Are you wondering what is the next trend your business should be following? Do you see many new trends come and go, you aren’t certain which ones will stick? Are you starting to look ahead to 2023 and think about what strategies you want to implement to grow your business? Believe it or not, the two are easily correlated.
A trend is something hip or popular at a certain point in time. It is easy to think of trends in the fashion industry, but what if you are not in this industry? Then what? When does it make sense to follow current trends in your business? In this article, I am sharing with you what trend you should be following next!
Does anyone remember the cronut?
Dominique Ansel, On May 10, 2013, at his eponymous bakery in New York, he introduced the Cronut (combining a croissant pastry and donut into one delectable dessert) to the world. Within days, hundreds of people were lining up to sample his novel pastry. This was a trend that grew his business significantly.
Same with mine back in 2008, when I introduced Cupcakes to the Grand Rapids market, this was, a quickly growing trend in the baking world that significantly saved my business during a recession and grew it 300%.
While some trends make sense to chase, others do not. You can spend a lot of time, and money chasing trends that won’t be at all helpful to your business. Maybe you are there right now!
Here is a 2023 trend that I think transverses all industries and one that is worth seriously considering: creating a customer experience.
Customer experience is how you make your customers feel. While price point, selection, and customer service are all still important, today’s customers want an immersive experience.
I encourage you to take a look at how you take care of the relationship between your company and your customers. Do they feel heard, valued, and experience joy when working with you?
Key areas to pay attention to when creating an experience in your business are:
Your digital footprint – does your website and social media talk about you and your business? OR Does it make customers feel heard and address your customer’s pain points?
The onboarding process – After they have said yes to the sale, do you share exactly what to expect to make them feel confident in their purchase?
The fulfillment process- Do they feel like you are adding value to their purchase?
The checkout process- As they are checking out, do you make their experience so personal that they are willing to tell 10 friends and leave you a review?
I know this can feel overwhelming at first, and therefore I have created a free e-Guide providing more information on how to embrace creating a customer experience strategy for 2023 I invite you to this free e-Guide “Creating a Customer Experience Checklist”
In today’s uncertain climate, customer experience is becoming a very hot topic. Customers are empowered like never before. With that, delivering great customer experiences can help businesses drive loyalty and revenue in the long run.
Business strategies are my jam! If you are looking for help in uncovering hidden opportunities for revenue and profits to create a roadmap to help you stay focused, have clarity and get results in 2023, then let’s talk
Learn how I can help your business create a consumer experience that generates more revenue HERE!
Did you know, that learning how to say no can actually increase your revenue? I believe that work-life balance is old-school thinking, especially for small business owners who live to work and work to live. Entrepreneurs are high achievers and usually started their businesses because they were passionate about a certain subject or had an idea for a problem they could solve for others. They jump in with a lot of enthusiasm and oftentimes do not feel like their business is work.
The sad statistic is that one out of every two small businesses fails within the first five years. There are many factors that can contribute to a small business failing, one key element is the owner quits from mental exhaustion, or what is referred to as burnout.
What is burnout?
It is physical and/or mental exhaustion that can lead to burnout. Symptoms such as losing interest in activities you normally enjoy, feeling depressed, and lacking energy/ mental focus, are all associated with burnout. In addition, having a hard time getting motivated to work on or in your business can be another key indicator.
If you are interested in creating a thriving business that will be sustainable for years to come then it is important to transition from trying to create a work-life balance to developing healthy boundaries, and one key strategy to implementing this is learning the art of saying no.
I understand firsthand that when you are trying to grow a business the last thing you feel like you can give yourself permission to do is say no. We let fear dictate our decisions, the fear of missing out, of not being seen, of a client choosing a competitor, of not having enough sales, of our employees quitting, and so on and so on. The irony is, If we don’t learn to say no, we will start to take on way too much which will lead to costly and poor decisions, making mistakes, and in the worst scenario not taking good care of our clients or customers and ultimately our families too!
Effectively Saying No
In order to effectively learn to say no, you need to understand and have clarity on exactly what you are trying to build. Are you building a business that needs to support your entire family? Or perhaps a business that gives you a second part-time career? The good news is you get to decide and by doing so ahead of time allows you to have clear priorities and make decisions that will benefit and help you achieve your goals. If you do not have a clear roadmap, how are you going to know how to get where you are going?
Once you have your priorities in place then you can start adapting the practice of pivoting your No to Your best YES! Oh, and this will start impacting your revenue
Keys to start saying your BEST YES!
Start with your clients. You are not meant to work with anyone and everyone. Repeat after me, I am not meant to work with anyone and everyone.
How many times have you said yes to a client or customer and deep down your instincts told you not to? We have all done it, and I can guarantee that the client took more time than necessary, was extremely demanding, ended up costing you a lot of time and money and therefore left you mentally and physically exhausted and contemplating throwing in the towel and going to work at Starbucks. Okay, maybe that is just me, my dream job was being a barista until I learned I have to be at work by 4 am!
