The truth is a tough pill to swallow.
When it comes to our business, we pretend everything’s fine to our peers, other business owners, and friends.
You appear calm and collected on the surface, but we’re unsure of the future of our business.
You create the public perception that business is booming, when in reality, you’re not even sure where your next customer is going to come from.
But underneath that constant cold sweat, you need to pull it together — nobody wants to board a sinking ship. So you put on a front and hope for the best.
It doesn’t really matter how many years you have been in business. As a matter of fact, there’s little correlation between time in business and success.
Doing the busy work that do not produce results
As a small business owner, you get caught up in a lot of busy work. You end up taking shortcuts, yet forced to spend so much valuable time on unproductive matters.
You spend less time with family. There’s always a fire to put out. Clients get the run around on why poor service or product.
I know that all too well — when I started my ad agency, I was focused on all the wrong things. And it took me a while to recover from it. I was trying to do everything myself instead of focusing on being efficient — and sometimes that means finding the right tools to help me with the work. I’ll explain in detail further on.
This is not uncommon. Small businesses, whether you’re a tech company or service business, the struggles of a small business is echoed across industries.
On the flip side, if you’re a small business that hasn’t struggled and hit home runs since day one, I’d like to talk to you and clone your gene. For research purposes, of course.
But for the rest of us hard working business owners, we continue to utilize time tested strategies to grow our small business.
There’s too many solutions, and that’s causing the problem
The most important thing for your small business is new customers and leads.
But you don’t have the time to follow up with every customer and every lead. Why? Because you are inundated with a plethora of marketing tools and are designed to solve one problem.
The result? You are signed up with too many tools — many of which are unnecessary or redundant — which means you’re spending time doing stuff unrelated to your passion, the thing that got you into business in the first place.
You’re not doing what you’re uniquely talented at, whatever your business may be.
If you’re in the service business like a local plumbing company, or a gym franchise, or a law firm or dental office, you find yourself explaining your services over and over again.
If only you could automate this process with the right process and software.
There’s another scenario that could make things worse for your small business. What is it Derek? Thought you’d never ask.
You decide to spend money in Google and Facebook Ads to drive new lead. But without an effective lead nurturing process — you might be spending good money on marketing with hazy ROI, at best.
I found something last month that solved this problem for our business
It automatically slices and dices, and if you sign up now, you’ll get unlimited support forever — 100% free. Just pay for shipping and handling and the start generating more sales right away.
If something sounds too good to be true, it’s definitely too good to be true. Unfortunately, we’re kidding!
There’s no such thing. No matter what anyone promises you through a course or program, there’s simply no guarantee that all your small business woes will go away.
I really wish there was a one size fits all solution, but there isn’t. So the next best thing that exist, is to use a solution that can do most of the work for you so you can run your business instead of running around frantically putting out fires.
Here is what you need a solution to do for you
Picking the right tool can difficult. Every tool claims to do everything — and it usually comes down to price, especially for small businesses like yours.
But let’s put the price aside for now. If you are picking a solution based on pricing, you’ve already lost the game. Affordability of a solution should be part of your consideration, not the foundation of it — at least within reason.
Here are the key features in the solution you look for:
- automatically follows up with interested prospects, so you don’t have to manually reach out to each one
- informs you when a prospect is ready to buy; it does this by signals and behaviors of your prospects. This will end your wild goose chases
- integrated email system, a built-in email marketing platform that requires little to no programming; hiring a programmer to manage your email costs a lot
- automatic billing and reminders
- keeping track of all your customers in one system; you don’t have time or resources to manage separate customer databases
- easy interface to build landing pages; this is one of the most powerful component for small business to get more leads
In short, you can use your time to focus building your small business.
Solutions that help small businesses thrive
Automatically follows up with interested prospects, so you don’t have to manually reach out to each one
Running your business’ daily operation is already stressful enough. Now, imagine having to manually follow up with every lead that you receive in your inbox. That can seriously bog down your resources.
But what about customization? Yes, a personalized follow up with prospects has proven to increase close rate, but that’s only when the prospects has demonstrated serious interest in your services.
Cold leads are not worth the time spend too much time on.
There are two school of thoughts concerning cold leads. First, every lead is worth personalizing to. And each cold lead must be nurtured all the way to close.
That is sound advise, but not practical for a small business that has barely enough time.
Secondly, cold leads need to self-qualify themselves. How? But taking certain desired actions like spending time on your blog, engaging with your email newsletters, webinar signups, or eBook downloads. Those are all actions that turn the cold lead to a warm lead.
