Wow! You made it to the last day of the year 2018 and you are just a few hours to the New Year 2019. As a business owner, you might be wondering what are the things to do before the New Year? This time of the year is when many people are talking about NewYear resolutions, but the real question is, what are the things you need to do? In this article, I share 5 things you need to do to make 2019 the best year ever.

Develop a Vision Board

In order to make 2019 your best year ever, you must first start with a vision. A vision is required before you can gain clarity about how to navigate the waters to get to your desired destination. Have you developed your vision board? Congratulations!

If you are yet to create yours, there is still plenty of time to create one before the end of today. Why is it important to create a vision board?

It is important to create a vision board for many reasons, however, the most important reason why you should create a vision board is that the human memory, no matter how “sharp” it is, mostly fail. This means, if you only think about things in your head without transferring them to where you have daily access, you will eventually forget those things.

A vision board is a visual representation of your ideas and goals. The more you see the board, the higher the tendency that you’ll work hard toward ensuring that you fulfill your vision. A vision board helps you stay on track by keeping your eyes and heart fixed on your goals. 

Revise your Business Plan

As you prepare for the New Year, it’s important that you revise your business plan. Your business plan is a living document that must be frequently updated so that its content matches the overall vision you have for your brand. If you did not develop a business plan before you started your business, this is also a great time to develop a formidable business plan that can help you move your business in the right direction. 

[Read: How to Use the Power of Mirroring for Retaining Customers]

Develop a Concrete Marketing Strategy

In order to guarantee your success and make the New Year your best year ever, you must have a solid marketing strategy. During the course of my journey as an entrepreneur, I have met many business owners who lack real strategies to market their business.

Marketing is one of the most important parts of a business. It does not matter how great your products (goods/services) are, if you do not have a marketing strategy, you will be working hard and have nothing to show for it.

Develop a Concrete Sales Strategy

In addition to a marketing strategy, you need a concrete sales strategy to make the New Year the best year ever. Sales and marketing are often used interchangeably even though the two terms mean completely different things. Marketing is a web of activities that a business must engage in, to consistently place (position) a brand/business in proximity to the target audience in order to generate sales and ultimately make a profit.

On the other hand, “sales” is defined as the steps taken in order to convert a target audience from being a lead into a paying customer. Your sales strategy may include how you plan on interacting with the customer, how to handle objections, how to highlight the benefit of your products to the customers and how to get the customer to pay you. 

[Read: How to Use Storytelling to Build a Profitable Brand]

Join a Mastermind Ground

If you want to soar higher than you have ever imagined and then turn 2019 as the best year ever, it is time to join a mastermind group. If I’m asked what the success formula of business is, I will only mention tow things are these are what you know and who you know. Every human achievement is tied to these two things and your business won’t be an exception. A mastermind group offers you an incredible hand of fellowship, support and encourage. With a mastermind group that truly cares about your success, nothing will stop you from making 2019 your best year ever. Join one today!

Thank you for reading? What are some other things a business owner needs to do before the New Year? Leave a comment below and remember to share this post with a friend.

If you are working so hard to grow your business and you generate high revenue yet at the end of every month, you can barely make ends meet, it might be time to dive deeper to review your business operations. In reviewing your business operations, the best place to start is to review your overhead costs.

Your overhead costs are costs that are required to keep your business running smoothly and efficiently, but which cannot be directly attributed to any business activity, product or service.

Overhead costs are independent of revenue and must be paid whether the business is in a profit or loss position. They do not include expenses arising from the production of goods or services. For example, if your business is making furniture, the cost of lumber is a raw material and so is not included in overhead.

Overhead costs can include fixed monthly or annual costs (such as leases, insurance, or salaries) or expenses that vary from month to month due to the level of business activity (such as sales promotions or repairs).

[Read: 5 Proven Ways to Boost End of the Year Sales and Finish Strong in 2018]

For example, overhead costs include rent, utilities, administrative, maintenance, sales and marketing, training, record keeping, graphic design etc.

