25 Ways to Jump-Start Your Business

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25 Ways to Jump-Start Your Business. Make your business more productive, creative, and efficient. Learning Objectives. At the end of this module, you will be able to: Examine your business with a focused approach on how to get to the next level. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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  • Make your business more productive, creative, and efficient25 Ways to Jump-Start Your Business

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  • At the end of this module, you will be able to:Examine your business with a focused approach on how to get to the next level.Develop strategies to make your business more productive, make your team more creative, and make your operations more efficient.Be more productive.Learning Objectives*FDIC OMWI Education Module: 25 Ways to Jump-Start Your Business

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  • The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) recognizes the important contributions made by small, veteran, and minority and women-owned businesses to our economy. For that reason, we strive to provide small businesses with opportunities to contract with the FDIC. In furtherance of this goal, the FDIC has initiated the FDIC Small Business Resource Effort to assist the small vendors that provide products, services, and solutions to the FDIC. The objective of the Small Business Resource Effort is to provide information and the tools small vendors need to become better positioned to compete for contracts and subcontracts at the FDIC. To achieve this objective, the Small Business Resource Effort references outside resources critical for qualified vendors, leverages technology to provide education according to perceived needs, and offers connectivity through resourcing, accessibility, counseling, coaching, and guidance where applicable. This product was developed by the FDIC Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI). OMWI has responsibility for oversight of the Small Business Resource Effort.About FDIC Small Business Resource Effort*FDIC OMWI Education Module: 25 Ways to Jump-Start Your Business

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  • These 25 strategies can make your business more productive, make your team more creative, and make your operations more efficient.The strategies range from thoughts on leadership, to advice on how to motivate employees, to ways of reducing Information Technology (IT) costs. Each of these ideas has been tested by other small businesses and yielded a significant pay-off. Executive Summary*FDIC OMWI Education Module: 25 Ways to Jump-Start Your Business

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  • There are two kinds of urgency.Good Moving steadily forward by focusing on propelling your business to the next level.Bad State of panic and being overly busy on unproductive tasks that deplete your energy.How to tell the differenceWill the task add value to your company or client/prospect? What will the measurable outcome be for completing the task? Is the task in keeping with your business vision and business plan?Review your calendar. If every minute is filled with meetings or conference calls, step back and determine what is truly urgent and what is non-productive.Narrow down your tasks to the three most important for the day. Of the three, finish the most important thing first in the morning when you have fewer distractions.

    1.Focus on Truly Urgent Matters*FDIC OMWI Education Module: 25 Ways to Jump-Start Your Business

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  • Ask employees for suggestions on ways to improve business or reduce costs. Offer rewards for the top suggestions.Hire employees with leadership skills. Be positive and believe in your product. Your attitude as a leader will be contagious.Create a war room and invite key employees to participate in decision making. Praise your employees openly for a job well done. When employees feel important, they are more productive.Invite employees to lunch and ask for their input on specific projects.

    2.Engage Your Employees*FDIC OMWI Education Module: 25 Ways to Jump-Start Your Business

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  • Update your website frequently. Websites updated frequently are more dynamic, moving, ever-changing, and interesting. They offer potential visitors the most current information. Search engines find sites more easily when they are updated regularly, and updating your site with new products can give your business an edge over the competition.Measure the number of website visitors vs. visitors that buy your product or service. Pages that are visited less should be reworked.Check if visitors are putting items in online shopping carts and then leaving the site. If so, simplify your checkout process.Hold a focus group to gather feedback on the ease of using your website. Follow up with an e-mail if a profile/account was created. Ask if they had technical difficulties. Include unsubscribe option in e-mail.

