Category Archives: Business Strategy

4 Simple Ways to Grow Your Business

4 Simple Ways to Grow Your Business

Simple tips to grow your business - Hyatt Lassaline Windsor Ontario

Get back to business basics! 

Many business owners spend much of their time working in their business, often spinning their wheels just trying to stay in business.

Let’s stand back, take a good look and get back to business basics.

1)    Referrals

  • Do you ask for referral business? Do you ask every time in a systematic way or just when you think of it?
  • Do you thank current customers for referrals when you receive them?
  • Do you act like you want more business? If you give the impression that you’re too busy to handle more customers, your existing customers won’t refer you more business. Why would they if it appears you are struggling with the customers you have now?

2)    Customer Retention

  • Do you know when customers ‘drop off’ your customer list? Do you know why they ‘drop off’? Is there any area for improvement?
  • Do you calculate your ‘attrition rate’? This is the number of customers that stop doing business with you over a certain period.  If you have 1,000 customers at the start of the year and only 800 of these customers are left at the end of the year, then the 200 that left represents a 20% attrition rate.
  • Reducing your attrition rate by one customer is better than adding a new customer due to marketing and other costs of acquisition.

3) Employees

  • Are your employees fully knowledgeable about all of your business’s service or product offerings? If they are lacking, it might be affecting your bottom line.
  • Are you employees equipped to work productively? Do they have the right tools to do so? If you’re unsure, you should ask them!
  • Are you employees active and engaged in your business? Does your business embrace a culture of respect?

4) First Impressions

  • First impressions can go a long way. Is your storefront clean and inviting? Are your trucks in good repair? Does your website’s landing page pass the 5 second rule?
  • Look at businesses you frequent, what are they doing right? How can your business emulate their positive first impressions?

Getting back to business basics is an excellent strategy for profit improvement. All businesses have areas of improvement they can focus on.

Find Time to Work ON Your Business

Find Time to Work ON Your Business

Find the time to work ON your business - Hyatt Lassaline Windsor OntarioMany business owners spend more time planning for their vacation than they do planning for the future of their business!

Often we’re so caught up in managing the day to day activities of working ‘in’ our business that we neglect working ‘on’ our business.

We know that we should be streamlining our business systems, developing customer relationship strategies and focusing on innovation (just to name a few!), but who has the time?

Here are some tips to help you find the time to work ON your business.

Make a Don’t Do List – Start with tasks that are easy to delegate – then delegate them! Some of these tasks might be enjoyable to you (like getting coffee), but if you’re serious about finding extra time to work on your business for freedom and profit, then the sacrifice should be well worth it.

Ask Permission for Planning Time – Often as business owners we’re used to being pulled in many different directions and are overwhelmed with interruptions. If we simply ask to work undisturbed employees and other interrupters of your time will learn to be more independent – leaving you time to work on your business. Set aside dedicated time every week to plan for your business’s future.

Spend Time Away from the Business to Plan and Brainstorm – Taking time away from your business in a relaxing environment is the perfect place to re-energize, refocus and work on your business strategy. Work with your tax advisor to be certain that your business planning retreat can be written off as a business expense.

Spending focused time regularly working on your business will have immediate and long lasting benefits, so don’t put if off any longer – commit to working on your business today.

Aligning Your Goals for Personal and Business Success

Aligning Your Goals for Personal and Business Success

As a business owner, do you feel like you are sitting in the back seat and your business is driving your life from the front seat?

This usually happens when your personal goals are not aligned with your business goals.

What are your personal goals? What are the goals for your business? If the two goals are aligned, it becomes much easier to attain both.

Goals to consider:

Align Your Business and Personal Goals for Happiness and Success

Personal income and equity goals – What is your desired income in 3 to 5 years? Do you have a target date to be mortgage free? Are your investing practices in line with your lifestyle expectations?

Type of work – Are you passionate about a particular area of your business? What are you most profitable business activities? Can you do this type of work until you retire?

Retirement and succession planning – How saleable is your business? Do you have a succession or strategy for sale in place? Do you plan to semi-retire at a specific age?

Current and future work – life balance – Do you want to work less and spend more time with family or are you focused and driven to achieve maximum growth for your business? How is your time now best invested?

Consider successful and well-balanced happy business owners you know. The odds are, they have grown their business in alignment with their personal goals.

Passion is one consistent attribute of a successful business owner. Becoming passionate about your business is much more likely when your business is aligned with and serves your personal goals and ideals.

If you don’t know where to start, contact your accountant and consider consulting a business coach.

