Want to Accelerate Your Business? Outsourcing Could be the Secret.

It’s a common problem that all business owners face at some point – how to get everything done in a limited amount of time without sacrificing their own quality of life. When your business is growing and you have more to do, but not necessarily more team members to help to do the work, it can be easy to become overwhelmed.

The answer to this problem is simple. As soon as your attention is being consumed away from sales and customer service, pause and think about where YOUR time is most valuable. For any business owner, that time is best spent on growing your customer base and nurturing leads. Any tasks that distract you from that focus are prime targets for outsourcing.

Outsourcing also allows business owners to manage growth in a scalable and cost effective manner. When a task – say bookkeeping – is taking your time away from more valuable tasks, but you don’t have the need for a permanent internal resource, outsourcing is the perfect interim solution to manage this in-between period of business growth. After all, the cost of an employee is more than just their salary – you also need to factor in additional costs like insurance, superannuation, office space and IT infrastructure. Suddenly a contractor’s hourly rate can become a lot more reasonable! Then once your business has grown further, there may be a tipping point when it makes sense to create a dedicated internal role. Outsourcing allows you to dial this capacity up and down in a scalable way that meets the unique needs of your business.

What to Outsource

Essentially, you should consider outsourcing any function that distracts your attention from sales and growing your business. Here’s a list of a few ideas to get you started:
– Bookkeeping
– Graphic design
– Data entry
– Rostering and payroll

– Email and calendar management
Social media management
Marketing

Depending on the skill set required, you can find excellent outsourcing solutions both within Australia and internationally. There are a number of websites, such as Upwork, that can connect you with a range of freelancers with different skills, as well as companies that specialise in managing these relationships for businesses. As well as searching online, don’t forget to ask your network for any recommendations and referrals.

10 tips to successfully manage outsourcing relationships

1. Define what you want to achieve and the required skills and resources

2. Know your desired results
3. Complete due diligence: ask to see portfolios and samples, check references and so forth
4. Know your budget, but don’t select only on price
5. Clearly communicate expectations – use written contracts to document scope of work and expected standards
6. Set realistic timeframes
7. Regularly monitor performance and set agreed performance milestones
8. Ensure copyright for any original work, such as design work, writing, computer code and so forth, is passed on to your business upon payment

9. Get legal advice to protect your business from any wrong doing by contractors
10. Start with small projects and increase the scope when your outsourcing partners have proven they can satisfactorily deliver

Have you used contractors to outsource non-core business functions? What benefits have you experienced as a result? If you are reluctant to outsource, what are the concerns that are stopping you? We’d love to speak about how we could help your business to improve its performance.  Email info@b-x.com.au or phone 1300068229

Creating Loyal Customers & Raving Fans

It’s common knowledge that it’s easier to keep existing customers rather than winning over new ones, but this fact can sometimes get lost in amongst the pressure we all feel to be bringing in new customers and growing our business. We get distracted and we start neglecting those customers who have already engaged with us in the past.

Why should you shift your focus to your existing customers?

Have you ever considered how much time and money you spend trying to engage new customers through your marketing? Of course, you have to spend resources in order to make sales, but could some of those resources be better spent looking after your existing customers? Marketing is essential for growing your business, but how much of your marketing is going to people who were once your customers but left for a better solution? Save your time, money and energy by focusing more on your existing customers.

While we’re still talking resources, have you ever considered what will happen when all that marketing pays off? Does your business have all the resources ready to go if, suddenly, a swarm of new customers want to engage? If you become overwhelmed and can’t provide the new customers with the service you promised them or the existing customers with the service they’ve come to love, you could be running the risk of losing everyone all together.

How can you foster loyalty?

You’ve got customers, so how can you make sure they stay with you? It’s less about meeting their expectations and more about going above and beyond!

Be Transparent

Have you ever wanted to buy a product online, only to find they had no clear guide to shipping costs? Maybe it’s an oversight or perhaps it’s a deliberate omission to hide their astronomical prices. Either way, it’s not a good look. Laying everything out clearly for your customer to see is the best way to foster trust.

