Navigating the Rapids of Business

Navigating the rapids of business

Have you ever been white water rafting? in 1994, my late husband and i decided to be adventurous and give white water rafting a go.

We were on a short holiday. After all, we couldn’t take too much time off as we were  in business for ourselves and there were only  so many days we believed we could be away from the business before things would surely go wrong. This was our little getaway so whilst in the midst of relaxation and “away time” we decided to experience the thrill and excitement of white water rafting.

Now as beginners, our job was to sit in the raft, hold on tight, use the oars when we were instructed to, scream a little, feel terrified and experience a sense of thrill at the same time. Whilst we navigated our way around the rocks, through the rapids, we had one ultimate objective: stay in the raft until we made it to the calmer waters below.

At one point our raft did tip and after those few panicking moments we all eventually managed to get back into the raft, coughing and splattering as we climbed back in. It was terrifying, yet we found ourselves laughing with adrenalin rushing throughout our bodies as we got back in the raft secretly wanting to do it all over again.

As a team we had to work together, aligning our actions and our focus directing the raft and maneuvering it through to the calmer waters below. Every action required quick thinking, clear strategy and zero procrastination. Yes, at times we were uncertain, not knowing what would come next and whether the next move would take us further out of our comfort zone.

At other times we were on top of the world and Masters of white water rafting. Once in calm waters, we wanted to do it again and take our experience to the next level. “Okay, who’s ready for the next level?” the instructor would ask. There was no turning back once we had made the decision to go for it and give the next level a go. We were fearful of what the unknown adventure would be like, but moving to the next level requires a certain type of attitude – ‘Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway!’

Operating a business is a bit like white water rafting. At times it’s scary, hectic, and sometimes unbelievably out of control.

It takes you out of your comfort zone and pushes you into very unknown waters. At other times, it’s exciting, challenging and ultimately rewarding.

The key to navigating your way through business successfully is the same as navigating your raft through the rapids.

Once you know how and what to do, it’s important to be sure you implement that knowledge so that you arrive at calmer waters with confidence and without too many knocks, bumps, cuts and bruises. It’s about making the right moves at the right time and in the right order, so that when you are ready to move to the next level you can do so with confidence.

One of the keys to success in business is how you handle each stage of the journey. In our case, with white water rafting, each stage represented the starting point, the rocky road of the rapids, the free falling down the dips, and the calm waters below. Success was achieved as a result of many things aligning together, the quick maneuvering, the quick decisions and action-taking before arriving at your destination. The destination is not the end of course; it is just the beginning, as you take your experience to new and higher levels. Business is the same. Once you reach a certain goal, milestone, or outcome, it’s not the end; it’s just the beginning of something bigger, better and more exciting.

Doing the right things in the right order is crucial to success. Being sure you take consistent action every day and with a big focus on income generating activities and not just any activity is a key component to building the business of your dreams.

I believe one of the key elements to achieving success is having an open mind and being committed to doing whatever it takes to learn new skills and knowledge, and following through by implementing that new found knowledge and skill set.

What is your motivation? What is your motive for action?

Growth starts to happen when you extend yourself beyond your comfort zone and beyond the edge. You must lean just over the edge every day to achieve exactly what it is you want. Extend yourself. Have the courage to push yourself beyond your own fears, embracing them so that you can make your life and your business phenomenal.

Make a commitment to develop yourself and learn whatever is necessary to be the best. Strengthen every weakness until they become your greatest strength.

Stop Blaming and complaining and Just Get on With it!

Have you ever been in a position where it was easier to blame outside circumstances or someone else for your shortfalls? It is unfortunate that for most of us it is quite a natural habit to blame outside circumstances and events for our lack of results. Because of our past programming and conditioning, many are living a very average way of life because they have chosen to accept that this is just the way life is. If you are someone who is convinced that your circumstances are because of the actions of others or outside circumstances, may I encourage you to open your mind and be prepared to make a decision today to change that level of thinking or to change your current circumstances.

Think about it. How would your life or business change if you knew you were the only one responsible for your success? Not your franchisor, not anyone else, just you.

There would be a lot more doing and a lot less complaining and blaming, wouldn’t there? There would also be a lot more people living the life they truly deserve.

Learn to replace complaining with being proactive and taking action. If you find yourself in a situation that you don’t like, either make it work or simply leave. The worst thing you can do is stay and then complain later about it. Stop missing the pieces of the puzzle! They’re right in front of you.

You are the only one responsible for your success! If you don’t have all of the pieces yet to build whatever it is you want, then it’s your responsibility to acquire them. The world doesn’t owe you anything. You have to create what you want.

