With all the concerns and challenges facing business owners, it’s easy to get distracted. There are several high impact, high value things you can do, or control as the owner of your business. Below are five tips to consider to improve your business’s performance.
1. Social Media
Finding new customers and partners is both time-consuming and costly. Many organizations are challenged in both areas relative to time and budget constraints. However, there are some tools available that make increasing your presence in the marketplace quick and simple. LinkedIn is a great tool for businesses of all sizes. Every business professional should have a LinkedIn profile. Building your LinkedIn profile is easy to do but requires some thought around how you would like to position yourself within the public domain.
2. Employee Recognition Programs
Whether there are 10 employees, hundreds, or thousands, people want to feel valued. They want to know how they contribute to the company’s success. Every employee regardless of title, position, or list of responsibilities should have clear MBOs (Management by Objectives). Furthermore, each employee MBOs should be aligned with a reward or incentive system. Having the right employees is key to every company’s success. Providing clear MBOs to the right employees increases the potential for achieving your desired business results.
3. Client Referral Programs
Current client referrals are powerful and valuable to organizations. These referring clients are irreplaceable and present a source of new business.
4. Value Proposition Work
Develop a clear, consistent, and concise value proposition: a statement or collection of statements that tell your story including what you do, how you do it, and how it’s of value to those who buy it. Your value proposition needs to be simple. It’s not a marketing campaign but how you would tell others what you do if you were asked at a party, at the gym or at your child's sporting event. Be able to articulate how your typical customer has benefited by working with your business. “Our typical customer saved 20% last year”, or “most of our customers grew their businesses by X% using our product.” Tell your story in a proud and factual way.
5. Lead Management
It’s important for organizations to manage and monitor their lead flow and performance. One way to do this is by investing in a lead management or CRM system. Generating quality leads is a time consuming and costly activity for business owners. Once a prospective new client is identified, it’s important that the lead is logged and tracked. You should know where every lead came from that you received (online, yellow pages, trusted advisor referral). Additionally, you should also track your close ratios by lead source so you can begin to understand various lead channels’ effectiveness ratios. If you know that 60% of the leads you generate from your website end in a sale vs. 10% from direct mail activities, you’ll most likely want to focus your marketing dollars and resources on improving your search engine optimization.
Disclaimer: Please note that this is not all-inclusive. Our guidance is designed only to give general information on the issues actually covered. It is not intended to be a comprehensive summary of all laws which may be applicable to your situation, treat exhaustively the subjects covered, provide legal advice, or render a legal opinion. Consult your own legal advisor regarding specific application of the information to your own plan.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2012 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.