The key components of using a database – Tracie Mattar

You need a database to help maintain the relationships of your past and potential clients. You need to ensure you are being kept front of mind for when people need to call on your services. Leaving it to chance or thinking people will just remember you, isn’t enough. Constant, regular contact is important, as is choosing the right system in which to capture your data and then work it.

If starting from scratch, you need to look at the network around you, who do you have currently in your email address book and phone contacts? Think of the sports groups/Community Groups/Networking opportunities. You can start by introducing yourself to the other businesses around the village that you are based in and include the professional sector of Solicitors, banks, Accountants, Doctors. It’s all about networking and becoming known around your area. Once you have collated all the information, make sure you take the time to enter the data cleanly and correctly – the most common method of capturing data is on an excel spreadsheet – this can then be easily imported into most CRM (Client Relationship Management) systems. 

Another thing to consider when looking choosing a system, is how easily can I access it from my mobile devices. Does it come with an APP? Can I log in remotely? Does the information synchronize so if I enter it into one device, will it update to the others?  Cutting down on double – entering data is what you’re looking for as this will make you more efficient and minimize on errors as well as having it available to you 24/7 on a mobile APP.

The other feature you need to consider is how easily you can create newsletters, marketing material, Just Listed, Recently Sold, Auction Invites etc and can you filter your database so you can send relevant information to specific people. Gone are the days of blanket marketing your database. Get creative – send content specific material of what’s important to your clients out to them.  You also want to have the ability to make and save notes, set tasks and store information so you can start to form a history around each person and hopefully a long lasting relationship, which is the key to a great database.

Getting started

When you have made the decision to prioritise the development of a systems and processes philosophy in your business, it is important to get the entire business to understand the key reason and purpose of this project.  

Once you have committed to get the team involved, we can begin following a process implementation system that will create a greater lift in your enterprise value.

10 key steps to creating a high performance process:

  1. Team meeting to explain purpose of systems and processes development and create buy in from the team.
  2. Identify a list of systems and processes within your business (heading only).
  3. Review each of these headings and decide on what would be an appropriate outcome if this process was followed.
  4. Define what the outcome level in dollar terms, customer satisfaction or business efficiency that you would expect if this process was followed correctly.
  5. Develop a list of activities in the process order that would deliver this outcome.
  6. Create an on-site delivery mechanism that enables your staff and contractors to follow your prescribed process.
  7. Create an audit process to ensure the process is being followed and its effectiveness towards achieving the outcome.
  8. Create a review of actual process outcome versus target and review success.
  9. Research and investigate industry benchmark outcomes that you can measure your businesses effectiveness and results against.
  10. Update and improve the process to move outcome towards target required.

Connecting Better

Ok, so it’s early in the morning, some of us have to work and we have got to hit the road fast to beat this crazy Auckland traffic. My thought after going to the Global Speakers Summit is “how do we connect better with either your workmates, clients or even with the community?” Steve Sammartino talks about box life.  We live, drive and work in boxes. We heat and eat from a box and finally die in a box. Unsettling and a great wake up call to how we do life. I even write this post with a box shaped tech, resting on a box sitting in my box office talking to myself after buying a box drink from a person in a box…lol.

Does work have to be box like this all the time? Is your brand in a box, which will one day die confined? So how do we change this? Do we need to change how branding is perceived and done in the future? I have always been told that customers are right from an early age and I truly believe this more and more in these times. For myself, it is about how customers experience your work, your brand, how personal you are, the touchpoint you give and the energy between those connections.

Your brand touchpoints need to be thought about from a head, heart and hands perspective.  How do your clients view your credibility, difference and relevance.  When was the last time you considered the five senses in your meetings, show some emotions and what buzz have you created through the media? Unlike the box metaphors, when was the last time you got out to participate in the local community or build local relationships?

To conclude, think about your client community, engage with them if only to encourage them, find a touchpoint to show you care. If you want to go deeper, explore further, contact us and we can help to deliver a brand strategy that expands the norm, challenges the past and provides hope for the future.

Dream Bigger

Many self-employed business owners enter into self-employment with the dream and vision of creating a hugely successful business that generates a high level of income.  As they begin the road of developing their business and then working within that business, the vision and the direction of where they can go gets distorted by the market and their economic factors at the time.  One thing I want you to do this month, is to think about what your initial dreams were when you first entered the industry you are in.  Are you achieving at their level or have you been held back by market forces and your own interpretation of your ability to achieve that higher result?  I encourage you this month to really focus on developing a much bigger vision for your business.  Think about how it could grow, how many more staff you could have and how many more customers you could work with, to grow a hugely successful company.

