- Visualization. Visualization may sound a little corny – but the best athletes and businesses people alike use it. Actually picturing how a sales call will go, what your pitch is, he questions and challenges a customer may pose, how you answer them and the response you get, what marketing materials you use and how you actually describe your services and pricing… Be a tough customer, ask all the tough questions, and you’ll be ready! – and it works for any aspect of your business (and personal life).
- SMART Goal Setting. If you don’t have specific goals, you will under perform. It is that simple. It relates to visualization - put it in your mind and you will work towards it. Goals are no substitute for creativity and spontaneity – in fact I guarantee you will not meet you goals – exactly – or exactly as you envisioned. But with SPECIFIC, MEASUREABLE, ATTAINABLE (how big), REALISTIC (right type), TIME-BASED goals, you will knock-em off, feel good and build momentum.
- Testing Before Launch. Large companies pay big $ to test advertising messages, promotional materials, websites and of course consumer reactions to their products. They make necessary cake changes and get dramatically better results as a result. You can test before you launch too. Simply “notice” what actually happens when you try using a mockup of your brochure: don’t print them in any quantity until it works they way you want. Test your website or any updates before fully releasing it. Restaurants always test their menu and new items for a few weeks before they settle on it. You should do the same for your products and services. You’ll find ways to improve them, and your business.
- Focus On Profit. Are you making the highest margins possible? You should know exactly what your “profit margins are” and always look for ways to increase them by charging higher prices or spending less to produce. There are some situations where you need less profit (competitive, helps make a different sale…), but many small businesses get locked into their poor “margins” when they don’t need to. Differentiate yourself because if what you sell is unique, you can generate higher profits!
Be a demanding boss. You are likely the VP of sales, marketing, production, store operations, IT, web management. Being a great CEO of a small business means you must manage yourself in all these positions. So be demanding, decide when you are not doing a good job in any area and decide how to improve it. If you don’t know what advice to give yourself, go find someone who can.