Business Survival Tools: Don’t Get Left Behind

Standard

If business development, thought leadership and brand focus were important topics before this recession – the best companies will now put them at the very top of their agendas, so said a top independent strategic economist in Europe recently.

Look at any of the past economic downturns and you’ll see one thing in common with the ‘intelligent’ brands: They each upped their game when it came to building a presence. This took the form of greater marketing activity (to the point where they were selling far more aggressively than during more prosperous times) and introducing new ideas.

The result was that when the economy rebounded and the tide rose above the recession, not only did they come out fighting, they also had a far greater market share than their competition. Those competitors who survived, that is.

So, and I’ve said this numerous times before, now is NOT the time to cut back on your marketing spend. Instead, stretch your budget while marketing smarter. Your brand – and company revenue – WILL thank you for it later.

Sceptical? Apart from the anecdote above, take a look at the current biggest brand in the world: Barack Obama. He became president of the United States amid the worst global recessions since World War II. Yet, he didn’t stand still just because the times were tough. Rather, he ‘sold’ himself to the world, collecting a staggering number of ‘hits’ on countless websites and inspiring many along the way. His drive for the presidentship spawned a whole new kind of branding in its wake, including a whole host of Obama-branded merchandise, and helped him get more than global recognition; he got elected, too! 

I urge you to take a leaf out of Brand Obama’s book and be proactive, (not reactive). Optimise your marketing opportunities during these uncertain times recession. Please don’t be one of the ‘Gordon Browns’ of the business world by only doing something about your lot when it’s too late… 

================================
Add my RSS feed to your reader now so you never have to miss a post.
================================ 

Want to use this in your ezine, blog or website? No problem! Just let me know. I’ll send you a short resource box/bio to include. 

Bookmark and Share

UK Businesses Need to Take ‘Reasonable Care’

Standard

The latest guidance from HMRC means every business in the UK will have to take even greater care with their financial records, thanks to a swathe of new ‘penalty’ measures being introduced from 1 April 2009 (and, before you ask, no, this is not an April Fool’s joke, unfortunately).

Any error made in your financial returns, for instance, dating from the April 2008-2009 tax period will have to fight its corner if it is to be spared penalty. Once-innocent errors could now be simply errors that are open to attack. As an example, “failure to take reasonable care” with the current tax year’s tax return could result in an automatic penalty of 15-30% of any additional tax due.  

I’m not an expert, but I do see a potential problem with interpretation. 

The new penalties apply initially to Income Tax (including Self Assessment), VAT, employers paying PAYE, National Insurance contributions, Corporation Tax, Capital Gains Tax and the Construction Industry Scheme. 

My advice? Seek the advice of a good accountant, or pay extra care and attention to your records. 

================================
Add my RSS feed to your reader now so you never have to miss a post.
================================ 

Want to use this in your ezine, blog or website? No problem! Just let me know. I’ll send you a short resource box/bio to include. 
Bookmark and Share

 

Don’t Let Simple Mistakes Let You Down

Standard

A press release that generates a one-page article in a high-circulation publication is worth more than six times the value of equivalent advertising space. However, less than 50 per cent of press releases ever get printed — much less lead to interviews, articles or sales. There are many reasons for this, but the most obvious one is sloppy copy. It is the kiss of death for any business or author.

If your copy lacks sparkle, a professional feel or is chockfull with errors, it might confuse your target reader at best. He or she WILL certainly think that you are either partially illiterate or remarkably inconsiderate, and will immediately form a negative impression of you. Your credibility is lost — and so is your news release; off it promptly goes, straight into the ‘circular file’ (aka bin). 

428206_eraser.jpg

Even a single spelling or grammatical error can destroy everything. So do make sure you thoroughly read through and check ALL your copy before publishing it or sending it out to your target market. But do not rely on your computer’s spellchecker: this has been proven to miss even the most obvious of errors. 

Remember, sloppy copy = bad publicity. Will yours make a positive impression?

================================
Add my RSS feed to your reader now so you never have to miss a post.
================================ 

Want to use this in your ezine, blog or website? No problem! Just let me know. I’ll send you a short resource box/bio to include. Bookmark and Share

How to Get People to Buy From You in a Tough Economy

Standard

The lead article in the latest issue of MediaMinister’s Communiqué for Success offers plenty of ways to prospect more effectively — whether you are ready to mix it with the champions’ league of business, or simply want to have a leg up on the competition.