Small Steps to Business Success

Small Steps to Business Success

Steps to business success Hyatt Lassaline Windsor OntarioOften business owners are desperately seeking perfectionism to improve their business. Instead of trying to do business tasks 100% better, focus on doing several things 1% better and build from there.

Where to begin? Here are a few actions business owners can apply in only minutes a day:

  • Listening and communication skills – focus on listening better and giving thoughtful replies.
  • Learn a new skill – perhaps something to help you work more efficiently.
  • Become better organized – spend a few moments and tackle your desk, email inbox or paper files.
  • Talk to your customers – thank them and ask how they can be better served by your business.
  • Talk to you employees – learn their frustrations and address them to help improve productivity and morale.

These actions can have profitable, business building results. Start today!

What is Holding Your Business Back?

What is Holding Your Business Back?

It just might be you. It might be a self-imposed barrier that’s holding you and your business back.  

A self-imposed barrier is a thought or belief you have that is blocking you from seeing an opportunity.

A common example is when the business owner believes all their current customers are aware of every product or service the business offers, but in reality the customers do not.

Are you confident that all your current customers are aware of your complete business offerings?

Business advice to quickly improve profitsOne simple way to test this assumption is to assemble in a simple document a list of all the products or services your business provides. Politely ask your customers for a few minutes of their time to discuss your business’s offerings. You may uncover that your customers were unaware of many of your products or services.

The self-limiting belief described above limits potential sales to these customers. If you can open yourself to new possibilities, you might learn something new about your customer’s needs and frustrations.

You won’t know unless you start the conversation with your customers.

The Importance of First Impressions

The Importance of First Impressions

Are there areas of your business that are a little less than 100%? If we are focused on growing a business and besting the competition, we have to ensure that we are covering the basics -so let’s start with first impressions.

Potential customers may quickly make a purchase decision from your business, based on the following first impressions:

  • Hyatt - Lassaline - The Importance of First Impressions - Business TipsIs the exterior of the business neat and tidy?
  • Are the customers greeted in a friendly manner?
  • Are the trucks clean?
  • Do the employees have a nice and clean appearance?
  • Are the bathrooms clean?
  • Are the employees focused on business or on personal matters?

First impressions can make all the difference and just might be the deciding factor in a purchase or establishing loyalty with your business.

Building a Business System for Freedom & Profit

Building a Business System for Freedom & Profit

Are there certain parts of your business that you feel have to be done by you – the business owner?

Are there bottlenecks in your business because you – the business owner – aren’t able to accomplish certain tasks in a timely manner?

Are these bottlenecks in the areas of your business that you – the business owner – hates to do?

If you can relate to any of the above questions, there may be a lot of freedom and profit available from successfully implementing a system to help the situation.

Let’s review some excuses for and solutions for implementing change:

1) I am not ready or willing to give up control of this task

Let’s face it, most small business owners are control freaks – and for good reason. Until you are willing to give up control you will never get the freedom from the task. To make it easier to give up control, you can design the system to be the way you perform the task yourself.  Although the system will be used by others, as the designer, you can create the system the way you want. By approaching giving up a task this way, it makes it easier to give up control.

2) It’s too overwhelming and I don’t know where to start

The key is to break the tasks down into small pieces. Pick an easy task and create a system for the particular task. Just take a pen and paper and write down each step in performing the task as you do the task yourself.  To make sure you have not missed anything, have someone else try and use the system while you supervise. Even though it takes an extra investment of time up front, once you have completed the system, you’ll have the freedom to delegate the task whenever you like.

3) I tried it before and it didn’t work – there were too many mistakes

This could have happened for a number of reasons, but the most common is a ‘perfectionist’ expectation of the business owner. You delegated a task and it was not done as well as you can do it. You decided you are better off just doing it yourself. Mistakes cost money and you can’t afford them.

I had the perfectionist expectation myself until a ‘master systematizer’ explained to me, ‘Be happy if they can do it 80% as well as you can at first and tickle them up toward 100%’.

Put the proper effort into the system creation and pick a task that won’t ‘sell the farm’ if there is a mistake made. It is important to embrace failure as part of learning. Controlled failure. Think of it as ‘failing forward’.

In summary, the motivation for system building is this:   If you can build a system to delegate the tasks that you hate doing  and these tasks are causing bottlenecks too – your reward will be more freedom and more profit!

What is Your Business’s Strategy?

What is Your Business’s Strategy?

Business strategy, ideas for a successful business, business tipsDo you use the ‘hope’ strategy in your business? It goes something like this:

Let’s try something new and HOPE it works!

The hypothesis strategy is a more scientific approach. When performing a scientific experiment you must define your hypothesis first and then perform the experiment. The experiment is designed in a way that you can test if the hypothesis in true or false.

