12 Ways to Get New Business Leads

Every small business owner and entrepreneur, every services firm and solo practitioner should begin every day with this recognition: “I need new business leads.” Someone in your organization should be devoting part of every day to finding and nurturing leads for your company or firm. New business leads are the lifeblood of your company.

No matter how much easier and less expensive it is to keep selling to people who have already bought from you, the truth is that current customers can only buy so much. Every product or service will not be appropriate for them. If your business is to hold its ground and gain ground (grow), you must bring in new business leads.

Your processes for finding new business leads might be largely automated or it might be largely manual. The future does not require automation. Building a future for your business by ensuring a steady flow of new leads, requires daily attention to marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, lead conversion, sales and ensuring customer satisfaction.

How to Get New Business Leads

There are many ways to find and attract new business leads. Most companies use a combination of many tactics. Some of the most productive are:

  1. A customer-focused enterprise
  2. Strategic Internet marketing
  3. A well-constructed website that converts visitors to leads and then to customers
  4. Blogging that speaks to customer needs (and prospective customers)
  5. Social media strategies
  6. A finely tuned lead nurturing process
  7. Automated systems and processes for lead management
  8. Active gathering of customer opinions, needs and desires
  9. Customer knowledge that informs product and service development
  10. Flawless customer service
  11. A tested sales process
  12. A finely-tuned referral request process

Converting New Business Leads to Customers

Converting is a particularly appropriate term for making leads into customers. To convert means “to turn.” It means turning the customer’s opinion to a desire or need for your product or service and then winning or closing the sale of the product or service. Converting new business leads to customers is, then a process of:

1. Understanding the customer’s pain, need or desire.

2. Demonstrating that your product or service can meet the customer’s need, relieve pain or satisfy desire.

3. Providing enough information about the benefits of your product to enable the customer to make a purchase decision.

When your sales process (both direct and automated) can move through those three steps with each new business leads, you can reasonably expect to convert leads to customers. Information must be obtained and provided as the customer is ready to offer or receive it. Your job is to provide the information the customer needs in order to buy from you in a way and on a schedule that matches the preparedness of the customer to receive it.

By using the methods listed above to attract new business leads to a place where you can interact with them productively and then to use the this three-step process for converting leads to customers, your business will be able to build a strong sales pipeline filled with a steady flow of prospective customers.

Small Business Management Success

It is one thing to get a small business up and running it is another thing to successfully manage it. You will find that this is an ongoing challenge. The business must be cared for so it becomes profitable. There are typically regulations and laws governing how you run the business.

It is your responsibility as management to make the decisions that dictate what is done on a daily basis, some of them are more important than others. Below you will find information to assist you in running your business in an organized manner, or get out of it if you need to do something else.

Lead Your Company

You must be able to lead your company this takes certain personality traits. The true leader is decisive, competitive and able to get through the obstacles to reach success. A person that leads should also be able to handle pressure and the stress it brings without falling apart. As a leader, you have to be energetic and enthusiastic to spur others on. It also takes self-discipline to lead.

Making Decisions

Making decisions is such a big part of managing a company. Define the type of decision that needs to be made, make sure it is yours to make too. Brainstorm some ideas to help you make it and what the implications could be for any of the choices you come up with. Visualize the results that will happen because of the decision. Discount the choices that will not bring about the desired results.

Managing Employees

One of the most important tools you have to manage your employees is the employee handbook. This sets forth the rules, regulations and expectations the company has for the employees. It should be written in easy-to-understand language. This should include as much as possible about the policies of the company. When the employees know clearly what is expected of them they can better perform their jobs.

Even overtime pay and other pay issues should be included in the handbook. Work schedules as far as the start and end of the workday. What conduct the company expects from the employees should be included too.

Making Your Business Grow

Just because you have customers coming to you does not mean your business is growing. There is more to it than just this. You have to always be looking forward to make sure new customers keep coming to you and that you can compete successfully in not only today’s marketplace but tomorrow’s too.

There is so much technology that can be used to help your business grow. With all the social-media websites, email campaigns and other computer related advertising, you really have to stay up to date with all of it.

This is just part of what it takes to manage a small business. Are you up for all the duties that will be yours? Draw on the information here to analyze what areas you need to work on. Learn how to manage your company right to the top!

Small Business Marketing – The Facts

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) or Digital Marketing is one of the most important marketing projects that any business can undertake. Whether they want to establish a strong online presence, increase brand awareness, increase traffic to their website or retail stores or increase qualified leads, SEO can help with all aspects. The level of competition online in any industry is ever increasing so a solid SEO strategy can be the difference between success and failure.

For small businesses, the decision on how to approach SEO is even more pivotal as most small businesses cannot afford to compete with the marketing budgets the big brands in their respective industries will have at their disposal. However, this is where SEO steps in to help level the playing field. The search engines are in a sense a virtual high street, serving up the most relevant results in various ways for the user to access the most applicable content to meet their needs. Not so surprisingly, the majority of users don’t venture any further than the first page of results making it obvious that aiming to become part of the first page of the results for relevant keywords is the key to driving traffic and leads to your site.

