Every business has a growth process and priorities. The basic process is this: first you come into existence, then you reach the survival stage, finally moving on to the success stage of your business where you kind of stay at a status quo of success. At this point, owners feel as if they have it all figured out and can sort of skate on the processes set up.
It can stay this way a long time, but usually a business like this eventually experiences a take-off period where delegation is important. This is because many businesses suffer during this part of the growth stage due to lack of planning and fun.
Eventually, with the right plans and priorities in place, the business will again reach a sort of status quo and seem to run itself. But, how do you get there? First, you must set priorities.
Financial Resources – What are the financial resources that you have for the business? Can you identify immediate cash as well as emergency cash? Set a real budget for everything you need through startup and maintaining as you grow.
Personal Resources – In addition, identify the human resources that you have available to you for the business. If you’re not going to hire people, are you using outsourcers or contractors? If so, consider them resources to you.
System Resources – Take note of all the technology you have available or can afford to purchase for your business. Knowing where you want to go will help you make good choices about the technology you want to invest it. Systems like an autoresponder, a project management system, a customer relationship management system are all important.
Business Resources – This is everything you have available to your business to use that isn’t personal in nature at all. Make a list of the things you have and what you need to buy. Setting a budget based on your financial resources is an important part of deciding what types of business resources you can buy if you need to buy anything.
Once you’ve identified these factors for the company, you can set priorities for yourself.
What Are Your Goals for the Business?
This is not the time to think about a short-term goal. This is the time you write down your big goal that might seem just like a dream. Where do you ultimately want your business to go? Do you want to build it big then sell it? Do you want to pass it on to your kids? Do you want to stop the business when you retire? This is important because it will inform how you set things up and what steps you do each day to bring your goals to fruition.
What Are Your Abilities?
It’s also important to determine what your abilities are. Are you great at project management, marketing, or something else? What parts of your big goal do you need assistance with? These things are going to help you have smooth growth.
How Good Are You at Delegating?
If you want to grow a business past the point that you’re running it alone, then you need to get good at delegation. That means you need to be able to provide instructions to someone and then let them do their job. This helps avoid bottlenecks where people feel the need to get permission for everything. Set up systems, then let your people do their jobs.
What Are Your Weaknesses?
Write down anything you think you’re weak at doing. If you’re weak in an area, it’s not a bad thing – as long as you notice it. For example, if you’re not good with technology, that could stop your growth if you’re afraid to upgrade to a system that will work better for you.
How Can You Fix Weaknesses?
For a business to experience growth without breaking down, it’s imperative that as a business owner you’re always cognizant of each spoke in each wheel of your business. Otherwise, you can fail at a successful business when that’s not necessary. Keep your growth priorities in mind and focus on one thing at a time.
Choosing your growth priorities requires you to consider all aspects of your business, from today to where you want to go.
Productivity is a popular buzzword. A search on the internet will yield millions of pages about the topic. But all this advice about how to be more productive can actually make people feel even more overwhelmed.
The important thing to remember is that everyone is different. What works for one person might be a total failure for another. Testing and tracking different methods for boosting productivity can help you find just the right combination of activities to keep you moving forward towards success. Here are some suggestions for finding the right productivity mix for you.
Keep a To-Do List
The dullest pencil is more reliable than the sharpest mind. Write everything down as you think of it. Cross off each item as you complete it. You can also transfer the information on paper to a digital to-do list.
Create an Online Calendar
Use a free program like Google Calendar. Invite people and share calendars as needed if you are working as a team.
Use Tools and Apps to Automate Your Work
Chances are you have quite a few tasks on your daily to-do list that can be automated, such as social media marketing or email marketing. Set up the work once, and you can use it over and over again. This means plenty more time to work on other tasks, particularly ones that can make money for you directly such as product creation and online marketing.
