Cross training. It’s a term that’s become popular in the health and fitness world, but it originated in the business world. There is some similarity though—cross training can make your business healthier and more fit.
Cross-training involves teaching an employee who was hired to perform one job function the skills required to perform other job functions, according to Inc. magazine’s encyclopedia of business terms.
While you can cross-train your employees across many lines, customer support is perhaps the most vital focus if you want to create an Amazon-like culture of winning with customers.
Think about the big picture. Good customer service is a quasi marketing tool that can drive extreme loyalty. Customers are actively engaging in word-of-mouth marketing over social media channels in the same way news is propagating in near real-time via Twitter. And listening, truly listening, to what your customers are saying can help you retain even the most disgruntled customers—and attract brand new ones. Read more...
Approach each customer with the idea of helping him or her to solve a problem or achieve a goal—not of selling a product or a service. So teaches motivational speaker and sales expert Brian Tracy.
That’s the baseline mantra of any good sales team. But that’s just the baseline. There are many factors that go into building a strategic sales team that drives your top line and ultimately enhances your bottom line. Here are six other considerations:
1. Hire the right people.
Without the “right” people on the team, the team will never see the “right” results. Although you want skilled salesmen in your pack, skills can be taught—motivation cannot. Don’t be afraid to create a team with a blend of seasoned high achievers and less-experienced candidates who are motivated and eager to learn. Read more...
US entrepreneurship hit a 40-year low in 2016. That compares to a 33-year low in 2010. Clearly, business startups are seeing a rapid decline in America.
Some blame the Great Recession but the startups didn’t start up again at historic levels after the economy recovered. Could it be the Amazon effect, where e-commerce is killing small businesses almost as fast as they can start? Are regulations to blame?
Whatever the reason, if you want to succeed as a startup you have one advantage: the landscape is less competitive. But you also have a challenge: it’s more difficult to succeed. You need a rock-solid plan.
A startup business plan has several purposes and goals, according to SCORE, the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors. First, it helps you clarify your vision, mission and goals. But it can also help convince investors or lenders to put some financial power behind your business. Read more...
Amazon.com has built a reputation for customer service. Yes, Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, has built a customer service-focused machine by looking at e-tailing through customer-colored glasses. Salesforce’s Desk.com put together seven statements from Bezos, with explanation, in a blog post entitled, “7 Lessons You Can Learn from Jeff Bezos About Serving the Customer.”
“Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos has taken the philosophy of truly caring for the customer.” writes Kevin Baldacci. “Bezos has built a company from the ground up purely based off of the unbending, unyielding philosophy of serving the customer across all departments. With a 164 million Amazon customers, few would argue Bezos as the key architect of building an authentic, customer-centric company.”
As you train your staff on the customer service front, be sure to keep these proven tactics in mind. Read more...
Employee engagement is more than just a buzzword. It could mean the difference between small business success and failure. With Gallup reporting 70 percent of US workers are not engaged, it’s a problem entrepreneurs need to solve if they hope to compete in today’s cut-throat marketplace. Here are eight ways to drive stronger employee engagement with training.
1. Establish a goal-oriented workplace:
Your team need a clear understanding of what your organization is working to achieve in order to engage with the vision. A strategic training program should train workers with clear goals in mind—and reward them for success.
2. Foster a team mentality:
Employees have to work with the same people all day every day. They want a sense of belonging and camaraderie. Training in groups instead of individually helps build a team mentality by allowing employees to share, collaborate and offer feedback on goals. Read more...
Business trends come and go—and come and go. Companies need to be aware of and react to business trends, and startups have the clear advantage; they can often seize market opportunities large corporations are too slow to embrace.
Here’s a list of predictions business experts are offering that should be music to the ears of startups everywhere.
It’s all about the niche.
“Business success will come from further focusing on smaller, very specific audiences,” says Kyle Golding, chief strategic idealist at The Golding Group. “Going extremely deep with customized messages and specialized platforms to a highly receptive and loyal audience will replace wide approach ‘shot gun’ marketing. [We’ll see] more soft or no ask/call to action marketing focused on community building, experiences and lifestyle over product specific messaging.” Read more...
If you could have a do over in your business, what would you do? Focus more on sales? Strategic planning? Marketing and advertising?
Many small business owners would say “yes” to all of this, but there could be more fundamental issues you need to work on that would fuel your passion to engage in revenue-driving activities.
Indeed, according to Brother International’s 6th Annual Small Business Survey, passionate people like you are making the same mistakes repeatedly. While many would spend more time hiring and training employees and more money on marketing, even more would focus on avoiding the four mistakes outlined below.
1. Taking on too many roles and responsibilities:
While some small business owners seem to take pride in wearing multiple hats, 35 percent of respondents would like to reduce or eliminate taking on so many roles and responsibilities. It’s been said that the jack of all trades is master of none. Read more...
You may be laboring as hard as you can to grow your small business—wearing several hats, burning the midnight oil, and otherwise giving it all you’ve got—but you may also be shooting yourself in the foot with common, yet costly marketing mistakes.
It’s time to reassess what you’re doing right, wrong—or not at all. It’s time to reconsider what you should be doing that you aren’t and what you shouldn’t be doing that you must. Take heart, these marketing mistakes are common to small businesses—but you don’t have to keep making them.
1. Neglecting a Strategic Marketing Plan:
You can have the best products and most compelling services in your local market, but a big idea alone doesn’t make successful small business. You need to get the word out about your products and services, or you may as well work under a rock. Read more...
I’m overloaded. There’s way too many demands on me in comparison to the number of hours in a day. At the same time, I’m committed to eating right and sleeping well—and not burning out. In other words, I’ve learned that burning the candle at both ends does not a long-term successful business make.
That’s why I’m reading a book right now that’s absolutely changing my life—not just my business life but my entire life. It’s called Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity.
David Allen penned a time-management method that is more suitable for the modern age in which we live. Admittedly, the Getting Things Done (GTD) model is challenging at times to apply but will set your brain free to create and execute on more than you ever thought possible if you adopt it. Read more...
You’ve got a dream in your heart to launch a business venture that will change the world—or at least change your world. Whether you’ve tried and failed in the past or this is your first venture into entrepreneurship, it’s time to dream big and take purposeful action.
Here are three principles for success as you set out to start your dream business:
Incorporate online instead of hiring an attorney. I’ve started a number of corporations myself in a matter of minutes online. I’ve also hired accountants and attorneys to start corporations and paid upwards of $5,000. It was a waste of time and money. In most states, you can start a corporation online for less than $100 with no attorney or accountant involved.
Google the phrase “incorporate a business online” and add the name of your state and you’ll find the appropriate site to get up and running toward your dream today. Read more...