Business Hiatus — Good Idea or Bad?

Coming back from an enforced hiatus with my business I was musing about whether this was an opportunity or a setback. While there wasn’t much I could do about it at the time, worrying about it would have made things worse. Worry is never recommended. Most business owners have enough to worry about, without fretting about things over which they have no control. Going offline with one’s business can create additional problems — loss of mind share and market share as well, lag in keeping up with the competition, and an inability to figure out where to pick things back up. But sometimes an absence from the marketplace is a good thing. It can force you to become more innovative as you attempt to make up any lost ground. It may also give you a chance to recharge your batteries, so to speak. The caterpillar has to go into a cocoon in order to become a butterfly. Perhaps businesses need a time out now and then to morph into something more wonderful.

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When Small Business Fails to Grow – Part 3

So here’s the final word on what I think happened to this great little business. We’ve already established that the business owner was capable and knowledgeable, adept in most areas of running his store. The business was capitalizing on multiple marketing pillars and was taking advantage of many of its marketing assets such as owner expertise, location, publicity, unique product, and community relationships. If so much was going right, what went wrong? As I mentioned in Part 1, the owner felt that he was squeezed out because he could not compete with “the big boys”, notably Ikea. Yes, the business could have had a more compelling USP (Unique Selling Proposition) but it was not far off. Most of the messaging about the store in some way captured how this shop was different from its competitors. It had a distinct advantage over competitors like impersonal big box furniture stores. When working with any small business client, our first step is to ensure they have a solid USP in place, because that is the foundation upon which all other aspects of the business can be built.

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Systematize your Business Growth

When I speak with clients about the Core Four marketing steps that every business should undertake when looking for growth, part of my job is to help them understand that making marketing part of their business systems is vital to make their business a going concern. Crafting a Unique Selling Proposition (USP), integrating that USP into all your marketing activities, setting up processes for customer relationship management (CRM), and establishing processes for joint ventures and alliances all contribute to making a marketing system that is repeatable, measurable, and effective. If you do not have systems in place in your business, you are at risk. Here’s why. If your sales processes depend upon the knowledge of the business owner or the top sales person, you need those individuals in order to make a sale. Customers may buy because they like you, or because you have a business relationship with them. But if those people are not available, no sale can be made. By writing down the USP and ensuring it is communicated during every customer contact, you take the sales process out of the head of the business owner and the top sales person and make it into a system that…

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