Starting a successful business requires much more than a great idea. Can you define your innovation in the market?
Most people start with a predefined idea in their head about what they want to sell. The reality is the world may not be waiting for your product or service. Can you define what you will you do, what value will you create that makes you different from similar businesses? Identify exactly what benefits you are delivering: better service, more convenient location, innovative design, hands on training? Then validate your hypothesis with customer discovery. Figure out who are your target customers. Never assume you know what your customer wants, unless you have asked. Invest time upfront asking questions and gathering critical feedback. Data driven decisions will beat guesswork every time.
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Small business owners should take stock of the most basic digital asset: your website
If it has been 2 years or more since you last breathed any life into your website, it is time for an upgrade. Consider these elements a “must-have” for your business website:
- Up to date contact information so you can be found quickly .
- A customer comment feature, and/or call to action that encourages a dialogue between you and your customers.
- A mobile optimized site – 61% of local searches on a mobile phone result in a phone call according to Google.
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Do you know that mentorship is the single most important external factor for business success? Every small business would benefit from having a trusted mentor. The role of a mentor is to offer knowledge, support, and perspective. Rule of engagement: the mentor has a sincere desire to help, and the mentee has a strong desire to learn. The best relationships are based on mutual respect. The killer benefits of a mentoring relationship: relevant perspective and advice, skill improvement, networking contacts, and encouragement. When your family and friends are tired of hearing about your business, it may be time to enlist a mentor. Ready to take the first steps?
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You launched your business and sales are starting to ignite. It’s time to discover your customer evangelists. These are your champions: motivated users who are passionate about your product or service. Initiate these 5 steps to capture their memorable WOW experience:
Reach out to 2 new customers each day. Pick up the phone and make that call. Start by thanking them for their business. Show some love, because customer shelled out hard earned money to buy your product. Ask what they liked best about your product. Before customers buy from you they have to KNOW you. Followed by LIKE and finally TRUST. If you have fostered trust, you have made a sale. Discover what led them to your product.
Gather meaningful feedback. Identify precisely how your product has improved their life in big or small ways. Did you save them time, money, or provide a new experience that was a WOW? Tease those pearls of information from their lips to your ears. How did they find you? That is a critical insight to understand. If someone else spread the word you now have another person to call and thank.
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