Small Business Networking – Create a Breakfast Club

The small business network is the single most powerful thing that you can join in order to bring our business to the next level. This group also acts as an insurance policy against disaster. Some business owners do not have time to participate in a full network. Here is an alternative method that you can use to help your business today.

It’s called a breakfast club. This is a small networking group of business owners that meets once a week, or once a month for coffee and donuts (or whatever you want to eat). These meetings are not formal, but they do serve a single purpose- to get more business for each of the owners present at the meeting.

The way these meetings work is that the meeting can only consist of members that are non-competing with each other. Perhaps you have a lawyer, a dentist, a plumber, an accountant, and a web designer. Each of these members has their own customer list, but they are not able to provide any of the other services of the other members. During that particular month of business, these business owners will try to find out additional services that their customers may need help with. This allows the business owner to be more full-service for their customers, which is an added bonus and helps keep the customers around longer.

When the owners get together, they swap customer leads with each other. They will explain the needs of each customer and then give the leads to the person that can help them. Now, the new business has a qualified lead, because the original business owner told the person that they had someone that could help them.

The new customer visits the business and is already pre-sold before they even walk in the door. All that the service provider has to do is assure them that they can solve the problem as best as possible and close the deal. There is no cold calling in this situation, because the lead is pre-qualified. This is only one of the benefits of a breakfast club. If you have the time, you can expand it to a full-blown network, capable of many other things. However, if you only have the time to meet once a month, you can still benefit greatly from this small act of lead exchanges. Just think, all you have to do is get a cup of coffee once a month and you can gain thousands of dollars worth of new business.

Website For Small Business – Do You Know the Top Pros and Cons of Having a Website For Your Business

As with most things, having a website for your small business has some pros and some cons. If you are sitting on the fence about building a website for your small business you might want to consider both sides.

These are a few objections I hear from my prospective customers when I talk to them about getting a website for their business and getting into web marketing.

I get most of my business from word of mouth and offline advertising, I don’t need to spend money on a website. This statement is true for a lot of small business owners and solopreneurs but unless you don’t want to increase your business at all or actually you are planning to decrease your business you need to have a website. Why? Because having a website will not only bring you qualified leads but it gives your business validity, as one of my customers said: “I have enough business but I want to be with the times…” showing that he is not adverse to change and progress and listens to his customers needs. I am sure you’ve been asked by now if your business has a website.

I like to have one on one “real time” talk and interaction with my prospective customers, talking on the phone or in person. I don’t like this new internet way of dealing with business.And here is the answer to this concern. Just because your business has a website it doesn’t mean that you are not going to have that personal touch and interaction with your prospective customers. Once you get in touch with them it is up to you how you continue to communicate. Your small business website if just another vehicle of advertising and let’s face it most people these days don’t bother to flip through the Yellow Pages anymore.

Building a website for my small business is way too expensive and even if I have one who is going to maintain it? Yes, there are very expensive web designers out there but if you do your homework you’ll find that having a website built for your small business is not nearly as expensive as you might think, as a matter of fact if you compare it to other ways of advertising and what you get out of it, it’s darn cheap. Also, if you are so inclined, you or maybe somebody on your staff can actually experiment and build your own basic website for free. There are many handy site building tools out there that you can use. The number one thing is to have a website built. After you have a website you will easily find ways to promote it. One of the first rules of promoting your website is to use your web address on all your offline advertising. As for maintaining it you can either do it yourself or hire the company who built it for you. They must have different options for different budgets to chose from.

The bottom line is that there are always cons and pros to any business decision. Allow your mind to go past your fears and seriously consider getting a website built for your small business. Afterall what do you have to lose other then some good leads and more profits?

Transform Your Small Business Marketing

I regularly interview small and solo business owners who call my coaching company looking for help. After getting a sense of what their business is all about, what their biggest goals are, and what lifestyle they are trying to create, I ask them what their biggest challenges are.

Nine times out of ten, it’s getting more clients and the problem is marketing. Most work very hard at trying to get one client at a time. They try many different small business marketing methods that they’ve heard about or which they’ve seen their competitors use. In other words, a little of this and a little of that. The results are inevitably mediocre. It’s easy to get discouraged when you know you have a great skill or talent to offer the world and yet no one is listening to what you have to say.

The mistake made by the majority of early stage small or solo businesses, and even some who have been around for years, is to do what I call “shot in the dark marketing”. This is like playing darts with a blindfold on and being convinced that you’ll hit the bull’s eye. You may occasionally do so, but you’ll do it rarely. The same is true if you are an entrepreneur who has not mastered marketing.

