Pushing your product or service can be detrimental to growth
Written by L. Hanniffy – GM of Fruition Business Development / 29/08/16
Are you pushing brand or your services on potential customers or are you pulling in customers? What does this even mean and why is it important to you?
The difference lies in how customers are approached and it is a very big deal to small business owners.
Think of yourself for a moment. What do you respond to? Do you enjoy being pushed into something? How likely is it you will buy a product or service if you feel like you’ve been pushed into the purchase?
Cast your mind back over your last six purchases. Did you see something you like and decide to buy it? Was it highly recommended by friends, family or colleagues? Or did you make the purchase because someone kept pressuring you into it? A telemarketer or possibly even a pushy sales girl in a shop who fussed over you enough until you felt like you had to buy it. How did you feel afterward?
Now apply this to your customers.
The old saying “you catch more flies with honey” is very relevant when you go to develop your marketing and sales strategy.
When developing your strategy, the idea should be to draw the customer in and build a strong, loyal client base. A great example of this is Lamborghini. They don’t need to advertise, their customers come to them.
You could be the Lamborghini of small business.
Unfortunately, a lot of small businesses automatically switch to a push marketing style. Either because they don’t know any different or they think that pull marketing is beyond their budget.
But you don’t need to have the budget of Lamborghini to develop a strategy like Lamborghini. All you need is a sound knowledge of what makes you different in the marketplace, the values and behaviours of the market. Combine this information and opportunities within the market and within your budget will begin to appear.
It is harder to become a household name by pushing rather than pulling. A perfect example of the effectiveness of this strategy is children’s toys. Typically, the first step is to advertise the product through a variety of channels within budget. Then children see the ads, parents see the ads, grandparents see the ads and want to purchase the toy. They go into the local toy shop looking for the product and retailers begin, hurriedly, to stock the product. No frustrating or heart breaking cold calling involved, no pushy sales girls. You’ve successfully pulled customers to you.
Building a marketing strategy is important for growth
Written by L. Hanniffy – GM of Fruition Business Development / 17 August 2016
So you have developed a million-dollar idea or product and maybe you have the resources to hire a very talented management team to assist in your development and growth. That is great! Well done you.
Now, how is your marketing strategy coming along? This is one of the most neglected areas of business development and growth. Success hinges on convincing a significant portion of customers to choose you over your competitor.
Do you know who your customers are? Do you know who your competitors are?
By understanding consumer behaviour and segmenting the market, you will begin to glean a better understanding of who to present your offering to and HOW to present your service / product. Thus innovative strategies and communication of the company’s point of difference combine to bring about the desired growth and sales.
A really important part of the marketing function is to look for market opportunities and leverage those opportunities. Being on the lookout for new opportunities for growth and development and maximising those opportunities are key elements to a good marketing strategy and marketing team.
Your marketing team are responsible for keeping track of your target consumers behave, what their values are and where they are going for their information. The marketing team are responsible for discovering new and emerging market segments to tap into and devise ways of promoting your products or services to generate high quality leads for your sales team. This process it vital to accelerating growth.
Another important element is brand awareness. In order for a consumer to purchase from you, they first need to know that you exist. Your advertising and promotional activities are researched and formulated to maximise the reach of your brand. This is where market research becomes absolutely vital to your growth and development. To create successful marketing campaigns a business needs to have a very good understanding of what demographics make up their target market segments and use advertising channels that are frequented the most by these demographics.
When developing your marketing strategy, it is important to think about your competitive advantage. What makes you superior to your competitor? Your message and value proposition must be very clear to your consumers. Several popular tactics include, highlighting the shortcomings of your competitors or how you solve a problem more efficiently. Highlighting pricing differences is another popular tactic.
Your marketing strategy should also cover how you plan to build goodwill and trust amongst your customers and the wider community in general. Your marketing strategy should include publicising charitable activities the company undertakes and your marketing team should be highly active in finding activities that align with your business’s values and, obviously, with your consumer’s values.
Another way to achieve building goodwill and trust is to seek out or purchase sponsorships for sporting clubs and events, or even smaller events like children’s sports leagues, women’s clubs or community events.
Marketing, Sales and Business Growth
Written by L. Hanniffy – Acting GM of Fruition Business Development / 25 July 2016
Too frequently I see businesses advertising for Marketing and Sales Managers, read the job description and realise the ad is simply a sales role. It is unfortunate that too many small and medium, even some larger businesses, view these roles as one in the same. The truth is, these roles are vastly different. How businesses view each role can have a major impact on their long term success.
Businesses seem to be placing a higher priority on sales and while what I am about to say may seem counter intuitive, hear me out.
Many businesses view their sales team as their bread winners and marketing is viewed as an expense that ultimately reduces a business’s budget to hire more sales people. The more sales staff a business has, the greater potential they have to sell their product or service.
This mindset only yields short term results and is not sustainable for long term success. Why? Because consumer behaviours and values change, sometimes very quickly. New businesses pop up that have better offerings or a unique twist on the old.
