Small Business Marketing – Opportunities

In the third of this four-part series, we will consider another of the most important considerations for analysis of the marketing efforts of a small business. A small business’ opportunities are the third part of a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis, and reveal where the business has future growth and development chances. Opportunities can take many different forms, and should be examined and periodically reviewed to notice any changes, as they may happen suddenly, then disappear again just as quickly. Business opportunities can include some or all of the following:

  • Emerging trends which require your products and services
  • New technologies which increase demand for your product or service
  • Favorable changes to customer characteristics (demographics, psychographics, etc.)
  • Changes in customer tastes, preferences, or values
  • Poor competitor performance leading to dissatisfied customers ready for a change
  • Newly unsatisfied customer needs
  • Problems or gaps in existing offerings (creating opportunities for follow-up sales, cross sales, and up sales)
  • Completely new desires on the part of customers
  • Discovering new uses for old products and services which satisfy other market segments
  • New or expanded product and service offerings for your firm
  • New or expanded product and service offerings for other firms which complement your offerings
  • Changes which make substitute goods or services less desirable
  • Additional applications of recent research and development activities
  • Changes to current laws, regulations, or rules which allow opportunities which had been restricted
  • Beneficial changes to a supplier’s terms and conditions, or new suppliers becoming available
  • Beneficial tax changes or incentives for business development
  • Favorable side effects which are realized from using your product or service
  • Access to a greater supply of human capital with industry experience, fresh perspectives, or both
  • Less competition, as some competitors leave the market or go out of business
  • Decreased cost of raw materials used in making your product or providing your service

Put simply, the more of the above patterns that are present, the greater the amount of opportunity that exists in the market which can be utilized to start a new venture, or continue an existing operation. Even when there are fewer opportunities to make use of, highly successful businesses can still be established, but the amount of skill required to do so is significantly greater. Generally, the businesses which make the best use of their opportunities in a rapid, efficient, and effective manner are best positioned for success in the future.

Copyright 2010, by Marc Mays

Six Challenges Facing Business Owners

Having spent the last few weeks meeting with and chatting to small business owners around Essex, it became clear that they all seem to face similar challenges on a day-to-day basis.

As I expected, they are all time poor and there was an ongoing sense from these company owners or directors that they should be ‘hands on’ and across every facet of their business. But, as they told me, they may know all about their business but sometimes they need expert support and guidance to ensure their company grows and increases profitability.

Some of the challenges they faced included:

Customers
Customers are at the heart of any business. Without customers and the revenue generated then the business becomes just a good idea. One of the main challenges they faced was how to attract, retain and maximise their customers?

For me, the key to winning new business and ensuring customer retention is providing not only great products or services but adding a great customer service experience. A strategy needs to be developed for ensuring this customer growth and maximizing revenues from existing customers.

Marketing
Many business owners are not marketing experts and need strategic advice when it comes to developing a business positioning, a marketing plan, a campaign and thinking about the channels they wish to promote their business through.

The challenge is to enable the business to tell its story in a way that enables the business to grow and build customer engagement. Bringing an experienced marketer into the business either in-house or as a consultant to help develop this strategy can allow the business owner to focus on what he does best.

Time
For many business owners there are simply not enough hours in a day. All owners are stretched for time. Creating more time means sometimes saying no and focussing on what is essential for the success of the business.

This is where business owner often seek external advice from a business mentor or consultant to get them to focus on what is critical for the development of the business.

Financial Management
It is imperative for a small or medium-sized business to manage their cashflow effectively but sometimes managing the P&L seemed to be the third or fourth ‘order of the day’ for some business owners.

Getting good financial advice from a consultant who takes the time to analyse business performance, looks at aged debtors, analyses client profitability and puts effective financial planning measures in place mitigates the risk of the business getting into financial troubles.

Profitability
Business Planning seemed to be a bit of an afterthought for some of the business owners I spoke with, they were working more ‘on the fly’. Annual Planning should start a minimum of four months before the end of the financial year and should start with a formal annual budget, understanding the profitability of each client/customer, growth opportunities, business development planning and an analysis of the overheads required to service those clients/customers, market and grow the business, generate a great customer experience as well as delivering a sustainable profit margin.

Successful business owners create wealth and grow their business because they understand how to build a culture where sustainable profitability is a given.

Processes
Many business owners are not across all the processes involved in running a business so the challenge is to make the processes involved in running a business simpler. This is where an external consultant or expert support can prove highly beneficial.

Failure to manage processes such as sales, marketing, business development, building customer loyalty, operational management, HR and employee development can lead to businesses failing. Being stretched across business functions is not the best way for business owners to develop their business.

Role of Banking and Financial Institutions in Business Development

Opening a business or a firm is an exciting challenge, but what really gives pain is doldrums of economic strings. It is the basic factor behind the role of a business in its realm. Financial crunch is the most unpredictable situation and when occurs gives a powerful whiplash. Only those businesses or organizations survive that have an experienced banking or finance partner. Such partners can help in running a newly emerging or established business.

