Tag Archives: website

What To Do If Your Sales Are Slow!

11 Feb

African American owners of fish market

This week I received a lot of questions and I do mean a lot, about marketing, identifying your target market, and how to create your own marketing message.  So I decided to use this week’s blog post as a short course to help you get started. So here we go.

Your “Customer Base” is not the same as your “Target Market”. There is a world of difference and without having a clear understanding of just what that is and how to identify your “target market” you can’t expect to grow your business or perhaps even stay in business for very long. Your target market in not WHERE you sell your products and services, but rather WHO most urgently needs your products and services. It’s critical that you identify this information for the success of your business as quickly as possible.

Your “Marketing Message” should identify a FEATURE of your product or service and the ADVANTAGE and BENEFIT of owning and using your product or service. Let me explain it this way. State a selling feature of your product or service. Next state an advantage of that feature such as more power, ease of use, better function, etc. Now state the personal benefit your customer will enjoy when they own your product or service. You have just created your marketing message and your sales tool that will help your generate more profit and we all like that. Here is a little tip. A Feature is a type or quantity of something. It is also a logical or intellectual statement. So you want to see feature specifications spelled out clearly in black and white. Advantages and Benefits are a quality or condition of something, have an emotional value, and are best conveyed by the use of something visual such as a photo or physical display. Each product or service type should have its own “Marketing Message” as well as one over-all Marketing Message for your company.

If you have never had any experience identifying your target market or creating your marketing message before, I know that it can feel a little daunting, but I have the cure for that. I have a Marketing Message Creator that is super easy to use. Just fill in the blanks of the template with your business and product information and when you are done you have your very own marketing message that you can instantly use to on any products or services to help you generate more sales. The best part is that it is now available to you as part of my Small Business Toolkit and you can get yours now simply by clicking the link below.

If you have a different resource, that’s okay. It’s just important that you do it. There is a lot more to creating a successful marketing message than what I can convey here, but I hope this has helps to get you started. In the Marketing Message Creator that is included in the Small Business Toolkit I have already done most of the work for you so all you have to do is just fill in the blanks to a few questions and wha-la, you have identified your target market and created your first marketing message! These two things are worth their weight in gold as far as generating sales and growing your business. If you would like to start generating more sales this week just click on the link below now!

http://www.alexzandrad.com/bookstore

I love hearing from you so keep those comments and questions coming! I read them all and do my best to answer each and every one as quickly as I can. Enjoy!

Small Business Tool Kit Offer 1

Advertisements

5 Ways You Can Turn A Mistake Into Money!

28 Jan

Customers Service 6

 

No matter how hard you try to prevent it, we all make mistakes. When it happens to you or a member of your staff you will have two choices. One is to minimize your personal or business culpability and expense. The other, to use this as a golden opportunity to build your brand and a lasting relationship with your customers. I recommend the later approach and that you make it your standard of how you do business. Here is a five steps to get you started.

 
Step One:
Take full responsibility for your mistakes. This will result in lowering your customer’s defenses and help the process of amicably resolving the issue. This simple act will go a long way towards building a bond of trust between you and your customer and we all know that there is no more valuable business or personal asset than trustworthiness. Don’t make excuses! Just make it right….and then make it more than right.

 
Step Two:
Let your customer know that you genuinely care about their frustration or disappointment. That means that you will have to talk less and listen more. Then sympathies with them by genuinely caring about their experience. As they are talking try mentally putting yourself in their shoes and experience on an emotional level what they have just gone through. Next and most importantly, ask what your business could do differently so that they or any other customer may never have to go through this again. You may be surprised at the answers you get back to this and it could be invaluable to taking your business to a whole new level and setting you above and beyond the rest of those in your same industry by guiding you how to provide an exceptional customer experience.

Step Three:
Go the extra mile to make it right. It is easy to make a simple return, but it is important to make sure that your customer is also happy. Look for any opportunity to meet even an unspoken need like offering an additional solution to your customer’s need that may have nothing to do with you or your business, but saves them time, money, extra steps, etc… That means you will need to be fully engaged with your customer. Do they look tired and spent? Ask a co-worker to provide them with a refreshment while you continue to process their return. If your business is online this may be more difficult to do. I highly recommend the use of Skype or Face Time as a way to make their experience more personal. Ask questions about how and why they were using your product or service. This may give you insights how you can serve them more in unexpected ways.

