“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.
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.
One of the key areas and the importance of a database or CRM in your business is its ability to drive a system and process that makes your business more effective and also successful. The database system that you choose has to have some key components:
Online – The ability to access your database system online or from wherever you are, provides you the ability to interact and always have it close to you in your day to day business activities. This information on your database can make working with clients so much easier and ensuring that you have the right information at your fingertips.
Access – Accessing your database via mobile phone, laptop, in the office or on the road is really important to ensure that you can see clearly what your process and opportunities for new business are but also how to create connection with as many of your customers as possible. Having the right system with great access makes life so much easier.
Mobile – Database systems and CRMs are now developing in such a way that they can be used on mobile devices whether it is a tablet or smart phone. It will enable you to have access to your data in an easy to use format while you are on the go. Make sure that this mobility provides you with the support you need.
Ensuring you have a system that you use will save you time and create consistency. Having a regular calling structure to connect with your customers from your database is so important. Set it up so that it provides you with a list of clients to call every week.
It is important that your system allows you to be able to update client information quickly and easily. In some cases now the database systems are enabling the customer to enter into your database (in a secure environment) to be able to update their personal information.
Remember that your database system has to have the ability for ongoing development. We see often clients who have committed to a particular database that has not evolved over time leaving them commercially vulnerable as competitors move in new directions.
Try and use a database system that enables you to develop clear businesses processes that your team can follow to create consistency. These processes also should deliver the customer a consistent and reliable experience that meets and preferably exceeds their expectation.
Here are some key items that need to be considered in selection of your database:
What will create an asset to the business and grow enterprise value;
Ensure data that is collected is as comprehensive as possible right from the start. Spend some time developing your data list;
Use the database to drive your day to day activity through developing tasks and events. The database should provide reporting to summarise your activity and provide a level of accountability. Ensure the system provides for easy import and exporting of system data to enable the data to be used externally when required. Note: Please ensure that data security is thought about.
In choosing the right system, ensure that consideration is made as to the potential needs and uses of the system in the future.
In a world where technology and it’s portability has become so important to our lives, one of the key areas that is now being reviewed and consistently looked at is database systems and how they become the Customer Relationship Management program for your business’s future. These days business is consistently about how we interact with our customers so they remain current and available to your network of clients, which is simply vital. The database system allows us to collect information on the client but also record the client interactions and future transactions. This data and history that we collect on our customer is what allows us to develop an ongoing relationship and be appropriate and current in all conversations we have with them. Your database now has to be a major component of your business and requires some investment in both money and time to make it work effectively.
Consider this: Look at the number of clients and contacts you currently have on your database system and then check the number of people that you currently have on your mobile phone. It is always important to think every time we meet a new customer or person and we collect their phone number on our mobile phone that this information needs to be transferred into our database system so that we can enhance and build on the relationship using the tools available in that system.
Google search your industry, your known competitors and related industry participants and print all relevant content that you can find to build a collection of your industry competitors. Now analyze it.
2. Mystery shop
Get someone that you trust to mystery shop your competitors checking:
(a) customer connection;
(b) needs identification;
(c) solution development;
(d) pricing, terms and conditions;
(e) closing the sale;
(f) ongoing relationship definition.
3. Direct analysis and comparison
Review the above mystery shop items to identify what your competitors are doing in regards to service, product offering and client retention ability. Compare to your own service proposition. Have you ever had someone mystery shop your business?
4. External assessor
Use an external party to complete a service assessment on your business. Having someone who knows about how far industry service propositions have developed and assess your business against this criteria will give you a great idea on how to move your business closer to your customer.
5. International benchmarking
It is always important to look at what the leaders in your industry are doing. Don’t be limited by your geographic boarder in regards to development of your service. International markets can help you grow your service proposition.
Is there something you would really like to achieve? Is there something you would really like to do? Is there some place you would really love to travel to? One of the things I would like you to do this month is to consider all the places that you have been, the events that you have travelled to or life events that have created great memories. Now think about creating another opportunity to focus on the life goal that you can tick off and would really give you satisfaction and enjoyment. I want you to have a think about when that can be arranged and really lock it into your diary and make it a plan you can strive for. Having a great goal or reward will really help motivate you and keep you focused. Many self-employed business owners forget to have that time where they can look up, realize their success and give themselves a pat on the back for working hard towards their goals. Make this a real focus for later this year, lock it into your diary, set your plan and make it happen.
At this stage of the year, we are trucking along with school holidays now behind us. I want you to have a think about creating a great event for your family and close friends. As we are often busy in our active lives, we sometimes forget that the reason we do what we do is to create experiences and memories for the future. I would really like you to consider stopping for just ½ hour and write down some ideas that would create a great family and friend’s event that you can look back on with pride. It could be a pot luck dinner, a BBQ lunch at a local park, a fancy dress party, a family extended weekend to a quiet location – just something simple to organise but will create great memories. Imagine looking back at the event in 20 years’ time with some great photos and remembering the time you created this!! Go on! I think this is a great concept to think about at this time of the year.
In an environment where we are constantly looking to develop our business and provide more service, one of the key things every self-employed business owner needs to consider is how they grow their team.
We all know that the best way to develop our business grow our income and ensure we are creating a larger market for our business is to create the leverage of time and use of additional support services. In our business we may be a good widget maker but it is important for us to realize that there are a number of components within our business that are not our specialty. Having someone to provide great administration support, provide on line social media services, providing internal systems and process development are all things that you can have additional members of your team to help you develop to ensure your business grows.
One of the key areas that I ask the people that I am coaching here is these support services or support people that are joining your business do not have to be full time salaried positions. These can be positioned at a level that your business can afford but enable to grow as the market place and your success permits.
Think about your business today and think of all the jobs that you would like somebody else to do. Consider these roles part time positions and who you would need to get to fill these roles. I see many self-employed business owners battling with accounts trying to get their financial accounts completed on time where using the services of a contracted accounts person or bookkeeper can take this whole hassle away from you and ensure that this work is completed in the time frame you need.
Look to develop more people in your business to help support the growth, not necessarily full time.
WOW, we are just passed half way for this calendar year and many people that I am talking to are constantly saying how they cannot believe how quickly this year is flying by. I have been considering this in terms of how busy our lives have become and it certainly is showing signs that we have less time by mentally and physically.
One of the key things that we need to consider is our use of IT. I notice nowadays that when anybody has 5 minutes of down time, a gap between appointments or whilst sitting at the traffic lights in the car that they are constantly on their phone, reviewing text messages, reviewing their Facebook and checking who actually likes them. One of the things we have to consider is now our mental stimulus is almost constant. Not only are we going from meeting to meeting or client appointment to client appointment, we are now also engaging with the wider social community via social media constantly. Because of this we have less mental down time which creates an environment where we are constantly with the “on” button. Time flies by and we still feel that we have been extremely busy. One of the things that I am encouraging more of my clients to do is to stop and consider what they are using their time for and what is creates for them towards their end game or end goal. Reviewing their activity on a daily basis is really really important.
My challenge for you is simple – please set some goals each day that are around you developing your happiness and feeling of having time. We have the ability to fill up all of the time in the day that we have been given but we do need to create gaps and spaces where we can take a breath, relax, review our world and see our plan in the direction we need to go.