7 “Do’s” and “Don’ts” to ensure your networking generates a return on investment

If you’ve been in business a little while the chances are you’ve come across the concept of formalised business networking, you may be a die-hard committed networker already, or you may have given it a go and decided it wasn’t for you.   What those who stick at it know is that networking has a number of purposes and the possible positive outcomes are varied.  It can be a great way to: Meet potential partners who can help you accelerate your business Find clients either through direct contact or through referral. Do market research and test your ideas Find your own suppliers To get out of isolation and mix with other business people Find advice and support   There are the less tangible benefits of networking that can make it worthwhile no matter what but if ultimately you are looking to increase leads and sales, then if you don’t put some thought into your networking strategy and approach it in the right way to achieve these tangible outcomes, it can result in a big waste of time .  And if it isn’t at least paying for itself, a waste of money!   What have you invested into networking in terms of time and money over the last year or so?  And have you got a return on that investment into your business?   With that in mind we’ve come up with 7 “Do’s” and “Don’ts” of business networking that we hope you will find useful and will help you get more out of your networking in the future.   Do take time to build relationships – Most people do business with people they feel they...

Brexit: Dealing with turbulence and uncertainty in business

  Every business experiences times of turbulence and uncertainty. Ultimately how they deal with it will have a significant impact on how they emerge.   Some may bury their heads in the sand, hope for the best and hopefully ride it out.  Others may downsize, anticipating the worst, and do their best to cling on to a smaller version of what they had. Others still may become so fixated on whatever is causing the uncertainty, that it detracts from their day to day performance, ultimately leading to a worse customer or client experience, which in turn starts to lose them business.   There are others though, who will take a more proactive approach. In Stepehen Covey’s famous book, “The 7 Habbits of Highly Effective People”, habit one is be proactive. As part of his discussion on proactivity he touches on our ability to control how we respond. He writes about the fact that our behaviour results from our decisions, not our conditions, and that in any given situation we have “response-ability” – the ability to choose our response.   The recent outcome of the referendum on Brexit has, undoubtedly caused a state of uncertainty in the UK. Some major questions now hang over our nation – will we still have access to the single market? Will the UK as we know it continue to exist? What will the economic landscape look like once we are out?   Take control of what you can control   The truth is, we don’t know the answers to these questions at the moment – they are out of our control. And there are...

What knowledge do you need to keep ahead of your competition?

  Last week we wrote a blog about the importance of identifying your target market. This week we wanted to touch on the broader theme this comes under the umbrella of: knowledge.  More specifically, demonstrating the knowledge that can help you to perform at your best.   Knowledge is a key component in the sales and marketing framework of any business. These days, the majority of businesses operate in an extremely competitive and crowded market, and staying ahead of your competitors can be a major challenge. So other than the obvious knowledge of your competition, the more knowledgeable you are in your own field, and the more knowledgeable you are about your customers’, their needs and the problems you solve for them, the greater the edge this can give you over your competitors.   Let’s look at that in a bit more detail – why is it important to gain knowledge about your customers?   Insight   Understanding your customers will allow you to create marketing materials that are most likely to reach them and it’s your existing customers that can provide you with the biggest clues about who your potential customers might be. If you look at your client base, consider the question, who are my best customers? Then ask yourself the question why? Is it because they’re the most profitable? Is it because they buy most frequently? Is it because they cause the least disruption to your business?   Developing this knowledge can help you understand the type of clients you want to target to grow your business. This will be fed into by the strategy and...

The Importance of clearly identifying your target market

  In our last two blogs we’ve touched on the idea of the importance of having a clear target for any marketing & sales campaign and we just wanted to go into this in a little more depth as it’s so important.   THE IMPORTANCE OF TARGETING   If marketing is not targeted it is sporadic. It’s nature becomes (to borrow a much used marketing analogy) “like throwing mud at a wall and seeing what sticks.” What this means is its essentially putting your marketing message out there in the way that you feel best describes what you have to offer, to as broad an audience as possible, and seeing who bites.   Identifying your target market is about reversing this process. It’s about deciding who you want to bite, for what purpose, and then tailoring your message, your approach, your style and your medium to have the greatest possible likelihood of engaging that audience.   You might be thinking, “but my product has such a broad possible market, I have no need to do this and I wouldn’t want to miss out on one market by specifically targeting another.”  There are elements to this that are true. By targeting one specific market you may not reach another but if you speak to too broad a market you many not reach anyone as they might not hear you!   If the ultimate goal is sales, then by taking the time to identify a target market and tailor your message and approach to them you will be heard and you are going to increase your lead conversion ratios from suspects to...

Marketing approach: “Throwing mud and hoping it will stick”!?

  Here at Engineering Business Growth, one of our most popular services is our ‘Marketing Strategy & Campaign Planning’ coaching programme. We are currently delivering this for a wine company, a bespoke furniture fitters, an IT company, a health & fitness business and a photographers, to name a few!   What do these clients all have in common? They had all invested a fair amount of time and money on different marketing activities but didn’t think they had achieved enough of a return on that investment in terms of results. They all admitted to having done a lot of ad hoc marketing activity like “throwing enough mud and hoping it will stick” but not really having a sense of how it all works together – no common thread They had all been doing the “scattergun” approach which means that activities are not targeted at any particular people They all experienced an overwhelm with all the options, confusion and frustration about not knowing what to do to increase their sales revenues They were all struggling to fit enough activity in on top of their usual business activities to get traction with their sales Do you have this in common with them?  Are you experiencing these issues? What’s the solution?   The reason our clients bought into our ‘Marketing Strategy & Campaign Planning’ coaching programme is because they wanted clarity in terms of where to focus their efforts and to know what to do on a day to day basis to start getting the leads, prospects and sales needed in their business to be able to grow and move towards their business...

7 Key Elements of an Effective Marketing Campaign

Most of us want more customers and more sales. In order to do that, we are told that we must market, stay at the forefront of people’s minds, be attractive to our prospects, and stay connected to our existing database. All this takes time and effort. Ad hoc efforts become frustrating and lack the desired impact.  But many Small Business Owners are busy doing the work so if you are not being strategic about your marketing then you may be fighting a losing battle. Your efforts can end up being inconsistent and unproductive in terms of increasing the bottom line. At Engineering Business Growth, we want you to be consistent in getting out to your target market and audience with all the great products and services you have available.  We want you to have the success you deserve. And the key to that success is actually a relatively simple switch of mindset and activity.  You start to use the power of campaigns effectively. The word “campaign” is possibly scary sounding.  We relate it to politics and voicing our thoughts.  Here we are talking about something much more interesting and positive for you! The great news is that, as well as being THE most effective way to get more customers, it is also much more efficient to start to communicate and market through a campaign than it is to make haphazard sporadic efforts when you can. What is a campaign? A campaign is a coordinated series of steps that can include promotion of a product through different mediums.  It has three key factors; a specific goal, a start date and an end date. A campaign can be as...

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