    3. Tweak the Language on Your Website*FDIC OMWI Education Module: 25 Ways to Jump-Start Your Business

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  • Survey current customers interest level in buying new products.Create a blog about your new product.Post product videos on sites, such as, YouTube or MetaCafe.Place classified ads on free classified websites.Submit articles to online trade publications.Get affiliates to advertise your products.Test launch new products online before conducting extensive research. Create new pages with pricing.Change search engine keywords.Create campaigns on sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter.Send an e-mail to contacts in customer database.Leverage other serial media.4. Measure Demand for New Products on the Cheap (Slide 1 of 2)*FDIC OMWI Education Module: 25 Ways to Jump-Start Your Business

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  • Test interest before developing a product.Works best for products with short development timeframe.Long wait times will aggravate customers and do more harm than good.Make it clear that this product will be developed only with sufficient customer interest. Misleading messaging could lead to claims of false advertisement or even fraud.Contact customers that showed interest if product is not created to let them know what happened. 4. Measure Demand for New Products on the Cheap (Slide 2 of 2)*FDIC OMWI Education Module: 25 Ways to Jump-Start Your Business

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  • Accuracy is critical as forecasts drive manufacturing line production, which in turn drive inventory, supply, costs, and ultimately revenues. Most supply problems result from poor forecasting.Answer these questions:What are you currently measuring, e.g., sales, products, demand? What products are selling and what are not?What is in your sales pipeline? How are you determining deal closure probability?Develop a list of objective criteria that any potential sale must satisfy before it can be forecast.Have more frequent conversations with your customers. Why did they order less? Their business (cash flow) directly affects your business. Create new forecasts monthly. This can be time consuming, but worth it to identify new trends or unexplained changes.

    5. Improve the Accuracy of Your Sales Forecasts*FDIC OMWI Education Module: 25 Ways to Jump-Start Your Business

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  • Define your ideal customer and market to those customers.Are you catering to any one customer? Why? What is the cost? Is it a reproducible service that will grow revenue? If costly and not reproducible, is that your ideal customer?Use forecasting and communication to identify inefficiencies, e.g., combine orders to reduce shipping costs.Help transition customers that are no longer ideal to larger suppliers of your product/service. They will remember your efforts and recommend you to others.Require late-paying customers to pay by credit card.Contact disgruntled customers directly, but do not tolerate verbal abuse.6.Shed Your Problem Customers*FDIC OMWI Education Module: 25 Ways to Jump-Start Your Business

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  • Use key words in your HTML title tags and use only one tag per page.Increase inbound links to your site from other websites.Build search engine traffic based on inbound links, as well as, word meta tags.Offer something for free for customers to download, such as an application or a book.Interview an expert or local charity and post it to your website.Link to blog sites that are relevant to your business.Get mentioned in the press and include a link to your website.Create search phrases instead of single words and use in the titles.Use Google Keyword Tool to find other phrases. Ask the customer how they found you.Make sure pages can be easily updated. Refreshing content regularly is beneficial to search engines. Remove under used pages.

    7. Turn Freebies into a Search Engine Optimization Play*FDIC OMWI Education Module: 25 Ways to Jump-Start Your Business

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  • Have an open forum for employees to submit ideas.Ask for employee input in specific areas.Organize quarterly internal employee challenges for idea submission.Consider all ideas submitted small or big.Have a defined deadline and reward winner(s). Use technology to track and rank ideas submitted.Allow employees to vote or comment on ideas to promote collaboration and refine ideas.Put ideas into action. Suggestions will stop if action is not visible.

    8.Encourage Your Staff to Submit Their Ideas*FDIC OMWI Education Module: 25 Ways to Jump-Start Your Business

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  • Start planning your rebound during a recession.Conduct market research for areas to expand.Team with training or software companies to offer internal training programs.Form strategic partnerships with prospective advertisers or outlets to display your product/service, e.g., industry publications, Google.Look for joint advertising opportunities with a complementary company.Ask your customers to list your name and link as a preferred vendor on their website.Team with business process vendors, such as a conferencing service provider to minimize travel costs.9. Look for Partners in Struggling Industries*FDIC OMWI Education Module: 25 Ways to Jump-Start Your Business

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  • Web-based collaboration tools allow for instant communication through a central repository of ideas, e.g., SharePoint, OfficeMedium, Basecamp, CubeTree, WiseHive, SocialText.Document sharing software also allows for file collaboration while minimizing version control issues. The most up-to-date file is always available.Fee-based online collaboration vendors have technology in place to mitigate data loss and offer a written guarantee that the software will be accessible.Free collaboration sites are typically less reliable and offer no guarantees.Internal collaboration software can be costly to install and maintain.

