Monday 25 March 2013

Letter to MY Readers

The making of the site is not only cos we all need it but cos with these trusted tips we can not only develop our lives but also others around us............................... do not only read Success Digest but also share it with friends.........................

Love From
Oladele Esan

Success Digest

5 Secrets for Growing Your Business Smarter and Faster By Dasanj Aberdeen

There’s no doubt that starting and running a business comes with a long to-do list.  Maintaining your normal activities will keep you busy beyond the 8-hour day in addition to the administrative activities that are essential to running your operations.  This is especially onerous if you are the only one and wearing all the hats. 
But before you get overwhelmed, know that there are smart tactics and strategies that you can use to your advantage.  Planning and leveraging strategies for what you anticipate will help your business run more smoothly and efficiently.  There will be uncertainties and unplanned events along the way, but with systems in place, you will find it less burdensome to deal with these unusual situations.  This will also free up your time to focus on business development which is essential for your business’ survival, profitability and long-term growth.
Here are 5 pointed secrets you can use to grow your business smarter and faster whether you’re a sole proprietor or the one leading the pack:
Create systems so you business can run while you’re away.  This will take some ground work but it will be well worth it to have a structure in place.  What happens when you receive a check?  What do you do when it has been 60 days and a client hasn’t paid you yet?  What happens when you receive an invoice from a vendor and it needs to be paid?  Determine what the key processes are in your business and document how these processes should work.  For routine transactions in your business, figuring out what to do should be as simple as consulting the step-by-step written documentation of the process. Once this is in place, you can have employees or even an intern help with carrying out the behind the scenes aspect of your business while you focus on other initiatives or take a vacation!
Train your employees well.  Once you begin hiring employees, make sure their roles are properly defined and they are properly trained.  Take the time to get them acquainted with your business and its objectives and goals.  Show them how to do their job to your satisfaction; this will be more efficient than you having to make revisions after an initial attempt.  If it is possible and your budget will allow, have segregation of duties to enable your employees to become more efficient in their areas of responsibility over time.  You can also alleviate the level of teaching you do if you hire individuals who are experienced in their roles and have the necessary skills.
Partner with other businesses. There’s no reason to do everything alone.  Look for opportunities to partner with other businesses in ways that are mutually beneficial.  You will both save time and money and will be more efficient.  Talk to your clients to find out what they need help with.  If it is something that is beyond your area of expertise and you know someone who can deliver, make the introduction.  Similarly, develop a relationship with a network of businesses that do the same for you. This works well with businesses in different industries since they are not your direct competitors.
Leverage established networks.  If your business is new and still small, look for ways to get your name out there.  Consider advertising in established email marketing newsletters or on blogs and websites that have a lot of traffic.  If you have your own blog, consider writing for other blogs with a larger number of readers.  Another business may have a short-term project that you may be able to use your skills to assist with so consider such opportunities as they will also give you access to a wider audience.
Find mentors who have been there and done it. There are business principles that are tried and true.  So no matter what industry you’re in, there are basic things that could help your business if you know about them and apply them correctly.  Develop a relationship with a few mentors who are willing to share their insight with you based on their experiences. People love to give back and tell their stories.  Listen attentively, ask questions and share your goals so they can help point you in the right direction.
Have you used similar tactics to grow your business before?  Do you have other tactics that you’ve used?  What results have you seen with your strategies and which ones are the most effective? 

Friday 22 March 2013

Success Digest

Which Cellphone Plan is Right for Your Small Business? By Liam Garcia

According to most business experts, cellphones are one of the top tools for small businesses. By signing your business up for a cellphone plan, you are automatically improving productivity. Not only does it benefit your employees, it improves the communication between you and your clients.
It’s all about accessibility. Having your company at your fingertips shows your clients that your business is flexible and that even when you aren’t at your desk, you are within reach.
Choosing a cellphone plan for your business is considerably harder than choosing one for personal use, because you have to take 5-10 other people into consideration. That is why it is so crucial to do the proper research in order to maximize your plan.
What will you be using the phones for? Which employees truly require a company cellphone? You must ask yourself these questions in order to get the most savings from whichever cellular carrier plan you choose.
Whether you’re a fan of AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint or Verizon Wireless; you need to make sure that you have the right cellphone plan for your small business. There are many factors to consider coverage, data, contract terms, and your smartphone options. Listed below are some key points to consider before choosing a respective cellphone carrier;
How much coverage do you need? Check the coverage in your office and in the areas surrounding it. You can use a crowd sourced map like Open Signal Maps to see the strength of signal. If some of your employees travel, consider the places they visit. Companies simply can’t offer coverage everywhere. When you roam, it costs.
If your employees travel out of the country and work, be sure to verify international coverage. If they only travel internationally for a few weeks, consider renting a phone for special trips or adding the package only for a week at a time.
Carriers offer business plans that include unlimited data, but do you need to spend the extra bucks? If your employees only need to access their e-mails and do some general surfing, they don’t need more than 2GB of data per month. This is usually the standard amount for a basic smartphone plan.
A cellphone provider’s natural initiative is to sell you a bulked up contract. Before you sign, check the costs of going over the data cap or exceeding the talk time. Be sure that you have unlimited talk and text with the other phones on your plan.
When it comes to signing contracts that last 2 years, consider how often you turn over employees in your small business. Early termination can cost you up to $400 per line. If an employee quits or is terminated, it will cost you.
Which Phone?
Will your employees need smartphones or can they do without the data? While the Samsung Galaxy III or iphone 5  might be the best smart phones on the market, your company might not need the luxuries of these phones. If talk and text are the only requirements, don’t waste money on a new phone. Buy refurbished, if you can.
If your company chooses to use smartphones, will you be able to upgrade after a year or two? Phones are constantly changing and improving, much like your small business. If you are a high-tech business, it will pay to keep up with the evolution.