To read the full article and gain *hidden links* to recent CfS newsletter editions, you’ll have to become a subscriber. (That’s a good thing, by the way, or so CfS readers tell me!) As well as being FREE, you’ll receive a business-building report and audio CD that can dramatically improve sales simply for signing up and trying it out.

Subscribe here.

Recent CfS newsletter issues cover:

  • Create a Buzz for Your Business With Twitter
  • Can the X Factor Help Your Business?
  • My Five (Business) Mistakes from 2008 — and How You Can Profit From Them
  • Be a Client Magnet
  • Recession-Proof Your Business
  • Stand Apart from ‘Me-Too’ Competitors
  • Stop! Don’t Post that Letter!
  • Common Mistakes that Can Kill Business
  • How to Bolster Trust on Your Website
  • Just How Believable Are You?
  • …and much, much more that you really can’t afford to miss out on if you are serious about making it in business.

Subscribe here.

================================
Add my RSS feed to your reader now so you never have to miss a post.
================================

Want to use this in your ezine, blog or website? No problem! Just let me know. I’ll send you a short resource box/bio to include.


Business Card MasterClass

Standard

Picture by ‘bargainmoose’, ‘MOO’ and ‘FRINGEy’ via Flickr

I ventured outdoors to a networking function the other day (being a writer, I’m afraid I live up to that semi-reclusive stereotype. Oh, heck, let’s just say I’m more comfortable liaising via the written word than face to face, where I often fall flat on my face. Or it feels like it!), and was given a number of business cards to take home with me.

Without naming any names, I noticed that several weren’t being used to their full potential. Worse, one had a typo on it.

So, here allow me to present a few tips on producing a business card that you’d be proud of — and that would do you proud:

  1. Include all the important details. For example, your name and/or business name, address, phone number, fax number, email address and website URL.
  2. Make someone really connected by handwriting your direct telephone line or email address before you pass on your card.
  3. If your company has employees, make sure everyone has their own stack of business cards. The more cards there are to give out the better; it will make your employees feel valued and help to spread the word bout your business.
  4. Place your cards on bulletin boards at local libraries, schools and restaurants to obtain maximum coverage for your business in your area. Might be worthwhile seeking permission first.  🙂
  5. Think about creating magnetic business cards — which are becoming popular, but still underused enough to be a novelty. Your clients/customers can put them on places where they will be visible for many years. They could give you the edge of your competitors.
  6. Make sure you proofread your card before it goes to the printers — and, if possible, as a page proof before it gets printed.

Source: Start Your Business magazine, issue 17

================================
Add my RSS feed to your reader now so you never have to miss a post.
================================

Want to use this in your ezine, blog or website? No problem! Just let me know. I’ll send you a short resource box/bio to include.

Now is NOT the Time to Stop Emailing

Standard

The return on investment (ROI) from email has always surpassed other channels. And, despite the best efforts of saboteurs such as spammers, it seems set to do so for the foreseeable future, according to a new report from the Direct Marketing Association (DMA).

Email’s ROI in 2008 was $45.06 (currently £31.94) for every dollar spent on it, according to the DMA’s annual ”Power of Direct” economic impact study. This compares to $48.34 in 2007, and a projected $43.52 in 2009.

Yet despite these encouraging figures, a new survey by Emailvision reveals that far too many email marketers continue to make simple — and costly mistakes.

“In today’s economy, return on investment has never been more important as marketing spend is now analysed and questioned by senior stakeholders,” said Nick Gold, UK managing director at Emailvision, an email marketing software-on-demand provider.  

“Companies can’t afford to be making such simple mistakes and missing potential sales. The fundamental aims of any campaign should be high deliverability, targeted mailing, maximum click-through rates and basic personalisation — don’t let the email be the reason customers go elsewhere.”

What’s more, as competition for the all-important inbox increases more quickly than consumer spending, email relevance and targeting is more important than ever before. So be sure to offer your email recipients products and information they would be interested to hear about. And be selective with your email timings. Don’t just send straight promotional messages every other day. Rather, cut back on the mail-out frequency and give your readers a little bit extra — news they can use, tips and tricks, etc.

In short, get to know and then delight your subscriber list for the best ROI. For now is an ideal time to improve your overall email marketing strategy.

================================
Add my RSS feed to your reader now so you never have to miss a post.
================================

Want to use this in your ezine, blog or website? No problem! Just let me know. I’ll send you a short resource box/bio to include.