Step Four:
Add some extra and unexpected value in the way of extra products or services that are relevant to your customer. This could be in the way of a free sample which is a great way to introduce your customers to your new products and services.

 
Step Five:
This is key! Follow up about a week later just to make sure your customer is happy and ask if they have had a chance to try out the free gift you provided them and how they liked it. Take it old school and send them a personal hand written note sent by snail-mail. The idea is to fully convey to your customer how important you think they are and how much you value them. And let’s face it, we could all use a bit more of that. Your customer is no different. This is the final and key step in this process of turning a mistake into an opportunity to create a personal relationship with your disgruntled customer and then with skill and care turn them into a raging fan!

With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, this is a great time to focus on your customer relationships. If you would like more step-by-step help to grow your business and generate more sales, then you are going to need my Small Business Toolkit! It’s packed full of tips and tools that my small business clients just like you have successfully used to grow their business. These are the same techniques that have helped me build my own business development company from scratch into an international corporation with clients around the world. This comprehensive Small Business Toolkit 1s usually included with membership in the Small Business Academy. However, I am going to make it available to business owners like you for a limited time only. And yes, we ship anywhere in the world! Get yours now while it is still available!

Small Business Tool Kit Offer 1

​5 Things You Need To Do To Successfully Start and Grow Your Business

14 Jan

 

women winemakers 1.jpg

Some entrepreneurs can sometimes be afraid of failure especially if they are first time business owners.  What they may not realize is that failure does not have to mean the end of your business, but rather it is simply a teaching tool to help you coarse correct back onto the path of success.

 

That being said, there are some things that you can do to keep you on that path longer and ensure the successful start and quicker growth of your business.  I have put together five of the most essential for you here, but if you need more help please feel free to visit my website www.AlexzandraD.com where you will find information and opportunities to access all the tools and solutions for your business needs right at your finger tips.

 

Write A Business Plan  businessplan.jpg

Nearly all reputable business advisors will advocate you create a business plan and I would be willing to bet that any successful business you could think of has created one.  If you have never written one before, it can be a little daunting and overwhelming, but it does not need to be.  Think of a business plan as simply your road map to success.  In your mind think of what your ultimate successful business would look like in as much detail as possible.  Now reverse engineer that vision from there to where you are now.  That is your business plan.  Remember, that you business plan has an expiration date of 6 months so you will need to update it at least twice a year.  Here are a few things you will want to include;

 

  1. Who you and your business are.
  2. How is  your business structured and who are the key players?
  3. Who is your target customer and what is their most urgent need?
  4. What products or services do you provide and what problems do you solve for your customer?
  5. How do you make your customers and potential customers aware that you have the products or services to solve their most urgent need?
  6. How do you deliver or fulfill those products or services?
  7. What does it cost to do what you do and, what and when are your projected profits?
  8. Who else in your industry does what you do and how are you the same or different from them?

 

legal-structures.jpgYour Business Structure

I am not a lawyer and if you do not already have a business lawyer, I strongly urge you to get one.  How you structure your business will have an impact on your business both legally and how you pay your taxes.  You need to make sure that both your personal and business assets are protected, and that you are not under or over paying your taxes.  Each business is different and your needs in this area can change from year to year as state and federal laws change.  To help keep you on track and protected well before problems arise make sure you are giving your business a detailed once-over by trained eyes of a reputable attorney and CPA.

 

Business Licenses and Permits  BL.jpg

Nothing will cause you more headache and close your business faster than not having the right business licenses and permits for your particular type of business.  These days it is fairly easy to do online.  Just go to your state or cities website and you can usually file for all your licenses and permits using just your debit card.  They are usually sent to you in the mail.  If you have a traditional brick and mortar business be sure that you post them where they are clearly visible.

 

Ensuring-Compliance-Around-Independent-Contractors_350x300.jpgEmployees or Private Contractors

If you hire employees you will need a different business structure, business license, and it will impact how you are taxed.  The main difference between the two is that when you have employees you shoulder more of the tax responsibilities while private contractors will carry more of the burden themselves.  There are pros and cons to each way of engaging people to work for you  and this is defiantly when you need to consult both your business attorney and your CPA before you hire anyone.

