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A target market is a specific group of potential customers at which a certain product or service is targeted, as they are the most likely to be interested in or need a business’ offerings. As a Business Owner, identifying your target market is a really important aspect of creating a marketing plan too.

Finding your target market can be quite tricky, but start with looking at your current customer base; why do they buy from you?

Looking into your competition is also a great way of focusing on your target market, what are your competition doing to target their audience? Analysing your product can help you find out exactly what it is people are looking for; make a list of pro’s that your product or service can bring to your customers, then begin to look into what kind of people would benefit from them – this may still be slightly vague, so there are more things you can look into such as breaking down the market segments.

The four market segments are demographics, psychographics, geographics and behavioral. Looking into the specific demographics of your customer base can allow you to create a more direct marketing strategy if you consider things such as age, ethnicity, location, income level and gender.

As well as this, focusing on psychographics can allow you to understand your target market on a more personal level, by briefly assessing their personalities, lifestyles, interests and hobbies. By doing this, you can assess how your product/service will fit into your customers lives and, importantly, how to market your business to them (in terms of platforms such as social media, newspapers, radio, etc).

Geographic segmentation allows you to target an audience based on their location, such as cities, states and countries – allowing you to assess differences in the market and advertise accordingly.

Finally, behavioral assessments can be a great way to see your customers reactions to your business, brand loyalty is a great example of this as it shows a pattern of consistency therefore categorised as a behavioral trait.

Some Final Tips:
  • Try not to break down your target market too much, you can have more than once niche.
  • Research how to reach your target market by looking at blog posts or articles, forums, etc, that have connections to your audience.
  • Keep on top of your target market research to ensure your advertisement is relevant at all times.
  • Be sure that the marketing strategies you use have more unique characteristics than others in the marketplace.

The post What is a ‘Target Market’ and How Can You Find Yours? appeared first on ActionCOACH.

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Invest, not spend, on your marketing

The chances are, if you’re not testing and measuring your marketing, you’ll end up spending (rather than investing) money on marketing. This is likely to limit your business growth and have serious implications for profit and cashflow in your business.

When testing and measuring, you’re essentially looking to find out which of your marketing activities make more money than you spend on them. Simples!

Armed with this information you can then make decisions about which marketing activities you want to: stop; change and re-test; or, most importantly, which ones to continue to invest in.

What do you need to measure?

There are just three things you need to measure:

  1. How much money each of your marketing activities costs. Depending on the specific marketing activity, costs might include design costs, advert placement (print, online), internal staff costs, external marketing resources (agency, contractors) and printing.
  2. How many leads each of your marketing activities generate. Use this to calculate your ‘cost per lead’ for each marketing activity by dividing your marketing spend for that activity by the number of new leads it generated.
  3. How many sales each of your marketing activity generate. Use this to calculate your ‘customer acquisition cost’ by dividing your marketing spend for the specific marketing activity by the number of new customers you acquired from that activity.
How to test and measure in practice

The fundamental question you’ll need to answer for each and every enquiry or lead that you generate is ‘how did you hear about us?’.

There are a number of ways that you can do this. Examples include:

  • Have a tally sheet by the phone or computer to record the name of the enquirer and how they heard about you.
  • Update your opportunities register or sales pipeline spreadsheet to record which marketing activity generated the opportunity or lead.
  • Use (or add) a mandatory field in your CRM or other business management system so that your team must record the source of the enquiry as it comes in.

Whichever approach you use to tracking the source of your enquiries and leads, you’ll also need to devise a way of tracking how many of those leads turn into actual sales.

You can start testing and measuring at any point in your business. And if you’re starting new marketing in order to grow your business, then this is a particularly good time to get a simple system in place to measure your marketing results.

Taking it to the next level 

When your marketing generates more profit than the money you invest in running it, then you’ll have effectively created an unlimited marketing budget for your business.

And you do this by continually measuring and reviewing the financial performance of each of your different marketing activities.

The post How do you get an unlimited marketing budget? appeared first on ActionCOACH.

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MATURITY:
 
Are you growing into maturity?
 
Before you answer, read these words:
 
‘Maturity is the ability to control your anger and settle your differences without violence or resentment.
 
Maturity is patience; it’s the willingness to pass up short-term pleasure for long-term gain. It’s the ability to “sweat it out” in spite of heavy opposition or discouraging setbacks. It’s the capacity to face unpleasantness and frustration without complaining or collapsing.
 
Maturity is humility. It’s being big enough to say, “I was wrong,” and when you are right, never needing to say, “I told you so.”
 
Maturity is the ability to make a decision and follow through with it instead of exploring endless possibilities and doing nothing about any of them.
 
Maturity means dependability, keeping your word, and coming through in a crisis.
 
The immature are masters of alibi; they’re the confused and the disorganised. Their lives are a maze of broken promises, former friends, unfinished business, and good intentions.
 
Maturity is the art of being at peace with what you can’t change, having the courage to change what you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.’
 
Try to become mature and start thinking about more than just the basic things you were taught.
 
It’s time to become mature.

The post MATURITY appeared first on ActionCOACH.

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Goals and the Judge!

One day Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes lost his train ticket.

As he searched for it, obviously irritated, the train conductor said, ‘It’s okay, your Honour; just mail it in. We all know you and trust you.’

Holmes replied, ‘I’m not concerned about finding my ticket – I just want to know where I’m going!’

Having goals lets you know where you’re going in life.

50% of the people around you have no idea where they’re going.

Another 40 % will go in any direction they’re led.

The remaining 10 per cent know where they’d like to go – but fewer than half of them are prepared to pay the price to get there.

Store owner J.C. Penney said, ‘Give me a stock clerk with a goal, and I’ll give you someone who’ll make history. On the other hand, give me someone without a goal, and I’ll give you a stock clerk.’

The truth is, while you are working on your goals, your goals are working on you. And the reward you get for reaching them isn’t nearly as important as what you become in pursuit of them.

So, do you have goals?

Are they clear enough to write down,

short enough to fit into a paragraph,

strong enough to help you persevere,

and valuable enough to make you pay the price?

If so, you’ll live to see them fulfilled.

The post Goals and the Judge! appeared first on ActionCOACH.

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Do you have an exit strategy for your business?

The recent media coverage regarding Richer Sounds, and Julian Richer’s decision to put 60% of the business into an Employee Trust got me thinking.  As a business owner it can be very easy to focus solely on the day to day running of your company and not plan ahead for the future and for a time when you might either wish to reduce your activity or even sell the business.

Developing your exit strategy is not something that can be achieved quickly.  It takes careful planning, an understanding of the requirements of both yourself and the business and of course making sure you have a team of people who you feel comfortable handing over control to.

Step 1 –Business Health Check – This will help you establish whether your business is fit for purpose.  It provides an objective overview and enables you to work out what areas need to be improved or established in order for you to achieve a successful exit and realise the most value for your business.  The Business Health Check  will look at four key areas of your business Time, Team, Money and Systems.

Step 2 – Prepare your Finances – you need to put together an accurate account of both your personal and professional finances.  This will do 2 things, enable you to consider what you need to exit the business and what potential value there is in your business.

Step 3 – What are the Options available – there are likely to be a variety of options open to you.  Do you want to sell up and retire completely, do you want to continue to have an involvement say as Chairman or do you ultimately want to pass control to your employees.

Step 4 – Speak to Investors – the next step is for you to speak to you stakeholders and investors.  You need to inform them of your wish to leave the business and outline the plan you have in order to achieve this.  You’ll also need to provide them with an overview of how you expect to repay them.

Step 5 – Develop your Leadership Team – in order for you to be able to step down you are going to need to have a team that you can trust to carry on the running of the business.  A strong Leadership Team is vital, you also need to start delegating elements of your role to them, this will also have the added benefit of enabling you to free up time to finalise your Exit Strategy.

Step 6 – Tell Your Employees – Once you’ve finalised your plans you’ll need to inform your employees.  This is likely to be emotional on both sides and something that needs to be handled sensitively.  It is vital that you prepare for any potential questions they might have.

Step 7 – Let your Customers Know – Again this is something that needs to be done in a thought through and considered manner.  If you’re stepping down then it’s important to ensure that you introduce your clients and customers to your replacement and reassure them that the business is set to continue in the same way as before.  If you are going to be closing your business then thank them for their support over the years and if possible refer them on to other businesses or services who might be able to help them in the same way that you have.