Creating boundaries starts by defining and understanding what you do, and who you do it for, and letting go of the clients that do not fit that description. It is okay to release those clients into the world as they are meant to work with someone else and that opens up space for you to do your best work and get paid what you deserve by working with your BEST client. When you work with your ideal client, you will find that you are able to deliver a better product and service which will ultimately set you up for success and naturally create boundaries. Do you have a clear concise description of your ideal client?
Next look at your networking efforts.
You are not meant to have coffee with every single person that comes into your atmosphere or attend every networking event. How many times have you had a coffee date with a person that only talked about themselves? Talk about exhausting and hard to stay awake, even while you are sipping that caffeinated drink.
Make sure before you say yes to meetings that the connection is mutually beneficial to both parties involved. Do your goals align with your industries? Can you add value? Can they add value to your business? I suggest limiting the number of times you network in a month and being choosy with who you spend your time. The best networking opportunities are usually with people that have been introduced to you by a respected colleague or business associate. Start with your trusted network and ask for an introduction when looking to network with others.
Value your time.
The next area to say your best yes to is very important and that is your time. Time is the most valuable resource you have as an entrepreneur, and if you don’t dictate your time, time will dictate you. I recommend first to schedule and make appointments with yourself. You need your time to work on your physical and mental health. It is also greatly important to do the things you love and spend time with those that are closest to you.
Work to schedule and block out time for activities that actually will grow your business, make these a priority. Trust me, somehow you will manage to find time for the admin tasks, social media scrolling, and busy work, but only do so after you create space for business-building activities.
Understanding Your Boundaries
Creating healthy boundaries requires you to have clarity about what you want to build, be intentional with who you surround yourself with, and create habits that protect your time. When you take the initiative to develop these you will find your revenue will grow, profits will improve and you will be able to create a thriving business for years to come because you will have the energy and focus to show up as your best self for your clients, your business and those that matter the most to you.
Stop saying yes to any and everyone that comes into your business. Instead, ask yourself, “Is this my best yes and use of my time?” If you are interested in diving deeper into developing boundaries, send me an email. I have a FREE pre-recorded webinar I can share with you.
Are you a business owner who wants to increase your customer retention rate? Do you want your customers to buy from you more often? If so, be sure to read this blog till the end because I am sharing with you four tips to help you increase your customer retention and lifetime customer value.
Tell me what is the best Christmas or Birthday present you have ever received? Was it a tangible item? Did it have sentimental meaning? Was it an experience?
I will never forget when back in 2000, my in-laws told my husband, myself, and daughters that they no longer were going to buy us presents. Yep, that’s right there would not be any Little Pet Shops or Polly Pockets under this year’s Christmas tree.
Now, don’t judge, but our first reaction was “huh” what will our daughters think on Christmas morning when they wake up to very little?
Moments later they shared with us they were shifting away from traditional gifts and were going to start taking us on a family vacation every other Christmas. While I thought my kids would miss waking up to new toys under the tree, they found themselves loving the trips we took over the years with the family.
Why am I talking to you about my in-laws, our travels, and Little Pet Shop toys? What does this have to do with your business?
Just like my in-laws created an experience for us, you need to create a total experience for your customers. I can tell you about every trip such as the white-out dance party with our kids teaching us the macarena or the beautiful sunsets as we lounged on the beach.
Create a Customer Experience
Your customers remember most about how you treat them and how they interact with your business throughout the purchasing process.Today’s consumers will remember you, talk about you, and refer you to others when you take the time to create a strategy that will offer a Customer Experience. People don’t buy an item anymore, they buy because a company made them feel valued and special.
Don’t be mistaken for customer service when I say customer experience because they are two separate aspects your business should focus on. They are both needed, but the businesses that put effort into creating an experience (the way you make a customer feel) will be the ones that rise to the top and become stronger overall.
There are an infinite number of benefits to creating a customer experience. It will improve your customer retention, increase referrals, and improve reviews. All of this will lead to increased sales and a lower cost to acquire new customers.
How do you create a customer experience that will lead to increased customer retention? It all starts with knowing what your customer values most and creating a strategy around that. Watch this video as I share a four-step process to help you think about what is important for your clients.
Be sure to take notes and directly apply these steps to your customer and business!
If you would like help creating a customer experience plan for your business to increase your customer retention, schedule a free call with me. Send me a message HERE and we will get yours booked now!
Do you want to hire in your small business but aren’t sure who? You may be ready to bring on someone but aren’t ready for a full-time employee? Your answer may be an intern! Learn when it may be smarter to hire an intern vs. employee.
Have you ever thought about hiring an intern for your small business? I believe most of us think that interns are only hired by medium to large size businesses and that is not true.
Creating an internship can be a great way to fill an open position that you may have, help you as a small business owner with your workload, or work on a special project for you and your business.
Typically an intern is hired for a short period of time and is not meant to replace an open employee position long term. Keep in mind that an intern is looking to gain exposure, knowledge, and experience in their field of interest.
