All posts tagged goal setting

5 Creative Ways to Keep Your Business Thriving in Summer

5 Creative Ways to Keep Your Business Thriving in Summer

Businesspeople Applauding --- Image by © Royalty-Free/CorbisDuring the summer, some business owners experience a drop in sales. People go on vacation, social networking numbers drop, and the usual ways of business don’t seem to bring the same results. But it doesn’t have to be this way! People are still spending money in the summer. You just need to be a bit creative to encourage those people to keep spending with your business. Here are some tips to keep your business thriving throughout the summer months:

  1. Host a Summer Bash – People like to kick back and relax when the summer gets warm. So offer a party! Host a summer bash that offers food, fun and music. It’s a great way to attract families, and encourages them to bring their friends which can potentially open you up to new business. Post the flyer around town, as well as on local event websites, and sell tickets for the food (or team up with local restaurants to offer it.) It’s a great way to generate buzz and visibility for your business.
  2. Get a Booth at a Local Farmer’s Market – Farmer’s markets today offer much more than just produce, and many consumers look forward to shopping there weekly. Get a regular table at your local farmer’s market. You can offer products for sale while also generating new interest in your business. And take time to talk to the other vendors there. Often a community develops among the regulars, and they may begin to refer other business to you, as well as telling you about other markets where you may do well.
  3. Offer Summer Workshops – During the summer, people often look for workshops, camps and other events for both themselves and their children. Local communities offer weekly learning events. So think about what you can teach related to what you have to offer, and offer workshops that will teach new skills while also exposing more people to your business. The business you cultivate in summer can bring you income all year!
  4. Christmas in Summer – Chances are, the holidays are your most productive time of the year. So offer a “Christmas in Summer” event. Pull out those holiday decorations, and offer specials that help people begin their holiday shopping early (saving them stress!) Host a holiday-themed event and serve holiday cookies, play holiday music, and make the even light-hearted in fun. It can be a great way for people to beat the summer heat and shop at your business.
  5. Take Your Business With You on Vacation – Are you going on vacation? Don’t leave your business behind! Take along promotional items that talk about your business, and be sure to network with people you meet along the way. When someone shares a need they have that your business can meet, be sure to share information about your business. If you sell through parties or appointments, try to schedule some in the city you’re visiting ahead of time. By planning ahead, you can develop some new business, and possibly even write off your trip as a business expense (check with your tax advisor on this!)

Summer doesn’t have to mean a drop in business. You simply need to look at your business differently, and create opportunities that work with what people want to do.

How do you keep your business thriving in summer? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below!

Three Sure Ways To Increase Loyal Customers

Three Sure Ways To Increase Loyal Customers

Smiling Group of Professionals --- Image by © Royalty-Free/CorbisBuilding a base of loyal customers is essential for any business. These are the people that not only purchase from you regularly, but they also tell their friends about you, spreading the word in both their social circles and online. It’s important to spend time on a regular basis building up and nurturing your loyal customer base, in order to keep your business thriving.

Here are some tips for increasing your business’ loyal customers.

  1. Identify your true client. Most businesses cannot be everything to everyone. So focus on identifying who your business can best serve. What are their needs? What can you do for them? When you create an ideal customer profile, you’ll be prepared to develop a loyal client base of people who are fully served by what your business has to offer.
  2. Get involved with things that are important to your customers. Once you’ve created that ideal customer profile, you will have a better idea of the causes that are most important to them. Then you can participate in those things that allow you to promote your business. For example, if you sell health supplements, your true client is most likely into healthy living. Why not sponsor a 5K race that donates money to health research? It’s a way to increase visibility of your business and meet people who may be interested in what you have to offer. At the same time, your current customers who are interested in both healthy living and the research the race supports will appreciate your involvement, helping to increase their loyalty. 
  3. Constantly improve to keep up with your customers’ needs. Nothing in life stands still, and this should include your business. So make sure you are talking to your customers and researching what’s important to them. Are there breakthroughs or new products that will meet the needs your customers are telling you about? Have new discoveries led to new desires among the clients that you serve? For example, if you sell cookware, you may find that more and more of your customers are going gluten free. So find or develop some gluten free recipes and send them to the customers that you know have decided to eat this way. They’ll appreciate the resources, and the fact that you took the time to provide them, increasing their loyalty towards your business.

Yes, it takes effort to build loyal customers for your business. But the effort is well worth it when those customers continue to come back, and help you build your business even bigger by telling their friends.