Create a Daily Timetable
When we were in school and college, we always had a timetable to tell us where to go and what to do. Create a similar timetable for yourself, using blocks of time to tackle your to-do list. For example, answer your email and phone calls in a block of time of about 30 minutes morning, afternoon and evening before the end of the work day.
Block out time for social media marketing too. Plan a lunch break for 30 minutes and an exercise session. Pencil in time for yourself to do something you enjoy. The timetable will get you into a routine, but also help you stay focused and productive because you will rarely have to wonder what you need to do next. It can also help with your work-life balance.
Many people fail to set goals and then wonder why they seem to be stuck in a rut. Not having a goal is like jumping in a car with no destination and no GPS. A goal is like a travel itinerary, with a destination and some idea of which routes will be best to take in order to get there efficiently. You may get lost from time to time or take a detour, but that is up to you. It is all still moving in the right direction, not aimless wandering.
Formulate Action Steps
Once you’ve set your goal, plot out your action steps to achieve it. This can help you break down a large goal into chunks that can be measured and achieved. They can also serve as milestones to show you are being productive and making progress, not going around in circles.
Use these simple but effective ideas to find a method of boosting productivity that works for you.
Truly effective advertising requires that you make a great connection with your audience. And making a real connection with your audience requires that you know who they are, what they need, and how to provide it.
Conduct Industry Research – Understand how your industry works. It’s imperative to know the norms of different aspects of your industry such as typical conversion rates, who your competition is, and other information like that. The more you know about the industry, the better you can understand what will connect you with your audience more.
* Find Out What Customers Think – Use various communication channels to find out exactly what your customers think about your business and offerings. Survey them after each purchase on any issue you want to know more about. This information can be used to improve sales pages, case studies, testimonials and more.
Know Your Products – If you created your products yourself, you likely know a lot about them. But if you outsource, it’s still important to know the products and services, as well as how they benefit your customers. If you know that on page 10 of your information product it answers a question your customer asked, you can better direct them to the right information.
Understand Your Customers’ Buying Cycle – Every industry and customer has a process by which they make buying decisions. The cycle is the same, but how your customers act within that cycle may be different based on industry and the segment you’re targeting. Awareness, consideration, and purchase happen for all customers, but you can affect it by your messaging during each stage of the buying cycle.
Show Proof – One thing to do to help your customers feel “aha” moments is to change your messaging by connecting with them in different ways through each stage of the buying cycle. For example, you can offer a free checklist to get someone on your list, then send them a white paper that shows the different offerings that solve their problems, including yours.
Use Many Forms of Content – Use text content, video content, blog posts, email messages, video, images, infographics and everything you can get your hands on to communicate with your audience. Each audience member may learn and “get” something differently depending upon how the information is communicated.
Set Up Accrued Benefits – The more information you can get from your audience, the better. But, asking for too much information up front can turn people off. Instead, once you have gathered some information about your customer, find ways to get more information via surveys, membership areas, and more.
Improve Personalization – One way to create a real connection with your audience is to get more personal. As you find out more information, segment your audience differently so that you can address those special things about the customer in a new way.
The most important aspect of creating “aha” moments for your customers is that you know who they are, understand your products or services, and send the right messaging at the right time during your customers’ buying cycle.
There are a number of different types of video to choose from. Matching the right type to your subject matter and the needs of your audience can make all the difference between success and failure.
Setting Your Goal
Whenever you decide to make a video, be clear about what goal you wish to accomplish. Once you have set your goal, you can choose the format.
Why a Video?
Decide upon a video versus other format based on what you wish to accomplish. For example, you could write a blog post or create a vlog post – especially if you wanted to show your audience what you are talking about.
It is also important to note that around 70% of the population are visual learners, which means that even if the content is exactly the same in the blog and the vlog, the vlog will have more impact as long as it is accompanied by useful supporting visuals.
Types of Videos
Once you set your goal and have determined that video is the best medium to use, decide on the format of the video. It could be a:
Screen capture video
Review or testimonial
…and so on.