All too often small businesses approach search marketing using more traditional although somewhat potentially ineffective methods such as Pay per Click (PPC). Although the initial attraction to PPC is clear as it provides a relatively easy way to gain a 1st page presence as well as an easy way to track; measure and analyse your campaigns, it is a technique that, if not conducted correctly, can result in high costs and a low return on investment (ROI). In addition to this, most small businesses don’t have A) A budget to sustain consistent results or compete on high priced keywords and most importantly B) the number or quality of staff to manage a PPC campaign that will have the ability to outperform competing PPC campaigns. Not to say PPC doesn’t have its place but it has to be handled with so much more time and care than most people are aware of.

So, if you own or are part of the marketing team for a small to medium sized business, you’ve realised that SEO is the way to go, but where do you begin? The world of SEO is so vast from on page optimisation and social media strategies to link building and article creation and submission, it is understandable that small businesses look at it as a daunting and time intensive task and many tend to either attempt it with limited knowledge half heartedly, if at all, which is a frightening thought. A lot of small businesses tend to start by using people with limited knowledge of the relevant techniques, such as web designers (These people are not usually from marketing backgrounds and will not have the focus a true search engine marketing agency can provide).

Worse still, they look to employ poor quality Search Engine Marketing (SEM) agencies who use limited optimisation techniques and pride themselves on 1st page positions rather than increased traffic or leads. Unfortunately, this usually dupes customers into thinking more 1st page positions must mean more traffic or leads. However, it isn’t as simple as that as these companies will generally look for low competition, less relevant and low volume keywords and phrases meaning although they may have provided a first page position for a term, if it is a term that is only searched 25 times per month, you may get an extra 5-10 visitors per month depending on your 1st page position….it that worth paying for, unfortunately, I would have to say no.

The solution should therefore be clear by now; find a Search Engine Marketing agency that covers SEO from all angles and will provide a bespoke service depending on your priorities as a business, from a team that is there to work with you long term and can provide SEO improvements from start to finish on high traffic, high competition keywords and phrases. That way, you are investing in the whole SEO Pie rather than just a slice. This can come at much less of a cost than you would expect and unknown to most it is highly measurable with a potentially extremely effective ROI.

Success Secrets of Small Business Entrepreneurs – 10 Tips For Business Success

Owning and operating your own business can be a liberating and exciting opportunity. Creating your own success and mapping out your future on your own terms is empowering. At the same time leaving the comfort of employment including regular working hours, benefits, and a consistent salary can often be discomforting, if not downright scary. For most entrepreneurs the desire to be independent and create your own life outweighs all apprehensions, but still comes with associated risks.

While there may not be a bullet-proof success formula that works consistently for every business, there are common characteristics that unite all successful entrepreneurs. Continue reading to determine how many of these skills and characteristics you have mastered as well as where you may want to focus on improving.

1. Positive outlook on life and success. Successful entrepreneurs tend to be optimistic, upbeat, and look to the future as an opportunity still awaiting. Big dreams are a common theme with successful small business owners and often what propels the individual and the business to its ultimate success. In conjunction with the big dream comes the necessity to break it down into smaller visions that can be clearly articulated, monitored, and measured. Many if not all successful entrepreneurs have great imaginations and spend time mentally visualizing success. This includes thinking about specific deals, transactions, and events that will ultimately lead to personal and business success. Clarity of purpose and staying focused on the task at hand are critical to achieving business success. The more realistic the visualizations and dreams the more likely you will be to achieve. Success is ultimately birthed in the imagination and mind and translated through daily actions inspired during those visualizations.

It is widely known you must “see it before you can achieve it.” Though business success ultimately lies in the physical ability to provide a product or service at a profit, the product, service, and ultimately the unique approach to these transactions are all byproducts of mental visualization. If you are an author, visualize your next book signing after your release has gone #1 and you’ve made it to the best-selling list. If you run an auto repair shop, visualize successful interactions with clients in which you deliver exceptional service and value during each transaction. Ultimately you must take whatever niche, product, market, service, and segment you are involved in and visualize how you will succeed at delivering value to the clients you serve while ultimately earning a profit. The most successful entrepreneurs out there visualize the success of the product or service in their mind prior to it being affirmed in the physical marketplace.

2. Passion = Profit. Personal passion is a prerequisite for any successful business. If you enter a business deal strictly looking to make money or achieve success and aren’t passionate about the business, the people, or the end result, you are severely limiting the potential outcome. Passion ignites enthusiasm in those that surround you; team members, clients, vendors, etc. Profits find passion in business regardless of the market segment. Passionate about auto recycling? As strange as it may seem other people are too. Embrace your passion and look for ways to share your excitement and knowledge about a specific product or service with others who share a similar interest. Embrace your love for the product or service you deliver and follow the path that ignites passion in your daily life. Passion provides the necessary motivation that ultimately leads business owners down a path towards fulfillment of goals and dreams.

