Saturday, October 12, 2013

Six Skills to Sharpen

As a small business owner you are faced with numerous challenges every day.   This roller coaster economy of the past few years has presented a variety of challenges for many of us.  Markets, buying habits and demands have changed, but amid these changes there are numerous opportunities …and learning how to focus on those opportunities rather than the obstacles will make all the difference in the world.  

What are some of your biggest opportunities today?  How can you see explosive results in your business this coming year?  How can you attract more clients and more importantly the clients you want to do business with the most?  How will you maintain your productivity and more importantly how will you manage all this new and exciting business?  

So let’s take a look at 6 skills to sharpen to help you do just that and take things to a whole new level, regardless of the business or industry you are in:

1  Build RelationshipsNothing will have a greater impact on your ability to accomplish your goals then your ability to create and sustain lasting relationships.  The relationships you are looking to create should be with potential clients as well as creating a network for referrals from outside sources or “centers of influence”.  This requires more than exchanging business cards.   Networking, in my opinion is a skill and an art but most importantly it is a mindset.   It is a philosophy, a lifestyle and a discipline.  Your financial success is in direct proportion to your own ability to generate leads and convert those leads into new business.  Therefore, their needs to be equal time spent working ON your business as well as working in your business.  
2.     Standing Out from the CrowdIn an overcrowded, hyper competitive world, the only way to make an impression on your prospective client is to break through the noise somehow – show them why doing business with you is the answer!   And you have to offer more than what others offer.  Go beyond the basics like professionalism, quality and good customer service.  That’s what everyone offers. 

BONUS: Here are few tips on standing out:

a.     Do different things – It’s easy to stand out when you do something no one else is doing.  Most of us look for ways to be a little better than the competition, but how can you be different than the competition?

b.     Do things differently - The “how” is often more important than the what.  How can you add more value to what you offer?  How can you add a touch of class or elegance, humor, spice etc that will make the potential client’s experience memorable.

c.     Stir emotions; spread happiness – Remember you are part of someone else’s experience; their experience of a lifetime.  So how can you add to that experience?  How can you create emotions of joy and happiness through the services you offer?  When you create that emotional attachment you will send a message and that is what will keep them coming back for more.  You make yourself, your company, your service truly memorable.

d.     Be consistent – These methods for standing out will work only if they are consistent.  Then you will have developed an identity that people can count on and will talk about.  

3.     Leverage Social Media - In a recent study 66% of Facebook fans and 82% of Twitter followers said they were more likely to buy the brands they like on Facebook or follow on Twitter, strengthening the argument that social media is one of the most important emerging channels for lead generation.   

4.     Manage Your TimeCrucial to running a profitable business.  How do you handle all of that new business when it arrives?  How do you manage the follow up needed after a business expo or networking event?  Time management is a hot topic.  And it is easier than you think.  The best thinking in the area of time management can be captured in a single phrase: Organize and execute around priorities.  

5.     Take 100% Responsibility – If you want to be successful, you have to take 100% responsibility for everything you experience in your life.  We cannot look outside of ourselves for the answers as to why you haven’t created the life or business we want.  It is not the economy’s fault or the time of year or the fickle bride …you have the ability to take control and have ownership to the business and the results you seek.  

6.     Build by Design, not by Default-   Create and design a plan for your business rather than waiting to see how business goes this year.  The most important part of the process to design the blueprint for your business is your ability to see what you want.  Your vision is a detailed description of what you want and where you want to go.  It describes in detail what you want.  Without vision we cannot create specific goals for our vision.  Without those goals we really cannot develop an action plan.  Without the action plan we cannot get the results we seek.