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Sprats and Prats!

I thought this Blog posting I would share some of the frustrations that we all must feel when running and Building a Business, the problem of the Sprats and Prats!

What do I mean by Sprats and Prats? Well, especially if you are growing a new business, or a new area of your business, often at the beginning and the early stages you get lots of people who …well waste your time.

Either they are looking for something for nothing, or if you can get any money out of them, its like catching sprats when fishing, small, minuscule and below your true value leading you to think was it really worth it?

60 Seconds to make an Impression!

Yes, we all do it, some dread it, others relish it, but its a necessary part of promoting our business, the 60 second “Elevator” pitch!

This is probably a topic that there have been millions of articles written about, so you may have heard some of this before, but in terms of communication if something is worth sharing, its certainly worth repeating.

Do You Want to Build Your Business?

This may seem a strange question to pose on this site, especially when most of the blogs posted are on topics which will help you to Build your Business.

However, I have come across hundreds of business in the past 12 months and I have to say that I question around 75% of them in relation to this question, because I see little evidence that they want to grow and build their Business!

It may seem a strange statement to make, but honestly, I have come across more “social” businesses in the last twelve months than I have actual trading functioning businesses, especially in the networking circuit.

What I mean by a “social” business, is one where the owner is aspiring to run a business, but not needing to make it pay as their partner is out working and paying all the bills. 

Therefore they are using the “business’ as a social gathering tool and going round networking meetings making contacts. or rather harvesting business cards to populate their e-mail lists, but really NOT running a business.

In these circumstances I question if they want to grow their business at all – and I am not alone in this view, just ask the networking event organisers!

But then the other businesses which I have to question their intention and will to grow, are usually established businesses.

Most are in the service sectors and have been around for years.

They have enjoyed the monopoly of their service, and seen many come and go in terms of competition, but they tick over, they don’t really grow.

Is that because they don’t have the ingredients to grow? Probably not and let me give you an example:

I had to take my car to the garage to get the back brakes replaced. I rang up the garage and the first piece of information they asked me for was my vehicle registration. This allowed them to bring up all my details and history on their database.

I took my car in at the booked in time and left them to run up a bill for me! When I came to collect the car and pay the bill I asked when my MOT was due as I was sure it was around this time.

The man tapped into the database and informed me it was due in two weeks according to their records. I said to him, if I had known that sooner I could have got the MOT done at the same time as the work on my brakes.

Now this doesn’t seem like a big deal and it was only £45 for the MOT, but the principle here is that this garage lost out on £45 of business where it could and should have cross sold me the MOT as well as the brakes!

What should have happened was that the garage should have an adopted mailing policy where they inform customers, via the information on the database, at least 6 weeks before an MOT is due to remind them and to get the booking / business.

If they didnt do that the least they should have done was have the MOT flagged on the system that when they accessed the database to book me in for the brakes, they should have said at the time on the phone, “would you like us to do the MOT at the same time” and they would have had an additional £45!

the reason they did not cross sell or up-sell to me was NOT because they didn’t have the tools – all the information was on the database. it was because they had no systems or processes in place to utilise the information to look for additional work / sales and therefore they didnt get the additional business.

But more of a worry is the fact that the owner of the business has not made the time, or had the inclination to put these things in place, and I question how much he wants to grow and Build his Business. Perhaps he doesn’t want to, or he’s too busy to look at this.

It is probably the classic business mistake of working too much IN the business rather than ON the business development at play here. The owner is in overalls with the other mechanics fixing the cars at this garage! So who’s driving his business forward???

Not every Business wants to Grow! Every Business has the potential to grow and be built, but lack of knowledge, understanding and most of all vision and desire to grow is what stops most businesses achieving their potential.

Perhaps these ramblings will help you to look at where you are with your business, do you actually WANT to Build your Business? Are you making the TIME to Build your Business and get in place the systems and processes to allow you to grow?

Sell More Successfully

In this economic climate, a lot of SME businesses are struggling to get their customer base increased and are lacking in sales. Yet, their competitors are not always in the same position. So what is it that Makes A Difference, and one business ticks along and the other gets increased sales?

Well, after many months of talking with small to medium sized businesses, I have developed and I am ready to launch in May, a new series of workshops which I believe will help accelerate your Sales. The suite of workshops comes under the banner of “Sell More Successfully!”

In this Blog, I am going to share with you the 4Cs of successful sales. These are expanded on more fully in the workshop series, but below is a brief overview of each:

1. Communicate

Getting More Customers, is that a problem?

This topic is perhaps the one that most people in Business have the most difficulty with. 

Is it because they cannot get customers? No not always.

Is it because they think they know how its done but not really getting the results? Yes!

For anyone in Business to admit that they may not be on the road to success in this subject, is quite an issue. its one that especially men have a problem with, in terms of admitting they need assistance.

yet, if we let pride get in the way, then our Businesses are doomed to failure.

What comes first – the Chicken or the Egg?

I thought I would start my first blog on this site, with a familiar age old question: What comes first – the Chicken or the Egg?

What a bizarre thing to write I hear you say, and what does this have to do with Business?

Well, recently I have been delivering some talks around Effective Marketing and why people don’t always see the results that they should from their Marketing efforts.

What has come from the feedback of participants is a lack of clarity as to what Marketing is and in particular its role alongside the sales function of a Business.

Does Sales come first and then Marketing, or is it Marketing first and then Sales follow up?