 

Business Contracts timthumb.php.jpg

Particularly if you provide a service to your customer, it is vital that you have a customer contract.  You customer needs to see in black and white what they can and can not expect from you and your business, how payment is expected to be paid, your refund policy, any disclaimers you may have, your privacy and confidentiality policy.  When everything is clearly spelled out it makes for a much happier customer relationship and protects your business.  Once again this is when you will need the help or a skilled business attorney.

 special-bonus-1.png

Post a link to your business website below and tell me about which one of these five businesses essentials has had the biggest impact or played the biggest role in your business success below.  Have a business question?  I would love to hear that too!

 

 

Your Key To Business Success!

17 Dec

Female Florist Small Business Flower Shop Owner

One of the biggest frustrations business owners of any size company often have is not generating the amount of sales they would like. The level of anxiety this lack of revenue causes can range from mildly worrisome to debilitating fear. Often business owner’s line of thinking is, if only they could generate more sales then all their financial worries would be over.

Icon 50Bills could be paid, employees could be hired, new equipment purchased, growth and expansion plans could move forward, goals would be reached, and personal financial concerns would be over. The fear and worry of having to let staff go or even worse, closing their business, would be a thing of the distant past.

Icon 52It’s the fear of this kind of failure that moves entrepreneurs to find a way, look for that one elusive key that will change everything and turn their business around. What is it that will make their business a success? What is the secret that will finally put an end to their continual financial worry? What is it that will once and for all, get them out there and get their business noticed?

Icon 55The answer, it starts with conveying the feeling of growth and progress in every action you take in your business. You want your customers to understand that your business is continually expanding and becoming more successful. Success breeds success and you want to let your customers know that as you grow and progress so will they. Your success will result in their success if they do business with you.

Icon 54Your customers often share the same worries and concerns in their personal lives that you and I have experienced in our daily business activities. If you can remember this and create products or services that will resolve their issues, worries, concerns, provide simple solutions to their most pressing problems, and improve their overall daily experience you will have a loyal customer.

Icon 56So how do you do this? How do you revolutionize the way you do business? It starts from within you. It begins in the way you think not only about your business, but also about how you live in general. It is about the way you live your daily life, how you conduct your daily activities and personal actions. This includes your time away from your business.

hand and plant 1Even when you meet someone socially, completely outside a business context, with absolutely no thought of trying to create a deal or sell them anything, it is vital that you leave them feeling they are better off in having known you. Leave them with the feeling of personal increase and success.

Icon 53You can do this by holding within you the unshakeable conviction you yourself, are on a path of growth and success. Let your internal faith that you are constantly becoming more, inspire you to fill your thoughts, focus your intent, and be the motivation behind every action you take.

Icon 57Each day, do everything that day with the absolute certainty that you and your business are continually growing, expanding, and becoming more successful. Every action you take, every business decision you make, must be made to provoke and accommodate growth and success. In other words, do the things, take the actions, and make the decisions that will move you towards your goals. This must be your business lifestyle. It should also be the way you treat and engage your customers. You become a successful business owner by helping your customer become successful.

big-plans-for-small-businessesLook inside your soul and feel with full confidence and absolute certainty that you are becoming wealthier. And, as you are becoming wealthier you are causing others to also become wealthier and more successful. This could be everything from providing your customers with your products and services they need to get a job or even a promotion, to expanding your business and providing a job for someone within your own company. It could be to become a patron to your favorite charitable organization. It could be something as simple as providing your customer with just the product or service they needed to solve their problem and making them feel so valued that it turns their whole day around.

business-woman-in-officeYou do not need to brag about your success. Not only is it unseemly, it damages your brand and ultimately your credibility. Just feel deep within you and with resolute certainty that you and your company are continuously growing and becoming even more successful. Let this inner certainty guide your outer actions, and daily transactions with your customers towards success for all. Let each action you take, the tone in your voice, and the expression on your face, convey your inner peace and absolute assurance that your stresses and strains of financial worry are no longer a part of your daily business activities.

Have a comment or question about this week’s post? Let me hear from you! Post your own success stories or ask a question about how to move your own business forward to success! I love hearing from you and read every post personally!

What are the best ways to successfully grow my business?