I bet you’re great at what you do. But, are you also great at building and running a business? These are two separate and distinct skill sets and both are crucial to your success. When it comes to small business marketing, the real truth is that people who are marketing masters can make money even with mediocre products, yet many people with excellent products and services fail because they haven’t mastered marketing. If no one knows you exist how can you expect to get lots of clients and make a great income?

Here are some tips on what you need to think about in order to begin to master marketing:

Do Research

It’s a mistake to decide what you want to sell, create a product and then try to find some people who need it and are willing to pay you for it. Instead use the Internet to find out what people are searching for within your area of expertise and to research what and how your top competitors are selling. Also figure out where your prospects congregate online or offline so you know where you can reach them with your marketing.

Create a Marketing Design

This is a detailed plan that locks in what marketing activities you’ll pursue and how you’ll measure and track the results to know if those activities are working. Make a list of all the different ways you could generate leads both online and offline. Then pick only those that will focus on your target market. For example, join social media groups that attract your target market, mail marketing materials, postcards and brochures only to your target market. The same applies to print ads and sales calls. Don’t waste time on broad groups of people, but on the type of person who you know would buy your type of product or service.

Then pick three activities from the list and get started. You most definitely need at least one of them to include online marketing, either. That’s why I teach my online lead generation system. You can use a variety of methods such as article marketing, video marketing, blogging and social media to organically generate traffic. You can also use search engine optimization and pay per click advertising to generate search leads.

Follow Your Plan

Stick to your plan and see what works. Give it a bit of time, then focus tightly on what works and get rid of the rest. Don’t waste time, for example, going to networking meetings just because you like the people when you’re not connecting with potential clients or referral sources. Your time is limited so use it wisely.

Outsource

Why do $15 an hour tasks when you can outsource them and spend your time being the strategist and servicing clients? As soon as you outsource rote marketing tasks, you’ll find they get done more quickly and consistently and you’ll start generating a steady, reliable stream of qualified leads.

Follow Up

Once someone is on your mailing list or has called your company, have a follow up system ready to go into action so you don’t miss out on closing sales with people who are ready and willing to work with you!

Transform your small business marketing from lackluster to powerful!

Using Joint Ventures In Your Small Business

Small Business owners are constantly trying to come up with new ways to generate qualified leads and get more clients. Quite often we come up with some pretty amazing ideas and concepts, however quite often we overlook the real simple and inexpensive strategies. One of the most basic ways to get qualified leads and referrals is through joint venture partnerships. So what is a JV?

Well a JV or Joint Venture is where you partner up with another person to pass business to one another. There are some great natural fits for JV’s such as personal trainers with chiropractors or massage therapists or accountants with financial planners, however really any joint venture will work if you have the same sorts of people at both your businesses.

Joint ventures have loads of benefits, but probably the most important one of all is that they are a very qualified lead. They already trust one business and it is that business that is recommending them to you. Automatically you are being edified and promoted as a trustworthy person and business to use.

There are a couple of ways you can use joint venture partners. You could have a simple, I’ll pass you referrals and you pass them back to me or you can pay them a $$ amount or % of the fee for passing you the referral. The 2nd option is a sure way to get referrals passed as the passer is making some money also on the deal. This concept is great as the $$ or % that you are giving them is what you would have spent on advertising and marketing anyway. The difference is that this lead always comes with a better chance of using your products or services has they trust the person who has passed them onto you.

Joint Venture partners do not need to be businesses with close fits to your business. Getting joint venture partners with large databases that could provide a quick hit of orders or clients instantly is the perfect catch. Make a list of all the different business or people you could partner up with. If you had 10 – 20 people who were passing referrals onto you, then you would certainly always have enough prospects to talk to.

Joint ventures are great and really should be explored more by small business owners; however the right mindset is also extremely important to have. This is not all about you and your business. There is a great philosophy used in one networking circle of ‘Givers Gain’ and this really holds true in forming JV’s. You must be willing to help other businesses out, to form relationships with them and promote them more than what you expect to be promoted.

I know every day I will pass on close to 15 referrals to other businesses I know, whether I have a partnership with them or not, because that is my mindset in helping other people out. This mindset allows us to form brilliant relationships with other business owners and also our prospects and clients as we can help them out more and in different ways. There are joint venture partners everywhere all you need to do is ask.

Start with the big fish the ones you really want, the ones that could turn your business into an instant success. What’s the worst that could happen, they say no? That’s not too bad, move onto the next.

All the best in getting your 10-20 JV partners this week.