Knowing you are responsible for your success and doing what it takes to be a success are two different things. In the past I always knew what I had to be doing to achieve higher levels of success, though

I found myself not always doing those things consistently enough to produce the consistent results I wanted. My results would either be fantastic or just plain average. I started to see a clear pattern forming and it was a pattern I didn’t like. I set out on a path to really make a change in what I was thinking and doing so that my business and my life could progress forward and produce the consistent results I wanted every day. This was the time I truly took ownership of building a new foundation, taking a new direction and committing to taking consistent action towards the success I desired.

What can you do right now to take true ownership of the direction and success of your business? Taking your business to the next level need not be complicated nor does it require excessively long hours or extremely hard work. What it does take is a commitment to your success, a commitment to taking consistent daily action, and doing the right things in the right order.

Growing and Developing your Franchise

Growing a business can be challenging at times and also extremely rewarding, but what can you do as a business owner to help create momentum week by week, month by month and build the business of your dreams?

Whether you are just starting out or you have been going at it for a while, my intent for our time together in this post is to share with you some simple business growth tips that when implemented into your business will help you start to produce some solid results.

Grab a tea or coffee, a notepad and pen and read on. It’s no use reading this article and not doing anything about it, so as you read through the points outlined, I encourage you to think about how it relates to your business and what you can do to get going, moving and taking action so that you can in fact grow and develop your franchise into a top  performing business.

Success starts with planting the Seed and doing the right things in the right order

I would like to share a little story with you. Imagine your business as a freshly planted seed of a tomato plant. You have taken care to plant this seed in fresh, nutrient dense soil, in a place where it gets the right amount of sun and shade.

You’ve got down on your hands and knees and with your finger have poked a hole in the fresh soil where you gently placed the seed. You then covered the seed with more fresh soil and gave it the right amount of water to allow it to grow.

Why did you plant the Seed?

This is the same for your business. Why did you get into your business in the first place? What’s your ultimate vision?

Without knowing your why, it’s almost impossible to produce the consistent and long term results you first set out to achieve. It will also make it near impossible to stay inspired and motivated day in and day out if you don’t know what you are doing and why you are doing it.

Let’s continue with the story….

As you get up from planting the seed you vividly imagine all the delicious tasting tomatoes this plant is going to produce for you and your family as it grows over the following months.  As each day follows you check on your seed to see if it has peeked out of the ground. You can barely contain your excitement because you know how gratifying it will be to successfully grow something of your own.

You check the soil to see if it’s moist enough, you give it water when it gets too dry. A week goes by and still nothing peeks out of the ground.  You ask yourself, “Did I give it too much water? Did I give it enough? Did I plant it in the right place? Maybe it’s just the weather?” You go into the house and look on the internet to see how long it takes for a tomato seed to sprout once it’s planted. You find that it takes about two to three weeks for a leaf to show. You now feel a sense of relief knowing that you are probably on track.

You continue reading and you discover that the average plant will not produce fruit for about two full months. You remember reading about this earlier and now you are very content to have fruit in two months.

You can almost taste and feel exactly what it’s going to be like biting into that perfectly ripened tomato and then you read one last fact that no one ever told you before. The tomato expert writes,

“Some plants won’t produce fruit the very first year depending on the seed. Sometimes you have to care for the seed until it grows then wait till the plant germinates and drops another seed in the ground that will grow the following year.”  You stop and think, “I wish I knew this before I started this whole thing”. You make a mental note to plan better next time before embarking on a farming adventure. As you absorb this information, you feel less excited than you did just one week ago. You hope that all your work will produce fruit this year.

As another week goes by you check on your seed only to find that it’s not a seed anymore, it’s now a tiny little plant with one leaf peeking out of the soil. You feel your excitement return because even if this plant does not produce fruit this year at least you have the satisfaction of knowing you made something real.

You planted a seed and it’s now growing every day.

With your new found excitement that comes from noticing your successes, you begin to ask yourself, “Is there anything that I can do to make this tomato plant grow faster?” Is there anything you can do that will tilt the scale in your favour that would get you fruit this year?

So, you make a wise decision and decide to seek advice from an expert. After a short consultation from the best tomato grower in the business, someone who knows how to get these tomato plants to grow and produce more fruit, you go back home to your tomato plant and follow the instructions to the letter. You tirelessly do everything that’s required and your plant now grows and grows and grows. Two more weeks pass and you are getting so close to when most tomato plants will produce fruit. Will your plant produce fruit this year? You can barely wait, you feel confident because you have done everything right.

The next morning you wake up and to your surprise you notice several tiny tomatoes on your plant. You feel great; you feel immense satisfaction that you will get ripe fruit this season and your efforts will be rewarded.

