Most small businesses in America don’t work. Most small-business owners went into business because they had a dream. A dream of working for themselves: being their own boss, having a little more free time. But what happened to most small-business owners? They got a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week job.
Do we even remember how to spell “vacation”?
The reason that most small businesses don’t work is due to what I call “F.T.I.” – Failure To Implement. We know what to do, and we even know how to do it, but we just don’t do what we know we should.
The difference between successful and unsuccessful people is “Successful people do what unsuccessful people don’t.” Not that they can’t, just that they don’t (or won’t).
There are 11 critical areas of implementation in building a phenomenally successful business. There are certainly more areas we could talk about, but these 11 are the most critical, the most vital to the success of the business.
Critical Area No. 1: Personal Success
Most small-business successes reflect the personal success of the business owner. So many times in a small business, everything that the business accomplishes is a direct result of the energy and success habits of the owner.
Even if you have employees, their success depends on your leadership. The successful person builds the successful business. Have you been willing to observe yourself objectively? Are you willing to change?
After coaching thousands of small-business owners, I have come to the conclusion that all marketing, sales, leadership, and successful business relationships comes down to understanding human behavior.
The more we understand ourselves and others, the more successful we can become. There was a point in my career that I did not want to face this fact. I did not want to know anything about psychology or human behavior. I just wanted to provide a service that made people happy.
That worked well, but I found that understanding human behavior is the key to unlocking the secret door to a phenomenally successful business – one that can truly help you realize your dream.
Critical Area No. 2: A Phenomenal Marketing System
Most small-business owners have poor marketing. How can I say that? Look around. What do you see? You see all types of service companies trying to compete on price. Can that be good? Prices get driven lower and lower until that industry is unattractive to anyone. Everyone loses in the end, including the customer.
As a small-business owner, the best thing you can do is learn how to differentiate yourself from others, and learn the tried and true marketing techniques of getting your unique message out.
Critical Area No. 3: Building Massive Referrals
No service business can be highly successful without referrals. The number of referrals you get is not dependent on just doing a good job. Sure, if you do a good job you will get some referrals. But to dramatically increase your referrals, you need to have a referral system.
A system is a group of working parts that work together to get the same results time after time. Your system should automatically reward each and every person that refers you, and should be constantly, consistently getting a powerful referral message in front of all that are in a position to refer your services.
Critical Area No. 4: Activating Repeat Clients
Statistics have revealed that it costs an average of 500 percent more to gain a new client than to keep an existing one. That’s five times as much! The biggest marketing mistake of all, other than doing nothing, is not marketing to your existing clients.
Every month that goes by that you are not in front of them with a powerful message, you are leaving money on the table. You could literally double your business if you have a significant database by retaining more clients, getting them to use more of your services and to use your primary service more often.
Critical Area No. 5: Planning Your Small Business
A Japanese proverb says “Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.” Do you remember why you went into business for yourself? If you are like most entrepreneurs, that dream has faded. You get up and go to work every day. To escape that trap, you need a plan.
Fail to plan, plan to fail.
Critical Area No. 6: Pricing for Profit
“A business without a profit is a hobby – and that’s scary!” Too many small-business owners have a hobby rather than a real business. We “trade” money. I can bring in $2 million per year, but if it costs me $2.4 million, it does me no good. If you bring in $500k but spend $550k, you lose. If you bring in $100k and spend $110k, you are working for the business.
You must know your running cost of doing business. Shouldn’t this be elementary? Shouldn’t everyone know this? Yes. But do they? No. We are too busy working “in” the business and we don’t take the time to really analyze our costs.
Critical Area No. 7: Building Systems
Another reason that small businesses struggle to implement is because their “strategies” are not organized. A big mistake that business owners make is reinventing the wheel every time they do a routine task.
By duplicating yourself, you can begin working “on” the business instead of just “in” it.
Critical Area No. 8: The Inside Sales Presentation
You can have the best marketing in the world, but if you don’t handle your telephone right, it does you no good. How does your phone answering sound? What about your voicemail? What happens when you put someone on hold? Do you have a scripted, proven sales presentation that gets maximum closings? If not, this critical area has to be looked at. Are your callers “WOWed” when they call your company? It is a proven fact that a structured, well-planned sales presentation will outsell a reaction-based presentation every time.
Critical Area No. 9: The On-Location Sales Presentation
Statistics reveal that visual aids increase retention by 60 percent. How are your on-site materials? Do you have powerful materials when you go out? Just because your customer uses your service once doesn’t mean that she will use you again or refer you.
A powerful on-location presentation can dramatically increase the “assigned value” of your service and educate your audience to be a long-term, referring client.
Critical Area No. 10: Internet Marketing
Sadly, many cleaners are totally ignoring this area. Today, one of the first things people do when they find out about you is search for you online (and probably from their phone!). Will they find you? Does your web presence reflect your true image? And do you have ways of reaching out to your clients with an e-mail marketing system?
Critical Area No. 11: Leadership
If you have employees, your life will be infinitely better when you learn the proven principles of phenomenal leadership. This is probably the most painful area of all for small-business owners, but it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, if you do this right, you can help people change their lives!
Set some goals in each of these areas for 2010 and plan to win!