If your overhead costs are not properly planned and put in check, you may be generating high revenue but still running at a deficit. You may also find out that your business is running you as opposed to you running your business. That’s why as an entrepreneur who truly wants to increase your profit margin and build a profitable brand, you must constantly assess your business operations, find ways of reducing your overhead costs and maintain a healthy balance sheet from month-to-month.

 

Reducing Your Overhead Costs

Reducing your overhead costs and increasing your profit margin will not happen by magic – it requires intentionality. It’s not something that you can do overnight and then raise up your hands to say I’m done. Rather, it is an on-going process that has no end. As your business grows, you will continue to find ways to reduce your overhead costs.

Let’s review some areas of your business that might need a critical assessment to see how you can either reduce or totally eliminate the costs associated with your overhead.

Administrative: Administrative costs include employee salaries, communication gadgets, power bills etc. Most of these are recurring costs that can easily run into hundreds if not thousands or even millions of dollars, if not put in check. As a business owner, the onus remains on you to constant review your brand’s administrative costs and find ways to reduce some services. Classify the things you need to administratively run your brand into essential and non-essential. The essentials are the things you cannot do without.

[Read: How to Earn Loyalty From Your Current Customers and Turn them into Raving Fans]

For example, maybe your business can’t do without a notepad, that should be classified as an essential item. However, because you consider such item as essential, is not enough to not find a way to reduce the cost of purchase. You can find out if there are other vendors who are selling cheaper than your current vendor or perhaps maybe there are other brands that are cheaper (yet possess the same quality) than what you currently use. This same process applies to your non-essential items. If you use some items that are important but not expedient, you can go through a screening process for such items. An example of that would be paper cups. As inexpensive as it might appear, buying paper cups when your business is struggling to declare a profit is not a sound decision. Instead of using paper cups, you can bring your cups from home and save money.

[Read: 7 Things That Hinder Success]

Rent: If you currently rent your business space, you might be paying too much. Negotiate with your landlord for a lesser fee or consider some other parts of town where rent might be cheaper. Another point worthy of note is that instead of renting, you can also transition into a co-working space especially if your team is small. Also, you can assess your business and determine if you can run it from home. Running your business from home can help you put some of your profit in your pocket rather than using it as overhead costs.

Sales and Marketing: This is another big one. Sales and marketing are needed to grow a business profitable. However, if these activities are not constantly reviewed for effectiveness, you might find out that the budget for sales and marketing is eating deep into your revenue. The best approach is to find out which of your marketing and sales channels are producing results and which ones are not. For the ones that are not, you need to cut them off to reduce your overhead costs.

[Read: How to Reach Your Target Audience on a Shoestring Marketing Budget]

Accounting/Bookkeeping: Another way you can reduce your overhead costs is by embracing automation for your accounting and bookkeeping. Many automation software packages require some type of upfront investment but once you invest, you will reap the benefits. As always, take your time to research your options as it relates to accounting and bookkeeping and not only will you reduce your overhead costs, you will also increase your productivity.

Utilities: Expenses associated with utilities can sometimes seem inconsequential but if care is not taken, they total to an amount that eats deep into your profit. Examples of expenses associated with utilities include electricity, gas, water, sewer, phone etc. There are some services that can either be reduced or totally eliminated. Your water and electricity and even gas bills can be reduced if you are intentional about reducing usage. If you have employees, impress it upon their hearts of the importance of being conservative as it relates to the use of utilities. Always look for ways to reduce use and costs and watch how your overhead costs will reduce.

[Read: 4 Things Warren Buffet Wants You to Know About Wealth Building]

Other services: Some of these may include business insurance and health insurance. If you’ve not reviewed your insurance plans in a while, it’s time to review your current policy, shop around for quotes from other vendors and start comparing pricing. You may be surprised to find out that you are paying too much money for your business and health insurance. You can either negotiate with your current provider for a price-match or move to another service provider with lower prices and are also dependable.