It’s time to celebrate and like any good tomato grower you also know it’s now time to make even better decisions regarding your plant. Feeling confident and ready you now take all the appropriate action to ensure that you will be biting into a perfectly ripe and fresh tomato in just a few more weeks.

Building and growing your business is just like growing the tomato plant.

It’s important to do the right things in the right order to build higher levels of success. The expert in the story is, in fact, your franchisor and possibly even a business growth consultant like myself.

Support, knowledge and expertise are available to you so ensure you tap into that regularly.

If you just so happen to have a franchisor who isn’t as accessible as you had hoped, then find the support elsewhere. There are so many resources out there to help you grow your business.

It’s up to you to go and make it happen.

The seed has been planted.  How will you nurture and care for it to ensure you produce fruit year in and year out?

Setting goals. creating a new blueprint for Success

As part of a franchise group, you should have a blueprint or plan for business growth to follow, but it shouldn’t stop there. What can you do to take ownership and work that plan? The sentence should now read.  It’s a new year so it’s time to review your goals and plans as you progress forward in your business. Perhaps you are not as close to where you wanted to be, or perhaps you have reached the next stage of success.

Whatever your position is right at this moment, NOW is the time to REVIEW

YOUR PLAN and DESIRED OUTCOMES for the year.

Here’s a quick review of how to successfully set and achieve your goals.

Set goals the Smart way and take consistent action to achieve them

I am sure you have heard this before either from a past article, from my newsletters or even another resource. Your goals should be SMARTA goals. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time Bound or Time Framed and Action.

Here’s the flaw in this.

It’s no use setting goals if you are not going to take the action on a daily basis that will move you closer to achieving them.

How many times have you set a goal only to review them in six or 12 months time and have become overwhelmed or disappointed at how many you just didn’t achieve?  It happens often for many business owners and here’s the reason why:

You have to take the necessary action to achieve your goals. Setting them just isn’t going to do it for you.

With this in mind, start to review your current plan, think about what you want to achieve this year and put a plan of action in place to ensure every day is moving you closer to achieving your desired outcomes and not further away.

You Must Be Committed To Your Success

Make a total commitment to your success.

Once you have made the decision to be in business, be in that business. Get into it with both feet and don’t let anything hold you back. I have found there are two types of people: those who are interested in success and those who are committed.

Those who are simply interested, do what is convenient to them. Those who are truly committed will do whatever it takes to achieve their desired outcomes and the next level of success.  What are you doing every day to ensure the best outcomes for you, your customer, the franchisor, and the franchise network?  Make a commitment right now to start doing whatever it takes to make your business a success.

Start with writing a list of all the things you could do better in your business, or what you could do to go a little bit further for your customer, your staff, with your suppliers, and in other areas of your business. It only takes one or two things that could make a massive difference to your bottom line.

Communication Is The Key To Building A Successful Franchise

Now, of course communication is not the only key to success.  There are many other areas that are equally important but, here’s the thing:  if you cannot communicate effectively with your staff, your franchisor, or with your customers – you will have to work 10 times harder to make things happen.

In a franchise it is vital you maintain communications with your franchisor.

Keeping the communication lines open has major benefits. You also have to know how to communicate and when to initiate communication. As the franchise network grows your franchisor may not be as accessible as they used to be. It is important though to chat to them about it and find out what other methods of communication and support are available. Don’t wait until your business is almost nonexistent and blame the franchisor for not being there.

You as the franchisee should be 100 per cent responsible for your success.

Effective communication can be the difference between someone achieving average revenues and someone doubling and tripling revenues every year. With this in mind it is vital you also communicate effectively with:

  •      your    prospects
  •      your    clients/customers

Without prospects there are no customers. Without customers there is no business

Before your communication begins, you’ve got to know who you will be communicating to and what you will communicate. In other words, what’s your message?  What and how will you say it?

These fundamental elements should be part of your sales and business growth process, a process that every successful business relies so heavily on. As part of your sales process you should put together an ideal client profile and review it regularly to ensure you are maximizing your potential, year in, year out.

Take time now to consider who your ideal client is. Your ideal client profile should include elements such as:

  • how    they     think
  • why    they     buy  (wants versus needs)
  • what   they     want   – ‘hot    buttons’ (remember:  people don’t   buy      what    they need, they buy what they want)
  • who    to         target  –  (decision makers and influencers)

Once you know who your ideal client is and why they buy your type of products and/or services you have to find a way to effectively communicate your message, focusing on the benefits of your product or service and matching the reasons why they buy.

Taking a close look at your ideal client’s decision-making process reveals who you REALLY need to be communicating your message to.

