How to Achieve Consistent Business Growth

business growthGrowth is critical to every business. No matter what they do, at the end of the day every business has the same goal- more sales, more clients, more income, more market share- in short, more growth.

Despite your best intentions and hard work, sometimes you may feel your business is stagnant and not growing at the rate you aspire for. How do you achieve a constant business growth?

Below are 5 simple principles for a consistent growth:

Maintain your customer loyalty

Surge ahead to the path of growth by manipulating your customer needs through complicated relationships so that it becomes troublesome for your customers to leave you. Modify your products and services by carefully analyzing the customer data. Follow the needs and aspirations of your dedicated customers by scrutinizing the customer data. Also constrain your customers by pragmatic measures and take well-planned actions to restrict their defections. Develop emotional bonds as sustainable way to customer loyalty.

Beat your competitors to expand your market share

Force your customers to leave your competitor’s products and services by providing better quality. Make effort to reduce the exchanging costs. It can be complicated to attract customers away from competitors, so you should use all you have systematically to pull away customers from your competitors. Providing improved products and services at lower costs is a way to meet the goal. Other is to buy your competitor to eliminate the smaller or equal competition (definitely not an option if you are starting out, so focus on the first).

Manipulate Market trends

Be proactive in perceiving growth tendency in the market. Carefully analyze data to check the markets trends especially in buyers alterations, product or service developments and popular trending items. The best way to manipulate market trends is to proactively maintain a systematic approach to spot market changes. Keep a database to measure the statistics in market and make timely decisions to utilize the market changes for your advantage.

Overrun adjoining industries

Overrunning adjoining markets must be done after analyzing the market’s opportunities and possible growth factors. Find out your edge over rivals and develop high standards to equal your competitors. Push yourself in exploring the adjacent markets but with minimum risks.

Expand your business

Expansion must be smart and finely tuned to the market trends. Never pay more than required for launching yourself in a new direction. Do not destroy your revenue by using complex methods already developed by others. Try to discover new and simple methods in place of complicated ones. Simplify and modify old patterns to decrease costs and increase efficiency. Collaborate with new partners and find new partners by evaluating their strengths, leadership abilities, team work and revenue.

All these five principles may not be a part of the existing growth plans of your company, but make sure to include one or more of these principles in your growth plans.

How to Increase Sales

how to increase salesNo matter what business you are in, the key to business success is sales. As a small business owner and entrepreneur you may not have huge funds for marketing activities. So selling is an essential skill for all small business owners. Here are a few surefire ways that will broaden your sales horizons and increase sales:

1. Identify the potential customer

It’s important to maximize your time and foucs it on potential customers rather than time wasters. For this you will have to recognize who is the Decision Maker, the person who will have a final say in purchasing your product/service. Once you have determined the Decision Maker, check if they have a problem that you can solve or make them aware of a problem that you can solve. The key is to identify or create a need and then show them the way to fulfill it. You may have the greatest product in the world but you won’t make a single sale if you approach people who don’t need it.

2. Define your USP

Why should any one buy from you and not your competitor? This is the question that is always playing on your prospects’ mind and you should have a clear and satisfactory answer. Make sure your product/service provides a set of benefits that makes your company stand out. Create a USP (Unique Selling Proposition)

3. Understand your prospects better

People like it when you listen to them and show an understanding of their business. Many sales people make the mistake of talking too much about their product and not actually listening the customer. So research about your prospects, get to know their business better, ask better questions and listen carefully as they answer your open-ended question. This will help you uncover the problem and pitch your product/service better.

4. Earn Trust

Though factors like price, features, benefits etc. are important buying factors, people not only buy for practical reason but for emotional reasons too. So make sure that you gain the trust of your prospects by being sincere, honest and by keeping your word. Don’t make promises that you can’t keep and show empathy. Impressions and rapport go a long way in getting loyal customers.

5. Make the Perfect Presentation

At the end of the day,, what matters most is your sales presentation. Don’t take it for granted. Leverage all the things you gathered from the previous 4 points to develop an effective, winning presentation.

If you follow these points diligently, there is nothing to stop you from increasing your sales. I would love to hear about sales techniques that work for you. Do let me know in the comments section.

Top 5 Free Ways to Market Your Business

Top-5-Free-Ways-to-market-your-businessWhen you are just starting your business, you need to raise awareness of your brand to drive traffic and sales to your site, but you likely don’t have the money to invest in expensive advertising or other marketing campaigns. It’s a Catch-22: You need to spend money to make money, but you don’t have the money to spend because you aren’t yet making any money.

Fortunately, there are many effective ways to market your business that cost nothing. Here are the top 5 free ways you can market your business to get more traffic and more sales

Search-Engine Optimization (SEO)

When users search for keywords in your niche, you want your business website to appear near the top of the search results. You can make this happen by employing search-engine optimization. There are a number of strategies involved in SEO, but some basic tenets include using keywords in your page titles, content, meta descriptions, and alt tags.

