from Inc.com Zine –08 June 15 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz
Entrepreneurs sometimes focus too much on creating complicated strategies to improve business, and are left with less-than-stellar results–and hours of lost time. Instead, try taking a step back to really look at your current practices. Chances are, you’ll find at least a few simple ways to invest in your future that make a lasting impact. To find out which areas of business are easiest to impact quickly, we asked founders fromYoung Entreprenuers Council to share simple changes, from cleaning up email subscription lists, to making the right hires, that led to the highest ROI.
1. Get Dropout Feedback. You’ll be utterly amazed at the feedback you get from ex-clients, when you take the time to pick up the phone and talk one-on-one with them. Ask why they stopped using your product or service and, of course, what you can do to improve and maybe bring them back. They will be stunned at your level of commitment to deliver what they’re looking for, and it will probably result in more business for you.
2. Do eMail Drip campaigns. Formerly, we had no eMail strategy. All of our earlier emails could be considered as purely trans-actional. Realizing we needed to develop a voice with our users and set an uplifting tone that would get folks excited about our product, we created several powerful eMail drip campaigns to guide users through the sales funnel – from onboarding – to retention.
3. Launch a “New or Improved” Product. We launched a new product that allows any business to search for vetted mobile & web developers on our site. This has been very useful for customers, as they can easily search and learn more about available development teams within seconds.
4. Hire slowly, Fire quickly. Spend a lot of time defining the job and getting a match – including a thorough Reference check & former Colleague feedback. As soon we let go of two people who were a drag on our operations, we quickly realized a shift in our operations. The remaining staff had to push harder & work a little longer, but all of the loose ends have since been tightened and we have seen a huge increase in revenue.
5. Hire Smarter. When you are used to doing everything for your business, sometimes it can be hard to let go, especially when it means spending more money through payroll. But hiring people who are the proper fit for the position will quickly bring a return. We made two hires recently – who have more than paid for themselves in the months since, and allowed me to focus on the growth of the business.
6. Try SMS Marketing. Until recently, we only encouraged customers to share their Name & eMail with us, but we recently tried asking for mobile telephone numbers as well. While we were nervous this might decrease opt-ins, it did not. Now we’re able to communicate with our clients through SMS (Short Message Service, ie, Twitter) as well as eMail. Early indications show SMS to be far more responsive, so it’s something I encourage testing for yourself.
7. Communicate Clearly. If there’s one thing that can slow down exceptional staff, it’s poor communication. We made several great hires in our early stage – whose mission was to develop a better framework for communicating company and individual goals. As we’re rapidly growing, clear communication has only become more important in keeping the team operating at the highest level and meeting their goals.
8. Activate Latent Buyers. The single biggest change that had yielded the best ROI has been a focus on customers who haven’t purchased in 60 days or more. We call these folks “latent buyers,” and we send an incentive to activate them into buyers each month. We’ve activated more than 100 customers in a few months and generated nearly six figures of revenue that we wouldn’t have otherwise.
9. Generate more Unique Content. The single most effective change we have made in 2015 that has yielded the best ROI is publishing new content on a regular basis. Creating unique content is core to our SEO strategy and is also the best way for us to differentiate from the fierce competition in our industry. We find that each piece of content has a measurable return on investment and think it’s critical to dominating our market.
10. Clean up your eMail Marketing list. Our MailChimp costs grew as our subscriber list grew, but the conversion rate as a percentage of those emailed remained steady. So we filtered out the emails of the consumers who seemed the least engaged and least likely to convert, then wrote better customized content for the remaining subscribers. As a result, we got a lower-priced MailChimp package and our click-through percentage & conversion rate has dramatically increased.
11. Make Time to Plan. This has resulted in several changes to our approach and methodical planning, which, in turn, has increased revenue & boosted productivity. Keeping a TO DO list is an easy way to ensure your ideas & tasks aren’t forgotten when switching gears. It sounds basic, but keeping a running list of items you need to accomplish helps maintain focus and instills a sense of pride in your work.
12. Promote Collaboration as your competitive advantage. As a marketing tech company, we have to be able to collaborate quickly & effectively. It’s built into our culture. Improving knowledge transfer and cross-departmental collaboration has been huge. We’ve adopted many tools to help achieve these collaborative goals. Aligning human perspectives, priorities, & processes across all departments is key. Behavior and technology reinforce each other.
13. Invest in new SW & dump the old. We recently evaluated just how useful – the software & services we pay for – really are to our team. We realized that some software that we paid a lot for, was not truly making a difference for our success and growth, so we unsubscribed. We then took time to practice “Out with the old & in with the new,” and have seen a huge positive return.
Comments: Do you have additional Tips for growing your business?