As a small business owner, your effort is more effective if it’s spent on the latter. When your leads are warm, that’s when you reach out with personalized emails or a call — because, your likelihood of closing will be so much higher.
Until the, let your marketing solution do the heavy lifting to filter out the cold leads that were going to waste your time.
Informs you when a prospect is ready to buy; it does this by signals and behaviors of your prospects. This will end your wild goose chases
As mentioned above, there are signals and behaviors that qualify your cold leads to warmer leads.
Depending on your business, a signal could be watching a video, downloading a checklist, signing up for a webinar, or calling the number on your website.
Whatever the signal is, it’s a clearer indicator of higher interest for your services.
You can set up automatic notifications via email, text messages, or alerts for your sales person or yourself — this is a great reminder that your lead is more ready to become a customer.
Small businesses frequently miss a good lead due to the lack of follow up. Mostly because they are not getting notified when the prospect makes a desired qualifying action.
Integrated email system, a built-in email marketing platform that requires little to no programming; hiring a programmer to manage your email costs a lot
One of the best methods to follow up with a prospect is through email.
When a lead signs up for a quote and information, they are voluntarily giving you their email.
Pro tip: This doesn’t give you permission to spam their inbox every day with offers.
When I speak to small businesses, the number one challenge they have with email marketing is the design, build, and testing of their emails. This is another time sink if you have to build the emails yourself.
We’re talking a few hours of time taken away from running your business — you can’t afford that.
With the right marketing solution, email marketing is built in. This alleviates the need for a full-time programming resource.
Wouldn’t it be so cool if your solution sent automation welcome emails, follow up emails, and reminders to your prospects? This could save you hours every week from having to manually send emails — now that’s efficient.
Automatic billing and reminders
Ah yes. The one thing that fuels your small business. Money, of course.
There’s no business in the world that can survive without consistent incoming cash flow. Subsequently, to grow your small business, you need to increase sales.
When I first launched my ad agency, we would send invoices to our clients manually — to say that we couldn’t afford an automated billing solution was far from the truth.
As a result, we always billed late and got paid even later than desired. In fact, because of the manually billings, we missed payroll on several occasions — it was embarrassing.
These days, you can set up automatic billing for less than $30 per month.
We were just slow to adopt automatic billing and reminders, but ever since implementing automatic billing and reminders, things have been running smoother than ever.
As a small business, you need all the help you can get. And this is one of the most effective way to save hours every month on redundant work.
Keeping track of all your customers in one system; you don’t have time or resources to manage separate customer databases
I am fortunate to be able to help many small businesses grow their online business.
And at least once a week, a business owner will tell me about the many ways they are storing their customer information.
From huge excel lists and ledgers (yes, some still manually track customers in writing!) to multiple customer database — things can get hairy really quick.
But why does this happen? It’s typically the result of inexperience and bad advice.
The most effective way is to store all your customer information in a single system. It makes follow up, marketing, and communication a lot cleaner and eliminate the risk of duplication and data integrity.
Of course, unless you don’t pay attention to details and mess up the prospects name 🙂
Yes, mistakes happen. This is just one example of mistakes that shouldn’t happen — there are ways to avoid this like using default salutations.
Customers’ data integrity is vital to the success of your small business. When you’re sending out an offer, you want to make sure you’re sending it to the correct email, address, or calling the right phone number.
This sounds fundamental, but you’d be surprised how many small businesses don’t have the time to get this properly set up.
I cannot stress the importance of spending some time in making sure your customer database is scrubbed and up-to-date. It is tedious to do this manually. But your marketing solution can automatically get updated customer data through automatic follow ups and cross referencing with third party information databases.
Easy interface to build landing pages; this is one of the most powerful component for small business to get more leads
Here are a few popular landing page software — clickfunnels, instapage, leadpages, and unbounce — to name a few.
These companies have spent a lot of money, knowledge, and testing to provide the best ways to build effective landing pages, with conversion in mind.
High quality leads is the bread and butter of your business. But trying to build landing pages can be difficult if you are not familiar with programming, HTML, and scripts.
I have good news!
You can build landing pages without much programming with easy interfaces that are built into marketing solutions these days. There’s a small learning curve, but you are not required to learn any coding to design, build, and launch a landing page for your small business.
Wrapping it up
Of course, if your business is not generating new leads, then this is all moot.
Then the first step is to figure out then these resources will be helpful.
Three steps to growing your small business
- Build your brand’s purpose and customer profiles
- Social media marketing strategy
- Strategies to acquire more customers