Archive for January, 2012

What’s Your Personality?

Many small businesses struggle with their USP or Unique Selling Proposition. That’s because it’s hard to get outside ourselves and see us as others do. There’s no avoiding it, you need a unique selling proposition and, in some cases, it might be as simple as injecting more of your personality into your business.

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courtesy of clipartworld.com

When I was a college student at San Jose State, we used to go up to San Francisco and frequent a particular Chinese restaurant. It was known, not particularly for its food, but for its waiters. They would toss menus as you and ask you to “hurry up, order”. Then they would continue to gently but firmly insult the customers in a way that was funny and very original. (Can you imagine the interview process there?) We loved going there and having menus thrown at us. One even hit my lip and it was sore for hours, though I’d never dream of complaining.

How did this restaurant evolve to adopt such an unusual USP? Somewhere along the line a customer probably laughed at a surly waiter and brought a friend in to experience the “audacity” of a waiter that told you to “hurry up, order!” As usual, the customers unwittingly were identifying the restaurant’s unique selling proposition. Admittedly, the uniqueness of the experience wasn’t for everyone, but they realized that there were enough patrons who appreciated it to form a strong, loyal customer base.

What’s your personality? Does it make your product or service different? Find a way to capture it, nurture it and weave it into everything you do. Celebrate it and ask your customers if they like that personality. Your customers always know best.

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Baker’s Dozen: 12 Things Every Small Business Can Do To Start the New Year Off Strong

Happy New Year! Okay, let’s get going.

Here are some really no-brainer things you can and should do to kick off the new year right!

1)      Business Plan: Does your original business plan still make sense? Review it piece by piece with fresh eyes. Invite a Board member to do so as well. This should be a living, breathing document. Revise, shift, act!

2)      Social Media: Focusing on the marketing section of the plan, identify where social media will raise your existing communications up to a more collaborative level with customers (read Brian Solis articles; they will stretch your mind in terms of understanding how social media should be used)

3)      Measure: Create metrics for tracking the value of all sales/marketing campaigns. Remember it’s not just how many trade shows resulted in sales. What about awareness? Today it’s about “big metrics”!

4)      Ask: Ask your customer service reps to create a short customer survey (Survey Monkey is free!). By short, I mean 6 questions or less.

5)      Communications: Decide to communicate with a customer every week. Not just a fix to a problem but to gain a deeper understanding of what they need to be successful; then where your product or service fits into that framework. Focus on their needs, not yours!

6)      Testimonials: Collect 1 customer testimonial per month (yes, these still work better than ads!)

7)      Case Studies: Write 1 customer case study per quarter (write it from the customer’s point of view; try to get into their world. It will be much more interesting that way and the customer will be more willing to talk about it to prospects!)

8)      Competition: Create a 1-page SWOT against each of your top 3-5 competitors. What’s their next move? They may be doing things you didn’t realize they are doing; update your records!

9)      Website: Ask at least 3 objective people to “walk through” your website and jot down what they like and don’t like. Share the results with your marketing team. Then do something about it! By the way is it optimized for mobile?

10)  Quality blogs: Ask your top thought leader to begin publishing a monthly WordPress blog on topics that relate to your mission statement.

11)  E-Letters: Start a monthly e-letter (fill it with useful information, not product hypes and ads)

12)  Community: At the very least, get involved in your local Chamber of Commerce. Think: helping other businesses get leads. Give and you shall receive! Try to identify at least one good cause to get involved in. Then make sure you really get involved! Ask your employees to help identify a local charity that makes sense for your company.

13)  Objective Outside expertise: Take advantage of Susan Saldibar Marketing Services 1-hour complimentary session. I can help you organize and executive the above!

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