If this post has inspired you to think about your Exit Strategy  and you feel it might be worthwhile talking to a business coach to help you get your business ready then click here to send me an email, or give me a call on 07952 112432.  For more information on my business coaching services please click here.

The post Do you have an exit strategy for your business? appeared first on ActionCOACH.

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Are you owed money? If someone; individual or business owes you money, there is a procedure you can use called making a court claim, or a ‘small claims court’.

Before making your claim, contact the person or organisation to try and resolve the issue or get someone to do this on your behalf, such as a credit control company, solicitor or, if a member; the hashtag#FSB.

If doing this yourself and unsuccessful in resolving amicably, and you are making a court claim for a fixed amount, this can be done online or by paper. An online claim can be made at https://lnkd.in/gbEn9vD.

If you are making a claim for an unspecified amount you must download and complete the N1 claim form. Paper forms need to be sent to the following address:

County Court

Money Claims Centre

PO Box 527

Salford

M5 0BY

Unfortunately there are court fees to pay when making a claim. The amount of the fee depends on the size of the claim and whether the claim is made online or by paper. The fees can range from £25 to £10,000.

You may be required to go to court if the person or business you are claiming from denies owing you the money. If you are successful in obtaining judgement, but do not get paid, there are further steps that can be taken including the use of bailiffs to try and get what you are owed.

If you have any questions or need support with getting money you are owed, call me on 01752 220 377. I am happy to chat.

The post Are You Owed Money? How to Claim appeared first on ActionCOACH.

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Owning and managing a Business has its fair share of ups and downs. As a Business Owner, it is important to focus on your attitude and mindset, as well as the day-to-day processes and operations of your company. Here are 3 key traits of every successful business owner:

1. PASSION

When you are truly passionate about what you do, you naturally feel motivated and determined to achieve your goals. Ignite this passion by writing down your Mission Statement and the core values at the heart of your business. Ask yourself if you are really serious about making your Business a success. If not, why not? What is lacking?

2. REFLECTION

First-hand experience of both failure and success teaches us really valuable lessons, especially within business. Try to honestly and openly assess your strengths and weaknesses. This is something a Business Coach can help you with.

3. COMMITMENT

This is a big one. Without commitment, goals become forgotten ‘to-do lists’ and what was once your dream now feels like a chore. The saying ‘it takes years to become an overnight success’ only emphasises the importance of your dedication to your long-term goals.

To chat about your Business Success give me a call on 01752 220 377 or email ac@jonathankeable.com

The post 3 Traits of Every Successful Business Owner appeared first on ActionCOACH.

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STAY SHARP

A competition was held between two men to see who could chop down the most trees in a single day.

One man was older and more experienced, while the other was younger and less experienced. And that’s where the difference showed up.

The younger man spent eight hours chopping down trees, and at the end of the day he had a total of 25. Believing the older man lacked stamina and youth, he sat down, fully confident he would win.

Meanwhile the older man, who had taken a ten-minute break each hour, ended his day by chopping down 40 trees.

In shock the younger man asked, ‘How is this possible, old man? I didn’t stop. You stopped every hour for ten minutes and yet you chopped down almost twice as many trees as I did.’

The older man replied, ‘Every hour I sat down for ten minutes and did two things. First, I took time to rest and recharge my batteries. Second, I took time to sharpen my axe. Yes, you were working hard but you were working with a dull axe.’

There’s an important lesson here for you. In order to succeed in life, you must always do these two things:

(1) Make time for rest and renewal. You cannot always be giving out; you must also stop and take in.

(2) Stay sharp. When your axe is dull it requires more energy and produces fewer results

#openmind #business

The post STAY SHARP appeared first on ActionCOACH.

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“Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.” ~ Joel Barker

Every new business starts somewhere; a lightning-strike idea right out of the blue, or a long-standing daydream you were determined to turn into reality. However the seeds of your business were planted in your mind, here you are, ready and willing to devote yourself to its growth and success.

