If you want your business to really get off the ground, you need to know who your customers are, find them, and then make them loyal to your brand. By knowing your base, you can target their specific needs and wants, which will turn them into repeat customers. The following tips are some of the ways you can build your customer base alongside your business.
1) Know who you want your customers to be.
When you start a business, the industry you enter will give you a rough idea of what your customers will look like – opening a restaurant attracts a different clientele than an electronics shop. The important thing to understand is that there is a significant degree of variation within industries. When you have clearly defined the niche your business will occupy, you’ll then need to figure out what kind of customers you want to attract. A business that is more specialized has fewer opportunities to attract prospective customers, but it also means that you’re faced with less competition. A computer repair store and a shop that specializes in repairing old/obscure game consoles is unlikely to experience much customer overlap. When you open your doors, having a sense of who your ideal customers are will make it much easier to drum up interest in what you have to offer. A generalised message that targets no one in particular will do little to bring in business of any value.
2) Consider the profile of the people that buy from you.
Once you’ve obtained an idea of what your ideal customer looks like, you can then begin to hone in on attracting that particular demographic. While each customer is a unique person in their own right, certain demographics have overlapping tastes and behaviors. What kind of products do they look for? What kind of deals and promotions are they more likely to respond to? What kind of clothes do they wear? What cars to they drive? If your goal is to attract people of a certain income level, it will help to learn more about the goods and services they are more likely to purchase. A good example of a business failing to consider the profile of their customers is in the disastrous launch of McDonald’s Arch Deluxe. Branded as a more upscale, “adult” burger, the Arch Deluxe met with little positive reception upon its release in 1996. The people who frequented McDonald’s (many of whom were children) did not care for a product that aspired to be better than fast food, despite actually being fast food. McDonald’s lost over 100 million dollars on the Arch Deluxe. A better understanding of their customers would have led to a less ill-conceived idea.
3) Harness the power of analytics.
Although data analysis has been around for a long time it is only within the last decade or so that small businesses have started to harness the power of data thanks to Google Analytics and similar software. Analytics software allows you to track practically every conceivable aspect of your customer’s behaviour – what they search for, when they search for it, on what device, what they ask for, how long they spend on pages, how often they click on certain links – all of this, and more, is revealed with analytics. Analytics are commonly used by businesses that have found and secured their particular customer base, but they can also be used to get a better picture of what your first customers are like. Analytics give you pure data points; only the raw information. What you do with this information is up to you, but if you use it properly, you can give yourself a major advantage over your less-informed competitors. It is important to remember that while you may feel as a business owner that you need to know everything all of the time, the key to success is building the right team by bringing the right people with the right skills into your business.
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The statistics speak for themselves: the more you learn, the more you earn. OECD reports show that the gap between graduate and non-graduate salaries in developed nations is widening. Here in Ireland, this is reflected in average graduate starting salaries increasing to €28,461 – Grad Ireland, 2016.
However learning is not exclusive to universities or to people in their early twenties. It goes beyond qualifications. Learning is the process by which we acquire new knowledge and skills. Whilst knowledge is a valuable resource the psychological benefits that result from combining knowledge with experience are even more powerful – Sense of Mastery. Sense of Mastery is identified by renowned developmental psychologist Erik Erikson as the catalyst that results in successfully developing through each life stage.
By committing to learn something new you are actively taking steps towards changing your life for the better. Regardless of how small the learning, it increases your self esteem, confidence, sense of hope and optimism. We require these key psychological resources in order to achieve success. Successful people earn more because they choose to learn more.
Mastery is the first step on a business coaching ladder that leads to results. When we build on a solid foundation there is no limit to what we can achieve. Therefore by mastering these 7 elements of your business you can turn it into a commercial, profitable enterprise that works without you.
Break Even Mastery – Knowing how many sales, customers or euro you need to break even
Reporting Mastery – Knowing your daily, weekly and monthly figures to make informed decisions for future
Test & Measure Mastery – Predicting future profits by measuring KPI’s in your business
Time Mastery – Improving productivity of you and your people will determine your success and profitability.
Goal Mastery – Having clarity about where you are going and where you are driving the business is vital to your success
Self Mastery – Being disciplined to keep focused on achieving goals.
By the very fact you are reading this article proves you have the motivation to achieve success. If you are ready to work twice as hard to be successful – Stop! A better decision is to improve your knowledge, develop your business mastery and as a result turn your dream into reality.
If you want to know more about how can help you climb the ladder from mastery to results just complete our form below:
Research shows companies that seek external expert advice achieve a stepped change in their growth and performance. Yet many SMEs can still be reluctant to take the leap.
Paul Clarke, Financial Director and General Manager of TC Matthews Carpets, the largest independent carpeting and flooring retailer in Ireland shares his experience on how engaging an external Business Coach has helped galvanise their team, increase sales, and achieve real growth. Listen to Paul’s story below:
We hope you enjoyed listening to Paul’s experience. If you feel that your business could benefit from a fresh perspective, and you would like more information on how you could achieve similar results to TC Matthews, we would be delighted to speak with you.
