Businesses owners today are drowning in a sea of information overload. Do this, don't do that! Use this tool, not that one. Try this. Choosing the right tools to use for your business can be tough. Knowing what to do to boost your marketing even tougher. Knowing where to start and how to keep going - frustrating. Consultants and mentors can help.
Business 101 - Find a Mentor
Recently, I have enjoyed offering help through mentoring to many new and struggling businesses in a variety of sectors. It has been rewarding and frustrating as well. For the new business just starting out, many are overwhelmed. For the existing business, many are wearing too many hats and are exhausted from trying to stay on top of it all, and for the long-standing business that has been there and done that - well they're just frustrated. What worked before doesn't work now.
If you look at most successful business owners today, one thing many have in common is they have a mentor. Someone they can call upon for helpful advice here and there. Someone who they look up to and respect the values and accomplishments of. Someone who has made it through their own trials and tribulations. One of my favourite sayings is 'been there, done that, got the t-shirt'. With 30+ years in business under my belt - I bet I've tried it all. Some good, some bad and some in between. Every business owner will make mistakes, but some of those mistakes can be eliminated by having a mentor.
Mentors do not need to be someone you hire, often mentors are a friend, colleague, another business owner in your field. Just that go-to-person you can bounce ideas off...
The second thing successful business owners do is read!
They read everything and anything business related that can help them become better people, better managers, better bosses, better marketers, better decision makers, better time managers, better sales closers, just better!
I'm currently reading 'The Reid Method - A Blueprint for Sales Mastery'. This book is written based on selling in the automotive industry, however the principles in it apply to any industry. Having a fairly strong background in dealership marketing, I am enjoying Everold Reid's stories and insights.
Success in sales is tougher than ever to achieve. There is more competition and customers have more choice, information, and advanced technology available to them than ever. Sometimes it seems that they know more about your product or service and the competition than most salespeople! ~Amazon
Business 101 - Take advantage of local resources and seminars
Yes, I know -- information overload again! But -- you will thank yourself in the end. There are so many local resources available to help business owners. Use them!
Local to Niagara we have the St. Catharnes and Niagara Falls Enterprise Centre, Innovate Niagara and of course the BDC to name a few. There are other businesses offering courses, seminars and webinars, many free -- offering help for all areas of your business. Workplace Safety Group, JobGym, Employment Solutions, Furtney Crysler, LLP (accounting and tax help) my own business and many more. Just look, you will find what you need to move forward. One of my favourites is CoWork Niagara -- this is a space for home-office and solopreneurs to get out there - often other business owners are there to provide insight - they also provide business ed sessions..
Business 101 - Hire a Consultant
Yes, this sounds expensive, but it doesn't need to be. Consultants can look at your business objectively, and point you in the right direction, help put systems in place to ease your workload and stress - there is so much they can offer. Do your homework before hiring one - ie if you're looking for someone to help with marketing, hire a marketing consultant. Look for one who understands your particular industry, and one you can relate to. If you and your consultant have a personality clash -- I'm telling you now, it's not going to work. Be comfortable with the person you hire.
Business 101 - Use the right business tools for the job.
There's an app for that! Chances are there is a tool for the task you are looking for. Do your homework, know what it is you need to make this particular task easier, research it and make a decision. There are 1000s of business tools on the market to streamline processes, complete functions, help with marketing, sales, administration and much more. Make decisions on what the tool offers, ease of use, price, functionality, time savings and avoid duplication of tools. A -- you'll go broke purchasing them all and B - decide and purchase, learn, implement and master one tool at a time. Tools only work if you use them - they do not work by themselves.
Hint: Have a representative of the tool or app set it up for you, and train you and yourself on how to use it! This is a wise investment that will eliminate the headaches of start up and make the system or tool useful from day 1.
So yes, again with the information overload - more for you to take in here. Stay tuned - I will start highlighting some of our favourite business tools in future posts. If you're looking for something now, call or check out the resource page or the sales & marketing tools page.
If you have questions - call! I'd love to hear from you. Or better yet, take advantage of my 1 hour free marketing consultation.