You are giving it your all in every waking hour, sleeping less, skipping meals, cancelling dates with friends, relying on help from your nearest and dearest, focusing on the task(s) at hand and juggling all the others… all the while you smile and feel enthused about the difference this business will make to not only your world, but the whole world!

Then it happens.

You suddenly realise that you are not in control!

You can’t quite remember how you got to where you are and you have no idea where to go from here. Everything seems to have become rather complicated; there are unanswered questions, unpaid bills, a mounting task list, frustrated employees and you…. right in the middle of it all… with no idea what to do next.

Now, let’s rewind.

Let’s go back to the lightning-strike and daydream. Back then you knew what you wanted your business to be. You had unsurmountable drive to achieve it at all costs. And you dove right in, nothing could stop you, you were on your way to greatness!

So what went wrong?

As you were feverishly working away with Queens “Don’t Stop Me Now” anthem playing on repeat in your mind, you may have overlooked three critical elements that differentiate a successful business from an unsuccessful one.

The first of these is Vision.

Vision (n): the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom

Every entrepreneur should start their business based on a solid vision derived from their goals and aspirations.

Vision is not only about what you see here and now. Vision is about the future. The grand plan. The end goal.

After all, if you can’t see where you want your business to be in the future, how will you ever know if it is heading in the right direction?

So what do you do with this vision?

You write it down. You make a statement.

Now step back and look at those words. Do they hit the mark? Do they effectively explain how you envision the future of your business? Ask someone whose opinion you value to look at those words. Critique your vision statement, pull it apart, build it back up… do whatever you need to do to get it right.

Your business depends on getting this right.

Every decision, direction and action you make for your business from here on out must be made with the sole aim of achieving your vision.

Every decision, direction and action you make for your business which do not work towards achieving your vision simply amounts to wasted time and effort.

Now ask yourself; do you have time and effort to waste?

The good news is, if you didn’t start your business with a solid vision, it is never to late to get this right. Today is your day to start anew – grab some paper and write / draw / paint yourself a vision for the future of your business – you’re a (wo)man on a mission to succeed!

“How do I achieve this vision?” I hear you say. You do so by stating your Mission.

Mission [statement] (n): a formal summary of the aims and values of a company, organisation, or individual

If your vision statement defines the future, your mission statement is a declaration of the actions your business will take in the present day to achieve that future.

Your mission statement provides focus and clarity, ensuring everyone is on the same page and actively working towards the same outcome. It is a communication tool for your employees and customers that tells them exactly how the business will achieve its vision in alignment with their needs.

When you realise that this statement defines your businesses goals, purpose and aims in the minds of everyone it meets, you realise how powerful it is.

Getting it right is imperative to your business success.

Start by thinking about how you define success, how you would like business decisions to be made and what direction you need the business to go to achieve its vision. If your statement becomes too wordy, prioritise your objectives and narrow them down to a distinct statement which supports your vision statement. Explain to everyone out there why your business is so important and what it can do for them.

Remember that your mission statement will also shape the culture within your organisation. It will attract certain types of people to work for you, it will tell them how they should act within the business and it will influence the way they think and feel about their jobs.

The benefits of this are numerous – your mission statement has the ability to create a healthy and happy working environment; your employees decisions have a point of focus (and a point of reference, should they ever forget what the focus is); your employees understand exactly what is expected of them; and your workforce becomes more efficient and effective.

So what exactly is culture in the context of business?

Culture (n): the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society

Culture is ‘the way we do things around here’. It’s the rules of the game. It’s the acceptable behaviours. It’s the collective thought. It’s what binds and unites a team.

It does not need to be rigid or controlling (you’re not creating a cult, your uniting a team), it can be flexible and accommodating within set limits that drive your workforce towards your business goals.

In a ‘loose tight culture’ you set the game for them (your vision), give them the tools required to work towards it (your mission) and you allow them to play their own way within a set of rules (your culture). How they play is up to them, as long as they stick to the rules and aim to win the game (business success!).

Take for example the game of football. To win you have to work as a team to score more goals than your opposition (the vision). Teams do this with strategic play, teamwork, skill and determination (the mission). All teams must play by the same rules, but some teams are more successful than others. Why is this? Largely, it is down to their culture. It’s about how they play, why they play, what drives them and how each individual in the team is unified by the desire to win.