What can you do today to build up your base of loyal customers? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

5 Powerful Ways To Combat Procrastination

5 Powerful Ways To Combat Procrastination

Five Powerful Ways to Combat Procrastination from http://dsef.orgSometimes when a task seems challenging or just a lot of work, it can be tempting to put it off and procrastinate. Even though you know that the task is something you should do, you find reasons and excuses to put it off, or you just never seem to get to it. But procrastination can hold you back from meeting your goals, so it’s important to work through this and get things done. Here are five powerful ways to combat procrastination so you can continue on the path towards your goals.

  1. Write it down. Having a written list is a powerful reminder that there are things you must do to accomplish your goals. If you find yourself putting off important tasks, make a list of what must be done and keep it in front of you as you work through your day.
  2. Do it first. In the morning, we have more energy for tasks that seem like a lot of work. So prioritize your list of things you must do, and make the difficult task number 1 on your list. If you know you must complete something in order to get to a more enjoyable task, you’re more likely to get it done.
  3. Ask for help. If you are finding that you simply cannot motivate yourself to get a particular task done, reach out to a spouse, family member, or good friend and ask them to hold you accountable, or even to help you complete the task. When you know that someone is going to ask you about something, you are more likely to get it done.
  4. Be creative. Perhaps the reason you don’t feel like completing a particular task is because it isn’t interesting to you. Why not look at the task and think about a different way to do it. Be creative! For example, if organizing your desk sounds like a drag, why not get your kids involved in helping you create a filing system? Give them prizes for the most decorative file box or prettiest space. Or if you are putting off those calls you know you really must make, why not change your location by going to your local coffee shop or park, and rewarding yourself after making a few calls with a treat? Find creative ways to make the task more enjoyable, and you’re more likely to get it done.
  5. Give yourself a deadline. Sometimes it’s easier to complete a task when you know you have a deadline. So schedule something (a conference call with a colleague, a more enjoyable task that you will do with others, etc.) that can only happen once the task at hand is complete. Especially when others are involved, you are more likely to complete the task to avoid disappointing others.

Wanting to procrastinate is natural sometimes, but be firm with yourself and get help when needed to keep yourself on track towards reaching your goals. Those that keep themselves going are the ones who succeed. You can do it!

How do you avoid procrastination? What are some tips you would offer? Would love to read your suggestions in the comments below!

3 Ways To Maximize Your Brand

3 Ways To Maximize Your Brand

MP900289528[1]When you have a product or service to sell, it’s likely that there are competitors that sell a similar type of product. You clearly understand why your product or service is better, but chances are your prospects do not. In order to attract new customers and keep them coming back, therefore, it’s essential that you develop a brand message that clearly differentiates you from your competitors, and highlights the benefits of coming to you. Here are some ways to maximize your brand message.

  1. Speak from the customer’s perspective. It’s very easy to simply list all the features and benefits of what you have to offer, but that’s usually not the best way to attract new customers. Rather, focus on the needs that your customer has that your product solves. For example, if you sell skin care products, don’t just list the ingredients of your product and what each ingredient does. Instead, focus on concerns like the appearance of wrinkles. Once you’ve highlighted a need that resonates with your prospects, then you can show them how your product solves this problem, and why it’s better than other products. In a crowded skincare environment, having someone focus in on a customer’s problem, and why your product is the best solution can create an irresistible pull towards your brand.
  2. Highlight your unique value. What you bring to your business cannot be emphasized enough. Often, many products offer similar benefits. Sometimes what causes people to shop with you is YOU: the superior customer service you offer, the knowledge of your customer’s needs, your high level of product knowledge that can’t be found in a big box store. Make sure prospects understand that when they shop with you, they’re not just getting a product…they’re getting the personal level of service that only comes when they shop with you. You’ll find that people aren’t used to this level of service, and once they find it, they tell their friends about it, and refuse to shop anywhere else.
  3. Offer extras. Another way to set yourself apart from your competitors is to provide an extra layer of service that can’t be found elsewhere. Offer a Facebook Page, blog or Pinterest account that offers tips related to your business. for example, if you sell nutritional supplements, provide content related to healthy living. If yous sell green energy, talk about ways to save on your energy bill while taking care of the environment. By providing this additional content, you become even more valuable to prospects, and offer them something they can share with their friends for free. You can also introduce your customers to additional products that complement what they have already purchased through sampling, or give them an additional product sample that they can share with a friend. All of these extras set you apart, and give your business a way to go viral.

