Motivational speaker and trainer Zig Ziglar famously said:
If you can dream it, you can achieve it.
And the essence of your dreams start from those fleeting ideas that you have about your business.
In part Two in this series of Micro Business Ideas posts, five more Hub contributors share the ideas they implemented in their business last year.
Each is different, each worked and each can be explored in your business too.
But which is your favourite?
Georgina El Morshdy – Learn and develop
Last year I invested in a number of courses and services to help hone my business skills and short-cut the process of learning to run a company. Like many micro business owners I based my business around my core skills and my passion. However, being skilled and experienced doesn’t necessarily mean you will be profitable. You need to supplement that with an awareness of how to find and keep customers, how to network, how to benefit from social media etc.
My biggest investment has been in Nigel Botterill’s Entrepreneur’s Circle. From monthly focus meetings with likeminded people to regular National Events and the monthly newsletter – or “seminar in an envelope“, I’ve found the knowledge I’ve gained and the support I’ve received has helped me get to grips with the nuts and bolts of what works and what doesn’t.
I believe learning and investing in yourself is an excellent strategy to help you maintain a competitive edge in today’s challenging economy.
Robert Peters – be as useful as possible
Everyone is selling something, and everywhere you look there are sales messages. So much so that often the message of a Micro Business can end up just being part of the “noise”.
I really wanted to stand out from this, so early last year I changed my strategy. Now, instead of trying to sell, I try to be as helpful as possible. I answer questions in forums and on social networks, I offer help via Google Hangouts, I reply in detail when people email me with questions and I’ve found that it really works.
The more helpful you can be, the more opportunity you have to show your skills and experience. By being helpful you make it much easier for people to know, like and trust you, and when you’ve established this trust the people and businesses that you’ve helped are much more likely to return to you when they need your paid services.
Being as helpful as you can be, as often as you can be, really is the easy sales secret.
Russ Henneberry – Use Content Marketing
For clients, I have seen tremendous increases in ROI from content marketing by taking a 3-step approach. This is a boiled down version of that process:
Step 1 – Define the goal(s) of the content strategy
- Goal 1 – Attract new customers
- Goal 2 – Convert new customers
- Goal 3 – Retain existing customers
Step 2 – Identify existing content
- Goal 1 – Attracting new customers might require:
- Articles answering early stage research questions
- Webinars or off-line seminars answering early stage research questions
- Goal 2 – Converting new customers might require:
- Case studies
- White papers
- Goal 3 – Retaining existing customers might require:
- A knowledge base
- Case studies
- Best practice guides
Step 3 – Build delivery methods / editorial calendar
- Set up the channels and processes necessary to deliver the content
- Social Networks
- Webinar platform
- Find gaps in content and schedule them to be filled
Paul Cox – Explore pay per click advertising
Done properly, pay per click advertising is a highly effective strategy for driving traffic to your website. However you need to get your approach right, otherwise you could end up wasting a lot of money. I’ve use PPC to promote my small business software SpinLessPlates with great results. Here’s how:
- I make sure I know my numbers. Primarily I ensure I know how much a customer is worth to me over their lifetime and I weigh that up when I decide how much I’m willing to spend on advertising.
- Then I allocate a budget for each PPC campaign. Let’s say £500. I’ll then figure out the number of conversions I need to make that money back. I base this on the lifetime value of a customer. Then, when I’ve secured that return, I’ll re-invest it in further promotion. That way spending stays under control.
- In addition to using PPC to drive traffic to my website, I’ll also use it to run a quick test on headlines or offers. Very quickly I get to see which ads attract the most click throughs, and then I’ll apply this knowledge when finalising my campaign.
- Lastly I use banner re-targeting from Google. It’s a really effective marketing strategy to ensure people who have previously visited my site, repeatedly see my adverts elsewhere. The result is I stay on their radar and increase the likelihood of them returning to my site for a second look.
Henneke Duistermaat – Write guest posts to generate leads
In November 2012 I launched my business blog. This was a completely new venture for me. After 17 years working for others I started my own business. It was exciting. And scary.
One of my biggest fears was that my blog would remain a ghost town. I decided to follow Jon Morrow’s advice to build an email list before launching my site. Initially all I had on my website was a landing page with a subscription box.
Rather than spend hours writing for my own blog, I dedicated most of my efforts writing for well-known marketing blogs like KISSmetrics and Copyblogger. And the result? The very first blog post on my own site received 75 shares and 12 comments. I was happy. Certainly not a ghost town.
I was surprised to find that my guest posts also generated business leads. It’s early days, but so far I’ve converted two of those leads into business. All thanks to guest posting.
Today’s Micro Action
There are two micro actions today:
- Write down any thoughts or ideas you’ve had after reading today’s post that you could apply to your business.
- Please share the successful ideas that you’ve had in the comments below.