12 New Business Rules for the New EconomyRamon Ray
When the economy changes, businesses – especially small businesses – really feel the effects. This could be for the better (during the good times) or the worse (during the bad times). What’s most crucial is a businesses ability to see where the biggest impact of the changing economy hits them and then make smart changes that help them maintain or grow their business.
For example, we saw one of the biggest declines in the U.S. economy back in 2000. For the last decade and a half, the economy has been slow to transition upwards. This has caused a major need for small businesses to take a closer look at how they do business.
A few months back I had the chance to sit with Scott Stroud of BuilderRadio.com to discuss 12 Rules for the New Economy. These are business rules that are a must for today’s small businesses trying to survive. Check out this infographic on the twelve rules and take a listen to our full podcast below:
1. Word of Mouth Marketing Isn’t Enough — relying on word of mouth for all of your marketing is “ok”. However, if you want to boost revenue, increase profits and take your business to new heights, you MUST create a purpose-built marketing plan. Word of mouth alone won’t cut it.
2. Educate First. Sell Second. You need to educate with content marketing. — While traditional sales will always be important, you must also learn how to SELL through education. This means that instead of FIRST asking for money, FIRST take the time to understand the customer’s needs and educate them on the value your product or service has for them. Online content is a GREAT way to show value and educate your customers.
3. Leverage Technology. While many business owners are leveraging the power of technology, there are still many business owners who are falling behind. These business owners are afraid of technology, don’t appreciate it’s benefit to them, fear it’s too expensive or some other reason. Which side of the technology barrier will you fall on? The tech laggard or those who use technology as a strategic asset?
4. Find New Ways of Doing Things. This is the Uber economy. See what Uber has done to the taxi industry. See what Hulu, Netflix (the Internet) and RedBox have done to Blockbuster? It’s how OLD SCHOOL technologies have been disrupted and displaced by NEW technology and NEW ways of doing things.
5. Exceptional Customer Experience is a MUST. Your customers are used to using apps to check in to airlines, having the Starbucks barista ask for their name, etc. If your business is not able to adore your customers and shower them with love and speed of business you’ll lose.
6. Become a Local Celebrity Entrepreneur. (The Local Celebrity Entrepreneur) — Sure Nike has spent billions so we all know “just do it”, but you don’t have billions. You probably don’t even have a few thousand a month to spend on marketing. However, you MUST invest the time (and maybe some dollars) to build your personal brand. Be The Local Celebrity Entrepreneur in your market.
7. Mobile is a MUST! The phone is the tool of choice for everything (mobile web site and apps). Take your phone out — look at it. That tiny computer is POWERFUL. Ensure your web site is easily viewable on it’s tiny screen and enable your customers to interact with your business on their phones. Can they check orders on their phones? Can they use your app to engage deeper with your company?
8. Target Your Local Market. Not targeting everyone. Instead of trying to go BIG it’s best to go even more narrow. Master marketer Casey Graham speaks about this with me here and Seth Godin most recently wrote about it here. Local does not just mean geography but it also refers to specialization.
9. Be Social. Social media is not everything, but it’s important. F.R.E.A — Frequent, Relevant, Engaged, Analytics. You can read more about my thoughts about social media marketing here.
10. Attract. Sell. WOW! Your marketing must change — Attract. Sell. Wow. The principles of Infusionsoft’s Lifecycle Marketing — are VITAL in how your marketing mindset needs to change. Check out my presentation on it here.
11. Design is Crucial. Logos, clothes, branding, business cards, etc. — Listen, how you LOOK, how you SPEAK, how you SMELL is important. Not just your personal appearance of course but also your overall branding — business cards, logos, web site and more. Upgrade yourself and OVERALL LOOK better!
12. CONNECT. (Wow) — Finally, beyond making it easier to work with you, you must always work HARDER to ensure you know your customers. What are their needs, their challenges and the problems YOU can solve for them?