News From the Louisville SBDC
the secret of my success…
Do You Have a New Year Business Review?
Just as we have personal New Year’s Resolutions, so should you for your business. Since January is the start of another year, I wanted to try to get the year off to a good start. So I asked several CEO’s of successful companies what they do in their businesses. Almost unanimously, they do these 5 things both personally and with their teams. What about you?
1. Perform an Annual Postmortem – After every game, a good football coach will watch the game films to review the action and it’s good practice in business as well. Make a list of all the things that went right in 2017. Next, list all the things that went wrong in 2017. Now list ways to make the things that went right keep on going right and list ideas on ways to mitigate those things that went wrong if possible.
2. Set 2018 Priorities – Once you’ve completed your post mortem for the year, should be able to identify several things that you should continue to do or do more of. Sometimes during the prior year review you may come up with some new ideas, products or services to try going forward. Since it’s impossible to focus on everything at once, setting priorities helps to keep you and your team focused on what’s important. Make sure you capture these priorities and use them to craft your business plan for the year.
3. Come Up With a Stop List – Make a list of things that you will stop doing in 2018. This is harder than it sounds. Often what needs to be stopped is a pet project, a beloved customer or a new location that you invested heavily in but just never took off. Not wasting energy and resources on things on your stop list will allow you to focus even more on your priorities.
4. Surround yourself with good people – January is a good time to really take a hard look at your employees in an objective way. Surrounding yourself with positive people who contribute positively to the organization is critical. Letting go of an employee that just doesn’t seem to perform or is simply disruptive or hard to manage is a very tough thing to do. And with a tight labor market and shrinking talent pool makes it doubly hard. However, once that person is gone you may kick yourself for not doing it sooner.
5. Personal Development – The business landscape changes fast and it’s important to keep your skills relevant. Make it a point to schedule some personal development in the coming year either for skill building or just pleasure. Learning new skills keeps our minds sharp
Performing an annual business post mortem is a great idea. And, I think you can use these same tasks in your personal life as well.
What do you do to get the year off to a great start? I’d like to know.
Written by David O,
Center Director/Management Consultant
Center Director/Management Consultant
Dave has worked with the KSBDC for since 2011. Dave began his business career in the sports/entertainment industry, primarily in ice skating and ice hockey. He has owned and managed three ice rinks and earned the Manager of the Year award from the Ice Skating Institute of America. In addition, Dave was operations manager for several professional ice hockey teams in both the East Coast Hockey League and the American Hockey League. He has also owned, operated and sold several businesses in the food industry. From there he moved into the restaurant field, owning and operating a number of franchise concepts. Since 2005 he has owned Louisville News Company, one of the largest distributors of thoroughbred horse publications in the eastern United States. David has a B.A. and M.B.A. from Bellarmine University. Dave has his Export and Trade Counseling Certification from the U.S. Small Business Administration. He remains active in his community and is a past vice chair for GLI’s Small Business Innovation Committee.
Why Your Business Needs A Content Marketing Strategy In 2018
By Jennifer Lobb
When it comes to marketing advice, it’s easy to get lost in all the shoulds, shouldn’ts, musts and must nots. Professionals the world over can debate the most effective marketing methods, but in 2017, those seeking the sage advice of others would have a difficult time avoiding a healthy endorsement for content marketing. In fact, 86% of B2Cs and 88% of B2Bs employ some content marketing strategy, according to the Content Marketing Institute.
Not only are businesses utilizing content as part of their overarching strategy, but they’re seeing results. In fact, when asked to rate the success of their content marketing efforts (from extremely effective to not effective), 97% of both B2Cs and B2Bs reported some level of success. Do you have a solid content marketing strategy in place? Looking to really increase brand awareness in the new year? Here are three reasons why you should include content in your 2018 efforts.
Your Brand Becomes a Resource
In case you haven’t noticed, the Internet is a cramped locale. If you can think it, you can search for, and find, it. Beyond that, businesses that want to survive in today’s overwhelmingly competitive landscape need to be online, only adding to the flooded nature of the internet as we know it. But how does one business stand out? How do you convince customers to buy in?
When it comes to making a purchase or an investment, many customers are driven by price points, but your pricing structure can only take you so far. Instead, companies that want to remain relevant today must prove that they are knowledgeable about their products, their customer’s needs, and the industry to which they belong.
When done right (quality, not quantity), content – be it tutorials, webinars, blogs, infographics, etc. – makes your brand synonymous with knowledge.
Connect Throughout the Purchase Funnel
Engaging with potential customers right before they are about to make a purchase or sign a contract is great, and content marketing can help you do that. But the real value starts far earlier, at the very first level of the purchasing funnel – awareness.
By developing and circulating quality content, companies can insert their brand into the minds of potential customers far before they ever dream of completing a purchase.
Take for example Restaurant Stuff, a fictitious company that specializes in restaurant supplies and equipment. One of their primary goals it to increase sales through content marketing. In order to do this, they start publishing service industry articles and videos that can help new and existing restaurateurs do everything from improving back-of-the-house efficiency to creating a welcoming atmosphere for guests.
Enter Joe, a restaurant owner who is searching for ways to improve his restaurant. He starts googling things like “improve speed of service” and “create a better restaurant environment,” and lo and behold, our aforementioned supplier’s blog shows up in his search results. In the words of Emeril, “BAM!” Now Joe’s following Restaurant Stuff and regularly checking out their website, blog and social media accounts.
A few months down the road, Joe needs to replace some equipment and find a new paper product vendor. Who do you think he’ll check with first? Restaurant Stuff, of course – the company that used its knowledge to reach Joe far before he needed to make a purchase. That’s the value of a quality content marketing strategy.
Back in the “good ol’ days,” relationships were forged through one-on-one engagements, be they in-store, over-the-phone, or during sales engagements. Today, while sales professionals still play a vital role in taking that potential relationship to the next level, the relationship starts much sooner than that.
For many businesses, their website or social media profiles take on the onus of “the first encounter,” and often times that experience can make or break the relationship before it really has the opportunity to gain human interaction.
Your website, specifically the content displayed, is your first line of sales. Visitors will develop positive or negative opinions of it fairly quickly – seconds, to be exact. In other words, good content can close a deal. Bad or non-existent content can close the door.
Content isn’t a passing phase in the long history of marketing tactics. It’s here to stay. Businesses that want to set themselves apart from their competition need to make content a focal point of their short- and long-term marketing strategies.
About the Author: Jennifer is a alum of the University of Denver. While in the graduate program there, she enjoyed spending time identifying ways in which non-profits and small businesses could develop into strong and profitable organizations while promoting strong community growth. She also enjoys finding unique ways for freelancers and start-up businesses to reach and expand their goals.