When looking at your small business here are a few suggestions of where an intern might fit:
Social Media – a great opportunity for a marketing student, they can create content calendars, create posts, edit and schedule future posts and usually know the latest trends on the different platforms.
Communications – someone to write future blogs, emails, and marketing materials that you can utilize for the next 6-12 months. They can learn how to use email platforms like Mailchimp or Klaviyo
Event Planning – do you have an event coming up and you could use assistance in this area or create one for community marketing
Marketing Research – are you looking to expand your products or services an intern could create a full analysis to help you with your strategy
Videography – someone to create short videos, behind-the-scenes videos, and edit them for your marketing purposes
Finance – an intern could run some analytics of your business and or marketing efforts and create reports and metrics to help you better analyze going forward
Sales – bring someone on to do some prospecting and lead generation and networking on your behalf
Think about your business, where are the gaps, what you think is holding you back from the next level, or where you just need some extra help.
Remember Interns will need some hand-holding, make sure you have a clear onboarding process and they have support and are comfortable asking for help when needed. It is best to have expectations and desired deliverables outlined before they start and have checkpoints along the way with them. I recommend having a start date and an end date. 5-6 month internships are a great time frame as they will be around long enough to really add value and make it worth your time of hiring unless it is a seasonal need.
Now you know when it is best to hire an intern vs an employee! Still wondering if hiring an intern is right for you, I invite you to watch this short video where I share more details about how to get starting on finding an intern to help you grow your business.
If you want to have a better understanding of what is best for your business, schedule a free 30-minute call with me here!
Do you want to learn how to recession-proof your business? Are you worried that a recession will come and destroy your years of hard work? If so, keep reading.
Recessions or pending recessions can force a business to become leaner and more efficient, which can lead to increased productivity and profitability in the long run. Now let’s get that working for you! I know many of you are tired, you weathered a pandemic and the idea of adding a recession to the list does not sound fun. However, with a little planning now, you will prepare your business for a recession and make it stronger and more resilient in the long run. There has never been a better time to prepare and here are my 5 tips to help you get started with making your business recession-proof:
1. Dave Ramsey will tell you Cash is King – and right now he is more right than ever. It is always a good idea to have a good ole emergency fund. A minimum of 2 – 3 months of expenses saved. Now is the time to start saving a little bit and put it into a separate account, one that you can’t touch very easily. I recommend a business savings account and attaching it to your checking account. Move a little bit every week into savings. **Here is a hint….hide it from your view online of your banking accounts, it can often be too easy to see extra money sitting there and want to use it. **
2. Cut back on expenses – now is a great time to do an audit of your expenses. Run a report and compare it to a year ago, anything gone up tremendously? Any new expenses that have been added? Ask yourself do you really need them? And watch out for those sneaky subscriptions that are on auto-pay. Check your c/c bills for recurring purchases and your smartphone under settings and subscriptions.
3. Maximize what is working – this is a great strategy all the time but one we tend to implement when there is a sense of urgency. What product or service is your number one seller, and really what I am asking, which one is the most profitable? What can you do to focus on increasing your sales in that particular area? Set a goal, get your staff motivated, and celebrate your wins along the way.
4. Apply for a Line of Credit and or a Credit Card – I know I know, Dave Ramsey just screamed NO Credit Card. Here are my thoughts on both of these: they are good to have in your back pocket, and just because you have them doesn’t mean you have to use them. A line of credit is a loan through your bank and you can access money when you need it. The upside is usually low-interest rates and low payments, the downside you have to have collateral against a home or business and there are closing costs. When it comes to looking for a credit card, look for low-interest rates, no annual fees, points, or rewards back in something that interests you such as airline miles, and only use it when you absolutely need it.
5. Recessions can lead to innovation – Necessity is the mother of invention, and businesses may be forced to develop new products and services to survive during a recession. In fact, that is my story. Back in 2008, I was 10 years into my Cookies by Design business and our country experienced a recession, I soon was watching a lot of my corporate orders dry up and could see the fear in my employee’s eyes that they might be next to lose their jobs. At about the same time as the recession, a show called Cupcake Wars was about to begin airing on the Food Network. I decided to jump into the Cupcake Market. Fast forward and the cupcake business became a National Brand, Cupcake by Design, and today can be found in 56 stores across the country. It grew my existing business by 300% and was a big factor in building a business that I was able to sell, which I did in the Fall of 2018. I encourage you to look at your business, your market, and industry trends. Is there something you can add without a huge investment that will add more revenue, value, profits, and renewed life to your business?
I can tell you now, the 2008 recession was the best thing that ever happened to my business, and with a little planning now, you will weather this storm just fine and come out stronger on the other side. If you want to have a free 30-minute call with me to fully understand how to prepare for a recession, you can book here. My clients are ready to take on any challenge after watching me speak or working with me one-on-one! I know with the right planning in making your business recession proof, you will come out strong on the other side.
**If you also want to learn more about Dave Ramsey, you can check out his website here!