3 Actions You Can Do in 90 Minutes to Get More Sales Appointments With Business Owners

Here’s a marketing sprint for you. These three small business marketing strategies that may all be done in the next 90 minutes and together they’re going to set you up for business expansion.

Action 1: Create a Customer List (60 minutes)

If you do nothing else do this! Your customer list is the only real asset in your business. Think about that for a moment and let it sink in. You can own hardware and property and according to your accountant they are assets…but in fact, the only assets you have are the relationships you have with the people that are ready to give you money for service. Without that one primary asset, you do not have a business. So start paying close attention to your client list…it’s the most valuable thing you own.

If your list is in Quickbooks… get it out. Quickbooks is for accounting. You need a marketing list. I suggest using Highrise if you’re only getting going with your list, or Infusionsoft if you’re prepared to leap to a higher level. Infusionsoft will automate all of your marketing and client fulfillment processes… it’s what I use to power my business.

Action 2: Sign-up for an E-mail Marketing Service With an Autoresponder (20 minutes)

Email marketing is one of the most efficient ways that you can promote your business. Nationwide research has proven year over year that email marketing delivers more than a 40:1 return on investment. That’s more than double the next best marketing method. If you’ve finished Action 1 and are growing your list, you are nuts if you don’t have a method to do email marketing.

If you’re thinking, e-newsletter, you are only half right. I do think e-newsletters, sent weekly or bi-weekly, are an essential part of your marketing mix, but the genuine power in e-mail marketing is automation. With automation, you can capture a new lead and send them a collection of instructional messages over time…automatically (even while you sit on the beach drinking a margarita).

If you’re trying to find a solid e-mail marketing service, I suggest iContact, Aweber or Infusionsoft.

Action 8: Sign-up for a Press Notification Service (10 minutes)

Getting free press can be a huge boost to your business. And there’s a little known secret most business owners don’t understand…the press wants your story. Yes, it’s true…there’s a columnist out there this very minute on a deadline and she needs you. The trick is finding the columnist.

Here are two services that bring those hungry columnists right to your inbox:

  1. Help A Reporter Out: HARO, as it’s called is a free service that columnists use to post requests for top experts to interview for their stories. All you’ve got to do is go to the HARO website and create your free account. You’ll get three short emails each day with lists of media opportunities and the contact info for the columnist.
  2. Reporter Connection: Reporter Connection works much like HARO. It too is free and will send you one email per day with listings.

Just scan these messages when they come in and when you see an opportunity to provide great information, click and respond.

Just these few actions will help you move your marketing forward!

Business Finance – 3 Blunders to Avoid And Popular Ways to Seek Referrals Today

Business Finance – 3 Blunders to Avoid

When you have your own business, it is important to follow some basic financial rules. Keeping track of the money flow and expenses helps you decide if your business is making enough money or spending too much on supplies. Your business should always have a strategy to follow as well as projected cash flow. Money is important in every aspect of business.

Below are some of the following business mistakes that you should try to avoid:

(1) Not keeping accurate records in your business finances can affect a business negatively.

It can hurt cash flow and the decisions and plans that you make for your business. If you find that you do not have time to keep track of accounting, it is a good investment to hire somebody to keep track of finances. If you conduct business from home, you also need to make sure that you keep two separate accounts: one for business and one for home or personal items.

(2) Not staying informed about business laws.

You need to educate yourself about Occupational Safety and Health regulations, worker’s compensation laws, unemployment insurance and employment laws. By not keeping yourself educated about business laws, you could possibly make careless mistakes that could affect your business.

(3) Not filing or estimating quarterly taxes.

Taxes are also very important when it comes to business. You should familiarize yourself regularly with the latest tax info for business and learn about filing estimated taxes early. If you don’t estimate what the cost of taxes will be each quarter, you could end up paying a large sum of money at the end of each year. Not estimating the cost of taxes or paying more taxes than you bargained for could hurt your business financially.

It is important that you avoid these business blunders so that you can be sure that your business is run professionally. Always stay educated and up to date on current business laws and practices. Not staying familiarized with business laws or your financial status could cost you more down the road.

Popular Ways to Seek Referrals Today

Referrals are important in any business. Referrals help us build a reputation and bring in new customers/clients. Without referrals, a business can’t grow.

Below is a list of ways that you can attract more referrals to your business.

• Attend meetings, luncheons or other business events and meet others who are in similar business markets as you.

Find out how other business owners create strategies to meet new clients. Attend events held by the city or other organizations where you might have a chance at meeting new clients.

• Familiarize yourself with online social networking.

By learning about other people’s interests, you can educate them about your business and services. There are millions of potential clients who are on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter each day. Visit online blogs that pertain to your market and leave comments. Be sure to leave your name website link somewhere in the visitor field in case readers or the blog owner wants more information.

• Speak with your current clients and customers.

Your current clients may have family and friends who need your services and products too. Create “coupon specials” for those who refer friends or family, and then offer introductory specials to those who were referred. Family members will often refer places of business or products to each other that they had a successful experience with.

• Post fliers, signs or business cards to attract more business.

At business events, be sure to leave your business cards, free magnets or pens that have the name of your business or website on them. People always love gifts that they can take home with them. If someone needs your services, they may call the number or visit the website that is listed on the pen or magnet.

There are several ways to attract referrals to your business. A business just can’t expect customers to show up unexpected. By going out to meet and learn about your potential clients, you can ensure the future of your business’s success.

Choosing to Run Your Business Full or Part-Time

The choice to run your business full or part-time can depend on several factors. As a home business owner you’ll need to look at your time available outside of family, your skill set, and weigh cost vs. income factors. Understanding what is best to do yourself and what your limits are is crucial to managing your time effectively and building your business over time. The first thing to understand is that your time is the most important.

Whether you are working full or part-time at least 80% of your time should be focused on activities that add value to your business. This is simply because the purpose of any business is to make money. If your work is not focused on adding value, which are the tasks that generate and sustain income for your business then you are likely to slow the growth of your business and never realize the true earning potential of your endeavor. To maximize your outcomes you’ll first want to identify which activities add value to your business and produce revenue.

One exercise is to simply write down everything you do in your business. You can do this by making a few columns in a simple spreadsheet. Next, identify which things generate the sales or leads that sustain and grow your business. Next identify approximately how much time is need to do each task or function. Then record how often each task needs to be performed. Finally identify the skill(s) needed to perform the task. At this point you’ll begin to get the picture and be able to answer questions that determine if you should be finding others to perform these tasks. Plus you’ll understand the amount of time you need to invest in the business to perform your functions and manage any help that you are using. This will be a big part of your decision to work full or part-time.

As you begin to understand the amount of time needed to fun your business, you’ll want to look at the financials. Again on a simple spreadsheet, you’ll need to make a pessimistic, realistic and optimistic view of what type of income you expect to generate. After thoroughly researching your business and your competitors, you should be able to get a realistic view of your costs. Now if you are focusing on value added tasks only, you can estimate the value of your time. (Example: For every hour I spend on a consulting call I make $60 or $60/hr.) And you can also estimate your costs. (Example: It cost me $40 to find a new customer a get a consulting appointment) In this example your profit is only $20 an hour. How much would need to work to be able to pay your expenses and make a living?

You should understand by now that the decision to work full or part-time is primarily based on two factors. The value of your time and the costs associated with running your business. The final outcome should be to make enough money to reach your financial goals.