Tag Archives: competition

Five Essentials for Successful Sales & Marketing Initiatives

Praveeni

The business world is governed by transactions. Everyone is either selling or buying a product or service. As entrepreneurs we’re constantly tying to grow our businesses by increasing our clientele. We tend to spend a lot of time and money on sales and marketing but do we really know what we’re doing and just how much do we know about marketing anyway? Here are five things you need to know in order to run successful sales and marketing initiatives :

  1. Your product

Just what are you selling? Many entrepreneurs think they have a great idea, whether it be in the form of a tangible product like clothing or furniture or a service such as printing, advertising or consulting. In order to sell your business effectively you need to know your product inside out – what can it do, what are its limitations, is it customizable and how much are you willing to change it to suit your potential client.

  1. Your Target Market

Who can benefit from your product? Knowing your customer is as essential to running a successful business as knowing your product. Many times entrepreneurs try to sell to everyone all at once – this is a huge mistake.  Sales initiatives work when you have a clearly defined market segment that you want to target. In other words your product may not be appropriate for all segments of the market. A streamlined, focused sales strategy is always better than a blanket strategy.

  1. Your Competition

As an entrepreneur you need to be aware that yours may not be the only product of its kind out there. Never assume your product is the best. It’s always good to know what you’re up against. The biggest mistake entrepreneurs make is ignoring the competition; mainly because they’re threatened by it. A true sales person always keeps abreast of the competition and seeks to better their product. Instead of criticizing other products, seek to highlight the benefits and advantages of your own product.

  1. The Stats

As an entrepreneur you need to be aware of the statistics surrounding your product or service. A few key statistics you must know are the demand for your product, market size and your own market capitalization. Statistics may sound boring but they are useful when you’re defending your product against skeptical buyers.

  1. Your own strengths and weaknesses

Knowing yourself is extremely important as an entrepreneur. It’s essential to know what you can and cannot do, what you’re good at  and what you need to improve on. Being aware of your strengths and weaknesses as a sales person will in turn help you set reasonable and attainable sales targets. Achieving these targets will keep you motivated to set higher goals.

Praveeni Perera is the CEO and co-founder of Professional Edge Consulting a corporate training company based in Ottawa offering training and coaching services to clients around the world.  She can be reached via WebsiteTwitterFacebook or her Blog.

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Competition Elimination

Tamara high res 1

As small business owners, we are constantly reminded of the large volume of competition out there. It could be a local shop owner who is selling similar products as you or a service provider that just moved into your neighborhood.

No matter what industry you are in – you are going to face ‘competition’ at one time or another. In my field – (design), I am constantly surrounded by talented entrepreneurs who could make me think that I don’t have a shot at my big dreams. Instead of thinking about those individuals as being competition, I have stuck to my belief that there is something you can do, which could almost completely eliminate the competition mindset.

From personal experience, (as well as taking cues from very successful small business owners), I have discovered that the way to really step away from competition is to focus on two things. Who you are and why you want to provide the product or service that you do.

‘Who you are’ (for the purposes of this article) is another way of saying: ‘what is unique about your business’ based on your personal skills, strengths, experiences and perspective. In business exercises you may hear people use the term ‘Unique Selling Proposition’ (USP) – which is a common term for an exclusive offering. Often people identify and express this USP is through branding, messaging, copy etc. To really make these expressions – I suggest weaving YOU into those messages using things that only you can offer. Lean on what you have learned and see how it can differentiate your business from your competition.

‘Why’ you want to provide the products and services is also unique. Your intrinsic motivation is often more powerful and inspirational than the threat of someone taking your clients and consumers, as is in the ‘competition’ mindset.  As an example – think about a business owner who runs an all-natural skin care line. If she started the business after seeing her child suffer from terrible reactions to big brand-name creams, that would be a big differentiator from her competition. Knowing that she is dedicated to helping other mothers soothe their children’s painful rashes isn’t the same as being the lowest priced item (Which may be another skin-care lines USP).

Some people may argue that competition is a necessary part of business. You may even think that it is naïve to think that competition doesn’t need to be the focus. I am not saying that you can ignore the fact that there may be someone doing something very similar to you. I simply suggest that you use any similarity to inspire you to showcase everything that is unique about you as a business owner and why you got started.

Tamara is the Founder and Creative Director of Sweet Clover Studios. Where she provides resources, planners, learning opportunities and inspiration for other creative small business owners. You can also see her personal gallery of products as a surface pattern designer at http://www.SweetCloverStudios.com

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10 tips to Cut costs, Increase sales, and Save time

Jemi

For every small business, there will always be costs to be paid out. The trick is to receive more business than having to pay bills. Whether you are a small start-up company or a retail store, these tips you can do right now. Marketing and advertising doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money. With a little planning and some time, you can achieve the results you want. Try all of these tips once and track the progress. If it works, great! Do it again. If it doesn’t, note why you think it didn’t and how you would do it over again.

Tip#1 Know your customer! A pet peeve of mine is when an entrepreneur will tell me that EVERYONE is their customer. Although it is true that we can take business from anyone, there will be a group of people that will be your primary customer. This is the “type” of customer that buys from you regularly. They say 80% of your business will come from 20% of your customers. Get to know your customers very well. Learn about their buying habits, their education, and lifestyle.

Tip#2 Following the previous tip, create a customer management system. This means a database where you place all your customers information including birthdays, anniversaries, spouse’s name and number (for gifts), and any other information that you can use to personalize the experience for your customer. These types of small gestures will bring a lot of business over time and a loyal clientele base.

Tip#3 Hire a student. College and University students are looking for experience in their field. You can hire them for an hourly basis or per contract. For example, I had a business mentor that didn’t have time to punch in her receipts into her excel so she hired an accountant student to simply punch in her numbers. The student gets extra money and the business owner has more time to do what they love to do.

Tip#4 Do not go with a very elaborate website. Start with something small and simple then work your way up when your business grows.

Tip#5 Try a joint venture. During your travels as an entrepreneur you’ll find some great people in the same industry but are not your competition.(For example; a makeup artist and hairdresser) These two professions are not in competition but they do cater to same market. You can join together on marketing (IE one business gets one side of a postcard, and the other has the opposite. Together you can split the cost of printing and get your business out there twice as fast)

Tip#6 Know your competition. Do a SWOT analysis of your greatest competition. “S” stands for strengths. What does your competition do better than you? “W” stands for weakness. What does your competition lack? “O” stands for opportunity. How can you improve your business from your strengths and weaknesses? “T” stands for threats. Where can your competition really hurt your business?

Tip#7 Barter goods. When you make great connections with other businesses, you can sometimes barter for goods. This means providing a service for a service instead of using money. You may give a service of printing business cards to get your car detailed for instance. This is a win-win relationship.

Tip#8 Track your invoices, receipts, and bill payments. When you have a handle of your finances, you are able to see where you are making the most money and how. Keep a journal and calendar on when bills need to get paid and when invoices are being charged.

Tip #9 Conduct surveys regularly. The best way to improve your business is to find out directly from your customers. Give coupons or discounts to your customers for participating in the survey.

Tip #10 Give out useful information for free. Your brain is full of so much expertise. Create opportunities to showcase your talents. You can hold free webinars. Volunteer to speak at different engagements. Write articles for different newspapers.

These ten tips will increase your bottom line immediately and save you money. Not every business owner has thousands of dollars to hire an advertising agency. Become an expert in your own marketing.

For more information contact Jemi Echevarria, marketing campaign manager at

(647)785-5851 or jemiechevarria@gmail.com

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