Other components of SEO are page load time, clear site maps, consistency of publication, links to your site, and even some social media indicators.

Take time to research SEO strategies and start using them on your site. This is the most effective way to market your site without spending money.

Permission Marketing

Building an opt-in e-mail list is an effective way to build long-term relationships with your customers and to sell them more of your products and services. Make sure you create a subscription e-mail list and include multiple options for sign-up on your site. Provide incentives such as exclusive content or a sign-up gift in order to encourage subscriptions.

Once you have a large e-mail list, you can market to your customers directly, letting them know about new products, promotions, and more.

Social Media Marketing

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Google+ — they’re all free networks that can connect with you with millions of customers. Establish profiles on the major sites that are popular with your target audience, and maintain an active presence on the site. Offer exclusive content or promotions through these channels to encourage more customers to engage with you there.

Building relationships through social media is similar to building a subscription-based e-mail list: You are cultivating a lead list to which you can promote current and future products and services to drive sales.

Link Building

Getting other sites to link to your website is a great way to drive traffic, gain exposure, and build your page rank so that you appear higher in search results. You can encourage organic links by simply creating outstanding content on your site. You can also easily get links by commenting on other blogs in your niche or on forums and message boards.

Be sure to target sites that are in your niche for your link-building efforts. You’ll attract members of your target audience to your site, and you’ll make Google happy.

Guest Posting

The best strategy for getting more links back to your site is to write guest posts. These are quality links that will help propel you to the top of search results and improve your page rank. Again, the key is to target high-quality blogs in your niche to attract members of your target audience and to make Google happy.

Marketing your new business doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Try these top free marketing strategies, and you are sure to see your traffic and your sales grow very quickly.

What are your favorite free marketing strategies? Share your tips in the comments!

This is a guest post by Heather Green . Heather is a mom, freelance writer, pet lover and the resident blogger for OnlineNursingDegrees.org, a free informational website offering tips and advice about rn online programs.

How To Be Positive When Business is Slow

Starting and growing a business is one of the most challenging and fulfilling experiences. But make no mistake, it can also be overwhelming and frustrating at times. Especially when you are going through one of those slow periods or feel that your business is not going the way you envisioned it to be.So how do you keep going and attain the success you want so badly? Keep a positive mindset. I know it’s easier said than done but here are a few tips that will help you regain positivity:

1. Positive Affirmation

how to be positive when business is slowTo some it may sound very new age, but positive affirmations can be very powerful and I have got through many difficult times through this technique. e.g if you are having second thoughts about whether your business will be successful, you can repeat this simple mantra ” I will steer my business to a successful direction”. Not everything works for everybody, so a simple way to find positive affirmations is to write down your biggest fears and insecurities and turn them into affirmations. When you repeat the affirmations, you start to truly believe them and that really helps you to get more focused on your goals.

2. Delete negativity

We all have negative thoughts and they almost always prevent us from working towards and achieving our goal. So the best way to deal with negativity is to find the triggers for negativity and avoid them. Also indulging in some of your favorite activities like listening to music, going for a refreshing walk or even watching a funny YouTube video can put you in a better and more positive mood.

Another major cause of negativity is dealing with people who are negative, discouraging and in general not enthusiastic towards your endeavor. So make sure that you surround yourself with positive, happy and successful people who motivate and energize you. Be happy and surround yourself with happy people with positive outlook.

3. Find inspiration

When you first start out building a business, you are inspired. But when you get down to the actual business, the daily grind may make you lose that inspiration. But worry not, there are many ways of finding that inspiration again. You can read success stories of other entrepreneurs who went through a hard time initially or you can motivate yourself through positive quotes. Also make it a point to stop fearing failure and look forward to success. Another tip is to create a nice motivational board on Pinterest and add something to it daily. It works for me and I am sure it will work for you too!

4. Take a break

Sometimes we can be so engulfed with our projects that we forget to switch off. Especially in this digital age, we are always on the go and “connected”. Though it may seem to be a good idea initially, in the long run it’s counterproductive. So take a break, indulge in your favorite pastime, go for a weekend trip or just relax with your loved ones without thinking about work. You will be surprised how effective this break can be and you will find a renewed passion and energy once you are back to work.

All the above tips are tried and tested by me and help me keep a positive attitude in running and growing my business. I am sure they will be helpful to you too. Got some tips of your own? Would love to hear them!

How to Beat Your Competition in Business

Competition exists is every business. There is no escaping the mountainous task of meeting up the challenges posed by tough competitors in order to sustain a profitable business. Although competition is threatening to many entrepreneurs, healthy competition actually induces positive energy in business and pushes it towards betterment. As Herbert Hoover  puts it, “Competition is not only the basis of protection to the consumer, but is the incentive to progress”.

Ready to get ahead of your competitors? Below are some basic rules to outdo your competitors and get more market share and more customers.