Here is a ‘hope’ strategy example regarding advertising:

Wait until a salesperson from a magazine or newspaper calls on you, react by throwing together an advertisement and ‘hope’ to have a positive financial result.

The advertising hypothesis strategy could be:

Hypothesis 1 – Our current and potential customers read magazine X.

Hypothesis 2 – Our current and potential customers have a specific need or frustration. The headline of the advertisement indicates that our business’s offering can solve this need or frustration.

– We then test our hypothesis by setting up a unique domain name for use within the advertisement.

– We then monitor the website hits to this unique URL.

You can see by the way the hypothesis is set up that you can get better test results. Under the ‘hope’ strategy, you don’t even know if any customers showed up a result of the advertisement. And if nothing happens, you will quickly lose ‘hope’!

Under the hypothesis strategy, if nothing happens, you can change something in the hypothesis and try again. You could change the headline or the publication. If you only change one hypothesis at a time, you can dramatically increase your probability of success.

This change in strategy takes a different mindset. This approach is a philosophy of learning and discovery. The worst thing you can do in make an incorrect assumption. But you can test your assumptions to make sure they are correct.

Does Your Business Offer a Guarantee?

Does Your Business Offer a Guarantee?

Business advice - Hyatt Lassaline Chartered Accountants Windsor Essex OntarioWhen a potential customer considers purchasing from your business, are there a number of risks to completing the purchase?

When you provide a guarantee, you remove the risks to the potential purchaser and make it easier for them to buy from you.

It is reasonable to assume that if you reduce the risks and make it easy to buy, more of your potential customers will convert to actual customers and make the purchase.

Here are 5 tips to developing a great guarantee:

1)      Position it clearly and boldly to potential customers: The worst guarantee is one that customers don’t know about. This may sound ridiculous, but as a small business advisor I often discover businesses that have a guarantee but didn’t tell their customers about it at the time of the purchase decision. This means the guarantee was not needed for the purchase decision of the customers that bought because they didn’t even know about it. The potential customers that didn’t buy could have been a customer, but they didn’t know about the guarantee and decided it was too risky to make the purchase.

2)      The stronger and bolder the guarantee – the better – a watered-down guarantee just doesn’t work. Make it big and bold. The idea is to get more customers to buy confidently, so big and bold gets more attention in the marketplace.  Often there is resistance to offering a bold guarantee. This is business owners may fear the market will take advantage of the guarantee. The reality is that a very small percentage probably will, but the percentage is typically less than 1%. The profits from the other 99% of new customers will be more than the cost of dealing with the unsatisfied 1%.

3)      Be specific how you define the ‘claim’ – As the business that is developing the guarantee, you get to determine the rules for a claim. While the guarantee needs to have some meat and be easy to use, you control the details. Make it ‘if this, then that’. For example, ‘If this tree doesn’t live for one year from purchase for any reason, then we will replace it for no charge.’ In this example, the claim was not cash but a free replacement which costs less to the business that a full refund.

4)      Test it first – If you are worried about how the guarantee will work and if anyone will abuse it, then test it in a controlled manner. You can offer it to a limited group of potential customers to see how it works. Then you can tweak it based on how the test works out.

5)      Research the existing guarantees in other industries – The design of a great guarantee does not have to come from your industry. There is no need to re-invent the wheel. If you just focus on the current purchase decisions you may be making yourself, you can experience how and if a guarantee affects your risks of making a purchase.

Successfully Converting Leads into Sales

Successfully Converting Leads into Sales

Every business has some ‘low hanging fruit’ to pick. There are ripe profits stuck between the leads your business generates and the actual revenue dollars you convert from these leads.

A lead is created by your referrals, your marketing and advertising efforts, your location etc. A lead could be a potential customer walking into your store, a phone call, a website hit or a cold-call by your sales team.

Out of every 100 leads, there is only a percentage that gets converted to actual sales. Some of the leads that did not become sales may have happened for the following reasons:

– The business missed answering the phone call. Perhaps the voice message was not followed up in a timely manner.
– The lead was not properly followed up by the sales team. Be certain that your sales team properly educated about the products or services your business offers.
– Nobody followed up with the potential customer after the initial contact. This could be because the sales team get the contact information or ask for permission to follow up. This could also be because the information was obtained, but the lead was still not followed.
– Maybe your staff is good with converting walk-ins, referrals and phone calls, but the system to properly follow up emails leads or website hits has not been perfected.

Create and perfect systems to ensure that every lead is followed up in a timely manner. Be certain that your sales team is properly educated in all aspects of your products or services.