10 Dec

Customer-Service

 Probably the number one question I receive is “How do I get more customers?”  Without a strong customer flow as a business owner you also don’t have a strong cash flow and that can cause anxiety and stress on a number of levels.  But what if you could turn that around starting today?  I bet that would make you feel reinvigorated wouldn’t it?  You would enjoy your business more because you were actively growing it.  To help you do that I have put together some simple step you can use right away to help you build your customer base no matter what type of business you are in.  So let’s get started.
  80% of your sales come from 20% of your customers. This is simply fact for almost all businesses. This means you need to make it a priority to find out which one in five of your customers are those who keep coming back for more of what you have to offer and then make every effort to keep them happy and buying.
   Focus on long-term customers.  Repeat customers are the holy grail of sales. They advertise your business for free to their friends, they help you forecast, they save you marketing money, and most importantly, they buy your product or service.
   Repeat customers cost less than new ones.  Studies show that it’s less expensive to bring existing customers back than to attract new ones. It makes sense, considering the expense of advertising, marketing, media, and other tools necessary to lure new customers.
Repeat customers are walking billboards.  If a customer comes back to your business, chances are pretty good that he liked what he saw the first time around. And, from there, chances are they’re going to spread the word which is free publicity for you. To build repeat customers, be consistent. On the surface, a solid base of repeat customers might seem little more than a matter of providing excellent service or products. While there is truth to statement, your quality of service must be consistent to keep them coming back.
   Hire the right people. Since your employees are on the front lines, their demeanor and interaction with clients can cement relationships that bring customers back to your business. Individuals who are positive, friendly, and really care about doing a great job is the first step. Anyone who is going to interact with customers—from the receptionist through to the collections department—has to understand the importance of creating a positive interaction with the customer.
   Keep it personal. By definition, a repeat customer is someone you get to know. Nurture that by keeping your relationship as personal as possible. For instance, get to know customers by name. Connecting on a personal level with customers is one of the best competitive advantages there is. Everyone loves it when they go into your place of business and you remember their name and their favorite item or service.
  Stay in contact. Encourage repeat business by staying in touch with your customers through a blog, newsletter, or some other vehicle that affords ongoing communication. A handwritten thank-you to customers with orders over a certain amount that includes a discount on their next purchase is a spectacular touch in today’s world of all things digital.
  What is your favorite tip for growing your customer base and your business?

What You Need To Know Right Now To Get Your Business Moving!

3 Dec

76801102.jpg

Did you know that 80% of your sales come from 20% of your customers?  This is simply fact for almost all businesses.  This means you need to make it a priority to find out which one in five of your customers are those who keep coming back for more of what you have to offer and then make every effort to keep them happy and buying.  There are several very effective ways of doing this and it is up to you to choose the one that works best for you and your business, but let me give you a couple of suggestions to get you started thinking.

 

One of the least expensive ways I know of as of this writing is using Social Media.  You can quickly set up a page on the site you think the majority of your customers will also be using and then engage them in “conversation” by asking questions such as “What is your favorite product?”  “What new product or service would you like to see in our (place of business)?”  “What is your least favorite product or service and why?”  “Have you or would you invite your friends to our (place of business)?”  Can you see how valuable this type of information would be to making sure that you are on target and meeting your customer’s needs?  This could quickly answer the question of why you have not been seeing the growth in your customer base and your bottom line that you have been looking for.  The anxiety and stress that you have been feeling could begin to be eliminated just by having a clear understanding of what your customers like and don’t like, of what is working and what is not.

 

Cultivate that special relationship with the 20% of your customer base by giving them a voice and an opportunity to connect with you in addition to your place of business.  As an example, I used my social media page to ask my fans and readers (that would be you) what was the one thing that they felt was holding them back from reaching their business goals.  Over the next few days I looked over the responses and found that the one thing that almost everyone wanted was to know how to get more customers into their place of business and that set the wheels in motion for me to write this book to help you do just that.

 

So your next step should be to set up a business page using the social media platform that best suites your business.  If you don’t know which one that would be, ask your customers.  Find out where they spend most of their social media time and then put up a page.  It usually takes about 10 to 15 minutes.

 

Once you have your page up or if you already have a business page begin to engage your customer base in conversation and ask questions.  Be prepared to take that information good or bad, and make the adjustments that will help you grow your customer base.  And by all means, make sure you let your customers know that you heard what they had to say and that you now have available what they needed or wanted.

 

Can you see by making this first step how it would positively impact your business and your bottom-line?  Would it increase in your customer base and ultimately your sales?  How would more customers and ultimately more sales, reduce the stress levels and worry that you have been experiencing lately and positively impact those closest to you?  Please leave your comments and questions below.  I look forward to reading each one! For more even help you can also get my FREE video series on “How To Get More Customer and Grow Your Business”.  Just go to: www.AlexzandraD.com

 

How Not To Commit Grand Larceny…..In Your Own Business!