When there is little focus on how the market responds to a business’s products or services, little interest on marketing as a central source of information, businesses can find their sales suddenly declining without warning and without contingencies in place to mitigate this.
It is your marketing team that monitor and see market shifts early enough to formulate the contingency plans and that keep you ahead of the competition.
Marketing is, effectively, the “sizzle” of these two roles. It is what drives a business into the future. It is the understanding of who is going to buy the product or service and how best to present that product or service in a way that makes the market need to buy it.
When surveyed, many small to medium business owners said that they can’t see the value of a marketing team. That a marketing team, effectively, steal from the bottom line of a business and that marketers don’t understand business.
This result is truly saddening. Marketers who understand business and how to deliver ROI through the market should be the bread and butter of all businesses, small and large.
What was even more troubling, was that many small to medium business owners who are so focused on social media that they don’t care about how bad their website is, or their branding. They want to be on every social media channel, because it is “hip”, regardless if their most likely buyers will never find them there. I’m not by any means bagging social media, it can be a powerful marketing tool, but if your customers don’t shop on Facebook, it doesn’t matter how many sales staff you employ.
There needs to be a culture shift in the SMB mindset. Understanding and capitalising on your marketing team will yield better long term results than having an army of sales reps. It is your marketing team that will drive business growth and results.
Benefits of a Supplier Financial Risk Assessment for Companies
By Ankit Kohli – 8 Jan ’16.
Suppliers are indeed the lifeblood of organisations. Regardless if you are providing a product, service, or a combination of both, you are likely to depend on contractors, vendors, and suppliers fulfilling their contracts and working according to your agreements. Companies and suppliers maintain a symbiotic relationship. However, the same mutual reliance introduces risk to business. A study that surveyed 209 companies with global footprint found that disruptions within supply chains lead to a 3 percent or greater drop in the financial performance of businesses. Some 60 percent of the respondents noted this kind of supply chain trouble. There is, however, a way to minimise the risks introduced by these third party partnerships and this is through supplier financial risk assessment.
Gathering and monitoring key financial aspects and essential information such as revenue, continuity plans, financial references, and third party ratings of contractors and suppliers will help organisations minimise and augment inevitable risks that come with business-supplier partnerships.
The level of risk that suppliers introduce to companies largely depends on the type and the volume of goods or services being supplied. This said, some suppliers and contractors may be more critical to your operations than others that only play a small role, and thus present less of a threat to your operational continuity.
Supply chain disruption due to supplier failure can lead to a wide range of issues and can cause a domino-effect (chain reaction) of consequences, ranging from compliance issues to loss of productivity, consumer dissatisfaction, and overall reputational damage. It is for these reasons that assessing supplier financial stability is critical to minimizing your financial risk. By understanding where your partners' potential vulnerabilities and financial weaknesses lie, you can be better equipped to manage each and minimise the risk of damage to your company.
A supplier's financial health deteriorates because of their inability to grow revenue, low profitability, liquidity issues, dependence on specific consumer segments, and solvency issues. Assessing these kinds of financial risks can help you minimise them and at the same time increase business confidence with each brand new project that comes your way. To assess the financial stability of your third party suppliers, it is critical that you pursue in-depth research and gather relevant data on important aspects of their financial health, ranging from their annual revenue to their financial references, business continuity plans, credit ratings, debarment searches, legal searches, and mergers and acquisitions. Assessing risk is critical to making important business decisions, and if you don't know where to start, it is best to consider third-party assessment solutions to ensure the financial stability of your partners without straining your firm's resources.
What Makes Your Performance Management Process Result Oriented
By EmportantJan – 09, 2016
Performance management process is an important system for all the companies to optimize performance of employees and sustain employees who perform better. This process also helps in rewarding good employees and giving an opportunity of training and development that performs poorly. Although every company has their own system or process to review performance according to industries or sector, but few things are common in every process that makes an entire process worthy. Companies can make their performance management process effective by considering these basic elements. So let's have a look on elements that make an entire process better.
Management process actually takes place in a company to understand which employees are asset and who are liabilities for the organization. It often happens that employees are not happy about the process of management, which results into less engagement of work and ultimately low productivity. Generally, employees want to have a process where first goals should be assigned; regular feedback or review should be given. According to feedback, which may be a positive or negative reward or further training should be allowed. Furthermore, open communication should take place among employees and HODs. Hence, it is good to take advice from employees while designing management process of performance.
A company must integrate its management process with IT solution. Using Information technology for performance management not only saves the time of managers, but it also avoids wastage of papers. Furthermore, managers often feel tired in sorting forms and doing paperwork for performance management. However, doing it with intellectual software becomes easy. Witty HR software that offers numbers of solution ranging from employee attendance to management process can help your company to undertake performance management easily and quickly. Hence, it is also important to have good HR software for performance management.