Many of our clients ask us to support them in their vision and mission development in their business to help create a much clearer direction of where they should head and how big their opportunity lies.   Please do not hesitate to give us a call to further discuss the strategic opportunities for your business being bigger, better and even faster.

Key Activities

Detailed below are 7 of the Key Activities, which are important to get sorted right now.

1. Meet with your accountant.

2. Create a budget for the year ahead.

3. Define the number of transactions to create that level of income.

4. Review your product or service offer to add value and increase price.

5. Consider if your business was doing double the production, what would it look like and what would you need.

6. Consider how tight your customer relationship is.

7. What weekly activity levels will be needed to create greater success?

Goals for the year

One of the best ways to really kick off 2018, is to set yourself some goals that inspire or terrify you.  Many self-employed business owners who have been self-employed for a length of time fall into the trap of doing the same old same old as in previous years.  There is a real need to create inspiration and drive for the year ahead and this only comes from a passionate commitment to reach your target.  Allow yourself some time to get out of the office in a place where you can consider exactly what you want to achieve this year and that creates real desire to make it happen.  If you want some help or support in getting this to happen, please do not hesitate to call.

Systems and processes

In working with and talking to hundreds of self-employed business owners, one of the key areas to really improve business consistency and growth, is to spend some time developing systems and processes.  When we take the time out to consider how we provide the unique or special product or services to our clients in the perfect way, we need to record this process and strive to follow it in every case.  In fact this can be improved each and every time we use it.  All aspects of your business can follow this philosophy.  As self-employed business owners we need to ensure our team and contractors provide the perfect outcome for our client every time.  Having written systems and processes makes this so much easier.  We have proven this time and again, helping clients develop better processes that are easier to follow and that create great customer experiences.  If you would like to find out more about how we can help you, please do not hesitate to call.

Key reasons for systems and processes development

When considering your businesses’ systems and processes, invest your time to create these 5 key business outcomes:

  1. Consistency
  2. Service development
  3. Error reduction
  4. Intellectual Property growth
  5. Business value increase

Understanding our customers’ needs

Sometimes we get too busy working in our businesses and clouded by day to day operation, that we forget to consider how the customer expects to engage with our service.  I encourage you this year to take the approach of having a discussion with past clients to understand if your current service model is still appropriate.  We are seeing many clients having to improve their communication and provide more clarity for the customer for the purpose of their service or product.  By doing this, we create a stronger relationship with the client and protect losing them through industry change or competitor offering.

By having regular conversations with past clients and current clients as they progress through the purchasing process, we can become very aware of how our service can evolve, improve and grow.

Key questions

  1. If we could improve our process what would be the one thing, as our client, you would like to change?
  2. How often would you like to hear from us in regards to new services, products or opportunities?
  3. As one of our key clients, we would love you to complete the following short questionnaire, so we can find out how to support our clients more.
  4. To further support the use of our service or our product, what would be something we could provide or investigate to make the use of our product or service easier?

Brand Vision Statement

“The art of building consistent, emotional connections with our customers” Tom Newton.

When we start to analyse a brand, a Brand Vision Statement, is a key component to building a brand. Your Brand Vision Statement are your brands Long term aspirations. Its your Brands Utopia, your dream. Some are long however short vision statements can be made up of a few words only for example:

1. Disney – To make people happy.

2. Oxfam – A just world without poverty.

3. Ikea – To create a better every day life for the many people.

Why does this all matter ?

Your Brand statement is the light house, your guiding light for future decisions down the road.

For example: Our Brand Vision Statement at Ink Consultants is We are a business growth agency. We help businesses succeed by discovering and resolving roadblocks.

Remember, keep your vision statement alive and visibly in front of you, revisit it and let it help direct your actions and activities. This is the fun part: this is where you get to dream really big and allow your imagination to fly as high as you want.

Don’t hold back, let your creative juices flow and give yourself permission to explore what is possible for your business.

Article from Tom Newton

Exciting launch of INK Consulting Associates

Over the last 1½ years, as I have continued to build the darrenpratley.com speaking business, I have been consistently seeing self-employed business owners or team members that are needing support or help in developing their business.  As there are many areas of business that I don’t work in, I thought it was important for me to have some very strong solutions that could assist them in developing  their business in areas where I don’t necessarily work.  From this, we developed the concept of INK Consulting Associates where we have brought together a range of high performing consultants and topic experts that can help support our clients in improving their business and developing growth.  We can see from many of our discussions with our clients that growth of their business becomes a very important part of what they do as their success improves.  With the success, growth is a key focus and that is why we are really focusing on becoming the growth agency for self-employed business owners and their businesses.  Over the coming months, we are looking to add high performing consultants on our team and ensure they are able to provide us with expert and industry leading information to assist our clients.