Maintenance and Repair: Many times, there are things to be maintained or repaired as it relates to your business. For example, you might have a production machine that needs routine maintenance or a heating unit that is broken and needs to be fixed. The vendors you use might be overpricing you and this is directly affecting your overhead costs and ultimately your profits. It is therefore important that you vet your vendors as much as you can and always ask for a second opinion. That you’ve been using a service vendor for a long time does not necessarily mean you are getting the best rate.

[Read: How to Get Started with Content Marketing]

Ultimately, reducing your overhead costs will take time. However, this time when used efficiently will lead to a smoother operation in your business, more profit and more cash flow. Implement these strategies for reducing your overhead costs today and watch your business soar!

Thank you for reading. Enjoying Onpoint Success’s posts? Be generous. Leave a feedback and share with a friend.

 

 

 

A lot of business owner understand that there is the need for marketing in order to scale their businesses but only very few understand that scaling a business is not just about marketing, it’s about adopting a holistic marketing strategy.

In a recent conversation with some entrepreneurs, I asked them about what the term “marketing” means and many of them defined marketing as the activity that increases awareness about one’s business. Here is my own definition from a holistic marketing point of view.

Marketing is a web of activities that a business must engage in, to consistently place (position) the brand in proximity to the target audience in order to generate sales and ultimately make a profit.

The most important word in the definition that I believe a lot of people miss out is WEB. Marketing is never a linear activity and if you truly want to scale your business, you must strategically adopt a web of activities that will help place your brand in front of your target audience.

Having business social media platforms, emails, websites and the likes are not marketing. The real question is how do you get your target audience to visit your platforms? How do you get them to sign up for your email list? And how do you get them to your website or office? These questions and the answers you provide are what will form the bedrock of your holistic marketing strategy.

[Read: 4 Steps to Becoming a Brand in Demand]

Creating a business social media platform, developing a website or even opening a store does not guarantee that customers will come knocking. For example, waking up and posting on social media daily is not a marketing strategy. Building a world-class website that no one knows about is not marketing. Having a storefront in the choicest part of town does not guarantee that people will know about it. What then do you need to do? The answer is adopting a holistic marketing strategy approach.

This approach identifies the platforms you need (which are the vehicles), the web of activities that will help you position your brand in front of your target audience (these activities equate to gasoline) and the end result of the web of activities (which in this case is revenue you generate as a result of purchase made by customers).

Let’s start with the platform. This is where most entrepreneurs start and end up with little to no result. Of course, the right thing to do is to identify the platforms but identify the platforms and then defaulting to hope is not a strategy. As an entrepreneur, identify where your target audience spend their time and meet them there. The answer to this will be different for different businesses. The most important thing is that you sit down and take your time to answer this question. Once you identify the platform(s), you don’t stop there. You move to the next step.

The next step is the web of activities.

The web of activities should be designed in such a way that your target audience comes first. For example, if you decide to run Facebook ads, don’t just run the Facebook ads, run the ads such that it is highly optimized. Highly optimized ads are ads that are designed to target your audience. Be sure that your ads are reaching the right people at the right time. Once the ads are targeted toward your audience, you don’t stop there. Think about what your audience are required to do. Are they making a purchase on your website? Are you trying to get them on your email list? What will happen if a someone who fits your brand persona visits your website but just not ready to buy? What plan do you have in place to retarget people?

                                                                  

Also, the fact that you invested in Facebook ads is also not enough to help you scale your business. You might also want to look into other platforms like Google, LinkedIn, Twitter etc. depending on your type of business. Traditional marketing methods like creating flyers, postcards and even billboards should not be ignored. Other methods include cold calling, email marketing and networking. This web of activities should be interwoven in meaningful proportions before you can expect extraordinary results.

Lastly, a holistic marketing strategy requires that you put systems in place to help you not only attract customers but also it ensures that you are able to retain those customers

[Read: How to Retain Customers in 5 Easy Steps]

Marketing requires patience. If you are looking to make it overnight, you should look into playing the lottery or attending miracle events but if you truly want to scale your business and build a profitable brand, you must adopt a holistic marketing approach and give it time to yield meaningful results.

