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Monthly Archives: March 2018

Starting A Small Business

Planning

It is important to know what, when, why, where and how you are going to start your business. Unless you have clear focus, don’t even try, it will just be a waste of your time and energy.

In addition, you will want to do whatever courses are available that might help you achieve your goals. For instance, in my case, before starting my most recent venture, I completed a Certificate 3 in Business Studies, a Diploma in Digital Marketing, a Diploma in Sales, and, a Diploma in Project Management.

Practice

What I mean by practice is not to just dive straight in and learn on the job, no, what will really help you is to observe how SUCCESSFUL people have started the same kind of business that you are attempting to start. How can you do this? One effective way is by getting a job in the industry where you intend to work. Once you have done this, observe the process. If it truly is a successful business, they will have a highly organized and effective process.

Another possibility is actually starting the business. I know, I know, I said don’t do this, however, this suggestion has a little difference. Start the business with no expectations. Become the marketing director, accounts manager, sales director etc… do everything yourself. The problem with this approach is that it will take up huge amounts of time, amounts of time that will be saved, if you are able to work in a successful business that someone else has started. Yes, this suggestion is the harder of the two routes, however what it does do is go from theory to a complete practical knowledge of the industry, to become fully immersed in it.

Pursue

There is a reason why 4 out of 5 small business start ups fail, the rewards are hard to achieve and take inordinate amounts of time to achieve. How can you get over this obstacle?

The key is to Pursue. You need to be focused on your goal, and, never to look away or be distracted from this purpose. How long can you focus on your goal? Only you can answer that! However, realistically, it will take you some years to truly progress in your endeavor. If you are someone who gives up easily, you should really not try to start a business. Instead, look for a well paying job.

Cyber-Security Training

  • Acceptable Use Policy – Specifically indicate what is permitted versus what is prohibited to protect the corporate systems from unnecessary exposure to risk. Include resources such as internal and external e-mail use, social media, web browsing (including acceptable browsers and websites), computer systems, and downloads (whether from an online source or flash drive). This policy should be acknowledged by every employee with a signature to signify they understand the expectations set forth in the policy.
  • Confidential Data Policy – Identifies examples of data your business considers confidential and how the information should be handled. This information is often the type of files which should be regularly backed up and are the target for many cybercriminal activities.
  • E-mail Policy – E-mail can be a convenient method for conveying information however the written record of communication also is a source of liability should it enter the wrong hands. Having an e-mail policy creates a consistent guidelines for all sent and received e-mails and integrations which may be used to access the company network.
  • BYOD/Telecommuting Policy – The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy covers mobile devices as well as network access used to connect to company data remotely. While virtualization can be a great idea for many businesses, it is crucial for staff to understand the risks smart phones and unsecured WiFi present.

Make a Good Flyer

Right away the person knows what we’re trying to sell here. Private Construction Management services. Right below it, you’ll see a picture of a house that would look like our target customer. Under that, there’s a brief description that reinforces credibility by mentioning the years of experience with all kinds of projects.

Anyone looking into renovating their homes will identify with this flyer right away. We ask them the question “Have a project in Mind?”, always qualifying them. The next line tells them what we want them to do, which is to call for a consultation.

Door hangers work really well compared to regular flyers. For one, you won’t have to worry about your message getting lost in the mail. The direct mail route is often pricey and your ad will compete with priority mail like bills. On the other hand, everyone has one front door and your ad will command their full attention.

Flyer Headline Examples
The headline is arguably the most important part of the flyer. Some people spend the most of their time trying to choose the right image that’s going to catch the attention of the customer and dazzle them with their creativity. It sounds nice. It just isn’t the case.

The reality is that we have 1 second to catch the attention of the person we’re trying to reach. We have to talk about what THEY want as opposed to what we’re offering. In the example above, Private Construction Management might not be an ideal headline. Instead, we could’ve said something along the lines of “Got a Construction Project in Mind?”.

It might or might not get a good reception. The key is to grab attention and eliminate anyone who wouldn’t buy from us while selecting those that would. We could write a whole book on choosing the right headline but adhering to some guidelines should put you on the right track. The following are some good headline examples for flyers or for any ads in general.

How-to Headline: People like to learn and the how-to headline is found everywhere. How to hire a good construction management company. How to make a million bucks in 20 min. You’ve seen it before. It works.

