Friday, 28 September 2012

Know your leadership and management style

This week, I have been on a course! The subject matter was personality profiling and it was a fantastic course and insight that has developed my skills further to allow me to help business owners know more about their leadership and management style.

Our research shows us that the entrepreneurs that know more about themselves and how they can get the best from their team, usually see the best results.
It is however sometime the last focus of an entrepreneur, as they have other things to focus on such as marketing, finance, operations and to be honest most entrepreneurs consider themselves as good leaders and managers because they own the business.

My company use DISC (Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, Compliance) profiling to help our clients understand the leaders strengths, style and compatibility with others.

If you are an employer, then we can also help you recruit, retain, develop and manage your people. We can provide you with an insight into your team, so you know, what motivates them, what are their core strengths and limitations, and what is their potential.

We work with clients that have improved their recruitment and retention of staff simply focusing on the profile of the ideal team member for the role advertised.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Dreams and visions from your holidays

September is a month when many people think of starting their own business or actually seriously progress their thoughts.

Many have been on holiday, relaxing but at the same time thinking about the future or even identifying that they are not really enjoying their current job.
When the mind is relaxed, then creativity finds a place and sometimes the best ideas are thought of.
We may even see a business operating when on holiday and think that could work where I live. It may just be the time out you needed to be able to spend time thinking about your idea. Certainly some of my best ideas for new businesses or expansions have been laid in the sun and relaxing.

But can I encourage you to not rush back and hand in that resignation immediately!
Think about your business plan, get your ideas down on paper, do the finances and complete your market research. Does it work?
Create the right foundations and review all those initial considerations that need to be made to ensure that running your own business is right for you and the correct decision.
It is like building a house, which will be more stable if the foundations are right from day one.

If you are setting up a business, then good luck.

www.startyourownbusinessdvd.co.uk

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

The Oxford Marketing Conference

Since 2009, A1 Marketing have organised the Oxford Marketing Conference and this years event will take place on Tuesday 16th October.

If you are within easy travelling distance of Oxford, then this is a great opportunity to listen to a range of expert speakers for both online and offline marketing, plus participate in some short marketing focused activiities.

So if you work in marketing or are responsible for marketing your business, then why not come and join us on the 16th in Oxford.

For more information, please see www.oxfordmarketingconference.co.uk

Monday, 24 September 2012

Test your marketing

In marketing speak, quite often you will come across the term 'Test & Measure' and I would advocate this with all your marketing activity. What is the point of wasting your resources in terms of time and money on activities that do not work.

You may have undertaken your research and identified that a certain type of marketing would be best for your target market or customer. However I would encourage you to test other marketing ideas as well and not leave all your eggs in one basket.

In addition, when testing, there are two key thoughts to remember:
1) Test small first - for example if you decide to undertake a direct mail campaign distribution of 30,000 prospects, then test your message and contact list with a small part of this total number. For example, testing to 2,000 to identify your message and market is not right will save a lot of wasted money.

2) Split testing. If we take our direct mail example, then you may wish to test a different message, material or idea to to say 1000 than the other 1000. Then see which generates the best response and roll this out on mass.

Testing with Online marketing will be much quicker, sometimes instant, so if you are marketing with offline activity such as direct mail or telephone calls, then you need to be patient to measure the true results.
If you are marketing in many different activities, then ensure you have a way of measuring the enquiry and which method truly generated the response.


Friday, 21 September 2012

Why a DVD?

Earlier this year we launched a Business Start Up Guide on DVD.
So why a DVD?
Working with many start up business owners every year, we met many that had no inclination to read a book, of which there are so many.
We were also told that many of the books covered too much detail for the initial start up period and therefore we chose our content to be the 'must know' guide covering the foundations and initial considerations for all new business owners.
www.startyourownbusinessdvd.co.uk

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Is your LinkedIn profile forgettable?

LinkedIn can be a great social media tool for many businesses.
But if you are going to have a presence on this platform, then please ensure that it is not forgettable. Here are my 10 key tips to ensure that you develop your basic profile and create a reason to attract someone viewing your profile.