Be Accessible

Most of the time, it feels like you’re shouting into the void – your email campaigns might show increases in sign ups or sales but it’s less common to have your customers telling you exactly what they think. Provide them with an option to give you feedback and make it front and centre. Not only does it feel less like you’re talking to yourself, but it gives your customers a voice and opens up the communication between you.

Be Knowledgeable

If you were asking someone for directions in a big city, would you trust them if they weren’t even sure where they were or changed their mind constantly? Similarly, in business, it’s important you know where you’ve been, where you are now and where you’re going. Know everything you can about your business so that when, inevitably, a customer asks a question, you can give them a confident answer. How can they trust you if you’re not sure about something you’re supposed to be good at?

Be Consistent

Customers are big fans of consistency. It’s comforting to know that you’ll get the exact same great result every single time and if you are consistent, your customers will become even bigger fans of you. Never sacrifice quality for quantity, no matter how efficient you seem – it will ultimately make your customers lose faith in the service or product you provide.

Be Genuine

You might be selling your product or service but you’re also selling the experience of doing business. Having genuine, honest conversations will keep customers coming back for more and owning up to your mistakes, when you make them, will show your customers you care about the end result. It might seem like a small (and easy) thing, but being genuine could be the reason your customers choose you every time.

Start implementing some of these easy tips today and watch as your customers become raving fans!

 

If you want to find out more about creating Raving Fans or about what we do at Bx, feel free to book a quick 15-20 minute chat with me and we can talk. Book in HERE.

 

Ways to Get More Sales with Social Media

The quickest way to make more sales is to work out what your customers want and give it to them. It’s like the scenario of how to sell the most hamburgers. What one thing do you need? 100% pure ground beef? Sesame seed buns? Free fries with every order? No. You need a starving crowd.

So how do you find out what your customers want? You ask and listen – and this is where social media is great as it enables you to ‘listen’ to many and find out their authentic needs. From usinSalesg Twitter to find opportunities and LinkedIn to find the names of the decision makers inside organisations, to listening to what your prospects are saying about your competitors on social media – it can all amount to a great picture of your ideal customer, what frustrates them and how you can possibly solve their problems.

An integral part of the sales process is getting to know your prospects and establishing relationships and  social media can help you accomplish this quickly and easily.

Get to know your prospects and target customers

There’s no point being on Facebook if your target customer is more likely to be found on LinkedIn. Do some homework before you choose a social media platform. Facebook is great for business to consumer sales, while LinkedIn is more business to business. Don’t discount commenting on websites and blogs either. You can really find prospects any place online where a relevant conversation is happening – it’s a case of spending the time researching where your target customer is going online to seek information and having conversations.

Demonstrate trustworthiness and credibility in relation to sales

As you engage with prospects via social media platforms, remember this. It’s about them not you. For people to like, know and trust your online persona, you need to write and comment in such a way that supports that. If you see someone online with a problem, posting a link to your online workshop for $449 that would solve their problem isn’t the best opener. Instead offer advice. Prove yourself worthy of conversation. Link to useful blog article you have written that helps solve their problem. Some of the best word of mouth consumer to business successes I have seen on social media start by someone asking for advice and other people commenting and/or tagging contacts who can help. Don’t do the hard sell when word of mouth will build your trustworthiness more effectively.

Remember, we all have a large digital footprint. People will google, stalk your social media profiles, check out what you have written, posted or commented. Be honest and authentic in it all.

Connect with and get to know people

Conduct a search on each social networking website or use a resource like socialmention.com to find people who are talking about your industry or using related keywords. Then comment on their posts, retweet them, answer a question or share something they say. By contributing to their conversation you add value to their network. It becomes natural for you to follow them and for them to follow you back.

Have a conversation

If you really listen to what your prospects are saying on social media, it shows you are willing to have a conversation rather than cold sell. Many closed doors have been opened by this simple approach. It may take longer – but it results in easier sales and longer-term loyalty. One colleague – a content writer – gains leads via her personal Facebook simply by people enjoying her posts and recognising she has a great writing style. Another shares education and advice, while another – a great networker – introduces other people into the conversations who may be able to solve problems. It may sound old-fashioned, but it’s simply showing how you can be of service and other-focused – just through a new-fashioned medium.