Communication is more important than ever and not just in your initial lead generation or once you have secured a customer. With only four per cent of leads ready to buy right now and therefore 96 per cent not ready, if you don’t have a process in place to nurture your leads you could be wasting your time and your money in your upfront marketing efforts.

Every time you communicate to your prospect it’s vital you stand out of the crowd, grab their attention, create a strong interest and desire for your product and service and, of course, lead them over the finish line. With this in mind, all of your marketing/ communication efforts must follow a strict formula.

You must grab the prospect’s attention, build a strong interest and desire in what you are offering, including the benefits, all which must then be supported with a strong call to action.

Gone are the days where it’s enough to say “we are the best and this is why…..”

It’s all about the prospect now. It has to be about the benefits you will provide to them and what value you will add to them. They are tuning into “What’s in it for me?” and unless you can match your solutions, services and products to what your prospects want, you will have a very hard time growing the business of your dreams.

Maximising your potential in business is not that hard. It just requires commitment, clear communication, daily action and doing the right things in the right order.

Your Beliefs & Thoughts Affect The Results in Your Business and Life

Your Beliefs & Thoughts Affect The Results in Your Business and Life.

They say if you believe you can, you can, and if you believe you can’t then you’re probably also right.

I am sure most of you have heard this before. However, what are you doing to improve and change your beliefs and thoughts in order to bring about different results in your business and your life?

Everything you do in life will create a result. Even if you do nothing you will still get a result. Our beliefs which have been formed over short and long periods of time determine the actions we are taking in our business on a daily basis. These actions be that positive or negative is what is ultimately determining the results we have in our business today.

How happy are you with the results your business is currently producing?

Most of us associate positive thinking and changing daily habits with our personal life and forget to transfer those positive habits, thoughts and daily actions into our business. For some it just seems too hard. These are all excuses. If this sounds like you (someone making a lot of excuses) it’s these excuses that have produced the results that are your current reality.  It’s vital you don’t let your past results dictate your current thoughts though. If you do, your results will repeat themselves.

If you are not currently happy with the results you are getting in your business then perhaps it’s time to consider bringing about change to your daily thoughts, feelings and actions. You are going to have to change the thoughts first in order to change your results. You will be amazed at the difference just this change can bring to your business and your life and you will wonder why you didn’t focus on it sooner.

We have become such busy beings in such a busy society that we tend to be just doing and talking about what we don’t want rather than focusing on what we do want. It takes a lot of discipline to focus purely on what you do want, however I can guarantee you once you do just that you will be happy with the results you start to see.

The average person has 25,000 thoughts every day. Unfortunately they are the same thoughts day after day after day. Have you ever had a day off and found yourself automatically driving to work? It happens and all to often I must say. This is because most of us live a habitual life and you don’t have to put much thought into a habit. So make a commitment to changing your habits. Drive a different way to work. Change some ways you do things at work, and start being aware of your thoughts and feelings. By changing consistently your results will also change.

So here’s my first tip for you in creating better results in your business and also your life.

Focus on what you want, rather than on what you don’t want.

Slow and steady will win the race, so go easy on yourself in the first few weeks or even months, if you find yourself falling back into some old habits. Acknowledge them and move forward, is the best way to deal with them. They say Rome wasn’t built in a day so I encourage you to set yourself daily targets for improvement. These could be on a personal level and also in some areas of your business. No matter what area they are in, it’s the Daily Consistent Improvement that will make a difference to your long term success.  1% improvement every day will produce a 365% improvement over the course of one year. The challenge so many of us face is we do nothing at all and wonder why we are in the same position we were in a year before.

With all this said you have to be willing to change and willing to learn new habits along the way.

I have this quote by Albert Einstein” on the wall in my office as a constant reminder that if I want something to change in my business I must change my level of thinking first.

“All conditions and all circumstances in our lives are a result of a certain level of thinking.

When you want to change the conditions and the circumstances, we have to change the level of thinking that is responsible for it. 

Here’s some ways you can start making a change in your business and life.

The 7 Steps To Achieving What You Want

  1. Change Your Thoughts First In Order To Change Your Results
  1. Know What You Want!   Confucius says, “ man who aims at nothing is sure to hit it!” be sure you know what you wanting to achieve in your life and in your business.  Make sure you write down your goals.
  1. Know Why You Want It.  If the why is strong enough the how will fall into place.
  1. Create A Plan Of Action
  2. It’s important to chart your course of action. By creating a plan of action you will go in the direction of your goals a lot faster.  Make sure you have a time frame for what you want. This will ensure the actions you are taking every day are in fact taking you closer to your goal and not further away from it.
  1. Take Action  You will be surprised at how many people create action plans for their goals and then fail to take the necessary action required to see it come to reality in their life. Take Action, you will be amazed at how much you will achieve.
  1. Monitor and Measure By monitoring where you are at with the attainment of your course you will be able to adjust your course of action where necessary. By not knowing where you are going it’s very difficult to make a change if and when it’s needed.