Please take a moment to fill in your details below and we will be in touch:
With the political world in chaos from Trump to Brexit to a potential Frexit, how can businesses deal with increasing uncertainty? How can businesses plan for success regardless of the external factors?
These were just some of the topics for discussion on Independent.ie podcast which featured our own MD Paul Fagan. To listen to the interview in full please listen here:
Does your business have a comprehensive and actionable business plan for the first quarter of 2017? If you’d like to block out a day to create a 90 day plan with the help of 6 business coaches to get 2017 off to a great start, you may be interested in our Business Planning Workshop this Tuesday Jan 10th, there’s still a few spots left!
Summer is over…the kids are back to school… it’s time to get re-focused and back to business to ensure you achieve your key goals before year end….
To guarantee your success, make sure to take time out of your business this September to review year-to-date performance and develop your plan for the final quarter of the year.
Here are our 5 top tips to help you with your Q4 plan:
1. Plan time to plan!
Schedule one full day every 90 days to focus on developing a clear plan for your business each quarter. Quarterly rather than annual planning is always recommended as it keeps you focused on key outcomes, and allows enough time to test and measure new strategies and make any necessary changes.
Pop the date in your diary and invite any key members of your team. This way you have all the key information at hand, get buy in from your senior team, and know that you are all striving towards a common goal!
We always recommend getting out of your regular work environment so there will be no distractions.
2. Review Previous Performance
Review year-to-date financial and strategy performance versus prior year performance.
This provides you with an insight to what’s working, what’s not working, and what needs to change!
3. Make Any Necessary Changes
Based on the previous quarters results, review how your approach can be improved to generate greater productivity and results over the next quarter.
If a strategy is not yielding results don’t be afraid to scrap it and try something new!
4. Don’t Forget Your Personal Goals
Set out your key business goals for the quarter ahead but don’t forget your personal goals too so you can achieve the work / life balance your deserve.
5. Set Realistic Timelines
Once you have established your quarterly goals, be sure to allocate an owner and time frame for completion.
Be sure to enter them into your calendar so they are not forgotten in the day-to-day running of the business.
Having a quarterly business plan is essential to keep you focused and on track with targets. We hope these tips help you to achieve your goals by year-end.
If you would like some help to develop your final quarter plan, why not join us at our upcoming GrowthCLUB Quarterly Business Planning Workshop, Thursday 22nd September in the Crowne Plaza Dublin Airport. Click herefor more information and to register your place or call us on 01 891 6220.
Or if you would like to avail of a complimentary Business Review with one of our top Coaches to uncover ways to grow and improve your business, please fill in your details below and we will be in touch to arrange your appointment:
Don’t lose sight of the goal posts this summer – stay on target with regular Quarterly Business Planning…
So we have reached the halfway mark of 2016 – where did that time go? And more importantly, how has business been for you so far this year?
Are your numbers where they should be, or where you expected them to be? With 6 months gone, are you on track to hit your sales and revenue targets for 2016?
Now that we are officially into the summer season, it can be easy to lose focus of your goals or targets, what with managing staff holidays, and depending on the industry that you are in, perhaps dealing increased footfall.
However it’s important not to lose sight of your over-arching business objectives. Without regular quarterly planning (summer included), another 3 months could easily slip by and you could be slipping further away from achieving your year-end personal and business goals and targets.
Half way through the year is the perfect time to take stock of how business is performing against what you had set out at the start of the year. There is still plenty of time to course-correct.
If you are not on target, take the time to assess what went wrong and what you can do to get back on track. If you are performing better than expected – what went right and can you keep doing it?
Here are 10 top tips to keep you on target with your goals with your quarterly business plan this summer:
Review Your Numbers – compare total Income, Gross Profit, Net Profit for the quarter just passed, against the previous quarter, and against the same period last year.What’s the change year over year? Get even more specific – break it down by product / service….
Based on the figures, and what you wanted to achieve this year, what’s your financial targets for the quarter ahead?
What should you stop doing? What should you start doing? What should you do more of?
Write down 3-5 goals that you need to accomplish in the next 13 weeks.
Get specific – rewrite each of these goals into the SMART format – Specific. Measureable. Achievable. Results focused. Time based.
Break it down – Write out each task that needs to be completed to accomplish each goal. Tasks should be low level, reasonable, and should be able to be achieved in a week or less.
Share your plan with your team, or even better – get them involved!
Assign a completion date to each task.
Assign a team member to take ownership and accountability of the completion of each task.
Schedule regular team meetings to review progress of your goals over the next 13 weeks. With continued focus – they run a much higher chance of being achieved!
Sounds easy doesn’t it? It can be if you take the time out of the day-to-day to do it, and are disciplined enough to see it through.
If you need a day out of your business to work on developing your plan with one of our expert Business Coaches, join us next Thursday 30th June at our full day Quarterly Business Planning Workshop. Just click here for more details, or give us a call on 01 891 6220.