The fact is that most successful organizations are the ones most responsive to change. When it comes to changes only those businesses change that have effective team, efficient management, solid reserves and surpluses. Responding to evolving markets, customers and new protocols is very difficult unless you have your banking partner with you. Unquestionably, banking and financial institutions help businesses to think ahead to the wide array of innumerable opportunities to explore. They help businesses at every step and provide the most vital things like commercial loans, commercial overdraft, equipment finance and business insurance. These are some of the most crucial things that help businesses to boast its banner at the worst case situations.

Commercial loans are the most important factors for businesses. Businesses always look to buy commercial premises for their expansion. For this, they need instant balance, which only a reputable banking organization can offer at the most basic rates. They also offer their clients to choose between variable or fixed interest rates for their benefit. Banking authorities are also involved in the fair assessment of business assets and their financial proposals. This simply helps businesses to grow and expand their market value with more aggressive measures.

Businesses often need equipment finance that are very expensive and can consume complete surplus of the company. Banking technology along with financial institutions extends their assistance in purchasing or leasing equipment, whatever is necessary. Banks also discuss this thing with company’s advisory board to choose the best equipment as per their requirements. Banks also have instruments and products that specially SMEs and small organizations to grow and develop their core capabilities. They have various micro finance instruments that simply help SMEs to grow strong and independent.

In a nutshell, banking and financial institutions are developing new instruments and products to offer immunity to the businesses so that crisis never breaks their necks. They also ensure that businesses never face shortage of cash supply. This has dramatically changed the face of business scenario and boasted trade finance.

Develop Your Personality, Grow Your Business, Achieve Your Goals, and Lead An Inspired Life!

Personal development is something that most people work on throughout their entire life span to enhance their success in their lives and chosen career. It is commonly known to be a foundational element required for most seasoned marketers as well as new entrepreneurs to boost their business. Many people need to build their confidence, develop a more positive attitude as well as make significant strides n in building a good solid business. Hence, with the help of advanced technology, personal development training is now brought to the doorstep of everyone via the use of mobile and desktop apps. To state a fact, the increasing growth in the mobile application industry is becoming huge nowadays. Therefore, it creates an opportunity for a lucrative income for many people who wish to make money from home with this trending business.

Many people may wonder why they are not successful in their personal, career or business lives. There might be numerous reasons for it but at times, the answer to their question is just right under their noses. Personal development is something that they neglect to address when they are having a hard time dealing with problems in their lives. Hence, having a successful personal life, business and career is often the result of personality development. This is most often linked with other forms of one’s development, such as business development and social development. Personal development usually pertains to the methods one uses to handle their life, feelings, emotions, thoughts and reactions to the various situations that present themselves. It is a technique that includes changing one’s mind to a positive mindset, goal-setting and learning how to deal with all the circumstances in the task environment in a more positive manner. Personal development is a skill, and it’s a must implement strategy, that is beneficial in self-, workplace- and business-development. To be sure, without time-management, goal-setting for clear direction, and positive thinking, achieving a successful career or business is not possible.

A mobile or desktop app that brings personality development to every user can be a valuable tool. As there are lots of people using advanced technologies and incorporate in their lives the use of mobile devices, the mobile application industry is enhanced by virtue of what’s being offered via the mobile and desktop application industry.

A variety of new apps are entering the marketplace that address the multi-billion personality development niche. These products aim to provide a platform for all users to enhance their lives. Remember, these apps will be available for mobile and desktop users. Thus, even when you are at home and have no any other source of income, you could possibly benefit from this product in so many ways. These type of application is a revolutionary form of mobile app that could pay money to its associate members. A really rounded application would combine the central industry of personal development, network marketing, and mobile apps into a quality product that aims to enrich many people’s lives.

An app in this category would be touted as an exemplary mobile application that make it possible for any average person to gain profit from the booming mobile application industry. It would deliver professionally produced, high quality personal development video to your mobile device on a weekly basis. The personal development video ought to include an end-user product to every mobile user that would include practical information from numerous top professionals. Hence, the topics should range from time- management, goal-setting, and personal development to leadership development, business development, personal motivation, financial management and more!

You should be able to start conducting business with an application rather easily. You would be able to get a URL would direct your prospects to your personal page for them to sign-up. You could conceivably earn income from this product by inviting more people to join your team, while learning from the application’s provided video. One could also introduce this into social commerce sites such as Twitter and Facebook where they could link it to their profile. This is a sure way to invite many people to review your page and, perhaps, re-Tweet or Like it. Hence, making blogs for inviting people to join you would typically help you get more leads for your business.

Imagine a mobile application which includes the concept of network marketing which allows users to share this mobile application to many people and get paid for doing it. Get more income and enjoy the benefits of the application’s compensation plan by enrolling many people directly in your business.

It’s no wonder why this type of application is gaining popularity in the market as it seeks to invite more people to join, learn and earn from its use. Hence, it would be good to always stay inspired and motivated to be successful in this and any other endeavor, both personal and business.

The mobile app industry is relatively simple, so don’t complicate it. It is a fact that a low-cost entry product combined with the personal development industry fits well with any network marketing affiliate opportunity, as well as multiple income stream opportunities.

Hence, a mobile app opportunity that provides users with access to a product that is for self- and other- improvement is incredibly attractive as it provides a great starting point for anyone seeking to learn the mindset principles that could help them develop income specifically, and improve their lives, generally. Moreover, it is great for those people who lack funds and are new to the home-based business industry.