Any clever cookie will begin their adventure with clearly defined business goals. But how to do stay focussed once things start happening? By identifying successes and repeating the magic. That’s how!
The trick is remaining focussed on where you are going and what your most current and pressing business needs are.
Here’s a few fairly easy and low geek speak ways to keep focussed on your business goals by getting down with your product.
Define your brand
Customers are people. They want you to speak in real terms. And you need to answer the questions they expect to have answered.
Think about your brand in these terms:
- What do you do?
- What does you brand do differently?
- What do you say to someone when they ask “what do you do for a living?”
- What problem are you solving for your customers?
– These questions form the basis for brand definition. Yet so many businesses don’t take the time to think it through.
First thing ANY business needs to do is stop speaking in quizzical terms that no-one other than your competitors or your workforce understands. New customers don’t understand your acronyms and insider speak. How can they? They aren’t your customer yet!
You need to speak their language, not yours. So ditch the buzz words and assumed knowledge. And definitely no showing off how much more you know over the curious customer in front of you.
Easiest way to do this is to think of each customer as slightly tipsy. They might be a little more adventurous than they otherwise would be. They might struggle a little more to wrap their head around the messages you want to communicate. And if you aren’t authentic and are putting on a front, they’ll probably have no qualms about making fun of you.
This means make it attractive, exciting new adventure while keeping it simple, honest and focussed on the customer.
Take a pen and paper and help your customers understand what you do.
- Explain how it relates to them and their lifestyle.
- Talk about the problems they may have that your product solves.
- Give them a reason to choose your brand over the other ones that solve the same problem.
- Talk about why you’re a better option to your competitor by talking about your good points (as opposed to focussing on their bad ones).
Keep revisiting this brand position as your company grows, new products get added and new competitors enter the landscape.
Your brand is your story and a reflection of your research into the field you operate in. Make it count!
Know thy customers
Personas are brilliant ways of getting into who you are looking for. Making sure you mine the data you have before you put on the fleshy bits is the best way to find out what kinds of personas you should be building.
Know what you can about your customer from their rough demographic information through to their spending patterns, their consumption of your product, and any other soft value information you can find out. Look at what sales they respond to and target them.
If you want to know more about your customer- get in touch with them! Spend 10 minutes on the phone and grab every little detail you can.
Forget the focus groups- you’ll get 2 strong opinions, 2 people who lied to be there (or do it professionally for side cash and really don’t care), and 6 people who’ll not be quite so sure about the 2 strong opinions but will leave them to it.
When you build your personas, don’t focus on who uses the product as the mainstay.
- Look at the people who support your community but don’t use it (like those who follow on social media)
- Map out the influencers who will happily recommend you to a friend
- Build a persona for the saboteurs who might white-ant you to your potential customers
- Design what the future champions of your brand may look like
In developing your personas, start with the data first. Squeeze every bit out of that data that makes sense. Ask your customers and personas all the questions you can, and then do the research on where to find more of the same.
Don’t think so much about the legwork. Think more about how much legwork you’ll save by targeting the right people instead of throwing a dart on the board of “gender, age, assumption”.
If you want examples of personas, check out my customer profiling section. They may not be traditional, but they are definitely effective!
Determine your micro and macro goals
It doesn’t really matter if you are a detail orientated or big picture person, you need both the big and the small on the radar to go in the right direction. So make sure you take the time to plan both small and large goals- and take the time to review them at set times.
What goals do you want for your business?
Goals like “to make money” or “to be profitable by January” doesn’t give you enough detail to know what that means when your enthusiasm ebbs. Be specific. Challenge yourself. And look at community, product and monetary goals.
A couple of examples of community goals could be:
- Raise my number of website visits by X% each month by picking 3 topics to promote via PR
- Reach 1000 Twitter followers by February through helping people online via keyword queries
- Grow the email list by capturing more emails at store level and start sending a monthly eNews to those who register
With your sales goes, try and stay away from measuring things only in dollars so you can learn what triggers a sale happening as you experiment. Or that tackles a particular sales issue you may be having straight on.
Think about sales on the level of:
- Attracting new customers
- Encouraging repeat customers
- Reinvigorating customers who lapse
- Fostering customer referrals
- Upselling the customers you have during the purchase cycle
Think on a promotional level on how you can leverage each of these key areas, keeping in mind it much more cost effective to strengthen the loyalty and spending behaviour of your existing customers than it is to acquire new ones.
Consider customer questions like:
- Can you encourage existing members to refer their friends to you?
- Can you upsell your existing customers without changing their experience in a negative way?
- With new customers, can you save money in the way you acquire them through using techniques that will get you free publicity?
- What kinds of ways can you convert your social media followers to your email list, and from your email list to a purchaser?
- What would bring an old customer back?
Create opportunities where exposure to your product brings a potential new customer in contact with your community. In turn your community meets your sales cycle. And your sales cycles become repetitive, growing with each rotation. Once you can identify what triggers each stage, you can experiment with promotions to suit aid that conversion.
The last little bit on business goals
Once you’ve established a deep understanding of your product and your audience, it becomes easier to spot when you’re drifting off course business goal wise. It also makes it easier to spot the influences you find alone the way. By having a solid foundation, you can build a pretty cool future for your business and will be able to mature the goals beyond customer acquisition and retention.
In part 2 of how to stay focussed on your business goals, I’ll take you through how you keep an eye on things, and keep your mojo in the process.