Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Buff Up Your Business

The final strategy in the "Buff Up Your Business" series is:

Strategy 7 - Upgrade Who You Are

Though no one can go back and make a brand new start,
anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.

~ unknown Author

The better you are personally, the better your business will become.

Just what are the key things you should do, to ensure business success?

  • Set strong boundaries
  • Raise your standards
  • Improve your communication skills
  • Improve your management skills
  • Build your professional network

    Anybody who thinks they are already doing all of these things perfectly are kidding themselves, there is always room for improvement and in my experience, it is always more effective when two people are working together on these things. Why not contact me at Nicholl Consultancy and we can get started. Alternatively, if you are already brilliant at these things and don't need any help - then let me know your secret! I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Until next time, have a fantastic week.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Buff Up Your Business

The next strategy in the "Buff Up your Business" series is:

Strategy 6 - Expect and Require a Lot from Everyone

"Nobody rises to low expectations."
~ Calvin Lloyd

This includes: Vendors, staff, your management team, customers and yourself.

What should you expect?

  • On time performance
  • No problems
  • Value for money
  • Quick payment
  • Accuracy
  • Great attitude
  • Maximum performance
  • Professionalism
  • Consistency

If you are not getting these things regularly, then questions need to be ask, how are these issues holding my business back?

If you would find it easier to explore these questions with somebody who is not closely linked with your business then please get in touch with me at Nicholl Consultancy.

Until next time - Have a successful week.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Buff Up Your Business

The next strategy in the "Buff Up Your Business" series is:

Strategy 5 - Invest in your Business

I have a problem with too much money.
I can't reinvest it fast enough, and because I reinvest it,
more money comes in.
Yes, the rich do get richer

Research shows that you should invest between 2% and 10% of your sales to stay ahead of the competition.

But, what should you spend it on?

1. Research and Development - It is important to firmly focus on your customer or client, what do they need from you? What keeps them awake at night? That is what you need to be developing and ready to supply to them, just because your product or service suited them last year, it may not suit them this year or next year, find out where they are heading and be ready for them.

2. Marketing - I suspect that many of us are guilty of only focusing on marketing when we see that our diaries have gaps in them or when our order book is looking empty. That is the wrong time to start marketing. Why? Because it takes time for people to get to know you and want to buy from you. Marketing needs to be a continuous process, you should keep your company in the forefront of people's minds, so when they are ready to buy, you will be their first option. This is best done by drip-feeding rather than by flooding. Don't like marketing? Just contact me at Nicholl Consultancy and I can recommend a brilliant company.

3. Sales - Make sure you follow-up on any enquiries you may have had in the past, you probably are reluctant to contact people that showed an interest once but who didn't go on to buy from you. However, all that means is that they didn't need you at the time and if you ignore them in the future, when they are ready to buy, they won't come back to you, they will buy from somebody else, why? Because you didn't keep up the relationship and they may well have forgotten about you - just gently keep in touch by giving them information about new things you are offering, or promotions you are running, or passing on websites that you think they may find helpful, don't keep trying to sell to them, but become a helpful adviser, then they will want to turn to you when they are ready to buy.

4. Staff Training - Your staff are the life blood of your company, ensure that they know that you recognise that. Investing and updating the skills of your staff brings a two-fold benefit, they feel valued and your business gains an advantage. Are they communicating in the most effective way possible? Are their time-management skills really sharp? Do they know how to priorities efficiently? What about when dealing face to face or on the phone with your customers or clients, do they come over as professional and assertive or are they a bit aggressive or subsmissive? Is that the impression you want potential prospects to have of your company? Does your company have a directive style of management or are your staff encouraged to take responsibility for their own outputs? All these things can be easily addressed through the right training and workshops. The right training, with the right provider is always money well spent. Take a look at my workshop page at Nicholl Consultancy.

5. Technology - We don't keep up with technology are our peril. How much time do you waste by not automating as much of your business as possible? Do you have to respond to each e-mail separately and then write separate e-mails encouraging people deeper into your marketing funnel? This all takes up your valuable time and can easily be automated by auto-responders - just google it for lots of options. Make sure you have processes in place that can evaluate everything that you spend money on eg: how many people your website? Have you a means of capturing their information when they visit, if you don't, how can you build up your database in order to market more effectively? There are lots of ways that technology can help your business and save you time. Put times aside regularly in your diary to get clear on the things that are most time consuming for your company and then explore the technology that can help with it.

We can work on this together, why not get in touch with me at Nicholl Consultancy

Until next time -have a successful week

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Buff up your Business

The next strategy in the "Buff Up Your Business" series is:

Strategy 4 - Get all the Information you need to Run your Business Successfully.

"When you can measure what you are speaking about,
and express it in numbers,
you know something about it;
but when you cannot measure it,
when you cannot express it in numbers,
your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind."

Lord Kelvin 1883

From a Financial perspective you should have regular reports on:

  • Your sales;
  • cost of sales;
  • general and admin expenses;
  • operating and net profits;
  • accounts receiveable and accounts payable

You should be able to see at a glance what your sales are for the current month compared to last year. Do you need to do something extra right now, or are you matching or exceeding the figures?

Have you researched all avenues to ensure your admin expenses are being kept down?

On the operational side you need reports on:

  • Production rates;
  • customer count;
  • staff count/turnover
  • customer satisfaction ratings;
  • employee satisfaction ratings;
  • project status.

Do you know what your employee satisfaction ratings are?
Do you ever do a staff satisfaction survey?
Or have discussions about how things could be improved?
Do you ask for their ideas?
Remember happy staff are productive staff!

If you find the thought of all this a bit daunting and feel that it would be easier to plan it out with somebody then I would love to hear from you. Get in touch with me at Nicholl Consultancy.

Until next time, have a productive week.