A friend of mine says: “Sleeping is for dreaming , being awake is for living your dreams”

I encourage you to start focusing on changing your thoughts, taking the necessary action and living your dreams today!

Don’t Just Set Goals, Achieve Them!!

“Goals give your business and your life direction.
Taking consistent daily action at the right time and in
the right order will then help you achieve your goals
easily and effortlessly.”
Tania Allen, Founder,
Vision Alliance.

We are all familiar with the art of setting goals.  Like most business owners, I’m sure by now you may have set some goals for the next six or 12 months.  You have made a promise to yourself to do things differently, work more efficiently perhaps and of course make more money.  Setting goals is the easy part.  So how do you go from being a goal setter to someone who actually achieves their goals easily and effortlessly?

Achieving your goals comes easier when we know where we are heading.  Goals are like a destination.  They are where you want to go.

Without goals, you simply cannot arrive at a destination, and if you don’t know where you are going then how will you ever know what actions you need to take to achieve higher levels of success and achievement.  It would be fair to say then: Goals give your business and your life direction.  Taking consistent daily action at the right time and in the right order will then help you achieve your goals easily and effortlessly.

If you look around you, you will notice successful people have very different habits.

They think, and do things differently.  They are however no different to you or I.  We can achieve what they do and more.  They just have particular habits that anyone can apply.

Here are some key essentials to help you build the momentum so that you get closer to realising your full potential and getting  closer to achieving your dreams and goals.

Know your why

Why you want to achieve your goals will always play an important role in whether you will achieve them or not.  When setting your goals the stronger your why, the more committed you will be to doing whatever it takes to achieve them.

Set holistic and balanced goals

Successful people set goals in all areas of their business and life.  When working on your goals be sure you develop goals in six areas of life: relationships, spiritual, contribution, financial, health and business.

By pursuing goals in each area, you will create a more balanced and integrated life.

Be clear about what you want

All goals must be clear and concise, so when setting your goals be specific about what it is you want.

Aim high

Most of the time we are all aiming too low.

It’s time to get out of your comfort zone.  As the now-clichéd saying goes: Shoot for the stars, if you miss you’ll still be on the moon.

Make your goals slightly unreasonable; in other words, don’t allow your (perceived) limitations to get in the way.  Don’t allow your old conditioning to stop you from going after what you really want.

Write your goals in detail

Just the act of writing down goals sets the process in motion, so be specific.  The more information you include the more probable the final result will be.  By being as accurate as possible you invoke some of the natural laws of the universe in your favour as well as getting your brain to work for you in the most efficient way possible.  It’s always a good idea to follow the SMARTA criteria

(Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Time bound Actionable) when setting goals and be sure you always set a date for achievement.

By writing your goals down you will be much clearer on where you are heading.

Look at it every day, stick it on your fridge, or your computer, it can be a picture, the words, whatever will motivate you to keep striving to achieve your goal.

Make your goals consistent with your values

Most people don’t do what they value first and therefore find themselves stressed and out of alignment.  Create a list of your highest values and then create your goals around them.  This will give you a sense of being on purpose consistently.

Know the consequences

It’s very important to look at the consequences of achieving the goal.  Ask yourself when setting your goals: “How will achieving this goal affect me or others?  Is this outcome good for me and others.”  Not all goals will have positive effects on others so it’s important you understand the positives and possible negatives to achieving your goals.

Review your goals daily

This is an important part of achieving success and must become routine.  Review your list of goals each morning when you wake up.  Visualize your completed goals and how your life looks and feels as a result.

Each night before you go to bed, repeat the process.  This is a great way to train your brain to expect your goals to materialize.

Create a Plan and take Consistent Daily Action

This is in fact the most important element to achieving your goals.  It’s okay to know where you are headed and what you want to achieve however if you don’t get off your backside and take the necessary action to make it happen then nothing will happen at all.  Be sure the action you take is consistent.  Get into a daily habit of knowing what actions you need to take and in what order you need to take them in order to move closer to achieving your goals.

Take some time now to get clear on your goals and create a plan, once you have your goals worked out you need to ‘reverse engineer’ them starting with the end in mind and working back to the starting point.

Check your Progress and Celebrate your Wins

Goals by nature are high achievements in life, and sometimes it can seem too hard to reach them, we lose motivation and give up!

