Put Your Best Business Foot Forward

Putting your best business foot forward can be difficult, especially when you're just starting out. But if you follow the right processes through research, by comparing and contrasting your product or service with your competition, and in your ability to deliver your very best efforts in every respect, then chances are you are on your way to success as a business owner. The journey can be overwhelming and, in reality, is never as easy as you plan or expect it to be.

Get a Grip!

The first rule of thumb to remember is – Don’t Panic! Woven throughout your enthusiasm, self-confidence, determination and excellent preparations, panic does exist. You can tell yourself, “I have everything under control…well, as much as I can,” but having total control over your business is something of a myth. Why? Because in business you rely on others for your success. It doesn’t matter if you are a one-person show or have a staff of fifty. If you fail to deliver the goods, you are destined to remain an unknown in business.



Have a Clear Business Picture

Management expert, author and teacher, Peter F. Drucker (1909-2005) is quoted as saying: “Any organization that fulfills itself through marketing a product or service is a business,” and “Any business enterprise has two, and only two basic functions – Marketing and Innovation.”

Doing your homework at every developmental stage is vital to successfully reaching your business goals. Primary steps you must master include:

• Defining your statement of purpose (SOP)
• Focusing in on your target market
• Marketing, advertising, and promotions
• Selling your products and services
• Client outreach and potential new customers

Define Your Statement of Purpose

Simply stated, a statement of purpose tells people about your business model:

• Your business vision and mission and what you want to accomplish
• About your product or service
• Your intended target audience and what you provide to your customers
• What others say about you and your success, who recommends you
• What makes you unique that attracts people to do business with you

Ideally, a statement of purpose appeals to potential clients or investors that may one day buy your business, whether that's a product you sell or a service you provide. Some examples are bestselling authors (with a book product) and eBay (a service that provides participants with a sales platform).

Focus – Who is Your Target Market?

An early theme in Internet marketing was that targeting everybody as a potential client was a smart marketing approach. “Just get your product out there.” Despite support espoused by some Internet gurus, some folks privately expressed doubt about this global marketing concept because it didn’t make a lot of sense for their business model. The “one size fits all,” “just build it and they will come” theories just didn’t pass every test for success.

Missing from the Internet world was the longstanding and very effective word-of-mouth marketing tool used successfully by standard brick and mortar businesses, which have always had a good grasp of their target market because they can actually observe the number of clients and potential customers who visit their shops. Over time, improved marketing strategies have expanded the efficiency of Internet tools to capture desired information about niche clients, something that off-line businesses have always known by virtue of overt and immediate exposure of their products and services.

Marketing, Advertising, and Promotions

Marketing trends now point to narrowing down your niche and getting as specific as possible in order to reach the greatest number of people in your target market. Both Internet and brick and mortar businesses can gain benefits from this modified marketing approach. In his article, “How Narrowing Your Niche Market Can Help Your Business” (April 2011, http://internetconqueror.com/), Andrew McCombe offers the following:

“One of the most common mistakes small business owners make is in trying to be generalists. Instead of focusing on a single area of expertise, they try to be all things to all people. The result is that their advertising and marketing efforts are spread too thin, they are trying to service too broad a customer base, and they are unable to deliver superlative products and services…. It may seem counterproductive, when all you are doing is trying to get as much business as possible, but narrowing your focus down to a niche market can actually make your business more successful.”

Advertising tools have expanded to include sending out postcards, making personal phone calls, and hosting private parties, in addition to emails, newsletters, radio/TV and newspaper ads, and they apply to both types of business. A few unendorsed examples are:

http://www.postcards.com/ / http://www.postcardmania.com/
http://www.voicebroadcasting.com/
http://www.constantcontact.com/
http://www.emailmarketingprofessional.com/

Whatever promotional tools you use, have a year-round plan to keep your products and services out in front of your target audience. While seasonal themes are popular and work effectively for most businesses, off-season nuances can be the meat and potatoes that help to sustain business in leaner times. Using Google AdWords and other Internet resources can be valuable tools for both off-line and online businesses in today’s marketplace.

Selling Products and Services

The goal of most businesses is to sell in record numbers by offering the very best in products and services, but simply building a product better or providing a better service than anyone else does NOT guarantee success. Keeping the client as your focus is a great reminder that clients are THE keys to your success.

Offering a bonus item with an existing product or service is an effective marketing strategy that practically guarantees new sales from established as well as potential clients. Choose some type of complementary freebie at minimal or no cost to your business. While it may seem easier to do this at a trade show with a ready-made product, offering a companion book (or ebook), guide, pamphlet, a CD/DVD, or even another product via the Internet can actually boost sales, retain clients, and draw in new customers for your Internet business. And it never hurts to have some of these same free items available at your trade show table.

Regardless of your venue, choose or create a low-cost product to be used as a promotional giveaway to help sales and keep you in the forefront of clients. Everyone appreciates a freebie, as long as it is relevant to what you represent.

Client Outreach, Potential Customers

An effective yardstick by which to measure your accomplishments is your competition, but one of the best yardsticks comes from within your organization; your team and those who best know you, your products, and your goals. Working to continuously improve your business encourages their motivation, particularly when you offer an incentive program that fosters creativity toward a better product or service.

Happy company employees using word-of-mouth strategies can be your best advertisers, and keeping them happy promotes good ambassadors for your products and services. When employees are happy with their work environment and financial conditions, they naturally reach out and tell others. It’s a modified chain of command that works well in bringing in repeat customers and new prospects.

Footnote

To review tips on how to put your best business foot forward, read all of the articles presented at this website and take advantage of the knowledge offered by those who have traveled your same path to a successful business.

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CYNTHIA BULL (http://www.cynrje.com/) is an internationally published writer and editor who helps international authors, marketers and speakers add greater value to their products through her top-quality writing, editing and transcription services. She is the author of How To Be A Medical Transcriptionist and Winning At Work While Balancing Your Life, a contributing author of Walking with the Wise Entrepreneur (Mentors Publishing House), cited in Make BIG Profits on eBay (Entrepreneur Press), and Managing Editor of Mentors Magazine Think & Grow Rich Edition. Cynthia has created over 200 book products in the past two years for her clients and, as mentor, helps clients reach their goals through her products, experience and genuine caring.

Cynthia writes this feature article exclusively for Debbie May (http://www.debbiemay.com/), an organization dedicated to helping small businesses succeed.