12 Nov

MAN STEALING MONEY FROM A CASH REGISTER - MODEL

My long time business attorney and friend Keith Baldwin, gave me some good advice when I was first starting out. It is the same information I have passed on to countless clients of my own. So today I would like to share it with you. Keith has been kind enough to allow me to share one of his recent blog posts with you all that walks you through the do’s and don’ts when it comes to handling money from your own business.  This is so good you may want to take notes!
__________________________________________________________________________________________
Mixing Up Family Business and Personal Business: Pitfalls to Avoid  
By Keith Baldwin on October 3rd, 2014
In a family-owned business, there may be a fine line between the interests of the business and the personal interests of the individuals who own and control the business. Family business owner/operators can fall into the trap of thinking that whatever is in their own personal best interest is also in the best interest of the business. That is not always the case where the business includes multiple family members.
Take, for example, the case of a company we’ll call Friendly Enterprises, Inc., held by members of the Friendly family for 50 years. Its stock is now owned by Emma Friendly, two of her brothers and one sister. The brothers and sister are not actively involved in the business. It has been the habit of Emma as the president, senior member of the family and largest shareholder, to use cash from operations for her daily expenses, including leasing a car and paying for gasoline, buying lunches and dinners with and without customers as guests, maintaining her condominium in Palm Springs, and traveling around the country for both business and vacation purposes. She has turned over daily operational responsibility to her daughter and son, but she still maintains an office and comes in every day to manage her personal real estate holdings. Her long-time assistant, Wiley, spends most of his time managing Emma’s personal assets. When her son and daughter need cash for their living expenses, she recommends that they just remove it from the till to avoid having to draw up loan documents. She rationalizes that, since the family owns the business, everything that the business earns is there for the family’s use.
So, is there a problem here? Well, several. First, there are a number of income tax-related issues that any competent CPA or tax lawyer would recognize and advise the company to correct. Some of the personal benefits enjoyed by Emma and her daughter and son will likely be considered income or dividends for federal and state tax purposes and must be declared as such on their personal returns. Friendly Enterprises, Inc. needs a firmer-handed CFO and a competent tax and accounting professional to help it emerge from potential chaos. There should be financial controls in place so that no one—including family members, can simply remove cash from the till without accounting for it.
There are other issues that relate to the duties that exist among shareholders. Unless the shareholders have agreed that Emma’s use of company funds is acceptable as either personal compensation or legitimate corporate expenses, Emma may be required to defend herself against claims for self-dealing and breach of her duties as a senior shareholder to the junior shareholders. The board of directors has the authority to approve compensation to officers of the company, but it must be able to differentiate between compensation or dividends to one officer/shareholder and expenditures for the benefit of the corporation. And the board must determine whether Emma’s compensation is fair, given the limited scope of the services she provides to the corporation. The board needs to be aware that there are minority shareholders who may at some time expect a return on their stock ownership, and who may hire a lawyer or accountant to scrutinize Emma’s performance and the company’s expenditures on behalf of Emma. The board’s performance and process in protecting the corporation’s assets and applying corporate revenues to legitimate corporate purposes will undergo that same scrutiny.
Also, the family needs to ensure that the “corporate veil” remains intact that protects shareholders from liability for the obligations of the corporation. One of the best ways to eliminate the corporate veil is for shareholders to disregard the corporate entity by utilizing corporate assets for personal purposes. The loss of the corporate veil may hurt not only Emma, but also other family members who consciously permit corporate assets to be used for personal purposes without accounting for such uses as compensation or dividends.
Few family businesses are as aggressive in their self-dealing as our example of Friendly Enterprises, Inc. However, in family businesses, as in any other businesses, nothing beats documenting the financial and other relationships between the individuals and the business and ensuring that business revenues are utilized for business-related purposes. Even for family businesses that are not quite as brazen as the Friendly family, attention has to be paid to these matters. Those efforts will be rewarded in the event of scrutiny by tax authorities or concerned family members.
____________________________________________________________________________________________

As always, please leave your comments and questions below.  And if you would like to get in touch with Keith Baldwin yourself feel free to click on any of the highlighted links in this post.  Until next time….