Small Business Marketing Book Review – People and Your Business

What if somebody told you one critical key to business success was to practice the principle of the Golden Rule in your business? The idea seems to somehow run counter to so much of what we’ve been taught about business, doesn’t it? Yet, what if that same source convinced you through case-study after case-study that application of the Golden Rule in business actually leads to success?

Let us introduce Frederick Reichheld and his book The Loyalty Effect. While not a small business marketer, but rather an expert business consultant, what Reichheld teaches us about loyalty is worthwhile reading for any small business owner or manager.

Did we say “worthwhile”? Scratch that; pencil in the phrase “urgently essential”, instead. This book is that vital to a small company.

The Loyalty Effect focuses on three groups of people critical to business success: Customers, Employees, and Investors. For most small business, the investor is the owner, so for our brief review in this article we will focus on Customers and Employees.

Reichheld is a definite advocate of customer retention. He convincingly demonstrates time and again that small percentage increases in customer retention have huge impacts on profits. This read will be a just-right fit for those of you having problems focusing on the right customers. If you will take the time to trudge through this book, and really understand most of its principles (we found Chapter 8 to be the toughest) then not only will the marketing of your business improve, but so will your profits.

Isn’t that the reason for all this focus on marketing, anyway?

And Reichheld really opened our eyes to how important employees are in retaining customers. If a company treats their employees right, those employees become more efficient and productive in their daily tasks. Profits go up, retention increases.

Reichheld stresses again and again that a company’s prime mission needs to be creating customer value. Most of you in small business realize this, but it’s reaffirming to see hard-and-fast facts to back up what many of us intuitively know. Customers don’t come to a small business looking to boost our profits; they arrive seeking value. If we consistently create value, profit will come.

Another key point for small business owners is the importance of leadership. If you need to go down to the bookstore and browse through The Loyalty Effect before you buy it, flip over to page 246. Reichheld has studied several large and successful businesses, and concludes here that most of them had leaders with an “intuitive grasp” of how important loyalty is. This is critical for business success, regardless of business size. While not written to be a rah-rah inspirational book, Reichheld’s arguments and his examination of the role strong leaders play in forming great companies reinforces just how important to the bottom line it is for a small business owner to be a good leader.

So much of Reichheld’s book seemed familiar; akin to common sense…after we read it. Treat employees well and they’ll perform well for you; we’ll that’s pretty basic, now isn’t it? But we tend to forget, we tend to think we need to cut corners or just “improve efficiency” and that’ll lead to greater profits. In the short term it very well may, but Reichheld argues effectively that in the long run it’s only by creating value for our customer that we build profitable businesses.

Remember, People is the third element–along with Brand and Package–of any small business marketing success story. Taking a week or so and reading Frederick Reichheld over lunch or before lights out at night is a great way to hone your “people productivity”.

© 2006 Marketing Hawks

The Top Apps, Software and Online Services for Organizing Your Mind

A lot of us blame technology for the constant stress that we’re under and for the fact that we feel constantly so wired. We’re continuously bombarded by notifications and messages and we seem to spend half our time looking at screens – is it any wonder so many of us are burned out?

But just as guns don’t kill people – people do, so is it true that apps don’t make you tired – you do.

The key is just to use the right technology. Actually, there are plenty of apps out there that can help you to feel less stressed and that can reduce that information overload. Likewise, there are also a number of online services that can do the same. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

Headspace

Headspace is an app that can teach you how to practice mindfulness meditation. The app does cost money if you intend to keep using it but the first few sessions are free and provide a great introduction.

Fabulous

Fabulous is a beautifully designed app for Android that can help you to take on new habits and routines and that will guide you through your goals and objectives. It makes setting new challenges for yourself fun and encourages you with motivation and tips along the way.

Standing Orders

Here’s a great way to use technology to make your life easier – set up some standing orders with online services. There are actually tons of companies that now offer there services on an automated recurring business:

  • Clothes companies that send you a new outfit every month
  • Supermarkets that let you have your weekly shop delivered to you
  • Diet companies that send ready made meals/ingredients to you on a daily basis
  • Flower shops that send flowers to someone on their birthday every year

Consider if something like this could help!

Virtual Assistant

A virtual assistant is an assistant that works for you via the web. They tend to be based in India and are very affordable but their services cover anything that can be done online. That could mean doing research for your work, or it could mean helping you organize a holiday!

Todoist

Todoist is a great ‘to-do list’ app that lets you set to do lists and then receive notifications and reminders about them.

Google Calendar

Any calendar app can be a great way to check your availability and to avoid over booking yourself. It syncs with other apps and even lets you share your schedule with others too.

Corporate Business Solutions – Getting Sophisticated With Time

Voice over internet protocol, or VoIP as it is commonly called, has metamorphosed the way one can communicate over geographical distances and in real time. It can be said that VoIP has had a hand in making the world a smaller as well as a better place. Businesses, for one, have been among the first categories of users to reap the wide array of benefits that this high-end technology has to offer. More and more businesses are realizing the tremendous scope that an adoption of VoIP can open up before them. As a matter of fact, the corporate business solutions have become high-end and innovative with the adoption of this very useful technique of sending voice as well as data over Internet networks.

But we would come to that later. First and foremost, we have to understand the rising significance of clear and distinct channels of communication for the proper functioning of any business establishment. There has to be a free flow of information; both within the organizational structure as well as outside. Colleagues within a particular corporate establishment should be able to communicate freely within their organization. Moreover, the organization as a whole should be able to have an uninterrupted channel of communication to connect with partners, suppliers or branch offices, which could be located almost anywhere in the globe. Moreover, a degree of cost efficiency is very much desirable in these channels. The latest corporate business solutions, powered by VoIP, can do all these and quite a bit more.

It can be said that these VoIP solutions have revolutionized the telecommunication domain and nothing is the same as before. High speed broadband connections have taken the place of traditional telephone systems. With special hardware and software of VoIP in place, the business users are able to make the most of these specialized business solutions. The support provided by broadband networks becomes important in this context. With the routing of voice and data over broadband internet connections, users are able to enjoy good call quality. In addition, the data congestion is also reduced to a significant extent.

As a matter of fact, there is more than one benefit of using corporate business solutions. Some of these benefits are mentioned below:

1. Lowering of infrastructural costs: With business VoIP solutions, there is a significant reduction in the telephone costs. The provision of free calls to certain areas offered by many providers of such services make them all the more valuable to potential users.

2. Availability of additional options: The solutions come with a number of highly innovative options that include features such as call waiting, call routing and voicemail. In this context, these solutions score a point over the traditional phone lines.

3. Flexibility in operation: The voip solutions on offer come with some very amazing options that enable their easy adoption by different businesses from diverse backgrounds. In addition, easy updation of these solutions as well as seamless integration with existing networks makes these solutions very much popular among business users.

So, the fact that many organizations having global presence are reducing their communication related expenditure through these solutions should not come as any surprise. Other business establishments that are making the most of corporate business solutions are the ones having call center operations.

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