13 Apr

Let’s get back to business basics

To stand out and be seen in today’s business world, sometimes we can feel pressured to spend a lot of time, money and energy on marketing, brand awareness and trying to shout louder than all our competitors. We focus a lot of time on trying to paint a picture of being bigger or better than everyone else.  Don’t get me wrong, marketing and brand awareness initiatives are very beneficial and obviously a very important component of any business. However, it is not the only component of a business. Unfortunately, too many businesses fall into this trap and lose sight of this. They lose sight of the basics. When last did you look at the foundations of your business?
So what are the basics or the foundations of a business? Besides confirming what your business stands for, it’s purpose, mission and values, a huge component of your business’s foundations would be it’s people. This is not just the team in your business, but it includes you the business owner/operator as well.
 When last did you buy into a fabulous offer to be terribly disappointed at the end result? This all comes down to the team and business owner of that specific business. They are the ones who need to ensure that the business is delivering on the promises, which have been made in the latest marketing campaign. Sadly, there are too many occasions where there is a gap between the promises businesses make and the outcomes that the customers receive.
So here are a few questions you can ask yourself before you spend hundreds of man-hours promoting your business.
1) Are you and your team trained correctly? This might be a simple question, but actually if you had to answer honestly, would you be ticking off all the boxes and deeming all players 100% competent?
If the answer is no then what would be required to get your team or yourself up to speed? Have you built that timeline into your marketing strategy?
2) Are you and your team aware of the importance of customer service? Does excellent customer service feature as one of your core business values? If everyone is aware of good customer service, are you seeing evidence of this taking place in your business?
It’s all good to have the knowledge, but is there evidence of good service practises, and are they part of the business culture?
3) Lastly and probably the most important question of all. Are you and your team motivated enough to continuously deliver on the business promise? People can be 100% competent to carry out the job, but do they have the will and motivation?
Be the business who sets itself up for success. Be the business who under-promises and over-delivers. If you really want to stand out and be seen above the crowd, invest the time and energy into building the basics. Build a strong team that can deliver. That is how you get noticed, that is what makes you different.
19 May

Stop bothering me. I’m trying to market my business!

One of the biggest goals within any business is to increase customer acquisition and retention. Right? Right. You just need to walk out your front door or simply open your eyes and you are bombarded with advertisements. From burgers to beauty products everyone’s product and service is a hundred times better than the next guys.

So, while the marketing experts are brainstorming strategies, trying to work miracles and business is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on marketing communication to achieve these goals, what is actually happening at ground level inside the business?

Have you considered the following?

There is a constant flow of people interacting with your business at any given time. Delivery people, people applying for jobs, external services companies, general enquires, the list goes on. On a day-to-day basis how do your employees  interact with these people? What impression do these people leave with when exiting your business?

Do you and your employees see these people as potential customers? They might not fit your customer profile or demographics, but does that and should that affect how you and your employees treat them?

Is it policy  to treat every person interacting with your business with respect? What does that look like? Here are a few thoughts…

  • Are all calls, emails and messages returned promptly? Say, within 48 hours?
  • Are visitors greeted when they enter the business? Not just by the person meeting them, but by any employee coming into contact with them?
  • Are  the “behind the scenes” employees who are not working directly with the customer aware of their customer service role? Or do they believe they are exempt from this responsibility?
  • Are your employees aware that they represent your business in everything they do?

Can you confidently answer yes to the above  questions? If not, perhaps you need to rethink your strategy.

I do not claim to be a super marketing guru nor do I want to be one. But I am a member of the public. I see the reality, sadly more often than not. How the glitzy, flash and very expensive marketing messages can be destroyed in an instant by one careless act.

These non-customers may not buy from you now, but how you treat them now will affect their purchasing decisions and recommendations into the future. People talk to people. People buy from people they like. Simple.