Make the most of the last quarter of 2018
We recognise that it is a really important time right now to make the most of the next few weeks so that the pipeline is full and client work is at a healthy level, because before you know it, it will be December! Typically, people and businesses start delaying new projects and buying decisions from the end of November until the new year! On that basis, there are only 10 weeks in this quarter to really make an impact on your bottom line – how scary is that?!
So, in this blog, I am sharing some ideas to help you get some “quick wins” and make sure you are set up to make the most of the next few weeks, setting your business up for a fantastic 2019!
Here’s what we’re looking at:
- The importance of a business plan, regardless of the size of your business
- How knowing who your ideal client is will really send positive ripple effects through your whole business
- What value having a value proposition can add to your business
- Why being a business owner of a micro, small or medium-sized business, vs a large business can be a very good thing
Let’s start by thinking about Business Plans:
I wonder how many of you have a Business Plan, and if you do, how often you look at it?
To me, a Business Plan should be a working document which is referred to, updated and reviewed often. I see many business owners struggling to create a written Business Plan – many have been put off creating one because they thought it had to be a lengthy document which takes weeks to prepare! Yet, having one solidifies what you are doing, how you are doing it and, most importantly, why you are doing it.
As we are learning all the time, it’s a great idea to take a step back, take a fresh look, review, adapt and update on a frequent basis, knowing what you know now, and capturing this in a Business Plan. I decided to find out more about the options available to micro, small and medium-sized business owners and signed up to a brilliant, free (yes free!), Building a High Growth Business Model -Transform Masterclass organised by the fabulous Thames Valley Berkshire Business Growth hub. (Pop over and see what other masterclasses and free sessions they are hosting – a very valuable resource and connection for Berkshire-based businesses, and if you are not in Berkshire, why not check and see if your area has a similar scheme?)
The half-day workshop helped me realise that business owners could condense what they do into a one-page document based on the Lean Canvas methodology – simply identifying and answering the following will give you enough of a business plan to have an immediate, positive effect on your business:
- What are the 3 top problems your customer segment experiences?
- What are the solutions to each of the problems?
- What is your unique value proposition?
- What is your unfair advantage – what do you have that no one else has?
- What channels do you use to reach your clients?
- What are your Customer Segments?
- Who is your Ideal Client?
- What are your revenue streams?
- What is your cost structure?
Let’s have a look at two of the above key components – getting these right will give you quick wins and set your business up to do well over the coming months.
Know who your ideal client is:
It is absolutely key to know which segment of the market you are aiming at, how big that segment is and who your ideal client is. When you know this, all your marketing will fall into place, all your efforts will reap rewards and you won’t waste valuable time focusing on the wrong people in the wrong businesses in the wrong segment.
You will have a clear proposition for your ideal client. People buy on emotion, so connect with contacts on that basis and you will be able to encourage potential clients to buy. Meanwhile, your existing clients (the low-lying fruit), whose trust you already have, will move up your product staircase, buying more of your products. A quick tip – don’t be afraid to ask your trusted network for introductions to your ideal clients – most people really do love to help.
Your value proposition (see below) should be aligned with your ideal client. When you know who your ideal client is you can create an Avatar or a Persona, and name them. The idea is that you have that Persona in your mind every time you create content – you emotionally connect with them by easing their pain through what you offer, talking about the benefits of your product or service rather than the features.
All marketing content should follow this basic plan:
- Identify the pain area.
- Offer a solution to the pain area.
- Establish your credentials as someone who can ease the pain.
- Tell them how you can ease their pain.
Note – if you are a B2B, your ideal client is the person in your ideal client business who feels the pain and will be the decision maker to purchase your product or service.
Identifying and fleshing out your ideal client will only take an hour or two if you use the template which is part of my The importance of knowing your ideal client and a step by step guide to creating your own Avatar white paper – download your copy here.
Another tip is to look back at your last quarter or half year and identify the clients for whom you have really made a difference and who you have really enjoyed working with. Take a step back and establish any commonality – feed this into your ideal client work.
The Value Proposition
All businesses should have this key component of running a business in their business plan. The Value Proposition is not just for the likes of Apple or Dyson!
So what exactly is a Value Proposition? This definition helps us understand what is sometimes considered to be one of the most stress-provoking and daunting terminologies there is in business:
“A value proposition is a business or marketing statement that summarises why a customer should buy a product or use a service. This statement should convince a potential consumer that one particular product or service will add more value or better solve a problem than other similar offerings”
If you, the business owner, don’t know why someone should buy from you, how can you hope that a potential client or customer will buy from you? Say what you do and why you are the best at providing it. Have a few goes at it – it may not come to you easily, but get it right and you will have strap-lines, an elevator pitch for networking and much, much more. Try it out on your team, or your friends, or other business owners – if they are not convinced, you need to revisit.
When you have a Value Proposition and know who your ideal client is you know you are on the right track to success! Don’f forget, success doesn’t breed happiness, happiness breeds success – so be comfortable with what you offer, enjoy providing the service or product, because if you are not authentic and genuine, this will show through.
Why being a business owner of a micro, small or medium company really is a very good thing:
There are many advantages and disadvantages to running your own business – clearly one of the most challenging is having to wear multiple hats throughout the same day! You are head of finance, managing director, marketing director, operations director …… but one of the many advantages of running a micro, small or medium-sized business is that you can change course quickly and relatively easily – think of how long it takes a small motor boat, rather than an oil tanker, to change direction and you’ll understand what I mean. 🙂
If you have identified in your business plan that the key ingredients really aren’t aligned, it’s possible to change course relatively quickly – however, don’t be tempted to change course too frequently, this would be a mistake – but if you need to make changes you can, and it is possible to reap the rewards fairly quickly.
Knowing your ideal client and the problems they face, and understanding your value proposition, means that you can communicate with your potential clients in a structured, targeted way. You will understand the contact data you have and be able to make sure the systems and processes in your business support your strategy and business plan – you will see an increase in your net profit through growth in sales and a reduction in costs.
How I can help you?:
I help business owners become more organised, more productive and less stressed. The end result is an increase in net profit. Do contact me to arrange a time to have a chat about your business, or schedule a time by clicking here.