  1. Photo: Ensure you have one and it represents you and your business, not the last time you were out with friends, unless of course that is your business!
  2. Headline: More than just your job title. What do you do to help your customers?
  3. Websites: Ensure they are personalised and not just 'My company website'
  4. Skills and expertise: Complete covering all your skills listed using key words your prospective customer or contact may be searching for.
  5. Status updates: Ensure you have status updates and appear active, but please ensure they are not simply self promotional.
  6. Recommendations: Obtain recommendations, as much more effective someone else saying how good you are.
  7. Summary: Include a description of your current role and how you are solving your customers problems.
  8. Interests: An opportunity to show your personal touch and not just business focused or boring.
  9. Groups: Demonstrates your interest in your sector or skill area.
  10. Connections: Link up with people from day one

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Networking secrets

Networking is a powerful marketing and business tool. There are a number of secrets used by professionals to build a powerful network of relationships and sales opportunities. Here are our top 6 secrets:
1. Be a farmer, not a hunter – sow the seeds, don’t sell to the room but build a network that wants to sell for you.
2. Generate business for those you meet - if you help generate some business for someone, they will want to return the favour.
3. Be very clear what you want – how will you measure the success, your activity and words will then replicate this.
4. Follow the etiquette of the room – usually based on common sense, but observe and respect appearances, behaviour, structure, format.
5. Listen – actively show real interest in the people you speak to.
6. Follow up – it doesn’t end after the event has finished make relevant follow ups, avoid immediate sales pitches, seek permission to add them to your mailing list.

Friday, 7 September 2012

8 Top Tips to Win that Sales Pitch

  1. Provide relevant information only
  2. Engage the interest of you r audience and 'Hook' their motivation to listen
  3. Prove your credibility with examples
  4. Differentiate yourself with clear Unique Selling Points
  5. Focus on the use of the word 'you'
  6. Demonstrate 'true' enthusiasm to really want the business
  7. Use summary questions to check understanding and 'buy in'
  8. Anticipate questions or objections and be prepared with systemised 'successful' responses


Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Marketing – is there a need now more than ever?

Over the recent months, we have seen a greater focus by business owners on their marketing activities. It seems that the current climate has shown us that we cannot rely on walk in business or referral business all the time. Marketing is about offering the right product, to the right people, at the right price and at the right time, ensuring they understand the benefits of buying from you. Here are our steps to what’s involved:
  • Find out about and profile your prospective target customers
  • Establish what your potential customers really 'want' to create your sales message
  • Understand customer perceptions of you or your industry
  • Decide on where to position your business in the market
  • Create and develop your marketing strategy to deliver your message
  • Know your numbers - how many approaches = number of leads = number of sales
  • Generate those sales leads
  • Work on conversion of the lead to the sales (don't waste a hard earned opportunity)
However is everyone trying the same marketing techniques? If something works for your business or industry, then keep at this activity with passion and belief. However always ensure that you test and measure your marketing. However we recommend a thought session to consider something that your competitors may not be doing that could work for you, such as:
  • Systemisation of your marketing and sales (know and replicate what is successful)
  • Regular communication with your network (eg a newsletter)
  • Hold events and meet your network in a different environment than how you make your usual contact (eg seminars, hospitality, Starbucks coffee)
  • Use a publicity stunt or send press releases
  • Update and add new content to your web site regularly (most remain static)
  • Offer a reward for referrals leading to new business
  • Use testimonials and case studies (a third party message is much stronger)

Monday, 3 September 2012

Are you on top of your finances?

The current economic climate has highlighted the need for many to keep a closer eye on their finances and the performance of the business.
Research has been undertaken to establish what the UK's most successful businesses do every year. The findings focus on 8 key areas:
1. Have clearly defined and measurable goals
2. Measure performance with management accounts
3. Understand your annual performance and set of accounts
4. Evaluate your performance against previous years or periods
5. Compare your performance and benchmark against your industry competitors
6. Understand and monitor your business valuation
7. Measure your key performance indicators to understand your profitability
8. Produce a defined performance improvement plan

If you would like to see how we can help with such areas, then please contact us.
www.a1financials.co.uk

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Limited Companies and the Responsibilities of Directors

We are surprised by the number of people who establish limited companies because they are aware of the limited liability factor or the tax benefits, but do not know anything more about their responsibilities as a Director.
Please visit the companies house website and read more about this knowledge all directors should have.