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February 1, 2014

Posted by: Kevin Homer


12 Tips to Keep Your Business Moving Forward

It’s no secret that the world around us is always changing, and therefore, it’s important that our businesses are always changing, too. Here are 12 tips to keep in mind this year to help your business continue moving forward:


Tip #1 – Develop a plan for success


It can be time consuming, but for a consistent branding and effective marketing campaign, it’s important to plan out your strategy to make sure each tactic complements each other properly when delivering your message. You’ll know how to prepare for each step along the way, both with time management and budget. The more you can plan ahead, the easier it will be to implement and the better the results will be. 


“You better live your best and act your best and think your best today, for today is the sure preparation for tomorrow and all the other tomorrows that follow.” - Harriet Martineau


Tip #2 – Be prepared!


Always know your facts going into a meeting. This includes knowing your own company, your goals and objectives, your competition, and the company you’re working with. If you do your diligent research, prepare an appropriate presentation and accompanying materials, and make sure you know it, communicating it should be easy.


“If you fail to prepare, you’re prepared to fail.” - Mark Spitz


Tip #3 – Communicate your message


Whether your message is on your website, in your printed promotional materials, or in a presentation, you want to make sure your message is clear, concise, and still includes everything you want your audience to know. Don’t ever assume someone knows something, even if you think you told them or that they should already know.


“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” – George Bernard Shaw


Tip #4 – Maximize your website’s value


Your website should be your central marketing tool, so it’s important that you’re constantly driving traffic to it. After all, if nobody sees your website, then it wasn’t worth the investment of building it! Search engine optimization and paid advertising, email campaigns, social media integration, and dynamic content on your site are just a few of the ways to increase traffic and maximize the return on your investment. And, of course, all websites today should be responsive or mobile friendly to ensure you're keeping your mobile audience engaged.


“They say a year in the Internet business is like a dog year.. equivalent to seven years in a regular person’s life. In other words, it’s evolving fast and faster.” – Vinton Cerf


Tip #5 – Stop talking and listen


You know what your company is successful with and the message you want to convey to your audience. But marketing isn’t the same as advertising; true marketing includes listening to your target market and learning about their wants and needs, and keeping your approach flexible to serve them properly. The world is always changing, and your business needs to remain aware and be ready to do the same.


“A good listener is not only popular everywhere, but after a while he knows something.” – Wilson Mizner


Tip #6 – Know your audience


Does your audience prefer printed mail or emails? Should you be using social media to build more personal relationships and learn more about their habits? Could you add value to your clients by developing a mobile application that provides additional functionality?  What’s the appropriate medium for your advertisements to reach your targets? There’s a lot to consider when determining which marketing efforts will bring the greatest return on your investment.


“This may seem simple, but you need to give customers what they want, not what you think they want. And, if you do this, people will keep coming back.” – John Ilhan


Tip #7 – Make your designs STAND OUT


People are busy, and if your promotional pieces don’t pop out right away, it’s likely they’ll go unnoticed. That’s why it’s so important that the logo and branding, which represents your entire company, are developed with the highest quality. It will ensure that proceeding work can be designed in a way that will get you noticed and ensure the highest return on investment. Quality design work, both graphic design and web design, is not an area for a professtional organization to cut corners.


“Design is in everything we make, but it’s also between those things. It’s a mix of craft, science, storytelling, propaganda, and philosophy.” – Erik Adigard


Tip #8 – Embrace new ideas


The world is always changing and your business needs to be keeping up, if not leading the pack. By showing that your business is up-to-date and innovative, it gives your customers a comfortable feeling that your products/services are as well. Stay knowledgeable of the newest trends, by doing your own research and listening/working with others that do the same.


“The world is changing very fast. Big will not beat small anymore. It will be the fast beating the slow.” – Rupert Murdoch


Tip #9 – Know your competition


Sometimes your best ideas can come from learning about your competition. By doing the appropriate research and competitive analysis, you can learn how they are marketing themselves, see what is and isn’t working, and learn how you should position your company to improve and differentiate itself.


“Know the enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles you will never peril.” – Sun Tzu


Tip #10 – Repetition. Repetition. Repetition.


It’s important to keep your name visible to your target audience however you can. Your lead might not need your company right now, but if you continue to send reminders, they’ll remember you when your services are needed.  A mix of print marketing, digital marketing, public relations efforts, and promotional products are just a few ways to stay in front of your audience.


“Any idea, plan, or purpose may be placed in the mind through repetition of thought.” – Napoleon Hill


Tip #11 – Consider the true cost


More and more, companies are trying to do more work in-house to keep costs down. What is being forgotten is the true cost of doing this. When adding overhead, employee benefits, equipment fees, and training fees to the employee’s salary, it’s often less costly to outsource the work to those that conduct that type of business regularly. And of course, it’s always nice to have another set of eyes for new ideas!


“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.” - Michael Jordan


Tip #12 – Always follow up afterwards


After generating a new lead, an introductory meeting, landing a contract, or completing a project, you should always send some form of follow-up communication. For a group of people, consider sending a form letter on your stationery or a branded email. For a single contact, sending a personalized email, letter, or greeting card can go a long way. This will help you show your appreciation, share additional information, and keep your name in front of them.


“Regardless of the changes in technology, the market for well-crafted messages will always have an audience.” - Steve Burnett

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