Question Headline: Just like the one suggested above. Asking a question engages the reader and causes them to answer it subliminally or consciously. Either way, we’ve got them communicating with us just through the headline.

Testimonial: Testimonials are great anywhere. They reinforce your brand and its authority. No one wants to buy from the new guy on the block. They want someone tried and tested.

Crazy Offer: A crazy offer can go a long way. A really long way. You should always have a crazy offer on your flyer regardless. If its good enough, it should be the biggest and first thing they see.

Choosing the Best Image for Flyers
As we said previously, finding the perfect image for your flyer isn’t as important as some people might think. A funny or creative image will get a positive response, but it won’t necessarily get us the exact response that’ll bring us sales.

Our picture should flow well without our headline and service. If we’re advertising for a taekwondo school, you might use a picture of children wearing their G.I uniforms.

A picture like that will help people identify quickly what your service is and if its for them. The image should be able to work independently from your headline, and vice versa.

The Elevator Pitch
Flyers have limited amounts of space for words and pictures. We want to get in as much as we NEED to, not as much as we CAN. This is where a lot of people go wrong. They design their flyer to include every single detailed explanation of what they do.

You should remember that the flyer shouldn’t serve as an alternative to your website. Your website is where your customers will go if they want a more in-depth understanding of your company and services/products.

The next section you should include in your flyer is a short description of what you do and why they should choose you. In short, it’s a small elevator pitch about your company.

“We manage construction projects for homeowners and have been doing it for over 20 years”. Simple, yet effective. At this point, we have a headline, a photo, and a small elevator pitch that’s going to help us land the knockout punch.

How to make a good flyer or offer
How to make a good flyer is based on the offer you give. An amazing offer has a time limit and simply cannot be passed by. These flyers receive upwards of 8-10% success rate. You really must be able to give tremendous value, or you won’t get too many replies.

A simple flyer with no offer can expect a 1% conversion rate. This means that we’ll turn 1% of the people that see our flyers into paying customers. You send out 10,000 and you get back 100 customers. Pretty simple stuff.

If you put a great offer, you can see 800-1000 customers out of 10,000 flyers. Suddenly, it makes a lot of sense to give away a great offer. Restaurants, for example, would benefit greatly by offering a free appetizer. They might lose out on some short-term profit but they’ll win in the long term.

Strategizing a Flyer Campaign
A good design is useless without a good strategy for distribution. We know flyer advertising is a numbers game and so we have to choose our target customers carefully. A restaurant might benefit better from delivering to homes instead of street promotion. That isn’t to say that a restaurant shouldn’t use street promotion as part of their campaign. However, if you don’t have enough foot traffic near your restaurant to justify it, you’re better off just targeting the homes in the neighborhood.

These customers are going to be your loyal regulars. The cost of acquiring one of them is inconsequential to the value that they’ll bring as a lifetime customer. For homes, door hangers work best. The reason is that other flyers have to be stuffed in other places near the home. They might be stuck on the mailbox or squeezed between the door frame. On the other hand, a door hanger is going on the doorknob. Basically, to get into their home they’re going to take it off the door and they’ll look at it for about a second.

Work the Plan

Stop Working Alone

For many years, I ran a business that went nowhere. I thought that I could do it all by myself. I was the CEO… the “Chief Everything Officer!” While my payroll stayed in check, I was not generating any momentum. The other big problem was that the business was not making any money. In fact, I was near closing the doors.

My luck changed when I realized that I needed to hire talented people. Of course, this decision required that I have sufficient operating income to make payroll. The first step was to hire part-time workers who could build the technology that I needed to service our customers. The customers were pleased with our work, so they awarded more contracts. In just a few months, we had enough money to hire full-time workers. The business is doing well today, and the credit goes to my capable team who has bought into the vision of our organization.

Act Instead of React

There are many leaders who prefer to take a reactive approach to running the business. Instead of adopting new technology, they take a wait-and-see attitude. The idea here is to let other companies test it out first. If it works, they will use it. While I understand that early adoption of anything carries risk, I also know that doing nothing is even riskier. To remain competitive in today’s dynamic market, it’s essential that we’re willing to take some chances. One way to be proactive is to speed up the planning phase. If an upside is possible, give it a try.