Seeing is believing, so a video demonstration of how a product works is ideal. Think of the infomercials you see on TV and you will understand the power of a demo video.
Similarly, screen capture videos, such as those created using Camtasia, can demonstrate software in a way that no description ever can. This type of video is also ideal for teaching people how to do certain skills on the computer, such as create a great PowerPoint presentation.
Webinars / Online Lessons and Courses
A webinar can educate, entertain and drive sales as the audience makes a purchase related to the topic of the webinar in order to learn more. These videos are easy to create using PowerPoint. You can get as much as possible of the content pre-organized and pre-recorded, so all you have to do live during each webinar is the introduction and conclusion, and answer any questions from the audience.
Online lessons and courses give you the chance to build an audience as people start to follow your video series.
Reviews and Testimonials
Reviews and testimonials are always popular because they help people make smart decisions about what to buy. They might demonstrate the product, and/or show the wonderful results they have gotten from the product and how it has transformed their lives or their business.
These days, “unboxing” videos are very popular, in which video makers actually open a package from Amazon or wherever and go through the whole process of opening the box, taking the item out, and starting to use it. They might also unbox for monthly subscriptions like Loot Crate or Geek Fuel to show off the wonderful goodies they are getting in each month’s surprise package.
Unboxing is like a product review, but it can also be entertaining. So too can infomercials, original content such as comedy programs, and so on.
Online education is booming, as are videos. Put the two together and you have a powerful recipe for marketing your business and boosting sales. Lectures, interviews, and TED talks are all growing in popularity. Why write a book when you can share what you know via video?
These are just a few of the top video formats. The only other issue is style – funny, serious, live versus prepared PowerPoint slides, and so on.
Match your goal to video format and style, and see how much you can grow your business.
Being confident is not something that you’re born with, or that you can learn from a book. It is something you can learn from experiencing success, though. And the best way to do that is to set yourself up for success by setting smaller goals. When you achieve those small goals, you’ll start building your confidence. Here’s how to do it.
Break Down Bigger Goals – When you have a big goal, instead of getting overwhelmed by it, break it down into smaller goals. Work backward from the due date to today, writing down small steps to achieve each day. Each day of success will build your confidence as you move forward to reach bigger goals.
Practice Positive Thinking – Each day, start and end your day with positive thoughts. A good way to accomplish this is by writing in a gratitude journal every night before you go to bed. Then, start your day by reading what you wrote.
Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses – It’s very important to not only know your own strengths and weaknesses but also to accept them. When you identify where you’re strong, you can lead with strength and you can improve upon most of your weaknesses if you know they exist.
Improve Your Skills – When you know that you’re weak in an area that you can learn, that’s a good thing. You can always improve your skills. Take a course, go to seminars, hire a coach or whatever you need to do to improve the skill set that is needed to accomplish your goals.
Network with Others – Having a group of friends and acquaintances that you can learn from, share with, and commiserate with is a great way to build confidence. When you hang around other people who value you and your contributions, you’ll start to believe in yourself more.
Accept and Learn from Critics – It can be difficult to listen to critics. But, if you allow the criticism to help you, it can be a very good thing. Try to de-personalize the criticism so that you can look at it differently, learn from it and improve.
Learn Time Management – One problem with achieving goals is time management. Remember that every little thing you do toward the goal matters. Even if you only do one small part of the work each day, eventually you’ll reach your goal. Allow yourself to feel successful each day that you do at least part of your list.
Write Everything Down – Don’t try to reach goals just by remembering them. You’ll trick yourself either by not doing enough or by doing too much and not feeling good about it. Write down each step for each day so that you know when you’ve succeeded on a day-to-day basis.
Being confident starts from the inside, but is the result of taking steps to do the hard work that you need to do each day to build the good feeling inside. That good feeling is known as self-esteem. When you have high self-esteem, you can accept constructive criticism, small changes of direction, and work in a positive direction of your bigger goals.