“Is your business doing as well as you know it could?”

(Be brutally honest with yourself here.)

When we engage with a new client our first step is fact finding. We ask as many questions as we can to ensure we are fully conversant with a client’s situation before we offer any solution. As you might imaging, we hear all many of business-related issues but among these a number of common threads started to emerge. For this reason we decided that would be worthwhile running a Radio promotion that focused on the top three client issues we deal with throughout the year; (if you live in the Cambridge area you may have heard this advert and if not then you can hear our radio advert here).

The top statement we hear from all new clients that approach us is this:

We don’t feel we are operating as well as we know that we could be”.

It can be very easy for your business to get stuck in a trap of doing things the same way you’ve always done them. Sometimes it takes someone outside of your business, looking in at what you are doing with objective eyes, unhindered by all the processes you’ve become accustomed to and take from granted, to really give your businesses some fresh new ideas and help you improve the outlook.

The simple fact is, most businesses are full of brilliant people and brilliant ideas, but they are let down by one of a number of things: it could be a lack of time, a lack of resources, or a lack of specific skills – but the single biggest reason for slower than expected growth is they are scared of change. Businesses that have tunnel vision don’t change and without change there is no progress.

It’s okay to stop.

In fact, it’s good practice to stop what you’re doing at least once a year and review what your business is getting right (or wrong) – What do your customers think about your operations? What are your competitors are up to? What is the best strategy to push forward your business? Answering simple key questions like these can make a huge difference to the way you approach things.

This then brings us to the radio advert we’ve been running in Cambridgeshire recently that addresses the top issues we deal with – stop now, just for 2 minutes out of your busy day – and ask yourself the following three questions. Then if you want to follow up on anything, just drop us a line: 01223 441117

Q1 Are you getting the clients that you need?

“Need” here could relate either to ‘sufficient numbers of clients’ or the ‘right type’ of client, but either way the concern raised through this question is that you should be asking yourself: are the consumers/buyers currently engaging with my business sufficient to make it profitable?

The answer for most is invariable no because there is always room for improvement. So what should you do?

Well, you must start by asking yourself what the issues actually are; first and foremost, do you offer a product or service that your target audience really needs? Perhaps your product/service is excellent but the group of people who get exposure to your messages are not the right ones.

Understanding your customers is a critical step if your business is to be successful, so customer and market research is something you should do straight away if you haven’t done any within the last 12 months. This will help ensure you have isolated the most appropriate target market and that your service is in tune with market demands.

Do your customers know you are there! Communication is often the biggest cause failure; when was the last time you took a fresh look at your website design for example?

Perhaps your website is up-to-date and responsive, but you’ve fallen into the trap of relying on just your website to attract new business. If that’s the case then you might benefit from some creative promotional designs or some engaging copy to help sell your wares. We can show you how to refresh your printed marketing material in a way that attracts new customers.

Whatever the root cause of your problems here, it is very important to make sure that your communications hit the market in the right place, at the right time and in the right way; we can help you by designing a communications plan that works well for you and includes multiple promotional elements and targeted campaigns throughout the year to ensure a solid pipeline of new and repeat business.

Q2 Is your online presence truly effective?

If nobody can find your website, then the answer here is ‘no’. A staggering 80% of all online searches now take place on mobile devices; if you want Google to find your website now it has to be “responsive” (i.e. it automatically changes to suit different screen sizes).

Google is in the business of providing the best, most user-friendly and relevant results that it can; it recently updated its algorithm and will actually penalise your website if it is not easy to use on different hand-held devices. If your site is not responsive then contact us now.

A further implication of changes in modern technology is that consumers now expect to find solutions their needs through engaging video content; if your website doesn’t have the right mix of video and image content it will soon suffer in organic listings. Talk to us about how to get this done right.

If you have both these things in place but your website is still nowhere to be seen online, then the chances are that you need some SEO (Search Engine Optimisation – a set of techniques that will help your website naturally move up the organic ranks). Simple changes such as improving your headlines and including relevant keywords in your text can make a huge difference; our copywriting experts can help ensure you get this done right.

Q3 How much do you really know about your customers and your competitors?

Many businesses muddle through without stopping to consider things from their customers’ point on view. Ask yourself this question now: imaging you are one of your own customers, what is it about your company’s products/services that is so appealing over one of your competitors? (Do you even know who your key competitors are in the market?)

Consumers today are empowered through online mobile devices. They are far more inclined to take the opinion of a total stranger in some ‘review’ forum as opposed to wading through your website content to convince themselves of their desire to purchase.

So researching your consumers’ opinions is critical; it is only after you fully understand both your customers and your competitors that you will be in a position to take informed strategic decisions (perhaps about pricing, geographic targeting, market positioning or some other element of business management).

And once you do have a strong understanding of customer needs and opinions, the next step is to make sure their experience is first rate; managing customers’ experience is an essential part both of brand building and reputation maintenance (you really don’t want to miss any negative online opinions about your products and services without responding in a swift, positive and remedial fashion).

Lawson Marketing provides professional business consultancy. We can help support the growth of your business through the support of our qualified and experienced Chartered Marketing staff.

We’ve asked you to consider three questions here (perhaps they have provided you some food for thought). Our initial business consultation currently poses 114 defined questions that will probe all aspects of your business; very often, these questions lead to others as we learn about your operations and explore multiple avenues for you.

The result: consultation from Lawson Marketing will provide a holistic, professional, outsider’s view of your operations, your market, your competitors, your customer base, new business prospects, new tools, process improvements and above all – a properly defined strategic plan to make sure your business prospects are as good as they can possible be.

Doesn’t your business deserve that? Contact us now and start your businesses journey to improvement and success.

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