Tuesday 19 March 2013

Success Digest

How to Refresh Your Small Business Elevator Pitch for 2013 By Karin Bellantoni

It doesn’t matter what you call it, just what you say…  Here are some tips on how to refresh your elevator pitch in 2013.
As a coach, facilitator and sales consultant for many companies over the years… This is where we always start.
But first, before you get started crafting your pitch, keep in mind that people don’t care who you are and what you do until they understand what you can do for them.
We all know this, yet we continue to introduce ourselves with the same old tired, worn out, back dated, ancient value proposition that you were using 5 to 10 years ago when you started your company! Maybe you just followed what your older peer from your former job did. A short stint in multi-level marketing business many years ago taught me that your pitch is 90% of the sale, so make it good no matter who you are talking to.
You may be introduced to someone who is one degree away from your ideal buyer! A solid elevator pitch can motivate that person to make that critical warm introduction.
Old Formula:
This is who I am.
This is what I do.
Here is more about my company than you will ever want to know….zzzzzzzzzzzzzz!
Are you still awake?
I want to tell you what I can do for you.
Too late…. (hear the buzzer ring)
In the age of me, me, me you have an opportunity to be different.
In the fast-paced, ever changing, dynamic world in which we live, everyone is busy. And you’d best believe the clients you want are busy (too busy too hear all that rhetoric.) They just want to know what is in it for them.
So lets think about the formula in a little different way.
Start with the RESULTS you create for people… then the people will know what you can do for them and others. When you start with a powerful results statement people will automatically ask you how you do that or why.
I tell people that we help companies grow sales revenue in under 90 days. Typically the next question is; how do you do that?
Now I am invited into a conversation. That’s how to begin to build a relationship.
Ask yourself:
Who benefits from what you do?
How is it unique or how can it be positioned as unique?
What do we really offer our clients and why do they choose us?
What would make you choose your own company as a client?
If you need some great examples of your work, ask your happy customers for testimonials and explain that you want to revise your elevator speech or introductory statement to be more about the people you serve.
You will be amazed at what you hear!
New Formula
The results you create.
How or why you are different comes before saying anything about your company.
So go ahead and redesign your 2013 elevator pitch! If you want to, leave it in the comments section of this blog post.

Wednesday 13 March 2013

Success Digest

How to Make Sure You Take a Vacation From Your Small Business in 2013 By Martina G. McGowan 

But I am here to push you in a slightly different, albeit just as important direction. It’s how to make sure you take a vacation in 2013.
Why do you need a vacation?  As you pour all of your heart, soul, spirit and time into your business, you must keep at the forefront of your mind the safeguarding and protection of your most important business asset. You!
You must give yourself some down-time. This can be a short break for a day or two, or a real vacation (at least 5 business days).
The reasons why you need this are pretty simple. You must have down-time to anticipate so that you can:
  • Keep your drive alive, avoiding burnout.
  • Preserve your sanity. You cannot stay “on” and “up” all of the time and continue to succeed.
  • Allow your mind time to renew and refresh. Time to freshen and sharpen ideas, goals, perspective. Time to “stumble” across new ones.
  • Solidify relationships with family and friends. These are the people you are working for. Don’t neglect them. Time is precious, and you can’t get it back.
How do I make sure that I get a vacation? Delegation, Systems, Preparation.  So, you ask, “How?” The approach to getting a vacation is already instilled deep within your entrepreneurial spirit.
How did you get where you are in life and in business? The way that you get your vacations is by delegation, systems and appointment.
As you begin to learn ways to manage your business better and more efficiently, you will begin to delegate duties.
Delegation and systems.  Some of the duties you will delegate because there are people who can do them much better than you. Examples are your tax accountant, lawyer, collections, etc. These professionals will help you set and keep a schedule for when important items are due.
Some duties you will delegate because you don’t really have to or want to continue to do them yourself.
Pay your entrepreneurial children to do your snail-mailing. This is a great way to get them involved and to teach them the value of money (earning and spending), time management, commitment and character.
Some duties you will find are cheaper in terms of money, time and mental energy to hire out to someone else so that you can concentrate all of your efforts on getting clients or more business. A virtual assistant or (VA) can help with emailing, scheduling, tweeting, and many more tasks.
So, get some systems and people in place to use your time efficiently and effectively.
Preparation.  The most important phase of how to get your vacation lies in preparation. Again, how do you get everything else done that needs to get done? You schedule it!
Make an unbreakable appointment with yourself. Put it on all of your calendars and then get to work planning around it.
Yes, you will have to work extra hard right before and right after, but aren’t you worth it? Don’t you deserve, if not require, renewal?
Once you have a firm date, stick to it!
Make a list of the incredible few things that you will break this appointment for. Things like an unexpected invitation to speak at TED or Blogworld, or whatever is comparable in your business.
Start preparing people before. Get their assignments and duties mapped out in advance.
Limit your accessibility! Appoint one person (assistant, partner, VA, etc.) who knows how to reach you with vitally important things that they cannot take care of themselves, and that absolutely cannot wait.
Plan your activities. What are you going to do?
Traveling? Make your flight and hotel arrangements well in advance. This will not only help you lock in the dates, but will probably save you some money.
Reading? Get your book.
Movies? You get the gist…
If you do not take care of your physical and mental health, you will burn out. Then you will become a liability to yourself and your business. You are the most important and valuable asset in your small business. Act like it!