1. Be a Specialist

how to beat competition Specialists are sought after people because they have a high value attached to their specialized work. People are more trusting when they know you are a specialist in a field. The best way to outdo your competitors is to pick a defined field of your business and be a specialist.
 

2. Do creative marketing:

Marketing is the only way to prove your presence in the market, so keep aside a handsome amount of money for some heavy marketing even when sales are down. Creativity and unconventional marketing methods are keys to successful projection of business. Also find out new marketing strategies overlooked by your competitors. For instance, lots of online businesses employ only online methods to promote themselves but using some offline marketing methods can also be helpful in driving traffic to the online business. Explore creative ways to convey your product and look for niche markets as well as unexplored marketing zones overlooked by your competitors.

3. Employ excellent customer service:

A good customer service can take you a long way down the road of success. Employ best customer service and go an extra mile to satisfy your customers. People should feel pleased and enjoy their experience with you to the fullest. Complaints should be taken patiently and fixed to the utmost satisfaction of the consumer. These happy customers will market your business much better than you can do yourself!

4. Make exclusive offers:

Offers and sales are magnets for customers. Use them better than your competitors. Evaluate your offers and make them as irresistible as you can. Always make better offers than your competitors as it will eventually be beneficial to you in the long run.

5. Use personalized marketing:

Twitter and Facebook have certainly opened up new avenues in the new age business world. Now you can personalize your marketing strategy by contacting your customers directly. Make your customers feel important, use different strategies for different target markets and keep their interest intact with regular interaction.

6. Lead in innovative elements:

Brainstorm for creative ideas to market and improve your products or service. Be the trendsetter rather than a follower. Keep aside some time to think of bringing new elements in your business and keep pushing for progress. Regularly add new elements to keep an edge over your competitors.

Compete with creativity and positive energy. Constantly analyze your competitors for a fair comparison in all fields of business. Employ defense mechanisms in case of negative competition but always take a lead in impressing customers with innovations and best customer value.

Managing a Virtual team

As we all know, that world has become a global village with the onset of internet and telecommunication advancement. Internet has brought the whole world together with the click of the mouse. The vistas of business world are expanding widely with the fast communicating world. Now you can build, expand and manage your business online as efficiently as you do it at your office. For every successful business, you need a team of highly skilled and motivated employees. Now hiring and retaining employees can be an expensive deal and most small business owners struggle with this important aspect of their business. Most of the internet savvy business owners are resorting to hiring employees online and getting their work done through this virtual team. It not only saves office space and other overheads, it also gives them access to a vast talent pool for affordable prices.

Managing a Virtual TeamBut managing a virtual team can be tricky sometimes. You can’t just walk over to their desk anytime and see the work progress or monitor their work. So how do you make sure you get the work done on time and as per your guideline? Below are a few tips that might be helpful in managing your virtual team:

  • Establish Flawless Communication:

The first rule of managing a successful virtual team is to establish a flawless communication system. Keep in touch with your team members via email, phone or Skype. It is a great practice to have a combined conversation or a virtual meeting once a week. This will develop an insightful team spirit when all the members know each other well. Make it a point to motivate and encourage your team members virtually through these meetings. And keep your communication systems flawless. Have a high speed internet connection and try to remove all communication hurdles

  • Set team objectives and goals:

Like a real team, set your virtual team’s objectives and goals clearly. Then plan every step to achieve those goals. When your team knows about their goals, it will strive for achieving them harder.

  • Manage workload on weekly basis:

It is a good practice to give your team member a weekly schedule ahead of time, this way it becomes easier to manage the workload. Daily workloads often get into technology mishaps, so try to manage your work on weekly basis. You can also manage your work 5-6 days a week and give a day or two off for rest.

  • Give regular feedback:

Always keep in mind to encourage and keep your team members on the road to success by giving regular feedback. This will make their work easy and after some time they will work better than your expectations. Be extremely polite and professional in giving feedback so as not to discourage your team members.

  • Keep Time differences in mind:

When you are managing a virtual team from different corners of the world, always keep in mind the time differences. Do not make anyone feel left out because of their time clash. Always keep rotating the meeting time to involve everyone in your meetings at different time.

  • Be sensitive about the cultural differences:

When you are managing a virtual team, the members will be from different cultures and might need work days off according to their culture and rituals. So be sensitive about these cultural differences. Never show prejudice to any of your team members because of his/her cultural background.

  • Be available to your team members:

If you are heading a team, you ought to be available to your team members all the time. Even if you are not in office you can use technology to be connected to your team members on the go. If you can’t do that, either keep a virtual assistant or hire a team leader for this purpose.

At the end of the day, managing a virtual team or an employee’s team in your real office is not that different. You have to keep the basics in check – communicate, prioritize work, motivate employees and have a good incentives scheme for your high performing employees. The only difference is how you manage to do so with a team which may be miles away physically and I hope the above mentioned points help bridge that gap.