Where you can learn business tips to help your product or brick and mortar business succeed
Have you put together your marketing plan for 2018 yet? No? In this video I take you through some simple ways to create your marketing plan. Get a notepad and pen because you will want to make notes of a few things worth implementing for your business this year. Let me know what you think in the comments.
Enjoying an experience is key in the 21st Century – we’re constantly in search of the experience that we can live and relive, stories we can dine out on, that we can tweet or instagram about and update our social media status with, and for many that’s at whatever cost.
In this modern world, the contemporary small business person can tap into that, we can develop a boutique business that sells the customer experience alongside our products and services. Being boutique is a business model, one that sets itself apart from the hard-sell tactics that were common throughout the ‘80s, ‘90s and noughties. If you love selling the experience and you want to set yourself apart in your business, this is the approach for you.
The foundation of the boutique business is in the details, the little things that you do. This can be from the clothes you wear to the business cards you use to the way you package your products and on to the little thank you notes you send when your transaction is complete. I remember shopping at Jo Malone when I started my business and I told the sales assistant that I was buying the candle for the launch – a couple of weeks later I received a handwritten card wishing me success with my opening night. I still shop with Jo Malone, even though their candles are expensive as a lot of my purchase is down to the little details!
Being boutique has so much to do with how you interact with your clients, how special you make them feel, how likeable you are to them (which often means how much you listen to them!) and how you give them the perception that you have allowed them into your ‘real’ life, just a little. The customers of a boutique business want to believe that the actions you take are specifically for them and their enjoyment. They want to feel special.
When you adopt a boutique business model you no longer need to compete on price because you have a USP that no-one else has – YOU! You are your own USP (unique selling point). You go the extra mile, you’re flexible about when you see your clients and where you meet them, and you deliver a personalised service.
Most importantly you don’t need to compete with those businesses that are price sensitive because you set yourself apart from the rest through the service ethic, the way in which you do business. The boutique business sells product, of course it does, but along with the product the boutique business sells an experience, of which the product is just one part.
Many people who set out as being boutique will give up this business model as it’s not an easy one to maintain – being boutique takes a lot of attention to detail, and it requires a lot of care and attention to clients. So if you’re the kind of person who gets irritated by a client asking something of you rather than accepting what you’ve put on the table, being boutique is not for you; if you find yourself discounting or competing on price, being boutique is not for you; if you are someone who isn’t interested in how someone feels about your business, again, being boutique is not for you.
But if you want to deliver something unique, if you love making people feel special, if you understand that the touch, the smell, the sound and the heart of what you do can impact on the customer experience then being boutique could well be the answer for building your successful business.
If you'd like to read more about being a boutique business, I love this book, Worth Every Penny. It is, in fact, worth every penny.
You've read plenty of posts that tell you the sure-fire ways to succeed in business, but little is said about the best ways to fail in business. Why does that matter? Because when we know what encourages failure we're better equipped to spot the triggers and the signs of failure before it takes a stranglehold on our business. Here are my 3 best ways to fail in business.
And so if you do these three things you're pretty much guaranteed failure - but let's get something clear. Failure isn't a bad thing. Failure can be some of the best learning we'll ever get, though it's not always cheap. It can help us grow, and it can be a fundamental part of your future success.
Remember, some really famous people failed many times before they encountered success. Oprah was fired from her TV job; J.K. Rowling had Harry Potter rejected by 12 major publishers before Bloomsbury took the risk with her first book; Bill Gates failed with his first business; it took Henry Ford 3 attempts to get things right with his business; and Walt Disney's first business ended in bankruptcy. Great reminders that failure can be part of the journey to success. But here's a thought, instead of accepting the inevitability of failure, why not become a failure spotter in your business, and make the tweaks your business needs as you go along, so that you can enjoy success after success. You've got to admit, it's worth a try!
Do you want to be a success with your business? What a silly question, right? If we're not in business to succeed, then what are we doing in business? And yet I see so many people who feel they don't deserve success, people who sabotage their success, people who walk (or is that work) straight into the best ways to fail.
There are some things that make it so easy to succeed - and 4 must-do's will make all the difference for you. Are you ready for them? They're Start, Stop, More and Less.
We all have things that we spend time on that really we should be giving up on. It's time to stop. For example you may be spending time on activities that are best done by someone else, or perhaps you're wasting time on activities that will never bring you any income - or so little income that the return on investment (financial or time) is not worth it. Perhaps you've developed some less than helpful routines, like laying in bed 'til late, allowing yourself time to procrastinate or telling yourself the work has to be perfect ... even if it means that you are late delivering to your customers.
Be honest with yourself. What do you need to stop doing? Set yourself the challenge of stopping one thing today so that you can free up time for your business.
As well as working on things we don't need to do, we have a tendency to avoid doing things we know will bring in money to our business - like selling, talking to people, letting people know what we do in business. Now it may be that you lack skills, and that's why you've not yet started doing something. That's great - what are you going to do to learn those skills, to develop them? But you also know that there is something you are not doing even though you know how to do it - come on, it's time to get working on it. Small starts that you can keep up are better than sudden full on activity that you stop again within days. Take those small steps now, today.
Do More Of
There are some things that we do that in truth we don't do often enough or regularly enough - you know those things that give your business a little boost and then you don't do again for another few weeks or months. These are the things you need to do more of. When you know that an activity works for your business you know it's worth replicating to achieve success. Probably the one thing that most people need to do more of is income generation - which comes from doing more of telling people what it is that you do, and making it easy for them to buy from you.
Do Less Of
It's important to question whether you are the right person to be doing some of the activity within your business. Some activity is income generating and requires you to be doing the work - other tasks support the income generation and can be conducted by someone else. When your business gets to the stage where you can grow you must look for the ways that you can outsource work. And that is the supporting tasks. This will enable you to then concentrate on generating income for the business - but watch out for the common mistake! So many people who outsource then fail to increase their own income generating activity, making it difficult for the business to survive now that there are outsourcing costs. Prepare yourself for this happening by going back to the 'do more of' section of this exercise.
Going through these 4 tasks is a continuous process for your business. It's worth asking yourself on a monthly basis what you need to stop doing, start doing, do more of and do less of.
Hi I'm Zoe. I own Barley and Twist, an upholstery and vintage interiors business in Southport, Merseyside, UK and online as a Trouva.com boutique store. I'm a trained and experienced business coach having had clients worldwide, and I have experience of owning product-based, and brick and mortar businesses. Here I share my knowledge and experience with you so that you can learn from both my successes and my failures as you work on your business. Please note that at times I post affiliate links for products and services that I believe you will find helpful. This includes books and workshops that I have personal experience of.