    10. Share Information More Widely*FDIC OMWI Education Module: 25 Ways to Jump-Start Your Business

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  • Consider if healthy competition is right for your company. It can be a great way to increase sales.Ensure you reward the right outcome when choosing this method to avoid potential sabotage. Use competitions with fun awards rather than significant sums of money. Fun competitions are more likely to remain friendly and leave relationships solid.Consider competing against past measures instead of each other as another way to engage without damaging relationships.Make sure all employees know all rules, such as start and end dates.Keep it simple. Complicated games will turn off employees and can be time consuming to monitor.

    11.Play Sales Games With Your Employees*FDIC OMWI Education Module: 25 Ways to Jump-Start Your Business

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  • A Marketing Plan is your strategy. It should be brief and cover key points. Your Marketing Plan is a living document and should have some flexibility. Be careful of rewriting too quickly.You must give your strategy time to work. Measuring tasks will show what is successful and what should be modified.12. Write a New Marketing Plan (Slide 1 of 2)*FDIC OMWI Education Module: 25 Ways to Jump-Start Your Business

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  • Start with a vision statement--the long-term mission for your business that is timeless and immediately inspiring to employees and stakeholders.Define marketing objectives that will accomplish your business goals. Goals must be realistic.Conduct a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) of your business.Define the five Cs (consumer, channel, company, competition, and climate) to determine your unique position in the market and where your opportunities lie.Establish SMART objectives (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound) to drive your tangible goal, such as profitable growth or market share.Conduct research and market analysis.How are you positioned against your competition?What is your target market or ideal customer?Is your pricing competitive in your industry and against your competition?Define measurements against your goals and objectives.

    12. Write a New Marketing Plan (Slide 2 of 2)*FDIC OMWI Education Module: 25 Ways to Jump-Start Your Business

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  • Turn followers into creators.Ask your Twitter followers for their input.Retweets: Offer tweeters prizes for sharing information with their followers/friends.Sell products on Twitter.Tell customers what is the sale of the day.Tweeting daily keeps you in front of your customers.Retweets: Keep message short so there is room for followers to add their own message before tweeting to their friends.Look for leads on Twitter.Use Twitters search function to find prospects looking for your service.Set up Twitter free alerts for key word searches using services such as TweetDeck or DemandSpot.13. Turn Tweets into Cash (Slide 1 of 2)*FDIC OMWI Education Module: 25 Ways to Jump-Start Your Business

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  • Sell products for Twitter.Create a Twitter application that adds more functionality or ease in using Twitter and tweeters will buy it.Find customers anywhere.Use Twitter to let your followers know where you are when you hold special events or attend tradeshows.If your company is mobile and moves to a different location, tweeting can let your followers know where to find you.

    13. Turn Tweets into Cash (Slide 2 of 2)*FDIC OMWI Education Module: 25 Ways to Jump-Start Your Business

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  • Reflect on lost sales to help you improve your areas of weakness.Prevent lost sales from the beginning of the relationship with a prospective candidate. Determine if they are a viable candidate for your business model.Implement a sales tracking system to determine your probability of success.Ask for permission to perform a post-decision analysis and interview early in the sales process.Use a win-loss analysis template and ask clients and prospects to complete a performance survey of three key areas: the sales team, sales tools and collateral, and product features.Implement win-loss analysis quickly. Do not initiate on the same call where you learn of the deal loss.Ask why the competition won. Asking open-ended questions gets more comprehensive answers.

    14. Look to Learn More from Lost Sales (Slide 1 of 2)*FDIC OMWI Education Module: 25 Ways to Jump-Start Your Business

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  • Ask for first and last impressions. How was your company viewed before initial contact? Did perceptions change during the sales process? Would they recommend your company to others?Interview the lost customer after you receive the returned questionnaire. Interviewer should not be a member of the original sales team. A neutral person will be more objective. Employing...