Break your goals into smaller ‘milestones’ so you can celebrate your wins along the way.  It’s important to measure your progress to determine if you have gone off course.  Measuring your progress regularly will enable you to shift back on course quickly with minimum disruption to your momentum.  Keeping a check on your goals is also important as sometimes goals change so you can bend and flex where you need to, moving the goal to meet your changed conditions, requirements or intentions.

Don’t get discouraged

You will either achieve your goal, or you will gain insight into whatever is in the way of its achievement.  This is not a setback; rather, it is part of your forward progress.  Stay focused on what you want to achieve and you will find ways to solve difficulties or break through barriers.  Celebrate every success and before you know it, you’ll have to make a whole new list for ‘next level achievement!’

Finally, be committed!

There’s a big difference between being interested in achieving your goals or being committed to their achievement.  Those who are interested tend to do what is convenient, what is easy and what everyone else does.

Those who are committed will be able to achieve whatever it is they want no matter want, because they will learn what they need to learn, they will rehearse what they need to rehearse, they will practice and they will do whatever is needed to be done.

Committed people don’t have excuses; they relentlessly give up all their excuses and the reasons why they don’t have what they want.  They get rid of their excuses and they stop blaming  their outside circumstances and  put their attention on how they will and how they can achieve their goals.

So the most important question I encourage you to ask yourself today is: Are you Interested or Committed in Achieving Your Goals?

If you need some help and support in gaining clarity around setting and achieving your goals, email tania@vision-alliance.com to receive a Complimentary Goal Achiever Pack valued at $97.

 

Attracting Your Ideal Customer

If a business isn’t growing, it’s dying. And the only way to make sure your business is growing is to identify and engage a steady stream of new customers.

Identifying your ideal customer & generating more revenue

Let’s begin with the end in mind. As a small-business owner, you want more customers, which translates to more revenue.  However, the only way to attract more customers is through effective and compelling marketing.

Unfortunately, marketing can be expensive, so it’s important you make sure you’re getting the right message out to the prospects who are most likely to buy what you sell. If you get the right message to the “right” prospects, they’ll not only buy from you, they’ll keep coming back, buying from you forever. They’ll tell their family and friends about you and they’ll spend more money with you than your typical customer.

So your number-one priority is to find out exactly who your ideal customer is.

 A massive volume of customers is not nearly as important as serving the right customers. When you match your business with the right customers, you’ll increase customer loyalty, decrease complaints, and have fewer returned items from dis-satisfied customers.

Here are three areas to look at when marketing to your ideal customer:

Wants vs. needs — why they buy

Attracting your ideal customers through marketing requires you to discover the specific wants and needs of these customers. These wants and needs are often referred to as “hot buttons.” Keep in mind that there is a big difference between wants and needs. They may sound similar, but they’re as different as black and white.

As a business owner, it’s important to distinguish between the two in order to attract more customers and grow your business. By learning the specific wants and needs of your customers, you can learn how to better market your product or service in a way that speaks to your ideal customer and leads them to buy from you.

A want is something you would like to have. It is not absolutely necessary, but it would be a good thing to have. A good example is a new car.  You may not need a new car but you when you want a new car you somehow find a way to get it.

A need is something you have to have, something you can’t do without. A good example is food. If you don’t eat, you won’t survive for long. You might not need a whole lot of food, but you do need to eat.

The fact is, wants are much more powerful than needs. When marketing your product or service it’s therefore vital you move away from promoting the need for it and start to identify with why your customers want your product.

There are two primary categories of information that will assist you in determining your customers needs and wants.

The first category is called demographics. These are the characteristics that identify the ability, need and interest of a customer to purchase your product or service. Demographics define those customers who need what you sell.

The second category is called psychographics. These are the factors that identify the motivation or reasons why someone wants to buy your product or service. Psychographics define those customers who want what you sell.

Hot buttons — what they want 

Depending on your industry, customers will have different wants and needs, called “hot buttons. Hot buttons are the problems, frustrations and concerns that most customers consider when they do business with your business. Many business owners feel that price is always the number one hot button that impacts their customers. In reality, price is one of their last considerations. Most customers are more than willing to pay a higher price if you offer enough value to warrant the higher price. Unfortunately, most marketing and advertising looks exactly the same, using common phrases such as, “We’re the best” We offer the lowest prices, the best service and so on. If you market this way, as most businesses do, your customers can’t determine the true value you provide, so they default to lowest price as a differentiator.

Whatever you do, don’t fall for this trap! Fortunately, the idea that price is most important exists only in the mind of the business owner which can be retrained. On an operational level though all you need to do is provide more value than your competition. When you do, you can actually increase the price you charge for your product or service.

