A week ago, a friend of the family, Allen arrived at our home, here in Connecticut, with all his worldly possessions; his laptop, a few law books, and a couple of changes of clothes. He’d just completed his first week at Tulane Law School before being forced to leave his home in New Orleans in advance of Hurricane Katrina.
With the university closed, he’s trying to turn the disruption in his life into an opportunity to get more job experience. He was lucky, I know; so many have suffered and lost so much more. But helping him make a fresh start made me think about rebuilding careers and businesses.
If a storm or a fire ruined your business, what would it take to start attracting clients and generating a positive cash flow? You would want the following three essential elements of your marketing to get your business up and running and making money quickly.
You’d want a clear idea of which of your products or services you wanted to focus on. To get your business up and running as quickly as possible, you would focus your efforts on your most profitable ventures first. You’d want to set goals for the first three months and the next twelve months.
One of the biggest mistakes that business owners make is in not setting sales goals, even when they’re not faced with a disaster. Without a clear idea of the target you’re aiming at I can promise you you won’t reach it. If you set specific goals for your business and write them down you’ll be twenty times more likely to hit your revenue targets.
One of my clients doubled her sales simply by writing down her goals. Why does this make so much of a difference? Because each time you write down a goal, whether it’s for lead generation, web site traffic, response rates to mailings or monthly s.les, you have set yourself a target or a destination. Knowing where you want to go gets you halfway there.
Imagine if you had a road map for your business that told you how to get attention, get clients and increase your profits. Find your route to success.
2. Your Business Network
After a disaster you’d be short of cash and would need to ramp up sales quickly. You wouldn’t have time to spend months building your brand name. You’d want to tap your database of existing clients and prospects. Assuming you’d managed to bring your computer or at least your backup hard drive with you, you could be back in contact with your client base and prospects almost overnight.
One management consulting firm I worked with had dozens of satisfied clients and couldn’t understand why they were having such a hard time growing their business. They’d done work for hundreds of clients and been in touch with thousands of prospects over the years, but they lacked a centralized database and a way to stay in touch with these people on a regular basis. And in most cases, they’d lost touch with past clients and prospects.
Once I showed them how to organize their marketing communication, they started bringing in as much new business as they could handle. People buy from providers they know and trust. If you have a large database of people who know how you can help them, it’s easy to tap it to generate pr0fits.
Set up a lead generation system that builds a database of people who want to hear from you. When you want to jump start your sales, you’ll have qualified prospects that want to buy from you.
3. A Reason For Your Prospects to Buy
Whether you’re restarting after a hurricane or you just want to get people lining up at your door for your products and services, they won’t buy from you unless they have a reason.
Sounds obvious. But many small business owners forget this basic marketing fact. Everyday I talk to entrepreneurs and even marketing professionals who are making the same mistake; despite having a great product or service, they are marketing their company name or a generic name for their services instead of the unique solution they provide.
You see this everywhere, from yellow page ads to web sites., Companies lead with information about themselves instead of zeroing in on the reason prospects should pay attention and buy from them. Which company would you choose, the one that is focused on their name and long-winded descriptions of their credentials, or the one that is focused on how they can help you get what you want?
Your prospects make decisions the same way. To attract lots of customers quickly, give your prospects a reason to buy.
If these three are the things you’d focus on after a disaster, aren’t they important now?