Thank you for reading. Do you use a holistic marketing strategy in your business? Join the conversation in the comment box and remember to share this post with a friend.

No one can build a profitable brand without getting to the point of having to recruit extra hands that will help you move your startup from ordinary to extraordinary. Late last year, during a conversation with one of my mentors, what was supposed to be a 30-minute session turned out to be 2 hours because we were discussing the all-important topic of things to look out for during the hiring process. For your startup to move from good to better or from ordinary to extraordinary, you will get to a point whereby you’ll need extra hands to make your dreams come true.

Identifying the need for an extra hand is the easy part but knowing when and who to hire isn’t. As a growing startup, I’ve had to make tough choices in hiring people as well and that’s why today I’ll like to share some hiring tips that have helped me up till now even as I continually evolve.

 

  1. HIRE ONLY SELF-MOTIVATED INDIVIDUALS

When you think about hiring, you must watch out for self-motivated individuals. The greatest mistake you can make is hiring someone you’d have to pump up every day. A self-motivated individual is one who is ready to take full responsibility and thrust himself or herself into the task of moving the organization forward. As a growing company, the least headache you need is having to motivate your employees on a daily basis. Motivated individuals are those who need minimal instructions, take things as theirs and are committed to seeing you succeed. They understand the simple fact that honor comes as a result of giving selflessly rather than receiving. Organizations that have gone from one person to national or multinational corporations were built by getting self-motivated individuals on board.

2.  THE PERSON MUST OWN THE VISION

As a CEO or someone at the helm of affairs, one of your responsibilities is to ensure that anyone you bring to your startup must be ready to own the vision. What do I mean by this? They must see your organization as their own and be willing to give it their best to see it succeed. But how do you make someone own the vision?

You do so by casting the vision and empowering the individual to take ownership for execution. This will make things easier

3. YOU MUST BE WILLING TO WORK FOR THE PERSON

Isn’t this supposed to be the other way around?

Let me explain this part to you. I watched a video that Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook was featured in and one of the things he mentioned in the video when asked to share tips about how Facebook hires the best of the best even in the earlier days, Mark said, he doesn’t hire people that can work for him, he only hires people he can work for if the tables were to be turned around. This is profound wisdom to me because it simply means, when I hire someone, they must have the characteristics of someone I can work for. Whatever characteristics you’d want in someone you can work for should be the characteristics of someone who can work with you. This helps to get the job done because that person would have the same mindset as yours

4. FIRE AS FAST AS POSSIBLE

Sometimes, you might think you’ve hired the right person based on the exceptional performance they put up during the job interview but by the time they start working with you, you’d realize it was just makeup.  When you use makeup to cover your imperfections during the day, the truth will come home to roost at night after you’ve washed it all off. What then do you do?  Keep “making things up”? No! if you truly want to build a profitable brand, once you find out that you’ve hired the wrong person for the job, you want to fire as fast as possible so you do not try to keep on filling a basket with water.

5. HAVE A BACKUP PLAN

As an entrepreneur, you must have a backup plan and always be prepared. This is another highly relevant tip I got about hiring at a training session for entrepreneurs I attended for 3 years. It’s been three whole years but it still rings loud in my ears. Our host at that time had been in business for 17 years and she had experienced all kinds of people over the years. She shared how employees stole an entire database of customers and ran away with it and also how she had to pick herself back up from the ground to rebuild. It was indeed a bitter experience for her and she’s had several bad encounters as well so at the end of the training she had this to say.

“Always know your next hire”.

What did she mean by this?

If you have an all-important position currently held by someone and you cannot afford not to have that position filled at ALL times then you must actively groom someone else to take over or always have someone else at the back of your mind that can fit into that role perfectly should in case the person currently holding the position decides to leave without notice. This will help you prevent an unnecessary halt in operations or anything that could adversely affect your business.

Overall, as a Christian, I believe you must pray. No matter how hard you try, only God can give you the wisdom you need in picking the right people that will help you move your startup from ordinary to extraordinary.

Thank you for reading!  What other tips would you like to share about hiring? Please leave a comment and share this post with a friend.