If you’re in business, you’ve probably said at some point, “I wish business were better.” If you have, and you want business to improve, you first need to define what “better” means to you. Only by knowing where you’d like to go, can you get there.
Many would classify a better business by one or more of these: A higher quality product. More revenue. Impressive customer service. Increased profits. More efficient. A larger client base. Improved ROI.
To improve your business, you need to set realistic goals for your selected area of improvement — this will help make your “Better Business” target tangible.
Then, undertake this assessment of your business currently — write down your answers to these questions:
1) Describe your company’s current product or services offering
2) Are you clear on your audience — can you describe, in detail, the brand persona or ideal client for your product or services?
3) Is your offering priced at a number that is attractive to your audience?
4) Can you sell what you offer at a price that is profitable?
5) Do you have a branding and marketing strategy in place that communicates what you offer to your defined audience?
Once you’ve set goals and answered the questions, create the following corporate business strategy documents to help identify issues and focus on solutions:
Mission Statement: an external document that clearly says what your company does, how and for whom and highlights your “differentiator” or the “Big Idea” that separates you from the competition.
Vision Statement: an internal document that envisions what your company future looks like, and how it will get there.
Value Statement: an external document that clarifies your company’s “core values.”
Positioning Statement: finds the intersection of your company’s offerings and price target with your customers’ wants and needs.
Unique Selling Proposition (USP): separates your offering from that of your competition by identifying a singular differentiator.
SWOT Analysis: an exercise that rigorously examines company Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Make it a “SWOT Action Plan” and describe possible efforts to build on Strengths and Opportunities and diminish Weaknesses and Threats.
Brand Analysis: insight into your company’s overall brand that utilizes much of the above information to develop the visual and verbal messaging which your company will use to market your business.
After undergoing the above assessment and creating the listed documents, you’ll need to create a business strategy as to how to improve any less than favorable situations or remove roadblocks to success. This may include reducing the number of offerings or deleting certain offerings all together and streamlining how products or services are provided.
Once you have clarity, it’s time to spread the word. Marketing is one of the biggest drivers of company growth and success. Its consistent execution is mandatory. Whether you decide (based on resources — time, personnel, budget — and on your assessment), to engage in in-person marketing methods like networking or speaking presentations, to undertake a content marketing strategy or promote your business through advertising, publicity or trade shows, you need to commit and execute.
Every business perceives success differently. To find your own success, you’ll need to define what success means to you, logically identify how you’ll achieve those goals and then implement your findings. Do that and soon, you might be wishing for some time off!
Contact Martha to figure out how to make your business better. Martha Spelman is a Los Angeles-based branding, marketing and strategy expert. Using traditional and online marketing to start and grow businesses, she works with startups, entrepreneurs and small- to medium-size companies. Martha is the author of the content marketing book: The Cure for Blogophobia: How to Easily Create, Publish & Promote Your Business Blog.