Setting your brand apart in a crowded marketplace requires you to offer a customer experience that amazes and delights your customers. When you do this, customers won’t even consider going anywhere else. How do you maximize your brand? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below.


How To Be More Successful in Your Business

How To Be More Successful in Your Business

salescallHave you ever felt like you’re just going through the motions? That you’re not really moving forward in your business, but instead just spinning your wheels? It takes a conscious effort to be effective in your business, and do what must be done to not only get the daily stuff done, but also to grow. Here are some tips for overcoming apathy in your business, and being more effective.

  • Realize that it’s up to you. No one else is as invested in the growth of your business as you are. So identify the growth goals that you have for your business, and write them down. Once you know where you want to go, identify the daily activities you must do to achieve those goals, and make sure you do them. No one else is going to do it for you. If you want to grow and be more effective in your business, it’s up to you to map out the direction you want to go, and do what must be done.
  • Get organized. Nothing saps your productivity and effectiveness more than a mess. If you’ve got piles on your desk and stuff all over your office or place of business, it’s time to get organized. You’ve already identified the goals you have and the activities you need to take to grow your business. Now make sure your workspace supports you in achieving those goals. Set up a filing system that keeps important documents close at hand. Make sure the files on your computer are well organized and easy to access. When you are unorganized, you make it a lot harder to be effective, so set up your systems. And if you need help, ask!
  • Surround yourself with motivated, effective people. If the people you spend your time with complain about their work, and only do the minimum, it’s going to be harder to motivate yourself to be effective. So seek out people who are as committed as you are motivated to reach their goals and go far in life and in business. Ask their advice and share your dreams with them while you also encourage them in their endeavors. Learn what they do to be effective in reaching towards their goals, and apply those principles to your business. Your success is often determined by the people you spend the most time with, so make sure the people you spend time with will encourage you to get where you want to be.
  • Never give up. The thing that separates successful people from failures is their willingness to keep going. To be effective, you must have in place a strategy that can help you get motivated when you feel like giving up. Maybe you have a network of people that are willing to encourage you to keep going when you are discouraged. Maybe you have a song, or a workout routine, or a motivational video or book…something that gets you pumped up and moving forward. Choose these things ahead of time, so when you have those moments of discouragement you’re ready to put them behind you and move forward.

Being successful in your business is not just about knowing the job. It’s also important to have the mental focus and clarity that helps you overcome obstacles and move in the direction of your goals. By keeping these strategies in mind, you can be more effective and successful in your business.

How do you stay effective in your business? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below.



4 Ways To Master Your Sales Pitch

4 Ways To Master Your Sales Pitch

Business Couple Walking on StreetWhen presenting your product or service to a prospective customer, there is a lot to consider. It’s important, or course, to know the features and benefits of what you are selling, but it’s more than that. You also need to be able to build rapport, and then listen well, understanding the needs of the person you’re talking with.

Here are four things you can do to help you master your sales pitch, and close more sales:

  • Do your research – Before you are ever in a position to present your product or service, make sure you’ve taken the time to learn about what people want, and why they would buy your product. Spend time finding out the needs of your target market, and the problems they have that your product or service solves. Understand what is important to your target market, and how they spend their time. By taking time to understand what your customers in general are seeking, you will have an advantage when working with a specific customer.
  • Know your prospect or customer – When you present to a specific customer, the most important thing you can do is ask questions to understand that customer’s specific needs and communication preferences. Begin by building rapport…ask about family, what they’ve been working on, etc…and find commonalities that help the customer feel comfortable and connected with you. Be sure also you are communicating in the way that the customer prefers…do they prefer communicating electronically, via phone, in person…make sure you know! Ask questions about problems the customer might have that your product or service can solve, and what they are looking for. The more you can learn about the customer, the better able you’ll be to customize your presentation in a way that specifically addresses what the customer is looking for.
  • Focus on value – After you have a good understanding of what the customer needs, it’s time to present products/services that meet those needs. Focus on what you’ve learned about their needs, and highlight how what you have to offer will bring value to the customer’s life. This could be financial or it could be lifestyle-related. For example, you can help the customer picture how much better life would be if they had your product. You don’t need to present every single feature of your product. Rather, focus on what the customer has told you they are looking for, and highlight how the customer will benefit when they choose your product.
  • Make a conscious effort to close deal – After you have presented the products or services that will best meet a customer’s needs, it’s time to close the deal. It’s not enough to present a list of benefits. You must ask for the sale. You can opt for the direct approach: “So, how many would you like?” or you can use an assumptive close: “Would you like me to gift wrap that for you?” But be sure you make a conscious effort to close the deal, because you can’t expect your customer to do so.

