the LinkedIn homepage, profile pages, Groups pages, search results pages.
  3. Sponsored InMail: Sponsored InMail allows you to send personalised ads to LinkedIn members’ inboxes. Messages are only delivered when members are active on LinkedIn, making them likely to be noticed.

 Using LinkedIn Analytics

LinkedIn analytics help you learn what kind of content your followers are most likely to engage with, understand your follower demographics, and track traffic and activity on your company page.

To access LinkedIn Analytics for your Company Page:

  1. Click the Me icon at the top of your LinkedIn Page
  2. Choose your company page under the Manage section
  3. Click the Analytics tab
  4. Choose Visitors, Updates, or Followers.

The Dos and Don’ts when using LinkedIn

What to Do

  • Use LinkedIn as a professional resource
  • Create a professional profile with your key achievements
  • Post-professional articles
  • Choose connections and groups carefully
  • Be prepared to actively participate in groups
  • Seek endorsements
  • Use videos with applicable content
  • use the project section in your profile for references and include project or publication URLs
  • Use a personal message that starts a relationship
  • Write meaningful recommendations for people
  • Learn about the people you invite to connect before sending the invitation

What Not to Do

  • Don’t blanket connect
  • Don’t over-promote yourself
  • Don’t be just a reader, continue to update your content
  • Don’t include links that do not work
  • Don’t spam
  • Don’t use long-winded sentences
  • Don’t blanket connect

In Conclusion

LinkedIn is a powerful business tool that can be used to your and your company’s advantage. Taking the time to understand what it can do for you is well worth the effort.

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Marketing for small business

Marketing for small business.

Marketing for small business

Why marketing is important for small business

Marketing and selling are two distinctly different activities.  If you do not market your product and create brand awareness you are selling no one will know where you are or what you are offering.

There are many aspects necessary to create a successful marketing campaign, you will need to have a thorough understanding of your company your product and its unique attributes to be able to identify markets and present your product it’s most attractive form.

Many businesses make the mistake and by creating a website sales will follow. This is a long way from reality. The first websites were created by well-known companies, big brands that had spent years building their markets in traditional ways, People knew the brand and what to search for, initial search engines were crude, and the sophistication of search engine algorithms had yet to be invented.

Today’s market has changed drastically, algorithms have become much more sophisticated, tens of millions of websites are generated each year and social media advertising has become and experts’ game. Businesses need to have a marketing strategy before they launch a product for sale and will need to consider the following:

  1. Does your product have a unique selling proposition?
  2. Do you understand who your competitors are and their price point?
  3. Do you understand who is the target market is?
  4. Do you know who will buy your product?
  5. How will you raise brand awareness?
  6. What strategy will you employ for social media promotion?
  7. Do you need a sales force in place to sell your product or service?
  8. Do you need to appoint agents to sell your product or service?

These and many more points should become part of your marketing strategy and well thought out before watching your product or service for sale. You may have the best product in the world at the lowest price but if no one knows about it no one will buy it.

How to do online marketing for small business

If you are operating on a tight budget, then you will not be able to throw large amounts of money into advertising. Many businesses make the mistake of setting up a low-cost website and placing ads on social media but still find that their website is not getting many viewers. They find themselves at a loss to be able to understand what is happening and why this strategy is not working.

The answer lies in the ever-changing world of algorithms that are used by Google to rank websites. Google regularly change their algorithms and the general public is unaware of what has changed and how this will impact on their online strategy. When this is combined with the way in which Facebook and others create rules around how ads are managed and who gets to see them then the situation arises where you are spending money but not seeing a return.

It is now estimated that if you have a website and are running a social media campaign then to be effective you will need to spend about 20 hours a week to ensure that it is reaching the right audience.

Website building was once the domain of graphic artists who had some online experience, however, this has all changed and today’s website builder must understand all of the technical elements and techniques that will get a website to prominence on a search, i.e. they need to be an expert in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and understand the interaction with social media platforms.

At this point a small business needs to decide, spend a small amount on a website and place ads on social media or budget $1,000 to $2,000 and engage a professional with a track and sound SEO abilities. The latter is the best approach as your website is much more likely to be found and more easily connected with effective social media.

The piggyback approach for small businesses that operate in a regional market only

If your market is local and you are competing with similar businesses, then another approach might be worth considering.

The old-style of telephone directory where you paid for an ad in print and your contact details were listed has transitioned into online directories operated by the same companies that printed the books as well as new entrants. In many cases these companies will provide a service where, by paying for a listing, your website and contact details will appear on that company’s website search listed under the specific categories of business that you choose. In this way, you can build a cheap website, pay for a listing and have your details and website ranking highly on any search.

For companies that want to sell widely or globally this approach can be expensive and it is recommended that you consider a professionally built and maintained website.

How to improve my marketing for my small business

How to improve my marketing for my small business

To improve the quality and reach there are several things you can do:

  • Personal marketing – create what is known as an “Elevator Pitch” i.e. a 60 second summary of your company and what it does so that when someone asks you what you do you can quickly present your company. Tip: The first 10 seconds are important, and you will either engage with the person or lose the.
  • Use your network of contacts to spread the message.
  • Talk to people in business that you know to see if there is common ground that by marketing to each other’s network both you and your business contacts would benefit.
  • Attend networking events.
  • Accept opportunities to speak in public.
  • Use social media to regularly communicate, but, as mentioned earlier, make sure you are communicating effectively, and the message is reaching the target audience.
  • Listen to customer feedback, you will find ways in which your business may be able to improve.
  • Ask for referrals.
  • Collect email addresses and consider an email marketing campaign.
  • Launch a Business Page on Facebook and LinkedIn.
  • Consider the effectiveness of a free offer that has value that leads to a sale of your product.
  • Create a Blog to improve website visibility and interest.
  • Make your website an interesting place where potential customers can learn something from articles you post.
  • Track your site with analytics tools.
  • Research keyword for use on your website.
  • Ensure your website is optimised for mobile devices.
  • Think about using photo and video content on your website as they are proven to attract more viewers.
  • Consider using Landing Pages, Squeeze Pages and Funnels as part of your social media marketing campaign to draw people to your website.
  • Consider running a Webinar.
  • Create a customer feedback page.
  • Install Google Analytics on your website and look at the results. You may need help interpreting the data, but it will give you a much better understanding of what is happening.

In conclusion

Whatever you do and however you go about, establish an online presence make sure you stay up to date with changing technology and talk with people who are knowledgeable in the field to prevent a situation where you are placing ads and wasting money.

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