They keep you fresh. They keep you focused on what’s not working and they keep you sharp.
In fact, without a regular supply of fresh ideas, your business could stagnate.
Now I’m not suggesting you need to implement everything you come up with. You have to sift through the ridiculous and then sharpen the fleeting concepts that have the most potential.
So over the next two days I’m going to lay down a challenge.
It’s very simple. You just have to come up with something fresh to explore in your micro business. And to help and inspire you, a number of our Hub Contributors have shared ideas they tried back in 2012 which worked and generated tangible results.
But could they work for you?
And remember, even if the idea comes from a different business sector to your own, have a close look to see how you could adapt the suggestion to suit your own business, your market and your target customer.
Let’s get started…
Giuseppe Columbi – Regularly clarify responsibilities and expectations
A couple of months ago I noticed it was becoming difficult to work as a team. Everybody seemed to be sort of productive in his/her own way but not as team. At one point I started to think we were actually fire fighting. What could I do to correct the problem?
I realised that although we issue a job description when the engagement starts, in itself this is a rather remote outline of what a person will do, a little bit like a picture on a wall which never changes. I therefore convened a meeting and together we listed all the jobs and tasks we have in the company, we toted up more than 50. We then re-allocated each one to each member of staff.
In addition we took the decision to repeat this exercise every week. The purpose is to evaluate what needs to be done on a weekly basis and who will do what. We share the decision- making process and this makes it possible to work well as a team.
We now have a weekly meeting for this purpose. Even when I am abroad, the meeting will go ahead with me connected via Skype. It’s wonderful way to ensure we work as a team even when we have staff working remotely from other locations.
Jo Waltham – Change your business structure
The end of 2012 saw a big decision and change in my business.
Like many micro businesses, I started up as a sole trader. The main reason was that it was easy to set up and had lower accountancy fees. In addition, as most of my clients are bloggers and micro business this format worked well for me.
Towards the end of 2012 I won two contracts for larger businesses and decided it was time to operate from a limited company. My two main reasons are the limited liability (the possibility of losing my house if things went very wrong always worried me) and to appear more professional to my clients with a longer term commitment.
There was a third minor reason. In the Autumn another company registered my trading name, Magenta Sky Solutions, as a limited company and whilst it wasn’t really an issue (as we offer different services) I didn’t like the idea! Therefore I wanted to protect my business identity too. As this other company existed I decided to re-brand and chose Callia Web (Callia means “beautiful voice”). I love this new brand identity and have received lots of positive comments about it. You see originally I set up as a general web tech support but found most of my clients wanted me to build WordPress websites. My new name better reflects this service.
Kassia Gardner – Explore email marketing
In 2012 I tried email marketing for the first time. As an ex-relationship marketing manager I knew email marketing was an efficient and cost-effective way of marketing a business, so it was time tp put it in to practice.
I did my research and found an email marketing system that had free templates – so I didn’t have to pay a web designer to create one – and automatically posted on my social media profiles on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. It also included all the features you would normally expect like reports, 24/7 online help and training videos.
Once it was set up I spent time writing good quality content that I felt my subscribers would find interesting. The articles are generally based on questions I’ve been asked by clients, prospects or fellow networkers.
Clicking the send button on my latest e-newsletter is always slightly nerve-wracking but I’m getting excellent results. Average open rates for email newsletters are around 20% according to Silverpop’s Email Marketing Metrics Benchmark Study, but I’m getting open rates of between 33% and 37%. I’m developing a relationship with my subscribers and making sure I’m at the front of their mind when they need a copywriter which means I’m getting good quality leads to grow my business.
To help you get started I’ve written a blog post on my Spindle Tree website about how you can use email marketing to grow your business in 2013.
Henri Junttila – Package up the right offer
One idea I implemented last year was to create an offer consisting of all my products for one price.
In short, I bundled together my products for the birthday of my business and created an event around it. When you have a lot of products, it can be hard for your readers and customers to decide what to buy. When I created a limited-time bundle, I eliminated that problem. Now all they had to do was buy one offer, and they got everything they needed to get their lifestyle business off the ground.
So if you have several products, or even if you have one product and one service, think about how you can bundle those together and make the buying decision easier for your customers.
Beverley Jones – Develop clarity, focus and determination
What did I learn in 2012? I learnt that nothing will take the place of clarity, focus and then the sheer determination and belief to see something through. As a coach I often hear myself when I am with a client repeating those words and I know they are thinking, “blimey does she ever stop repeating that same message“. The answer is ‘No’ I don’t!
In 2012 I saw the results of this as I focussed on helping small businesses to take their business from where they were to where they wanted to be. I devised a new coaching programme in collaboration with another company, I wrote an eBook on the subject and I pulled together my one day ‘Business Surgery’ workshop. The Simple Guide to Business Confidence was born and is now here to help others.
I have now pulled together workshops under the ‘Business Surgery’ umbrella and through regular and consistent communication with my list (database, I) have made more revenue to start 2013 with than in my first 2 years of business.
So my message – Get Clear, Get Focused, Be Determined and Believe – then you will reap the benefit of the results.
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.