Ten Steps – One Month – More Profit
What a statement! Within thirty days you should be seeing changes in your business that will increase profit. In these ten steps you will find some of the most powerful ways to increase profits quickly. Depending on your business, one or two of these steps might take a bit longer than thirty days to give a return but stay with them, they are all critical to your success in increasing profit.
You might find that some of the steps seem obvious to you and that’s fine, as long as you’ve taken action to increase profit in your business. There is rarely a quick fix to a business – we’ll need quite a few of them to make your business grow. It’s this combination of strategies, one on top of another, that has helped my clients to enjoy incredible growth.
The Ten Step Journey
This is a list of strategies that I frequently use first with my one on one coaching clients. It will be ideal to kick-start your business, too. And of course, for expert help and support to put them into practice, you can contact me on 01423 550175 for a free chat to learn more about my business coaching services.
About Harrogate Business Advisors
Take a look at www.hbadvisors.co.uk to see Case Studies and Testimonials on the website. The home page has three client testimonials in video form. They are only around ninety seconds each so please take this short time to see what my clients say.
Setting Out On The Ten Steps
Business owners usually have no clear destination and no goals to get them there. If you have no destination in mind for your business –then you are like a pirate searching for the hidden treasure without a map that says ‘X’ marks the spot.
Action: Take the time now to set yourself a destination and give yourself 2-3 goals that are important. You might choose to increase sales by 30% this year or to get out and meet customers more or simply have weekends off with your family. You choose what is important to you and set it as a goal.
Nothing Happens Until You Take Action
This programme of ten actions is exactly that – actions. If you don’t do anything but read it, you’ll get the reward you deserve – nothing. On the other hand, if you take an action you’ll enjoy more profit and a healthier business. People who take action obtain results faster.
Are you one of those people who get so caught up in the day to day running of your business that you forget to find time to improve it? If that’s you, having somebody to report to each week gives you a sense of accountability that’s often missing for some business people. It can be lonely at the top and that’s why many people enjoy the relationship they develop with me as their business coach.
Step 1. Measure Your Marketing & Sales Results
Do you do lots of bits of marketing and are never exactly sure whether or not it’s worked for you? Most businesses put adverts in papers, send out direct mail letters, put up a website and do all kinds of things but don’t think to measure where enquiries come from. And that means you can’t figure out what’s working for you and what’s not.
Once you figure this out, you realise that marketing that works brings in more money than it costs. It’s like making £2 for every £1 you spend. If you could figure out which part of your marketing does this, you would spend all your money on the strategies that work and abandon the ones that don’t.
How To Do It: This varies depending upon the marketing strategy you’re using. Here are a few ideas you can put into action today. Create an enquiries sheet and ask every customer where they heard of you. Use a unique phone number on your website, a different one for yellow pages and yet another for newspaper adverts. When the related phone rings, you’ll know you’ve hit upon a great marketing tactic.
Use a coupon in your adverts and give £5 off with it, or something similarly appealing (check out the offers strategy later in this programme).
Tell your customers to ask for Harry, or Fred, or Karl, etc, when they call. It doesn’t matter that you don’t have somebody of that name, you’ll just know that they’ve seen the advert in a certain place.
Step 2. Take Action On The Things You Already Know Work
Every business owner I’ve worked with has a head full of ideas and knowledge of things that they know will work for their business. It’s just that you’ve temporarily forgotten about it. Perhaps you did some telemarketing a few years ago that produced customers, or maybe you did a seminar that got you a big sale. You might even have asked a customer for referrals but haven’t done it since.
How To Do It: Make a list of all of the different ways that have brought you business in the past.
Prioritise them and put them into your calendar to take action on, one at a time, over the next week or two.
Work through them and count the pounds as they come rolling in!
Step 3. Relentless Follow-Up
Some people take ages to make a decision to buy. If you don’t bother following up after a sales meeting, you will be losing more sales than you can imagine. And if you’re prepared to follow up again and again and again, you’ll get even better results.
How To Do It: For every enquiry you get, for every marketing call you make, for every potential customer that talks to you, put their name into a calendar system and relentlessly follow them up until they give you a decision. A no is better than never being sure if they might have bought and a “Yes!” is best of all.
Step 4. Get Organised With A Customer Database
It’s amazing that so few companies keep track of the people they talk to. From high street shops and restaurants to Internet sales operations, if you don’t record at least the name, email address and ideally phone numbers and address of your customers, you lose control of your relationship with them and can’t keep in touch. This is crucially important. If you don’t do this, your competitors will crush you.
How To Do It: Whenever you have contact with a customer, make sure you get enough details to keep in touch. If you feel uncomfortable asking for the information, give them something in return.
Maybe you can give them something free like an eBook, in exchange for their name and address or entry into a monthly free draw for something. A bottle of champagne or dinner for two both work pretty well.
Step 5. Set & Publish Sales Targets
If you’ve got a sales team, they are there to do one job – to bring in a lot more sales than their own salaries cost. The majority of companies have no sales targets in place and so the sales team cruise. If your sales team are cruising, the chances are that you’re losing money on them.
Your sales team should be hungry for success and competitive. If they’re not, you may be hiring the wrong type of people to sell for you.
