Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Black Enterprise Small Business University Growing Your Business Course Review Week 6 by Lashana Thomas


Course: Growing Your Business

Building your business is one thing. Now it’s time to grow. Small business lady Melinda Emerson, Author of Become Your Own Boss in 12 months teaches week 6 Black Enterprise Small Business University course on How to grow your business?

Lesson 1: WHAT’S YOUR GROWTH STRATEGY?

For the Entrepreneurs and Small Business owners who have survived the startup phase and who are now ready to grow your business, they are numerous possibilities with growing your business which depends on the type of business that you have, you’re available resources, and how much money, time, and sweat equity you’re willing to invest all over again.

This first option for growth is to open a second location you first need to look at the economic environment and the trends for indication that your company has staying power. Make sure that your operation banking processes are all in order. It’s also important to have a strong marketing team to send to the new location. Then you have to determine how you’re going to finance your expansion and choose your new location based on what’s best for your business and not your wallet.

Second option is to open your business as a franchise opportunity. If you really interested in this growth strategy, you must streamline all your internal systems and marketing processes, and then start networking within the franchise communities. Become a member of the international franchise association and get yourself a good franchise attorney, as well as a mentor, who has been through this process.

Another option for expansion is to expand globally, you’re already on the internet, you may have clients from all across the globe, and there are many programs and services that will help you to sell products overseas, in China, India, and across Europe specifically. You’ll need a foreign distributor, who can carry an inventory of your product and resell it in their domestic markets. Trade groups and foreign chambers of commerce in the U.S are good places to find your distributors. Also check out the government websites Businessusa.gov, which is a great resource for small business looking to export outside the US.

Lastly, expand on the internet.  If you’re not Google able in many business circles, you do not exist, make sure you have a useful website that tells people how to hire you; it’s the front door to your business. Be sure that your ecommerce solution also has the ability to mirror your online store or Facebook fan page as well.

Remember these tips when creating a Growth Strategy:

1. Consider opening an additional location – Do your homework. You don’t want to make the mistake of expanding too quickly or opening up in the wrong neighborhood.

2. Make your business a franchise opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs - Franchising is a great business model, but it won’t work if you’re business isn’t running well and scalable. 

3. Expand globally. China could be the right market for your business.  And the biggest market in the world is online.

4. Expand your business on the internet – An online business can bring customers that you brick and mortar location never could reach.

Lesson 2: ATTRACTING NEW CUSTOMERS

Every business at some point reaches a plateau. How you stay ahead is knowing how to attract new customers to your business.  If you want to attract new customers, these 5 tips will help you get started.

Network using Social Media. – Figure out where your target customers spend time online, pick that social media site to get started, and become a part of the conversation. Establish business profiles on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Do more Face to Face networking. -  Keep up traditional networking.  If you build a rapport and trust with someone, you can quite possible turn them into a customer or a referral source.

Revamp your email marketing. – Send out an email blast to your existing customer’s base asking for referrals and offer a 10% or higher commission on any business that is closed.

Look to use a Daily Deal Website. – Considering using daily deals site, such as living social, groupon.com, or rapidbuyr.com, if you’re selling B2B that’s the best place to go. The cut you pay to the website should be a part of your marketing budget.

Create Web only promotions. -  Create a web only offer as a teaser that is free of deeply discounted to any new customer so they can test out working with your company.

Lesson 3: RETHINKING AND REINVENTING YOUR BRAND

Time to hit refresh. Whether its years or just a moment of clarity, knowing when to give your business a makeover is important to your sustainability. Learn how to rethink and reinvent your brand.

If you think it’s time to reinvent your brand, the first step is to review the trends in your industry and see if technology has had a major impact on how customers buy your products or services.

The Second step is to update the messaging about what you do and redefine your value proposition. You want to make sure that your company is still relevant and that your target customer has not changed. Once you clarify your niche focus and target customers then you need to review and update your visual presentation. If you’re in the same business you may want to update your logo, if you are going into a completely different industry, you’ll need a new logo, website, business cards, and marketing copy.

The last step is to use an integrated marketing approach to communicate your new brand, review all the things that you do to put yourself out there and make sure that they align with your new message; you want to ensure that these are the best activities to reach your niche target customer. Coordinate your brand using the Help mantra. Provide information that’s Helpful, Engages people, Listen carefully and promote yourself with care. Traditional selling is dead; nobody wants to hear buy my stuff.  With the buy my stuff as your approach, social media, email marketing, blogging, video outreach, and traditional marketing efforts will be far more successful. 

Rethinking and Reinventing Your Brand Tips to remember:

1. Review the industry trends.

2. Update your messaging.

3. Update your visual presentation.

4. Use the Help Mantra with an integrated approach to get the word out about your business. 

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