When you regularly apply these four steps, you will find that you are more likely to close sales because you are focused on the needs of your customers and prospects, rather than on a list of features and benefits. Sales is a people business, and the more focused you are on meeting the needs of people, the more successful you will be!

What advice would you give to someone looking to master their sales pitch? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below!

3 Ways to Make Your Business More Attractive

3 Ways to Make Your Business More Attractive

3 Ways To Make Your Business More Attractive from the http://dsef.orgAs a small business owner, your business is often an expression of yourself. And you can attract more people to your business when they feel a personal connection to you. In fact, this is what changes people from occasional purchasers to loyal customers that recommend you to everyone they know.

So how do you make your business more attractive? Here are some tips:

  1. Be Genuine. Think about the people you know who are absolutely good. You love spending time with them, and helping them, don’t you? People love the feeling they get when they interact with honest, genuine people and businesses. Make sure your businesses practices are absolutely honest and ethical, and always choose to do the right thing, even when it’s not convenient. If you believe in a particular cause, use your business to support that cause, and talk to your customers about it. It will help them come to know the real you, and love you, and your business, for it.
  2. Express Your Passion. There is a difference between businesses where people just show up, and the ones where people are passionate about what they do. Make sure your business is an expression of your passion, and help people feel that passion every time they choose to do business with you. Go that extra mile in service. Educate people a little more each time about why your business matters in their lives. If you love what you do, people will feel it, and passion is contagious. In an era of social media, word of mouth can spread globally, and that passion can help you grow your network and increase your business.
  3. Invest in Others. Helping others is always good business. So find causes that your business can support, and make sure your customers know about it. For example, a local bookstore agreed to host a donation bucket for a local food pantry’s food drive. But in addition, they also offered to give an extra discount to customers that brought in more than just the minimum donation. This created goodwill in their community, and also gave the food pantry another reason to talk about their business which helped them gain more customers. Investing in others is a great way to build the goodwill that brings more business.

Making your business more attractive is simply a matter of helping people come to know what you believe in, and helping them feel the passion that you feel.

How do you attract people to your business? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below.

Reaching Your Target Market In Different Generations

Reaching Your Target Market In Different Generations

Reaching Your Target Market In Different Generations from the http://dsef.orgWe’re at an interesting point in history. We have generations that grew up without the internet, and those that have never been without it, all in the same workforce. These are your customers, employees, team members. And in order to work effectively with each generation as a business owner, you have to be extremely flexible, and prepared to deliver you message in multiple ways, in order to reach people of every generation.

Here are some tips to help you work effectively with multiple generations.

  • Research: Take the time to understand the needs and communication styles of the generations that you work with. For example, Generation Y prefers texting over email communication, whereas baby boomers prefer a phone call or face to face communication. Generation X wants you to communicate via email or text, but you need to keep it short. By researching the communication preferences of each generation, you can craft messages that are more effective, and that help you get your message across. Here’s an article where you can start: Communicating with Many Generations
  • Ask: Generalizations about communication preferences are great, but it’s also important to ask the individuals you work with how they want you to communicate with them. For example, many people today prefer to learn via video, and there is a big push to produce authentic videos of actual customer experiences. Yet there are still some who don’t have the patience for video, and would prefer a quick summary of steps. Make sure you’re asking how people you work with want to hear from you, and then honor those communication preferences.
  • Be Flexible: As you work with multiple generations, you may need to deliver the same message in different ways in order to reach everyone. So this means you need to learn all the communication techniques (text, email, video, handwritten note, social networking, etc.) and then be prepared to deliver each message in a variety of mediums. For example, if you want to let your customer base know about a sale, you may send out a text alert to your customers that have signed up for that list, include it in your email newsletter, record a short video about it that you post to YouTube, Instagram and Facebook, and write a personal note to your best customers that you send through the mail. In this way, you can be sure that everyone, regardless of generation, gets the message.

In order to be a business that attracts many, you need to communicate in the ways that people prefer to hear from you. So be sure you’re taking the time to learn about generational communication preferences, and then create a strategy to communicate effectively with the many generations you serve.

How do you adapt your communication style for various generations? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below!

Four No-Cost Ways to Increase Sales

Four No-Cost Ways to Increase Sales

MP910221039[1]Increasing your sales doesn’t always have to mean spending money. Sometimes all you have to do is take a look at what is already working for you, and find ways to build on those successful elements. Here are some ways to increase your sales without spending.

