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10 Steps To Success in 2012 – Step 3: Message

Jan 23, 2012   //   by paulgreen   //   Blog, Marketing  //  No Comments
10 Steps To Success in 2012 - Step 3: Message

10 Steps To Success in 2012 - Step 3: Message

Knowing your ideal customer and competitive advantage allows you to focus your message really clearly, bringing out the specific benefits that touch a nerve with your potential client compelling them to do business with you. Within the niche you have identified, you may also have sub-groups that you can address with a message very specific to them. 

For example, if your niche is offering websites to businesses in the county where you live – the offering to a start up business and an established business would be different; as the needs of each would vary. Therefore the benefits would need to align with the specific requirement for each of those distinct types of prospect in the approach you take to acquire them as a client through the marketing message you use.

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10 Steps To Success in 2012


10 Steps To Success in 2012 – Step 2: Competitive Advantage

Jan 22, 2012   //   by paulgreen   //   Blog, Marketing, Sales  //  No Comments
10 Steps To Success in 2012 - Step 2: Competitive Advantage

10 Steps To Success in 2012 - Step 2: Competitive Advantage

Once you have established your target audience for what you have to offer, what makes you better than your competitors; what distinguishes your business from the competition and would have a prospect choose you as opposed to one of your rivals? What pain are you easing or need are you fulfilling and what are the benefits of doing business with you over an alternative supplier? You need to stand out from the crowd and not appear the same (or a commodity) to your potential customer base. 

Imagine if you were a shop on the High Street and a competitor opened up next door, what would you do to encourage people to come into your shop and not theirs; or if you took the ‘header’ off your website and swapped it with the ‘header’ of your nearest competitor’s website, would there be any significant difference? Better still, if you can become the recognised expert or specialist in your line of business this will significantly enhance your position versus the competition.

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10 Steps To Success In 2012 – Step 1: Market

Jan 21, 2012   //   by paulgreen   //   Blog, Marketing  //  No Comments
10 Steps To Success in 2012 - Step 1: Market

10 Steps To Success in 2012 - Step 1: Market

Identify who your ideal customer is. Rather than trying to be all things to all people, be specific about who you would want as a client. Look at who your best customers are now (and your worst) and aim to get more of the best (and much less of the worst!). 

Your niche could be defined by:

  • turnover
  • number of staff
  • geography
  • industry sector
  • sex, age or ethnicity
  • hobby/interest
  • position within a company
  • etc

 …or more than likely a combination of these factors.

How many new customers do you actually need? It is easier to target a prospect list with a 1000 names on it versus tens or hundreds of thousands. The more specific you are, the better you can position your offering and make it appeal to a niche audience.

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Small firms will get £40bn boost over the next two years

Jan 4, 2012   //   by paulgreen   //   Finance  //  No Comments

Small firms will get £40bn boost over the next two years

Credit-starved companies face an agonising wait as the Treasury and Britain’s big banks wrangle over an adrenaline shot of as much as £40billion for the moribund economy.

They will have to keep their expansion plans on ice until well into the New Year as the government puts the finishing touches to its ‘credit-easing’ plan for small businesses.

George Osborne said he’d initially underwrite £20billion of loans to firms over the next two years in a bid to channel money to the bedrock of the stalling economy.


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101 Ways UK Small Businesses Can Save Energy And Lower Their Costs

Dec 22, 2011   //   by paulgreen   //   Operations  //  No Comments

Carbon Trust

There are undoubtedly 101 ways UK small businesses can save energy and lower their costs. But just how significant would it be if SMEs increased their energy efficiency?

According to the Carbon Trust, UK SMEs account for 45 per cent of business energy usage and, says Harry Morrison, general manager of the Carbon Trust Standard Company, UK SMEs have the greatest potential for savings on energy: 20 per cent compared to eight per cent for larger organisations.

“That means that when added together, the potential for savings by SMEs could be up to £1.1 billion,” says Morrison.


The truth about UK small business energy consumption


The bad news, however, is that the big majority of UK small businesses are missing out on savings because they are not aware of energy efficiency solutions that can save them money and lower their environmental impact. Perhaps because engineering companies devising energy saving solutions for the workplace are not good at communicating with small business.


Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year

Dec 19, 2011   //   by paulgreen   //   Blog  //  No Comments

embedded by Embedded Video

8 Core Selling Skills Sales People Should Possess

Dec 16, 2011   //   by paulgreen   //   Sales  //  No Comments

SalesmanFor any sales person to be effective, they should be able to demonstrate ability and competence in the following 8 core selling skills:

  1. Preparing the sales call – Sets objectives before contact and has all relevant information
  2. Positioning – Establishes a purpose, knows client’s agenda, knows how to add value
  3. Discovering – Listens effectively, asks questions, understands client’s business and needs
  4. Building - Engages client in discussion, explores the impact or consequences of a need/solution, uses critical questioning techniques
  5. Presenting and resolving – Discusses pros and cons of available options, helps client to define the best solution
  6. Securing - Seeks commitment to action, advances negotiations to another stage, defines next steps clearly
  7. Concluding – Reaches consensus, agrees time for next meeting, uses open and closed questioning techniques, uses informative questioning techniques
  8. Debriefing - Ensures all commitments made are met, reviews issues identified, seeks other issues to resolve, records output for next visit

Source: Proudfoot

Social media helps boost small business interactions with customers

Dec 12, 2011   //   by paulgreen   //   Marketing  //  No Comments

Social MediaImplementing social media into daily customer interactions has helped small businesses see a surge in effectiveness for interacting with customers

As the use of social media across businesses is gradually being adopted SME’s have seen an increase in the effectiveness of social media to help market their business.

According to a 2011 study of nearly 2,000 businesses by Constant Contact, an online marketing company for SMEs, results showed that companies had increased opinion that using social media was easy and not time consuming.

The study saw an increase of 24% of businesses reporting social media was easy to navigate and a 45% increase of businesses saying it worked well with customers. In the survey of UK and US businesses, 81% reported that they dedicate a significant amount of time to social media, which is up 8% from last year.

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10 Top Tips To Better Manage Your Cashflow

Dec 7, 2011   //   by paulgreen   //   Finance  //  No Comments

10 Top Tips To Better Manage Your CashCash is king in any business – being on top of what money is coming in and what money is going out and when is essential.

As they say, “every little helps”, so here are 10 tips to help you manage your cash more effectively:

1.            Plan the cash flow year – If the business experiences peaks and troughs in demand, prepare for these and put in place measures to ensure the cash flow reflects the changes.

2.            Don’t bulk buy – hold as little stock as possible and turn it over quickly. Agree with suppliers a right of return of unsold stock.  Look at getting ‘stock on consignment’ (you do not pay before it is sold).  Can suppliers deliver to customers on the company’s behalf?  Careful planning should eliminate this potential drain on cash.

3.            Keep costs down – Review all cost items (including products and energy) and relate this to efficiency. Turning off one PC overnight can save over £50 a year.

4.            Run a credit check on customers and potential customers – look at the credit histories with a view to eliminating late or non-payment.  Try to instil in staff the thought that ‘a sale is only valid when the cash is in the bank’.  Before accepting an order ensure the customer/potential customer accepts the payment terms – in writing.  It is also essential to enforce payment terms and if a customer doesn’t pay, put them on a stop.

5.            Invoice promptly – issue them as soon as is practical. Soon after they are issued contact the customer by phone or email ensuring they have the invoice in their system and that they have no problems with the supply – record this. Get them used to paying on time.  Remember “a sale is only valid…”

6.            Ensure that systems advise you of late customer payments – keep an eye on debtors’ days (trade debtors’ ÷ sales for the previous 12 months) × 365).  An increase could indicate a credit control issue.

7.            Take precautions – consider taking out insurance to cover all trading with a large or doubtful customers or even against individual invoices.

8.            Negotiate or re-negotiate credit terms with suppliers – Ask for early settlement discounts (if cash is available) and try to split annual costs into monthly payments.  This will probably be easier than paying a large bill at the end of the year. Consider what would happen to the business if a supplier failed?  Too much reliance on any one supplier could leave the company extremely vulnerable.  Use credit checks and find alternate source(s).

9.            Review wages and salaries – In times where cash is tight, these (usually) monthly payments are strain on cashflow.

10.          Consider invoice finance – These facilities can bring in a value of up to 90 per cent issued invoices – but it has a cost. It can assist as the cashflow income then grows in line with sales, and bridges the gap between issuing an invoice and receiving payment.


Source: Barry Hill of

Funding announced for 10,000 small business mentors – A waste of money

Dec 4, 2011   //   by paulgreen   //   SME News  //  1 Comment

Funding announced for 10,000 small business mentorsWith regard to the article below – is this really the best use of funding for SMEs?

The first question that it begs is, “How do you train experience?”. And, why would experienced business advisors want to give away their services for free? There is the old adage that you actually get what you pay for in terms of value.

A recent comment by UK Business Advisors questioned the effectiveness of these mentors as, due to liability issues for poor advice, the individuals are actually unable to provide any to the business they are supposedly mentoring – crazy!!


Grant of £1.2 million to provide experienced advisers for businesses

Funding to recruit and train an additional 10,000 business mentors has been announced by the government today.

A new grant of £1.2 million will be made available to the ‘Get Mentoring’ scheme from the Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative so it can enlist 10,000 business volunteers from SMEs, the Department of Business Innovation and Skills has confirmed.

This latest move comes in addition to the funding announcement for 5,000 mentors to support female entrepreneurs earlier this month, and will add to the 11,000 business mentors already available through the website

Read full article.

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