Take Your Business to the Next Level – 5 Tips from Small Business Experts

Originally published on blogs.constantcontact.com – Written by Kathryn Mahoney

To gear up for Small Business Saturday, Marketing Edge Consulting Group and Ribbon Videocasting Services in conjunction with Constant Contact are hosting the Small Business World Summit, Friday, November 23 through Monday, November 26.

The summit will feature nine, online training seminars—each 30 to 45 minutes in duration—presented by an expert in small business growth. The seminars will answer your questions about marketing, sales, building online customer communities, cash flow, leadership, HR, and other challenges you face every day.

To start you off on the road to success, here are five tips from some of the small business experts presenting at the event:

1. Be Observant With Your Reports – Lanelle Henderson, Constant Contact

Look at your email marketing reports! There’s a wealth of information just waiting to be discovered. Always pay attention to your unsubscribe rate to ensure your churn rate remains positive. If you are losing more than .5% of your subscribers per month, take a look at all of the elements of your campaigns and make adjustments where you’re falling short. Opens and clickthroughs can also indicate where you might be missing the mark.

2. Be a Cash Miser – Ruth King

The companies with the greatest cash reserves have the ability to survive downturns the longest. But, how much cash is enough? Do you ever have too much? You can be blindsided in business. Revenues can stop immediately. It happened to a manufacturing company when the Federal Government discontinued a program that represented 80% of their business. The owner laid off 140 people in one day and it took 10 years to pay back their vendors. Fortunately, they still managed to survive. How? By negotiating with their creditors and hoarding what little cash they had. So, how much cash is enough? The minimum is the equivalent of two months of payroll and payroll taxes. This way you have a little time to make decisions if a disaster strikes. The easiest way to accumulate these savings? Save 1% of every dollar that comes in the door. You’ll never miss the 1% in your operations—and your savings account will grow quickly.

3. Continually Check In With Customers – Beth Goldstein, Marketing Edge Consulting Group

There are many variables that influence customers’ needs and you must be aware of current as well as future ones if you are to grow your business. Even if you’ve been in business for a significant number of years, it’s critical you constantly check in with your customers to see how their needs have changed over time. Simply take the time to step back and look at your business objectively. Force yourself to ask your customers questions about their needs, even if you are 100% convinced you know the answers. Some of the responses might surprise you.

4. Do Not Act Impulsively When Hiring – Suzi Lemen, Dynamic Corporate Solutions

Sometimes business owners come across a great candidate for an opening in which they feel a sense of urgency to fill. Without interviewing other candidates and following a process they hire the first person. Often times this leads to disappointment. Following a defined process, interviewing multiple candidates and doing a thorough job of checking references and backgrounds will save you from “buyer’s remorse.” A slower process on the front end will pay off in the long run!

5. Sales is About Knowing When to Push and When to Pull Back – Roger Daviston, Personal Development Coach

One of the biggest misconceptions we have about sales is that using fancy grammar helps in the communication process. However, communication does not depend on eloquence but on the prospect’s openness to receive what we are saying. If our words feel like they are being pushed upon them then they won’t be motivated to listen or make a decision. No amount of fact throwing or logical reasoning will influence them and trying harder simply won’t help. When this happens, bury the “negative talk” going on in their head by doing the opposite of what they expect—encourage them to say “no.” The central key here is doing this without destroying the relationship you’ve built but allowing them to come to the logical conclusion and say “yes” on their own.

Karen Leonard
December 4, 2012

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