Like it or not, the future of remote work is upon us. All of us need to become more facile at communicating electronically and doing it wisely. In your own business, this might mean you need to prepare a new way of communicating. And, you can't wing it the way you might have done with in-person meetings. Agendas are necessary, and you need to understand new ways of engaging people virtually. But, there have always been meetings. So why the need to change now? Why are new tools even more important today than ever before?
Not that long ago, we had several clients which had grown to almost $10 million in annual revenues and were netting nice profits. One was selling an innovative travel pillow, and his business was being run mostly by family and friends. Another was in the event marketing business. His challenge was that most of his “product” was in human capital and talent, and there only seemed to be so much to go around.
Both were struggling with limits to growth without scalability. The pillow manufacturer could push more product, but without a better system in place, he was not able to expand into online markets or increase repeat sales. The event marketer could pitch more big accounts, but had trouble getting the talent to get those events completed.
What both of them needed was a new perspective. Growth without scalability was limiting their growth.
Scaling for Growth
Great digital marketing campaigns are based upon, among other things, great content. As you might know, the role of content in SEO power is evolving. No longer are keywords central to the way you write your copy. Rather, Google is now looking for how well you answer the question in someone’s search query.
Changes in SEO are forcing us to adapt how we write content
At SAMC, we try to tell our story to the right audience, regardless of how they come up with their search question. Whether they ask Alexa to find them a great business consulting firm or they type in "how to do a Blue Ocean Strategy," we need to be the first answer. This is getting even more challenging with Google’s SERPs (Search Engine Results Page) at the top of the first page of a search.
Furthermore, while great content will always be king, the delivery of that content has changed as well.
How to evaluate your online presence?
Let’s take a look at the SEO changes and how in response, you should look at your online presence with fresh eyes.
Although it's becoming harder and harder to make serious financial returns in today’s retail world in the age of Amazon, there's still room for entrepreneurs to excel at retail and e-commerce. So how are some succeeding when so many are failing? By driving change. But to drive change—i.e., sustain growth in changing times—takes courage, stamina and ingenuity. And, dedication, persistence and a lot of hard work.
But even in today's harsh market demands and strong competitors, can young businesses still make it big and maybe even transform the world of retail? Yes!
As proof, take a look at this list of retail startups led by successful entrepreneurs that broke out of the pack in recent years, either through smart marketing, unique services or highly specific target markets.
Do you have a brilliant idea for a startup but have little or no capital to bring it to life? Feeling guilty that you’re mentally running through a list of wealthy relatives and financially stable friends whom you can hit up for an investment? Don’t feel bad. Some of the most successful startups were funded by those nearest and dearest to the founder.
Why You Should Pitch to Family and Friends
It’s no secret that when looking for investors for your startup, the first people you should approach are those in your inner circle. In fact, they may even be offended if you don’t. Moreover, if you contact venture capitalists or angel investors first, these “financial types” may question why no one from your family, friends or community are backing you. This may in turn lead them to question your integrity and credibility.
Yet, it’s understandable why you might be hesitant to involve family and friends. Not everyone has entrepreneurial families (like Walmart) who get excited at the thought of a new business venture. For those people, it’s almost expected of them to either take up the family business or build something of their own, and tapping the relatives is practically a given.
Thanks to the digital revolution, people are not buying things the way they used to—they just aren't. The old sales funnel we knew for decades is long gone.
As entrepreneurs, this means that you now need to build your business growth strategies differently in order to capture buyers on their journey, not yours. Since the buyer’s journey is an essential framework for any marketing strategy, you must start to think like your buyer and understand the steps he or she is taking to make a purchase decision.
This new mindset is crucial if you are going build your sales volume fast enough to succeed.
How Has the Buying Game Changed?
If you are an emerging entrepreneur searching for a big idea or a budding business owner building your new enterprise, you are probably great at seeing things with fresh eyes. You know that people are waiting for new solutions to their recurring problems.
Maybe they are struggling with a problem for which they have still not found the right answer. Maybe your partners and suppliers have pain points dealing with your processes and systems. Or, maybe your own employees might be struggling with company practices that aren’t working.
Whatever the situation, people need some great entrepreneur to see things with fresh eyes—and bring them the help they need!
It isn't more of the same, cheaper.
Whether it is the needs of a new customer you want to serve, or the challenges of your staff with your business model design, or the irritated supplier who wants you to get it right, you have some work to do.
But before you can solve your customers' and employees' issues and improve the situation, you need to know how they really “feel.” What are their thoughts? Their opinions? What changes do they hope to see? Which of your products or services do they wish were different? How do they solve their problems now? Do they decide to use competitors' products?
To answer all these questions, you need to go to the source. Please don't just ask them! Go Exploring!
Entrepreneurship isn’t reserved for the 20-something-year-old who quit college to write code in their parent’s garage. In fact, according to Shopify, the highest rate of entrepreneurship in the U.S. has been among 55 to 64 years old with people over 55 twice as likely to launch successful new companies than those in the 20-34 age group.
Fifty years is far from old. It’s a good decade and a half away from retirement age. Did you know that celebrities such as Naomi Watts, Will Smith, Lucy Liu, Ashley Judd, LL Cool J, and Rachel Ray are turning 50 years old this 2018? And when you realize that, you can appreciate that 50 and up may be the ideal age to leave the rat race, start a business, and be your own boss.
Here are some of the best business ideas for the over 50 aspiring entrepreneur:
In a recent Atlantic magazine, Bryan Caplan, author of The Case Against Education, writes a very caustic, albeit truthful analysis of the current state of higher education in the U.S.
In this particular article among many he has written, The World Might be Better Off Without College for Everyone, there is a litany of reasons why our approach to educating our population for society, for jobs, for productive lives, is flawed, failing and fallen.
What types of innovations open new markets successfully—and help you grow your business by adding innovative value, not just incremental improvements? And a related question: are you just thinking business innovation or doing it?
Blue Ocean Strategy shows you how to find uncontested market space which you can own
Blue Ocean Strategy focuses on unlocking new markets, described as "blue oceans," rather than competing in existing markets, or "red oceans." By creating a blue ocean of new customers, businesses don't compete for a small, highly competitive pool of existing customers.
How are you attracting customers?
At SAMC, far too many of our clients are working with the same customers in the same way they have always done...until something happens and those customers float away.
As we work with our Blue Ocean Strategy clients, we repeatedly see some great "aha moments" when they realize that amazing opportunities are often all around them. All they need to do is recognize them. This typically begins when clients go exploring with us to "see, feel and think" in new ways—and it is that "seeing" part that is so important.
I'd like to share two stories here, each of which are available in more detail in my award-winning book, "On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights."