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Most successful business owners experience trouble trying to keep their businesses afloat while others appear to flourish even in the most difficult conditions. For some the common complaint seems to be that referrals simply are not enough to drum up business anymore. The interesting thing is that most of these same business owners are not doing anything different to market their businesses and grow them even though the market clearly seems to have changed. On the other hand, there are business owners who have also seen exceptional business growth all through the year and not just any kind of growth either; I am talking about stellar growth. So what are the things that successful business owners do differently?

Here is my list of 9 things that successful business owners do differently

 

1. They Don’t Focus on the State of the Economy

Instead, they focus on how it alters buying behaviors exhibited by their customers without letting the despondency of it depress them. If your services or products are genuinely useful or helpful, then you will definitely find people who are willing to buy them regardless of the economic conditions.

2. They Offer the People Something New

If you find that people are not buying what you are selling, even though they used to, this could be an indication that you need to change things up. The obvious reaction would be to cut your prices, but this will devalue what you are offering. Try adding value instead by developing new packages out of services and products you already own or updating your current offerings. You could go as far as to offer something entirely new such as training programs, new product bundles or products, an eBook, or even a workshop. Be creative. All successful business owners are.

3. They Do Not Guess

Successful business owners do not guess. Conduct a survey to discover what your customers, clients, and prospects want so you can give it to them. You can use no-cost email services or in-person surveys with a short and written evaluation. Honest customer feedback will help you make better decisions in your business and reassure you when you are on the right track. Be sure to always rely on facts and numbers and stop guessing.

4. They Take Advantage of Tech

The internet is no longer unchartered territory as I am sure you have used it in one way or another, so why not use it to make your presence felt? The social networking tools at your disposal also make it cheaper for you to effectively market your business. Social media allows you to expand your reach and maybe even have fun in the process. However, it is crucial that you actually have a game plan (refer to previous point).

5. They Constantly Grow Their List

Ensure you have a list of your current and previous customers that you keep in touch with, not to mention prospects. This will help them remember, trust, and get to know you. You can collect contact information in your office or over the phone and sending out print materials. Alternatively, you can have an ‘offer and sign-up’ system on your website as part of your marketing strategy and then keeping in touch using email. Why restrict yourself? You can even use both methods to supercharge your list growth.

6. They Offer Value

People expect more value for their money and time today, so focus less on selling your services and products and more on offering helpful solutions in your marketing strategy for better results. The more value you give, the more people will want to buy from you.

7. They Do Mixed Media Marketing

Develop a marketing plan and strategy allowing you to use multiple tactics or media channels to reach your target audience instead of focusing on just one. Ask yourself where your ideal customers hang out and how to best engage with them. Then develop a strategy to direct them on to your own list.

8. They Never Stop Learning

Times are changing and you need to stay updated on what is new and working currently but you cannot do this if you are always busy with your business. Successful business owners understand the important of taking time out of their business to learn and grow. Network, take part in seminars, or read new material to meet new people and learn new things about the industry.

9. They Don’t Do It All Themselves

The truth is, you probably do not have time to learn about everything it takes to run, grow, and market your business, particularly online. You may end up hitting a wall whereby business will cease to grow; you will burn out, and become exhausted. Hire an employee or get a virtual assistant to help you with repetitive tasks. Engage a professional marketing consultant to help you develop a sound marketing strategy and to automate your marketing.

There you have it. Nine things that will not only help you be more successful in your business but happier, too.

To your success,

 

TED Talks are geared towards spreading ideas using short, powerful talks. The talks last no more than 18 minutes each, are factual and entertaining. Initially, they revolved around Technology, Entertainment, and Design (hence the name TED) when they started out in 1984.

Today, the talks touch on almost all areas of human living, including entrepreneurship.

As entrepreneurs, we can learn a lot from watching many of these talks. The good news is, the talks are easily available on TED.com.

TED Talks For Entrepreneurs

Here are my top TED Talks every entrepreneur should watch, in no particular order. Enjoy!

1. Cameron Herold: Let’s Raise Kids To Be Entrepreneurs

Cameron Herold, who founded COO Alliance, gave a TED Talk entitled, “Let’s raise kids to be entrepreneurs.” In his words, the traditional system of education does not encourage kids to be entrepreneurs. He believes that we should change the system to produce more entrepreneurs.

 

2. Nirmalya Kumar: India’s Invisible Innovation

Nirmalya Kumar’s TED Talk focuses on the link between business and innovation. As most business owners know, running a business successfully requires a good dose of innovation. A business that constantly develops new products and processes has a higher chance of success.

 

3. Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action

Eight years ago, Simon Sinek gave a TED Talk on the role great leaders play in inspiring action. The lessons from that talk are still relevant today. Company leaders call the shots. CEOs determine the direction a company takes.

A leader determines how successful a company’s digital marketing campaign shall be.

 

4. Regina Hartley: Why The Best Hire Might Not Have The Perfect Resume

What makes Regina Hartley’s TED Talk a must watch for entrepreneurs is the advice she gives on the role of a resume in hiring or not hiring a new employee. Entrepreneurs put too much focus on what is on the resumes.

They forget that the resumes never capture all the important details of a prospective employee.

For example, the resume may not tell an entrepreneur everything the prospective employee did in creating a marketing automation software. A perfect resume may keep us away from one who has overcome great difficulties and challenges to get here.

 

5. Philip Evans: How Data Will Transform Business

The TED Talk Philip Evans gave in 2014 was designed to help businesses understand the role of data. We have to understand the transformational ability that data has in any business. We can no longer ignore analysing the importance of technology and data for running a business.

After all, marketing automation, like all types of technology, depends on data.

 

6. Seth Godin: How To Get Your Ideas To Spread

Seth Godin’s TED Talk was titled “How to get your ideas to spread”. In that talk, we understand the importance of using bizarre ideas in marketing. Good and boring ideas are not always productive. Bizarre ones, on the other hand, capture and retain customer’s attention.

These must-watch business TED Talks are a great start for any entrepreneur who is wanting to learn and grow themselves and their business.

What are your favourite TED talks? Please share the link in the comments below.

To your success,

 

Let’s face it. We are all too busy.

Ask any friend or colleague how they are and chances are you’ll hear “I’m just so busy…”.

To cope with our never ending to-do lists, at work and in our personal lives, we look for ways, apps and tools to get even more done and in less time. We attend time management seminars to learn how to be more productive and take our smart phones and laptops to bed, so we can squeeze every minute out of our day. Despite the fact that we’re getting so much done, we aren’t feeling any happier. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

It’s a vicious cycle and for many of us there seems to be no way out.

I must confess, this is pretty much a description of the life that I was living for quite some time.

Until I learned about a simple principle. The principle of leverage.

 

The Principle of Leverage

By applying the principle of leverage, or the law of the lever, we are able to move heavy objects with a lot less effort. This simple technique has been known for thousands of years. The earliest remaining writings regarding levers and the principle of leverage date from the 3rd century BC and were provided by my old friend Archimedes (kidding, we never actually met).

So, since growing a business has little to do with lifting large rocks, how can we apply this to our everyday life and our to-do list?

Simple. The key is not to get more done, but to focus on getting the right things done.

We all have tasks that we need to perform on a regular basis.

Let’s say you have a particular task that takes you an hour to finish and you had to do it three times per week. This task then would take you three hours every week, or 156 hours per year.

To make better use of your time you could instead take one hour to write a system for this task. A step-by-step guide that you can pass on to someone else to perform the task for you.

 

What would you do with an extra 156 hours per year?

Now you might think, hang on David, that would mean I have to pay someone to do it? That money is coming out of my bank account!

Correct. But let’s assume you paid someone $20 an hour to perform this task. That would cost you $3,120 for 156 hours.

Wouldn’t you agree that, with 156 extra hours per year, you could easily recoup this expense and so much more?

Exactly. I’m glad you agree.

Do this for all repetitive tasks (unless you REALLY love doing them) and you will literally transform your life – and your business.

If you have employees or work with a team, you might even want to take it one step further.

Instead of writing a system for each task, write a system on how to write a system and let your team help you with developing your systems.

Having systems in place will not only help you and your team to be more productive, but will also add a significant amount of value to your business, should you ever consider selling it.

Good systems are the reason why large companies pay millions of dollars to buy out smaller businesses. They understand the value of having these systems in place and how much time and money it will save them.


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I have got my systems ready. Now, where do I put them?

A while ago, Tracey, whom I’ve been working with over the past two years, shared one of her biggest frustrations with me.

“David, my staff keep asking me the same questions, over and over again. It’s driving me crazy, having to answer those exact same questions EVERY day! I wish I could have my own ‘Google’, where my staff could simply enter a question and receive an answer instantly, without me having to be there!”

Two weeks later I got back to her with a system I had designed for her. We simply called it ASK. She now has all her systems in one place, stored securely in the cloud, which can be easily accessed by all her staff. Every system outlines exactly how to follow a procedure and where to find things. After a little over a year, she now has over 200 of her business systems documented. Even checklists now reside in that same system to ensure processes are followed correctly.

Staff members can simply grab one of the iPads provided and find anything they would ever need to help Tracey keep her business running, even when she’s away for a week or two, without having to call or email her.

I have since helped a number of business owners implement that same system, which saves them not only time and money, but more importantly, there sanity.

What’s your approach to increased productivity? Do you have systems in place that help you make the best use of your time? Or do you still do most of your tasks on your own? Leave me a comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts, what your challenges are and any tips you’d like to share.