3. Compensate for weakness and focus on your strengths. Most of us have been taught through the traditional school of thought – which unfortunately restricts our ability to succeed. Traditional thinking teaches us to be humble about our strengths and consistently strive to improve our weaknesses. Successful entrepreneurs often turn this mantra upside down. Instead of spending countless hours and energy attempting to develop skills you may never master – focus on what you do best and compensate for the rest. We are all gifted with unique individual talents that are expressed naturally in our day-to-day interactions. You may be good at writing, analysis, speaking, insight, relationships, painting, interacting with kids, animals, etc. We all have inherent traits that come naturally and don’t require long hours of hard work to achieve. That doesn’t mean we don’t improve with practice, but let’s face it, some of us are specifically better at things that others aren’t. Focus on those things that you do best and compensate for the things you don’t. Find team members that are strong where you are weak and vice versa and you will build a synergistic team that supports each other exponentially.

4. Failure is not an option. Successful entrepreneurs understand that failure is not an option and continually look for ways to succeed. Don’t allow failure to be considered at any level in the organization. Focus on success at all times and never let the possibility of failure take root in your mind or business culture. There will always be setbacks and learning lessons throughout any business venture and life, but find the opportunity for growth and success in every dilemma and challenge faced. All negative circumstances can be turned in to a positive and ultimately failure does not ever have to be selected as an option. Any circumstance can be re-framed with a positive twist no matter how bleak the situation may appear.

5. Prepare and execute the plan. Dreaming often comes naturally to entrepreneurs. Detailed planning and execution may not. In order to ensure success at moving from where you are to where you want to be, a detailed plan must be drafted and executed. Utilize the Merlin Method (“begin with the end in mind”) and work backwards from there. For example, if you would like to become the next Donald Trump, start with Donald Trump as the end result. Move back from there and make a list of the traits required to become Donald Trump. What relationships, transactions, business deals, and skills are required to succeed? Which of these do you possess? What items to you need to work on? Assess where you are at, who you are, and ultimately who you need to become to get to where you want to go. Formulate a plan that enables you to move down the path acquiring the skills and building the relationships necessary to ultimately arrive at the end result you are striving for.

6. Be dedicated! Successful entrepreneurs know that a business is similar to a baby in that it will require nurturing, attention, and caring, throughout its entire life. Different stages will require different levels of input and interaction. Make sure you are serious about and able to afford the time required to ensure successful implementation of your business plan. Long hours and hard work are often part of any phase of the business. If you are truly passionate about what you do none of this will really be negative. Remember to schedule time with family and friends, and most importantly for yourself. Though many hours may be spent caring for and nurturing your business, you ultimately are not good to anyone if you burn out before the business succeeds. Be conscious of how you are feeling and the work load you are undertaking. Being dedicated does not mean you are completely consumed by the business. When at work focus and commit to completing the necessary tasks at hand. When scheduled away from work – leave the business alone. Be dedicated to your business, your family and friends, and living a balanced life and you will be more likely to succeed in all areas simultaneously.

7. Build relationships and network. Ultimately it isn’t what you know – but who you know. We have all encountered this motto multiple times during our business careers, and it still rings with truth in every situation. Surround yourself with a competent team, board of directors, advisers, vendors and partners and continually look to network. Ultimately the people you meet during your daily interactions will be the ones that will buy from you, support you in delivering your product or service, or in supporting you personally in your quest for success. Opportunities will present themselves through the people you meet on a daily basis.

In business, you are judged by the company you keep – from your management team, board of directors, and strategic partners. Businesses always need assistance, more so small businesses. Maybe the lady you met in a trade association meeting can help you secure funding, or the gentleman you bumped in to at a conference can provide you with management advise. It is important to form alliances with people who can help you, and whom you can help in return. To succeed in business, you need to possess good networking skills and always be alert to opportunities to expand your contacts.

8. Desire to learn. You do not need to be an MBA degree holder or PhD graduate to succeed in your own business. Actually formal education is often inversely proportional to the amount of success achieved in small business. Curiosity and a desire to learn how to solve real world issues is what propels many business owners to success. Talk to those around you and find out what would best help the greatest number of people in your market and you will have found a winning proposition. It often isn’t about how smart you are in a certain area but more specifically how well you are able to clue in to what other people are telling you and how you can help them solve problems.

9. Keep the faith. The road to success will often contain detours and potential pitfalls. Keep faith in your original dream and vision and ultimately good things will arrive. Realize that one of the biggest factors in determining your future success will be in how you deal with temporary set backs. Stay focused on the ultimate end result and have faith in your ability to succeed. Setbacks are strictly learning lessons that ultimately teach you how to be better at what you are attempting to do. Each setback enables you to pick back up and potentially increase momentum in your business by utilizing the learning lessons from the experience.

10. Practice discipline. Thomas Huxley once said, “Do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you like it or not.” Do what others are unwilling to do and ultimately you will have opportunities that others won’t. Realize that you are on a mission that requires faith, commitment, and discipline. Find those traits and behaviors that support success and practice the discipline required to hone those skills day-to-day.

Ultimately if you possess or are able to master these 10 characteristics shared by successful entrepreneurs you will find yourself to be one of them.