Success Digest

5 Marketing Tips to Keep More Customers in 2013 By Brent Leary

A Marketer’s First Job Is Building Trust.  We all know how important it is to get the word out about your business and build your brand.  And while marketing tools and services have never been easier to use or able to reach more people faster, the challenges associated with marketing are tougher than ever before.  Many SMBs have no idea where to start, tight budgets, no strategy, no time to implement, and are very impatient for results.
Here’s a solution: it’s not just the method of delivering marketing messages that needs to change, it’s the message. Building trust and advocacy should be the goal, not yelling “look at how great my product is.” That is unless you want to continue being viewed alongside the likes of The JBs – John Boehner and Justin Bieber.  And speaking of The Bieber…
Focus on Everyday Advocates – Don’t Leave It To Bieber. Yeah I know I’m being tough on the kid, but really I’m just using him as an example.  Because while many larger companies turn to actors, singers and other high profile individuals to influence regular folks to “buy their stuff”, the 2012 Edelman Trust Barometer found regular people – “people like us” – were way more likely to be the ones “we” listen to when it comes to company and product information.  And a study of one thousand people from Crowdtap – an influencer marketing platform provider – backs this up.  Two main points from the study found:
  • 70% said they tried a new product in the last three months because a friend or family member suggested it, or posted about it online
  • 61% did so because a friend or family member suggested it to them in person/by phone
The bottom line here is people listen to people they like, know, the people they feel are in the same boat they are.  But sometimes these very people are overlooked because we don’t see them as being “important”, or influential to our business success. While it’s tempting to try to connect with just “the beautiful ones” in order to have their beauty rub off on you, it makes more sense to concentrate on “the advocate next door” who might be pretty passionate about what you do – and willing to go to bat for you.  I’m betting there are more of them out there than you may think.
Time To Be FAIR.  New business models are being created using social, cloud and mobile services from Amazon, Google and other platform providers that couldn’t have been built a few years ago.  But now they’re not only being built quickly, but also in such a way that they are able to adapt to rapidly changing customer expectations and needs.
This new FAIR (Flexible, Agile, Interactive, Reliable) approach to business models is also increasingly being built to transition from transaction-based relationships to interaction-based relationships.  So instead of selling one-off individual products and services, you’re seeing an emphasis on creating opportunities for ongoing interactions; which hopefully lead to longer, more predictable customer relationships.  2013 should be a significant year in the development of interaction-based business models built on cloud platforms.
More Activity Calls For More Cohesiveness.  Customers are demanding a new style of marketing if you want to stay connected with them.  The number of content formats, distribution methods and device types are providing both opportunities and challenges to finding, catching and keeping good customers today.  This means small businesses will need to have a much better handle on which activities they should execute, which customer segments should be targeted, and how to determine when an individual prospect might need a particular interaction type to move them to the next phase in the sales cycle.
In order to increase the number of meaningful interactions and create customers from them it will call for a more systematic, integrated approach. Companies likeInfusionSoft have made it easier to create marketing sequences that are automatically executed based on data and activities.  Zoho recently added the ability to execute email marketing campaigns from their CRM service. AndBatchbook has re-architected their service and created an integration layer making it easier for their customers to manage and execute Mailchimp email campaigns from within Batchbook.
These types of integrations are important not just because it makes it easier to execute and keep track of things.  Looplogic, a video distribution platform, lets you send out a video through MailChimp so you can track watching activity down to a named individual.  And LoopLogic founder Scott Mitchell says people on average are more likely to click an attractive thumbnail image to the video when it’s in an email message. But even bigger, you can start pushing people into different groups with different interactions based on who they are and how much they viewed.  And this allows for a more efficient relationship-building process.
Marketing Doesn’t End with Customer Acquisition.  Use content marketing for customer service. If you do general content marketing that educates people about your industry, they need to know how to succeed with your products or services. The relationship does not end just because they gave you some money.  The most valuable customer is the one that pays you again and again and again. Your goal should be to get them to pay you monthly.
The best way to build a brand is to pay attention to the right people (customers, prospects, advocates, influencers) create better interactive experiences based on their needs, and then let them say how great those experiences are.  This should allow you to find, catch and keep more customers in 2013.