1. Identify top customers and offer them more. You likely have a handful or more of customers who are loyal and spend more on a regular basis than others. Identify who these people are, and offer them more than they already get. For example, start a VIP program where top customers receive special promotions, incentives, or exclusive access to new products and services. When your top customers know how much they are appreciated, they will not only embrace that “VIP” role by patronizing your business more often, but they will want to share their positive experience with their families and friends. Remember that superior customer service can have far-reaching effects on your overall business.


2. Customize your sales pitch for each client.  Each client is an individual and should be treated as such. Don’t go with a generic sales pitch that every single client hears. Do some research about each person, and incorporate something personal about him or her into your pitch. When pitching your massage services to a prospective client who is a stay-at-home mom looking for an hour a week of relaxation sans children, mention that you also stayed home with your children for a few years and appreciate the hard work it entails. When pitching the same services to a young marathon runner, talk about your expertise in sports medicine and the benefits of massage on athletes. When you can relate to clients on a personal level, they will be assured that you have their best interests in mind.


3. Increase goals for referrals and sales will increase.  Bump up your goals for getting referrals. It doesn’t have to be a large jump, but setting the bar higher will motivate you to work harder and acquire more. Instead of shooting for 5 a week, increase your goal to 7 or 8. Make the time in your schedule to meet this new goal, and you’ll find your sales increasing steadily over time. Each time you find that you are meeting the goal on a consistent basis, consider raising it again. Your business should never run in a straight line, but should always be heading in an upward direction to maintain growth and success.


4. Interact personally with customers more frequently.  This may come easier in a retail business, but no matter what type of business you run, make the effort to interact with customers on a personal level as often as possible. Learn their names and one or two facts about them. People love going into a place where they feel like more than just a number. One customer of a local deli states that the moment she realized she would never take her business elsewhere was when the owner greeted her by name, asked how her daughters were, and offered her “the usual.” It’s a comforting feeling for a customer and will go a long way in acquiring loyalty and appreciation.

Find ways to improve upon what works for you, break out of your comfort zone, and always look to set the bar higher for yourself and your business.

How do you increase your sales? Please share your ideas below!

Six Ways To Get Motivated

Six Ways To Get Motivated

Six Ways To Get Motivated from the

Do you ever feel burned out or run down? The pressures of operating your own business can really take its toll, both physically and mentally. For those times when you can’t seem to muster up the drive you need to continue, here is a list of exercises for your body and brain to help you get motivated.

1.    Be a cheerleader and friendly toward everyone. By building up and encouraging others, you are also doing the same for yourself. Pay attention to the reactions of other people as you cheer for them, give them pep talks, and praise their accomplishments. Knowing you have made someone feel genuinely valued will motivate you to take your own advice.

2.    Talk to yourself in a positive way. We all know the dangers of negative self-talk, so counteract the effects by engaging in positive self-talk on a regular basis. Start your day with a mantra you’ve created or a daily motivational quote. Whenever you encounter an obstacle, be your own cheerleader to help move past it. Use your mind as a strength; don’t let it work against you.

3.    Play your favorite music and start a dance party for one. Any exercise you prefer is good for your body. Dancing around to your favorite music can free your body from the constraints of everyday life. Try doing this even once or twice a week, and you’ll begin to use this exercise as a stress reducer and a way to unload any negativity that has accumulated. Dance away!

4.    Sing out loud to your favorite song. Whether you sing into the removable shower head or your steering wheel on the way to work, crank up that song and belt it out. Choose songs that fit your current mood or help get you in a better one. Engaging with music in this way has positive effects on your brain, so don’t be afraid to sing to your heart’s content.

5.    Get a partner and work together. Research has shown that working with a partner for such activities as physical fitness or academic studying is more effective than doing so alone. Working with a partner increases accountability and therefore maintains motivation. Choose someone you trust who has similar ambitions and interests.

6.    Make a list of what you are grateful for. The act of writing these down can help you get some perspective, especially when you are having a difficult time. It’s easy to get bogged down with the normal stresses of work and life, so create a list that you regularly review or add to when you need a pick-me-up. Think of what makes you happy: your children, your home, your pet, or even that delicious meal you just ate. Reminding yourself of what’s good in your life will renew your motivation to plow through more trying times.

Try any or all of these exercises to help you get and stay motivated.

What other exercises have worked for you? Please share your ideas below!