Managers are very important element in the Performance Management Process. They are the ones who would be responsible for entire process and ensure that process should take place smoothly. A good manager can make an ineffective process effective and optimize a result. However, if the manager is incapable then even robust system for performance management can fail to optimize a result. Furthermore, if a manager brings in his personal grievances in between the process then it fails the entire process. Hence, it is very important for a company to invest in finding best managers who can bring out best from employees and make entire process effective and health.
An effective management process is only possible with open communications. If there is little communication between employees and managers, the goals or objectives of company cannot be communicated properly. Furthermore, due to communication gap employees will not get proper feedback, and they will not be able to develop their work or way of working for better results. Often, managers and employees have personal grievances, which become obstacles for open communication and thus problem for better process of performance management. Apart from communication between manager and an employee communication between employees to employee is also necessary. Sharing the idea, projects, skills, tricks are all very important aspects to keep working environment happy and light which further leads to attainment of company goal and boosted morale of the employee. Hence open communication is another important aspect for better management process of the company.
By EmportantJan – 09, 2016
When we consider what our obligations are as business owners, a lot of us would go straight to thinking about our commercial risks, having the right insurances, paying taxes and so on. But one major risk that often goes unconsidered is the obligations around employment relations and legislation compliance.
Businesses are usually starting small. But what happens when we experience growth? Eventually we need people to help, and these people need to be paid, managed, cared for, and never taken advantage of as far as the law is concerned.
So what are the obligations around employment relations and HR? Well, they are many! But here are four of the most important areas that you need ensure you understand to avoid financial loss, major penalties, fines, and rocky relations with the government.
1. Understanding award coverage and employment legislation – including the nitty-gritty bits.
I get it. You get into business for a passion in some area and the fire in your belly, all to make a difference to an industry, or your own life. However, for small business owners modern awards and employment legislation are critical to get across, or at least have access to a professional that knows this stuff inside out.
Why? There’s no such thing as the ‘I didn’t know’ defence in the eyes of the law makers. Depending on your industry and/or tasks being performed, you could have multiple awards in place that you must at least comply with. Even with only one award, this is complex enough.
If you wind up in front of a magistrate without a reasonable defence as to why you didn’t play within rules of engagement, you could be fined up to $33,000 per breach of any award.
2. Employee vs Contractor – the legal risks.
As a business owner, you may be faced with the question from an employee whether or not they can be engaged as a contractor. Or you may decide that having contractors are just easier than employees (and you’d be correct). However, the grass isn’t always greener, and when you haven’t considered the risks of engaging contractors, you may find yourself in a world of pain, very quickly.
Independent contractors performing work under conditions that may not be identifiable as a genuine contracting arrangements leaves the business exposed to risks of inadvertently engaging in ‘sham contracting’.
Specific conditions and terms must be in place to engage contractors for work. These include:
- contractors having the majority of control over when and how work is performed;
- contractors having no expectation of ongoing work;
- contractor is responsible for warranties of the work performed, bearing a risk of profit and loss;
- usually a contractor is paying their own superannuation;
- a contractor usually provides their own tools and equipment;
- a contractor pays their own tax and GST;
- a contractor is not usually paid hourly, weekly, fortnightly, or monthly;
- contractors do not receive paid annual or personal leave.
A contractor should be given an agreement that clearly outlines the nature of the relationship or engagement, stipulating their requirements as part of that agreement.
Whilst there is no legal requirement to have a written agreement, these are considered best practice to ensure that the essential terms of the relationship are clearly expressed between the parties.
3. Record keeping.
Your obligations around record keeping often go unconsidered. This means having employee files, file notes of important conversations, employment agreements, pay rise commencement dates, timesheets (from the employee), and a range of other records.
Imagine you receive a claim against you for an underpayment to an ex-employee. Unlike unfair dismissal claims where the employee has 21 days to lodge the complaint, an underpayment claim can come back at you up to six years after the fact.
Again, lets imagine we’re in front of a magistrate trying to explain that this ex-employee didn’t work the hours they claim, and were in fact paid correctly. If you can’t produce appropriate time records, pay records, payment terms and agreements between you and the ex-employee, it’s very likely you’ll have to pay money you may not even owe. Even worse, you could end up with breach penalties and another large fine from the Fair Work Commission for not keeping appropriate records.
4. Knowing when to pay, and when you’ve paid enough.
All too often, business owners are overwhelmed with the vast amount of information that determines what an employee must be paid. This includes minimum entitlements, penalty rates, overtime rates, ordinary and non-ordinary hours, casual loadings, leave loadings, and a whole suite of allowances, or travel payments. Often, an employer will just pay above the minimum base hourly wage, and believe they’re paying enough to cover everything. That’s not always the case, depending on the unique conditions of each individual employee and you may find yourself with an underpayment claim on your hands.
On the other hand, you may be paying above the minimum entitlements to ensure you’re covering off all areas, but you might offer your employees time off in lieu, or pay an additional allowance for whatever reason you see fit. This practice often means you’re paying too much. If that is intentional and meant as a reward, then good for you and your employees. But of that’s not the intention, your business could be losing thousands of dollars each and every year.