Top Tech Tips

The most successful people, are those that are highly productive and are masters at getting things done efficiently and effectively. They know what to focus on, when to focus on it, and for how long. Technology has made productivity more achievable and easier for everyone, but only if you embrace it, and not let it rule your life.

Here are my Top Tech Tips:

Asana This is a project and task management tool that we use in our organisation. Think Outlook Tasks on steroids. If there is more than one person in your team, this is an absolute MUST. It is free for up to 15 users and has great functionality.

Google AppsI was a Microsoft junkie. I had been using Microsoft Office for years and knew it inside out. I was avoiding the change because i was so comfortable with Office. At the beginning of 2015, we switched from Office to Google Apps. What a difference! The most significant difference is the number of apps that integrate with Google Apps. This provides almost limited additional functionality and automation.

Google SitesAs with Google Apps, this is a must for any business and their intranet/ Systems manual

Secret SeverIn an age where internet security is critical to every business, Secret Server provides online access on your PC and phone for all of your passwords. You can share access within your organisation. Never write down another password again.

Orderfast An amazing app-based ordering system designed for small business. OrderFast allows you to place all your stock orders straight from your smartphone, iPhone or iPad at the click of a button

Online Accounts – Don’t mess around with accounting software. Having your accounts in the cloud is an absolute must – no exceptions, for any business. QuickBooks Online is fantastic for small business and has tonnes of integrations, making it extremely powerful. We use QuickBooks Online for all of our businesses.

IWSAustralia’s largest provider of integrated rostering and payroll, IWS offers cloud based rostering for shift based workers as well as fully integrated payroll and bookkeeping for businesses. Priced especially for small businesses, IWS is a great solution to allow business owners to stop working in their business and work on it.

UpWork (formerly Odesk) –  Find freelancers on Upwork – the world’s largest online workplace for freelancers. My business has used Upwork for a few years. We have had mostly good experiences with freelancers. the benefit vs cost is significant, although ensure you match the candidate to the job, and usually it is best to have a couple of final candidates and put them both to the test. Clear communication on what is expected is also essential. Outsource to Upwork everything you possibly can. Trust me, you will save a bomb AND the quality and timing of work is great and it’s twenty-four hours a day!

Facebook – Most businesses rely on people spending money with them to grow…correct? To achieve this, we need customers, and therefore in most cases we need new leads or opportunities. If your business is not yet on Facebook, then this should be a serious consideration for you. Not only can you post and update your current customers, but Facebook is one of the best (if not the best) lead generation platform. With recent changes, it has become even better.

Landing Pages – Landing pages are like a stand alone web page or series of web pages where you send your leads to (rather than your website). A lead page guarantees you a higher rate of conversion or opt-in than sending to your web page which is often confusing for a lead as on a web page, there is usually no one single purpose and call to action. There are a few great options for lead pages. In our company we use Instapage, and have also used Leadpages.

MailChimpOnline email marketing solution to manage contacts, send emails and track results. Offers plug-ins for other programs. Mailchimp is where the information that your leads have submitted through your lead page is stored. Mailchimp then allows you to create marketing channels, email flow and so forth to communicate with these customers, to move them from a lead to a paying customer.

With all of the above, there are skills required to use these tools. It is always best to work with someone who knows what they are doing. Our suggestion always is, learn as much as you can from a trusted source, and then find a company you can outsource the work to, that will give you the greatest results. Ultimately, you should budget cost vs. return, and look at all technology as an option to increase productivity and sales in your business.

The advice above is based on what has work in our business. The advice may not be right for everyone, and you should consider this when making decisions. Feel free to reach out to us for assistance.

Do you have a story to share about Technology?  We’d love to speak about how we could help your business to move forward with Technology and have great success. Call Bx on 1300 068 229 or find out about our Business for Life Program.

Find and Attract New Clients in 5 Quick Steps

How many of us are so busy doing a fantastic job for our current clients, that we find we don’t have good systems for getting new clients?

Here you will learn how to: Find and Attract New Clients in 5 Quick Steps

The key to a sustainable and scalable business is the implementation of systems to grow our business. Good systems allow us to spend more time delivering to our clients and less time chasing new business.

New business is the lifeline to building a business. Below are five quick steps you can implement in your business straight away to grow your business by finding and attracting new customers.