Below is a short list of industries and their corresponding hot buttons.

Select the industry category that your business belongs to and then prioritise your customers’ hot buttons in order.

This exercise will help you identify your ideal customers’ wants in order to create the proper messaging that will appeal to them.

 

Common Hot Buttons for:

Service Industries Fix it right, Fix it fast, Be on time, Provide quick resolution, Be honest

Professional Industries Expected results, General customer service, Price of affordability, Guarantee results, Trustworthy

Retail Industries Product options, variety, selection, Product quality, Product results match expectations, Customer service, Advice, Knowledge, Price

Opportunity/ Entrepreneur IndustriesMake money (return on investment), Easily transition into ownership, Validation, Proof of support, Resonates with beliefs and values

Wholesale IndustriesMake more money and higher margins, less hassle, easy to do business with Low risk, Reliability, Receive it on time

Overall, these hot buttons apply to most businesses in each industry category. Occasionally, other hot buttons may be more appropriate than those listed. If you honestly believe your specific hot buttons need adjusting from those that are listed, make those adjustments now by either rearranging the priority sequence or removing and replacing any hot buttons you feel may be more appropriate for your business.

By using these guidelines, you can create persuasive marketing messages that address your ideal customers’ needs and motivate them to buy from you. If you do this really well, you will find yourself attracting more customers in a short amount of time.

Decision makers, influencers and users — who to target

There’s one more area that needs careful consideration. In most business transactions, there’s a decision maker, an influencer, and a user. Here’s a typical example. When eating McDonalds, the parents are the decision-makers, the kids are influencers and in most cases they’re all users. Think about your business, your users may not be the influencers so it’s important to direct your marketing to the influencers to drive an increase in sales.

A point to consider is the end user of your product or service may not be the only person involved in the buying process. This is especially common in business-to-business transactions, where you may find that there are influencers or decision makers that are not the user.  Once you understand this and identify these three roles you will have better control over your marketing and notice a significant difference in your revenues.

By using these guidelines, you can create persuasive marketing messages that address your ideal customers’ needs and motivate them to buy from you. If you do this really well, you will find yourself attracting more customers in a short amount of time.

Time to Take Action-

Take some time over the next week or two to consider

  • Who your ideal customer is
  • What are their HOT Buttons
  • What future compelling marketing strategies will you create in order to attract your ideal customer and not just any customer

Business Insights to Help Optimise Your Potential

Get clear on your WHY

Whether you are just getting started in business or you are a veteran and you have been doing it for a while I have come to realize that most business owner are not experiencing the level of success they truly want. Sure you may be very optimistic and may even come up with some very good reasons why you are not enjoying the level of success you ideally want, you have set your goals and you are taking the action when you can to move you closer to achieving what you want, so why are things taking longer than they should.

Achieving success in business is about doing the right things in the right order at the right time…I’m sure you have heard me say this time and time again, and I hear you saying back to me….I’m doing that Tania, so why am I not realizing the success I truly desire.

Here are some quick and easy things you can do to support your journey in business and help you achieve more momentum with less effort.

Determine why you are in your business. Sometimes we can lose sight as to why we went into business in the first place. Take the time to reconnect you’re your passion and your purpose and the very reason why you bought into the franchise brand in the first place.

If you focus on what you are doing to earn a living, then you will always be doing stuff just to bring in the money. The passion will fade and all you will be left with is a passionless job in your own business.

By shifting your focus from WHAT you have to do to WHY you are doing it, things will flow and you will attract more customers, more money, more balance and build more momentum that will ultimately support you in achieving your dreams and goals for you and your business.

Knowing Your  L – S – F Gap

If we were to look at business from a simplistic view point every business either has a leads gap, a sales gap or a fulfillment gap. L — S — F  (Leads, Sales & Fulfillment. )  Of course there are many areas of business that require attention and continuous improvement however these three are the primary ones.

Without leads coming into our business, we don’t even come close to the opportunity of closing sales. Without sales there are no revenues therefore there is no business. Fulfillment focuses on the delivery of your products or services and without it there is no follow through in the business itself. I’m sure you have heard this before, success is always in the follow through.

Carrying out a regular gap analysis helps you to define your present and future objectives in both financial and non-financial terms with also a specific focus on the L-S-F areas of your business. The difference between where you are and where you want to be is the gap and becomes the starting point for building your business to the next level.

A gap analysis need not just be about leads, sales, fulfilment or the money, it is however usually where most people start. Your non-financial considerations could include the number of team members, your product or service offering to the marketplace and the number of satisfied customers. Other areas could also include the number of hours you work, the number of recreation days, family days and the holidays you take.

