Sunday, 26 September 2010

Half a Dozen Things a Small Business Consultant Could Do for Your Business

You want to succeed in business, especially online. All entrepreneurs who are paying attention to the potential that exists on the internet do. Is it worthwhile to invest in a small business consultant who will help you? Read on for five areas you might hire a consultancy firm to help you succeed in: #1 SEO Search engine optimisation is vital for any business wanting to succeed online. A consultant can help you learn what search engines are looking for when they categorise companies for highly searched terms. You could quickly move ahead of your competition in terms of search engine rankings and this equates to targeted traffic landing on your website. In many cases, that traffic is ready to make a buying decision and your position being ahead of competition could help you get that sale. #2 Process Improvements Another area many consultants are well versed in is in streamlining processes. A skilled consultant has a wealth of business experience that puts him or her in a position to help you see areas where you could reduce redundancies via process automation. Very often an outside source can see areas for improvement and you could see results in a matter of weeks. Process improvement doesn't even need to be extensive to make a difference. You might be surprised with advice given by an experienced professional. Sometimes a few minor tweaks can make a major difference. #3 Missed Opportunities Business owners who run their business like a well-oiled machine may not see potential growth opportunities. They often get caught up in the existing setup. A small business consultant may see quite a few areas that you could delve into. Whether this is in new areas, complimentary products, or getting more business from existing customers, it can all equate to more profit for you. A great part of a growth strategy is to expand on your existing customer base and strengths and a consultancy firm can show you how to do that. #4 Competitive Analyses Analysing competition is something that can help you make wise business decisions. You may not know how easy it can be to actually do this --- especially with the internet. A consultancy firm can help you do this in a way that helps you gather market intelligence that will enable you to forge ahead and win more market share as well as prevent competition from wooing your customers to their side because they do things better than you do. Competitive analysis is essential in the 21st century! #5 Lead Generation Generating new business via leads is a great way to expand. Website visitors, for example, can be turned into a lead. Every single person who visits your website is a potential customer and you can be taught how to take maximum advantage of that. #6 Customer Retention Do you know why some customers jump ship and find someone else to do business with? Your small business consultant can help you market more effectively to new customers but he or she can also help you retain loyalty of your existing customers through relationship management techniques that can help substantially. However you run your business today and however you plan to grow in the future, you can get coaching, business advice and mentoring to help you reach the next level of success. A trustworthy advisor could make a huge difference. Why do it alone when a specialist could help you achieve your goals faster without costing you more time that you don't have. The results could provide a huge return on investment.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Look for a Business Marketing Professional to Help with your SWOT Analysis

Hire a business marketing professional to help perform a SWOT analysis on your business. This analysis can help your business move forward. Whilst your current business team can do it, hiring a business marketing professional to help conduct your SWOT analysis is beneficial. An impartial party reviewing your business to determine your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) can provide a clear, unbiased view of your current performance as well as future prospects. Self-Study Bring in your supervisors, directors or other top people to get a vision of the big picture first. Get their perspective as well as those of key customers and even major vendors. Brainstorm key issues that your business and the marketplace face. Encourage everyone to make comments and suggestions without worrying about any judgment. Observations may include strengths and potential growth opportunities as well as weaknesses and failures. Evaluate all the significant issues that crop up during the brainstorming session and outline potential action plans to address them. Your hired business marketing professional is in the best position to help with the plan of action as they will best know the marketplace and know how to capitalise on strengths and opportunities and minimise weaknesses and failures. Strengths and Weaknesses Strengths are often the easiest to identify and may include a strong financial position, excellent personnel and management, a solid marketing plan and cost-effective production. Weaknesses are often the considered the elephant in the room. You know you have them but don’t want to acknowledge them. However, with the right SWOT analysis, you can tackle those weaknesses and turn them into strengths and opportunities. Weaknesses may appear as insufficient liquid cash to use for expansion of a new product line or poor management and personnel. The products may be outdated or customer service and after-sales service may be ineffective. Poor production schedules and outdated equipment could be contributing factors. Opportunities and Threats Threats are often easy to spot and must be prepared for. It could be in the form of a key employee that leaves for the competition – with full knowledge of your business practices. Price increases from vendors, rate hikes in rent, legislative changes, market recessions and more contribute to potential threats too. Identified opportunities can mean a boost of business for you. Perhaps it is the failure of a competitor’s product line or the addition of a new sales distribution outlet. A new customer base and innovative technologies that lower production costs are additional opportunities. Every business – large and small – should perform a SWOT analysis on occasion to maintain their competitive edge. Once the analysis is performed, a clear plan of action can be put into play. With the help of a business marketing professional who is knowledgeable about the marketplace, your business can take advantage of those opportunities and minimize its weaknesses to avoid failure.