So how do you create a winning culture in your business?

Culture should grow organically from your vision and mission statements. If they are clear and concise they will naturally indicate the type of culture required to achieve them. As you recruit employees into your business they should share your vision and demonstrate personality traits that will work well in your workplace.

When nurtured effectively culture can be one of your businesses greatest Unique Selling Points, distinguishing it from your competition and placing your business ahead in the marketplace. It does this by adding non-tangible value that’s gives your business a leading edge.

Afterall, a workforce that embraces your business culture are typically happier and more engaged than a workforce who do not.

They will demonstrate higher efficiency and productivity which can lead to greater staff retention and ultimately greater customer satisfaction.

They will strive for the same greatness your business strives for.

They will work towards the same vision.

They will be driven by the same mission.

They will give your business the power to change the world!

Give your business the power to change the world here

The post Vision, Mission and Culture Can Change the World appeared first on ActionCOACH.

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One of the key strategies we discuss in coaching is the importance of customer loyalty strategies, particularly in relation to customer’s levels of loyalty in driving repeat business.

When you have a database of existing customers you have a key opportunity to improve the bottom line of your business.

How?  By keeping in touch with them via your marketing communications. This doesn’t mean constant sales messages and discount offers, but to keep them included and informed of your business, the opportunities, developments and any exclusive offers. People will buy from people and if your customers feel they have more of a connection with you, they are likely to repeat buy and even better – tell a friend.  What we don’t want is them to feel that that they are only contacted once a year when you need something from them – eg. a sale.

Why?  The reason you need to do this is to move your customers up the loyalty ladder. Statistically, 9 out of 10 first sales are made a a loss. This can be due to the time invested in nurturing the customer to get them over the line. So once we have done that – do we want them to stay there? Or do we want them to repeat buy, recommend and be a raving fan?  Of course we do!

Here’s the levels of loyalty ladder and the stages we need to move a customer through the stages.

RAVING FAN ADVOCATE MEMBER CUSTOMER SHOPPER PROSPECT SUSPECT

Starting at the bottom with the SUSPECT, these are your potential customers who fit within your target market and are willing to buy. If they take action in response to your marketing, such as a request for more information, a phone call or email, they move to becoming a PROSPECT. From this stage you will have collected their contact details so that you can stay in touch and keep them updated with information, It is from here that you begin your relationship building.

Once a prospect has purchased from you, they become a SHOPPER. You should have a record of the transaction amount and where they found you (remember you need to be measuring this information so you can test and measure your marketing)  Once a customer purchases again, they become a CUSTOMER.

A MEMBER is a customer who has purchased more than twice and who feels like they belong to what your company is offering. This is where you need to start showcasing other products and services via your marketing communications such as brochures, catalogues and providing extra value such as downloads.

An ADVOCATE is someone who will tell others about you. They will provide referrals and promote your products and services – all whilst still purchasing.

At the top of the ladder is a RAVING FAN, and these are your biggest friends. Very much like an advocate, they will be doing your selling for you, but it will be on a regular basis – they are almost part of your team / sales team.

So how do you move your customers through the levels of loyalty to ensure you are nurturing suspects to be raving fans? Here’s some key points to consider in your customer loyalty strategies:
  1. Focus on customer service. It is not enough to aim for customer satisfaction – aim for customer delight. Every. Single. Time.
  2. Be consistent in your delivery, your marketing and your customer service; you don’t want your customers thinking they’ve experienced a ‘one-off’.
  3. Review your customer purchasing systems to ensure that you are making it as easy as possible for them to buy. From the sales process of contacting through to the exchange of money and delivery of service. Make sure it is easy.
  4. Include a ‘wow’ within their cycle and make sure it is relevant to who they are as an audience. Show that you know who they are, what makes them tick and give them something that your competitors won’t. If your customers are delighted, it is easy for them to be an advocate and raving fan.

If you would like to hear more customer loyalty strategies and how to move them up the ladder get in touch with Luke today.

The post KNOWLEDGE BOMB 037: Levels of loyalty | How to get raving fans appeared first on ActionCOACH.

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