Serving Vs Selling

Gone are the days where we “sell” to others. Today it’s all about serving, not selling. You may need to shift a little in your thinking to get this. To this day customer service is very important to me. You’ve just got to ask my kids. Not only do I expect great service it’s a value in our company that we serve our customers rather than sell to our customers. Sales is the discovery of a match.  If what you have to offer does not match what the customer needs or wants and vise versa, then generally a sale should not take place if you are in the business of serving.

If we are to serve not sell then it’s important to ask ourselves who do we want to serve more of and who do we want to serve less. I liken our ideal client to our favourite toy or teddy bear when we were children. We still played with the others, however we spent more time with our favourite one. It brought more fun and enjoyment into our day so the same can happen in your business. Focus on your ideal client and you will increase your revenues, build more momentum and have more time to do the things you love. Before you can start serving more of your ideal customer you’ve got to know who they are and what they look like and where to find them.

You can get started by asking yourself these simple questions:

  • Describe the type of customer you want to do business with.
  • Describe the type of customer who you believe will give you the greatest return on your marketing investment.
  • Looking at your current business which customers do you believe right now are the easiest to find, easiest to sell to and require the least amount of time spent on them?
  • Describe the type of customer who will stay with you the longest and spend the most with you.

Value – It’s all Perception:

I’m asked this question all the time: “How do I know if I’m providing enough value?” We all have adopted a belief that it’s important to add value when we “sell” our products and services. Unfortunately this in fact causes most people to reduce their effectiveness and growth potential. When we are focused on selling we are always looking at how we can convince the customer of the value of something. If you shift to serving then it is our job to help the customer discover the value that is there for themselves.

Value is perceived. It is a perception, which means the value will be different for every single customer. Value tends to be never about the money. It’s about the relationship you build, it’s about the experience you create.

Rather than setting the expectations around what you are selling that may or may not match those of the customer, you can focus on serving them in alignment to what they are wanting and then they will derive the value out of everything.  Knowing what is important to your ideal customer will assist you in building the perceived value around serving them.

Most business owners believe they have to provide massive value to their clients, and

then they get paralysed by the concern of whether they are doing that or not. As perception is perceived, the customer is always responsible for getting the value out of the relationship! There are some things you can do to raise the perception of the value you provide and they can differ from business to business. Take some time to think about ways you can improve the perceived value wrapped around your product or service. Find out what your customer wants, loves and what’s most important to them.

Now you know your why, you’ve identified your gap and you have worked out how you will add more value without having to work harder we will, in the next issue, move onto learning how to put a revenue plan together and implementing that plan to increase revenues and help you build more momentum in your business.

Can You Afford To Lose a Customer?

According to the Harvard Business Review, 67 percent of customers who choose a new supplier said they were satisfied with their former supplier! On an average, most companies lose half their customer base every five years. So why would customers who are satisfied stop doing business with you?

Consider this: Customers go where they are wanted and stay where they are appreciated.

Varying estimates place the cost of acquiring new customers at six to ten times more than selling to existing customers. Losing customers can drastically affect your company’s reputation, credibility, referrals, sales, and profitability.

Here’s Seven Ways To Retain Your Valued Customers:

  1. Never assume you know what customers want ask them! Customer surveys are a great tool for understanding customer needs and identifying innovative ways to solve their problems or exceed their expectations.
  2. Measure and reward customer satisfaction. If customer satisfaction is really a priority in your business, demonstrate this to your team. Develop a method to measure it, set goals for improvement and reward the team when the goal is accomplished.
  3. When you hire people to interact with your customers, make sure they possess good customer service skills like trust, empathy, flexibility and verbal communication proficiency. Each customer contact with your team is an opportunity to build your reputation or destroy it.
  4. Say Thank You. Sounds obvious but consider this. When was the last time you received a thank-you note from a company you do business with? This simple strategy can really make an impact and says a lot about your company and the value you place on customers.
  5. Stay connected with your customers by phone, mail or email. While the frequency may vary, every customer should receive a “touch” at least once a month.
  6. Make valuable customers feel more appreciated than non-customers or prospects. While new customers are critical to growth, make sure current customers get some VIP treatment. Programs, offers or specials just for current customers work well.
  7. Look for opportunities to sell multiple products or services to your existing customers to create the perception of a one-stop solution provider. Research shows this builds loyalty and retention. It’s also a great way to increase revenue and profit!

Finally, make customer service everyone’s responsibility especially in a small business where team members wear many hats. Train your team on customer service. From the receptionist to the delivery driver, your team will make an impression. The kind of impression they make is up to you.