3 Things that are KILLING Your Business

3 Things that are KILLING Your Business

Posted on December 13, 2016 nerdymind

You started your business and now you are sitting back thinking, “Great! Now all I have to do is let the money pour in!” WRONG. It’s not time for a game of golf, at least not just yet. It’s time for a little tough love from the NERDS. Many business owners don’t realize just how involved marketing their business really is. Most don’t even include a budget for marketing in their business plan, which is a huge-mongous mistake. If you don’t have money for marketing how are people going to know you even exist? Word of mouth only goes so far, as with any type of advertising.

Speaking of business plans, you DO have one right? RIGHT? Well let’s start there.

Business Plan Vertigo

Let me guess: You didn’t create a business plan because you already know what you want to do, or just don’t think it’s worth the time. Guess again. A business plan is necessary for virtually every business. If you are one of the lucky folks who stumbled across venture capital and all the right folks at once, great for you. Reality for most start-ups is quite the opposite. But I’m here to tell you that if you are seeking venture capital a business plan will increase your odds of finding it exponentially. It doesn’t have to be 100-page document outlining every detail of your business. Investors are concerned about only a few key aspects: that you are targeting a healthy or growing market, have a unique and promising value proposition, calculated costs of operation and have basic projections for business growth.

Your business plan will help you communicate your ideas more effectively and help you keep you moving in a defined direction. One more piece of advice: have one person in charge of keeping your business plan up to date. Too many cooks… well you know.

Which leads me to…

Communication Breakdown

It’s incredibly critical to have clear channels of communication within your organization. Your partners, board of directors and executive management need to be able to stay on the same page. Don’t silo departments off too much from each other, unless you’re Stanley Kubrick and you are trying to “get your actors into character” with a strategic psych-out. You’ll often find that several minds working together can either derail your business
from its path or propel you exponentially forward. Chemistry is probably your biggest asset here. Having the right people at the top forming solid plans and communicating them effectively down the ladder will keep your employees from citing the infamous “crap rolls downhill” quote. And ultimately, it will encourage them to be more productive.

On that note, give your employees praise, even for small accomplishments. Sometimes that goes farther than a raise (although paying a competitive wage will probably keep them around longer too, which helps keep momentum in that position). For example, if you have a great customer service rep who consistently upsells customers and has a knack for sating irate customers, make them “employee of the month” and actually shake their hand personally (with a little sincerity too). Maybe even take them out to lunch. It’ll be worth it. I promise.

Marketing! Does it Ever End?

No. No it doesn’t. That’s why you need a dedicated person for it. It’s more than a full time job, even if you have an agency hired out. Think about what helps that agency be more efficient. They need a single point of contact to answer questions, provide billing info, get approvals, etc, etc etc. There are so many more options in marketing today than there were even 10 years ago. It can be overwhelming to a business owner who is already focused on a plethora of other issues. But the fact remains that companies need to spend more and more time with advertising and outreach. The industry has changed dramatically with the growth of Google AdWords, Facebook advertising, remarketing, SEO, social media… all things that contribute to building brand awareness and advocacy which in turn kicks you more leads and hopefully sales (that is if you close them once the ball is in your court).

One thing to keep in mind when recruiting a new marketing company or person is this: it takes time to see results in most cases. It’s very common to see people interact with your company several times before making an informed purchase via a combination of actions. It would be clicking an ad in their Google search, bookmarking your website, clicking a social media post and/or an organic Google listing or any iteration of the above. These are called assisted conversions and they will probably make up a majority of your leads or sales. Consider a multi-channel perspective when thinking about your growth strategy. In addition, a certain amount of trust is required when hiring an agency. They will contribute ideas that may be out of your comfort zone but if you listen with an open mind and try to make room for the ideas, you may just find that perfect combination of efforts that drives your business. Then perhaps you can get to that game of golf with a clear head.

Last, but certainly not least, a little patience and trial-and-error are required in order to get the best results. Luckily, measuring and testing results has never been easier. With Google Analytics, AdWords, call tracking, heat maps and other tools you can very quickly gain insights into what is working and what is not, right down to a specific ROI on an ad you ran in AdWords. You can even nail down what keyword typed into Google is making you the most money. It’s an amazing world we live in.