Posts Tagged ‘business ownership’
You Think You’re Great Now Prove It Thursday, March 24th, 2011
There are a lot of business owners out there, myself included, who don’t lack for confidence. They will tell you whenever they can how great their product/service is and dazzle you with how smart they appear to be. Not all business owners are created equally, however. Customers know this to be true so how do you prove to them that you really are great?
Self aware entrepreneurs will ask the same question. There are times when they will wonder if they are any good? Testimonials and endorsements are a great place to start with building the social proof of how good you are.
I think it’s a given in today’s socially connected society that most business owners reading this understand that testimonials are important. In that same breath, I am amazed at how many of them don’t actually get testimonials from their clients.
The key to getting testimonials, like many other things, is to be intentional about it. Don’t be casual about how you approach clients with these requests. Get some method to your madness. If I am going to put my stamp of approval on something I want to make sure it’s something that others will have a good experience with. I know most people are that way so take it seriously.
Creating the system entails knowing who is going to be in charge of gathering testimonials in your business. Then it becomes a matter of when and how you are going to do this. There is no right or wrong answer. I think that one of the best times to get a testimonial from someone is after you have done something really great for them. You don’t have to ask them right after you did but you might just send them a little note thanking them for being such a great customer and then follow that up with a testimonial request.
The process depends on your business and the culture of you business. I would encourage trying a few different things and seeing what works. One thing I will say as a hard and fast rule is not to offer someone something in exchange for their testimonial. This just cheapens the testimonial and the relationship for that matter.
Once you have testimonials for your business make sure that you use them. I have worked with several companies who just store these away and never display them anywhere. What’s the point of getting them if no one sees them?
Take a look at how your business is bringing social credibility to it. There are several social media outlets that can help you with this as well but testimonials is one of those areas that you can manage better as you typically have a more close, intimate relationship with your actual customers. Take a look at your current system and ask yourself if it helps to prove how good you really are. If not, make some changes.
How To Get Your Process Some Credibility Monday, March 21st, 2011
Despite any success I had ever had in my corporate life, it wasn’t until I went to work with a smaller firm that I actually started meeting people who could help my career. Even then, despite helping to create a NY Times Best Seller campaign, getting a firm on the Inc. 500 list as well as one of Utah’s fastest growing companies, I was still a relative unknown when I decided to go out on my own.
I was definitely worried about credibility when I first started my business which is why I started a blog. After that I was looking for ways to get known. Endorsements are great and I will talk about them next week. Strategic Partnerships are also a great way to expand your reach but I wanted something a little more specific. I didn’t want to tell people or have other people tell them I was good. I wanted to prove it.
What I needed were some case studies.
To start, I put together a list of people that I could potentially help. These were primarily newer business owners as well as some more established thought leaders that I knew needed organizational help.
From there it was just a matter of reaching out to these people and gauging interest. The kicker of the whole program and why it wasn’t hard to get three people to agree was that I was offering my service for charge. My only request was that they let me share the results of the case studies and their thoughts on my process with prospective clients.
The results were great. One client I had been coaching had been previously working with a SCORE representative and had mentioned that my information and help was more up-to-date and effective than the advice that he had been getting.
With three positive case studies in hand I was able to better connect with clients as they could see the type of work that I did in action. It was a great credibility tool. If you are wondering about other specifics of your case study, here’s a great resource.
This advice is great for consultants and thought leaders. If you work in the physical product industry then obviously a free sample of your product works in much the same way. When you are getting started or you are looking to break into a new niche in your business, think about how case studies can help you move your business forward.
Have you used case studies in the past? How have they worked for you?
How To Assess If You Are Busy Or Productive Tuesday, January 11th, 2011
We spent our last My Business World coaching call talking about planning efficiently and effectively. We don’t just get tripped up because we don’t plan. In fact I don’t think planning is our #1 issue. What good is planning after all if you don’t execute.
This is where time management comes in. Business owners can find things to do for days but how do you know if you are spending your time wisely?
There are two pieces to this formula that you can look at to help you assess your time management.
The first exercise is to do an activity inventory. Take five-ten and write down every single thing you have going on personally and professionally. Don’t over-think this and literally write everything down.
Now step back and look at it. Are there things in that list that need to be moved off of your plate?
Here’s one way that you can help decide.
Think about an ideal situation where you are only doing the work where you bring the most value to the table. What does that look like on a per hour basis? Is it $100/hour? Is it $500/hour?
Now go back to your list and ask yourself if there are activities that you can give to someone on your team or that you can hire out that would cost you less than the dollar per hour value that you ideally bring to the table.
This means most likely cutting out some paperwork or maintenance activities etc.
This sounds simplistic in its’ approach but the reality is you are probably wasting a lot of time working on activities that bring no real value to your business and that keep you plenty busy but ultimately keep you from being productive.
Spend some time this week to assess your activities. What are you spending the majority of your time on? What are the time wasters for you? What are you doing that you hate? Look at these activities and look for ways to get them off your plate and move you closer to your most productive year in your business yet.