By Julia Smith
Following these nine principles will change the way you think about your business and your attitude toward promoting it to others.
1. Vision and purpose: With the marketing mindset, you are ‘strategic’, so you have a clear ‘vision’ for where your business is going and you can easily identify opportunities that help get you there. ‘Opportunists’ change direction every time they see a new idea. You need a vision that’s written, specific and has a series of milestones to monitor progress.
2. Focus: You stand a better chance of success by choosing a targeted niche than in a larger, broad field. A good niche is small enough to dominate and large enough to be highly profitable. It means being able to identify exactly who your customers are and what they have in common.
3. ‘Reason why’: Prospective customers need to know why they should choose you over your competition. You need to know the reasons and be able to express them in one or two sentences. This is your positioning and can break through the clutter in the most saturated market. You don’t just want to exist in your niche; your positioning makes you the company of choice!
4. Marketing plan: A marketing plan should cover everything you do to promote your business. It needs to be written and measurable, using the most appropriate marketing tools. But it should also be simple – two pages are probably enough.
5. Profitable customer relationships: It’s easier and cheaper to sell to existing customers than to find new ones. So put at least as much effort into keeping in touch with existing customers as attracting new ones. Show clients that you are looking after their interests by building up trust through regular, helpful contact.
6. Partnership: Successful businesses cooperate with others for mutual benefit. These might even be businesses that other people would see as competitors. Businesses which might make good partners are those which your customers see before or after seeing you.
7. Persuasion and influence: The skill of persuasive communication is crucial to business success. Everybody is different and you must tailor your marketing accordingly. To communicate convincingly, you need to focus on one clear message, and then structure your support message properly. If you want people to follow your advice, position yourself as an expert by speaking and writing articles. And set your prices high so that people recognize that as your value.
8. Productivity: The degree to which you get best use of your time determines your success. Work out the real value to you of an hour then ask: “Can I pay someone else significantly less to do this?” Make full use of automation and outsourcing to use your time more effectively.
9. Action: Failing to take action is one of the biggest roadblocks to business success. Avoid procrastination – putting off tasks you need to do – and perfectionism – waiting until something is 100% right.
To improve your rating for these principles, set a goal for the improvements you need. Develop a plan and take action on it right away. As you change your mindset, you’ll quickly see your business results, your daily schedule and your lifestyle being transformed as well.