How To Do It: On a white board draw a simple bar chart with one bar for each sales person that resets every month. Draw a line with the minimum value of sales they must make. If your sales team fail to hit targets for three months in a row, start to manage them out of your organisation unless their performance picks up. Don’t make exceptions apart from very special circumstances for long term high performers.
If your team aren’t right for managing like this, you need to change the way you recruit sales people. Contact my office and book a chat with me about salespeople profiling for your company.
Step 6. Invite Old Customers Back Again
Every business loses customers over the years. Most never try to get them back. Because they’ve bought from you before, you know they need your services and so they make a great easy target market for you.
How To Do It: Three simple steps will make this happen for you. First, figure out what made them stop buying from you – did your service lapse or was it something else? Fix whatever caused the problem, or if you only sell one product, find some more to offer them so that you’re not just a one-hit wonder.
Write a letter to them and tell them you were really sorry to lose them as customers and that you’ve made improvements. Explain specifically what you’ve changed and finish the letter by telling them you’ll call to catch up in a few days. Make sure you give them a great offer, too, for welcoming them back to you. And of course, remember to make the follow up call.
Step 7. Create Powerful Offers
The majority of advertising doesn’t include a compelling offer to really motivate your customers into buying from you. When you create a strong offer, you give them a reason to call or buy.
How To Do It: Identify something you can give away to your customers that will be of huge value to them, but will not cost you crazy money to give away.
Ideas for offers include free samples, advice, health-checks and first order discounts. Just remember that if you’re giving a discount a hard value will normally make a bigger impact than a percentage. For example, £5 Voucher feels a lot bigger than 10% off every order over £50.
Calculate your return on investment (ROI) to make sure it’s affordable and profitable for you. It’s ok to make nothing on your first order if your service means they’ll spend money every month with you. A powerful offer can be a great way to make your advertising work properly. Just make sure you’re measuring your leads generated and the value of sales you make from it.
Check the offer to make sure it will have a real impact. Be careful not to fool yourself that you’re giving a lot away when in truth nobody will notice the deal. 10% off deals are often like this, which is why you’re best to avoid percentage offers.
Step 8. Collect & Use Customer Testimonials
Knowing that other people have bought your products and enjoyed their benefits is a powerful persuasion technique – it’s all about building trust. It has been studied by psychologists and identified as one of the most powerful persuasion techniques. It doesn’t take a psychologist to understand why though – it’s great to have the reassurance that we are not taking a huge risk because other people have already benefited from the same purchase.
How To Do It: Ask your best customers if they could give you a testimonial for your product/service. Get them to be as specific about the benefits as possible, giving you hard facts and figures wherever possible.
If you can get a picture of them to use alongside their testimonial, that’s even better. With Internet video becoming more widespread, if you can get them to record a video testimonial that you can put on your website, that’s even more compelling. Take a look at mine – www.hbadvisors.co.uk
Use the testimonials wherever you can. Put some in with any quotes you send out, use them on your advertising, include them on your website.
Step 9. Draw your own ‘Matrix’
If you provide products or services for your customers, you probably think they know about everything you do. You would be wrong to assume that. Our customers are not mind readers. You need to be able to sell more of what you do to your existing customer base.
How To Do It: Draw up a spreadsheet with all your customers listed down the left hand column. In columns to the right of this, put headings of each of your products/services. Then fill in the cells where your customer already buys that product/service from you. If you are like most business owners, the spreadsheet will have lots of blank cells.
Now, to see how much money you are ‘leaving on the table’, take the next step. Put a value in the blank cells of what you estimate is being spent by your customers elsewhere that you could provide. Then total the columns and you will be astounded at the total Sales numbers you are missing.
Step 10. Increase Your Prices
Around 80% of small businesses are under charging for their services. Those businesses are losing money that’s incredibly easy to fix by simply raising their prices. This is a strategy that practically every single one of my clients has successfully implemented within weeks of working with me.
How To Do It: First of all list your competitors. Rank them in order of the quality of their services as you think they are perceived by the marketplace.
Add yourself into the list where you think your company belongs. So if you’re the second best for quality, you’ll be second on the list.
Now do another list, but this time arrange it in order of prices. Are you still in the same place, or are you lower than competitors who aren’t as good as you?
If you’re lower priced than worse companies, you need to raise your prices! Start by raising your prices to customers you don’t like. Yes – choose a few customers you really would not mind losing and put your prices up for them to the new level that you’ve set. If there are no real complaints, you know that you’ve set your prices at a level that’s still fine.
Gradually work through your customer list until they’re all paying a fairer rate for your services.
The beauty of this strategy is that it’s all pure profit for you. There’s no cost involved at all so you’re just making more cash, pure and simple.
Business Coaching with Harrogate Business Advisors Limited – Government subsidised
If you would like your business to accelerate faster than you could imagine, you should call me. At the time this is being written there are Government funds available – call me to see if you qualify.
If you are worried that business coaching might not be right for you, I’ve got a money-back guarantee. Work with me for just 30 days and feel the difference in your motivation and the way your business performs – or I will refund your money in full. That guarantee applies to everyone, unless you have chosen to go down the Government subsidised route, in which case you don’t pay money to me, you pay it to one of the Government’s consortium partners, so I would be unable to refund it.