 

1. Remember the saying, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail? Yes, I know it’s cliché, but many of us have very limited time, so we often are light on in the planning stages of marketing. I have found that even a rough plan of the next 3-6 months of strategies can give you a timeline of success and actually take a bit of pressure off. If you don’t have any marketing in place, just get 3-5 things that you can do over the next 3-6 months. Then, commit to getting two of them off the ground in the next 30 days.

 

2. Social Media and Online Marketing – if this is alien to you and freaks you out a bit…don’t worry, most people are in this boat. The rise of the internet and social media over the past decade is phenomenal and to most is now the norm. However, start talking social media marketing, and the majority are still fairly vague on this.

 

Where to start? That’s the question to ask yourself. Firstly, there are plenty of companies that can help you on this, and if you think you may need some help…get help. They are usually very cost effective.

 

There are three main (and easy) way to advertise online:

  1. Google Adwords
  2. Facebook advertising
  3. LinkedIn Advertising

If you haven’t done either, start with Facebook advertising, as these are easy to setup and are relatively low cost. Google Adwords and LinkedIn Advertising are also great options. Start with Facebook and once you’ve mastered that progress to the others, or hire in help to get you started.

Follow these three key rules of thumb:

  1. Start with a low budget and do cost per click (CPC)
  2. Always use a leads page (like Lead Pages.net), don’t direct the straight to your website
  3. Build your client list/ database, don’t build your likes.

 

3. Get to where they are! There are hundreds of ways to get face to face with your potential customers – whether you’re in retail, service based or otherwise. Here are my quick tips:

  1. Cafes/ fast food – do your customers catch the bus or train? Often potential customers are racing past your shop and boarding buses and trains. Stand up at the station or bus stop and hand out some compelling offers to entice them in
  2. Trade Shows – there are tradeshows for everything these days, go online and find out where you customers are looking for the next big ticket to help them…and make your business that big ticket!
  3. Sporting events – when the sporting event ends…thousands file out of the event. Make them head to your business with a limited time only compelling offer.
  4. Set up a temporary stall/ information booth in a shopping centre – let’s face it, most people shop. So, make yourself visible and available to you potential customers by either selling your products, giving away samples, or providing information on your business/ services to those that show an interest.
  5. Strategic partnerships….read on to point #4!

 

4. Strategic Partnerships – these are a great way to align yourself with the right similar but not competing organisations. Here are the quick action steps for creating a strategic partnership:

  1. WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) – do a quick list of what YOU could offer THEM. Strategic partnerships only work when both parties feel like they are getting value out of the partnership.
  2. Identify your potential strategic partnerships – create a profile of who your perfect strategic partner may look like. Now list 20 potentials that match this
  3. Contact your top 20 – book a meeting with each and discuss your strategic partnership. Make sure you have a list of the top benefits for THEM. The more you focus on THEM, the stronger the partnership. Remember you listed them as your top 20, so they will be able to deliver to you, make sure you can deliver to them.
  4. The next steps are all about implementation and follow-up:
    • Lock in 2-3 opportunities with you SP
    • Communicate to your team and the SP’s team – excite and entice both sides to the opportunities.
    • Develop systems to help you manage and review the partnership
    • Have a tool to measure the results. Systemise this.
    • Review the partnership and the results and iterate as required

 

5. Direct Marketing – okay, I know this is old school, but sometimes old school works. I will give you an example. One of my business is an IT/web-based business. We have an awesome app for hospitality businesses that allows them to place their supplier orders for all their suppliers. It has been hugely popular. We had inside information that a huge multi-national chain was changing one of their suppliers and we wanted to provide our app to this chain. We didn’t have email addresses for these businesses, phone calls would have been time consuming, and we couldn’t drive around the country doing face to face meetings. The best option was a direct mailout through the post. With postal addresses widely available, it was easy to create the mailmerge and pump out the advertising, directly mailed to each business.

 

Rule of thumb – find our=t who your target market is, and if you can’t get in front of them, snail mail, ain’t a bad option!

 

Do you have a story to share about how you have found new clients? Or are you struggling to build your business? We’d love to speak about how we could help your business to move beyond this blip into success. Call Bx on 1300 068 229 or find out about our Business for Life Program.