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Knowledge Bank

This is where we do our best to help you find answers to your business questions We have lots of free business templates for you to use.

Strategy

What is business strategy? 

Your business strategy is the big picture view of how you want your business to operate, and defines what your business needs to do to reach its long term goals. Your strategy will help guide the decision-making process of all the businesses operations including how you produce, distribute, market, sell and recruit.

What makes a good strategist? 

I asked Dr Max Mceown that question and got the following answer

“A strategist should have an opinion about where the organisation is now (and where it’s come from). You should be asking: Where do we want to go next? And keep these questions in mind when asking about the changes that need to be made, how they should be made and how you can measure progress.”

What’s the difference between my strategy and my business plan

Your strategy will make up part of the business plan and depending on the size of your business, and reason for writing a business plan you may not need much more than a 2 page plan which includes your strategy within it. We like the 6W plan. 

Why should I take the time to get clear on my strategy

There’s never a bad time to get clear on your strategy, and it doesn’t matter whether you’re a one man band or the CEO. Too many business owners end up disliking their business because the “Management / leadership element” is just too damned tough. Setting out the sort of business that you want to become &  the direction of travel / rules of the game that you’ll abide by early is key. These things will make sure that you attract the right sort of people to your business, rather than just having to make do with whomever applies. It will also ensure that they look after your customers the way you want and expect.  Start with the end in mind guys!

What's a good strategy?

A good business strategy will usually take the form of a written document(s) that focuses on the big picture and keeps the end in mind. It will clearly state what the primary business goals are, and provides you with a roadmap, that consists of a set of guiding values, promises and rules that define the way that you and your people behave, focus on and act.

A great model for Strategy (Dr Max Mceown)

Dr Max Mceown is a very clever man who we’ve been following for some time. He wrote a very good book “The Strategy Book” which includes lots of different business models. We like his instant strategy model which you can download below with his kind permission.

At a basic level the strategy model poses 5 questions

    1. Where am I now
    2. What holds me back
    3. Where do I want to get to
    4. How do we do it
    5. How will we measure progress
Download your instant strategy worksheet

 

Simple and effective. Try it, and buy the book  🙂

 

Marketing

Marketing    

Marketing is the act of attracting people to your business with the expectation that some of those people will end up doing business with you. Successful marketing results in a sale, and the sale will occur when the right marketing message hits the right person at the right time.  There are a number of principles that you should consider when marketing your business. They were coined the 7p’s by Jerome Mccarthy in the 1960’s. 

What are The 4p's of marketing

Product – Does your product / service fit the task consumers want it for?

Price – Does the price represent good value for money?

Promotion – How will you promote yourself ? Advertising, Pr, Networking, door to door, telesales, social media are some of the ways.

Place – Is your product or service available in the place where your customers are looking?

What is a marketing plan

The marketing plan is potentially the most important area of a business plan. Especially for well capitalised startups. Your marketing plan will detail the strategy that you will use to market your products to your customers. A marketing  plan identifies your target market, the value proposition of the brand or the product, the campaigns to be initiated, and the key performance indicators that you will use to measure the effectiveness of  your marketing.

What should I include in my marketing plan 

There are 7 points that you should consider and include when creating your marketing campaign. 

  1. Your Client Avatars 
  2. Your messaging 
  3. The media that you’ll use to reach them
  4. How you’ll capture leads
  5. Your sales process
  6. How will you get your customers to buy more, more frequently
  7. How will you stimulate referrals

Advertising 

  • Promotion
  • Social media
  • PR
  • Websites / Seo + PPC
  • Direct response

Avatars

A customer avatar helps you focus in on your target client. An avatar is a detailed profile of your ideal customer. Your avatar(s) focus on one person and outlines everything about them. It goes into much greater depth than a regular marketing persona, providing marketers with many more targeting tools.

Download our worksheet to help you get clear on Avatars

Download your Avatar worksheet

Sales

How can I sell more

There are only two ways to grow your sales, increase the number of leads that you create through marketing or improve your conversion rate through improving your sales process. Both of which require an increase in proactivity.

What is a sales conversion rate

A sales conversion rate is a number  (usually a percentage) that basically tells you how good you are at winning new business. You can calculate your conversion rate by dividing the number of sales you made in a given period, by the  number of leads that you got. To use a simple example, let’s say you got 100 leads in a week and you converted 20 of those leads into customers. Your conversion rate would be 20/100 = .2 or 20%

How can I improve my conversion rate

There are tons of ways that you should be able to improve your sales conversion, but fundamentally you want to do 2 things if you want to sell more, increase trust and reduce scepticism. You should look at your sales process (if you have one) and ensure that you include enough steps to gradually build trust whilst reducing scepticism. In his awesome book How to master the art of selling Tom Hopkins talks about a 4 stage process that contains:

  • Trust – people buy from people they like
  • Need – To sell, you must uncover a need or pain point that you or your product will make better
  • Help – Show them how you can do it
  • Hurry – Encourage them to make a deal.

Things that we know are proven to help improve conversion are:

  • Ensure pre sales (marketing) messaging shows how you solve the problem
  • Target the right people with your marketing using Avatars 
  • Create scripts for each phase of the process
  • Listen well and ask great questions
  • Make sure you have the right systems (crm / marketing automation) in place
  • Provide an unquestionable guarantee
  • Use the power of social proof (testimonials)

What’s a sales process 

A sales process is a business system (written down) which helps you track a prospect from the first interactions with you and your company to the point where they sign on the dotted line and become a customer. Your sales process should provide you with a set of repeatable logical and focussed steps which help you close the sale. Sales processes are often visualised using a funnel, indicating that you need to put more prospects in at the top

You can download our sales process template here

Why do I need a sales process

There are a number of reasons why you should think about creating a sales process for your business, but without doubt the most important reason is that you’ll make more money quicker. Some other benefits for having a clear sales process include:

  • Better organisation 
  • Improved efficiency 
  • Hold your sales team accountable

Theres a blog on the topic here   There’s a great book here    

What is prospecting 

Sales prospecting is the cross section between sales and marketing and is basically the first step in the sales process. Prospecting is the act of proactively searching for new customers that match your client avatar with the expectation that you’ll be able to start a conversation that may lead to a sale.

How do I build trust – Ken Blanchard

Business Planning

What is a business plan?

It’s a written plan that helps describe your business, its goals, its people and its processes and breaks them down into understandable steps.

Do I need a business plan?

Do you want to grow your business? If it’s a yes, then the answer’s yes. Absolutely. 

Running a business without a plan is like filming a movie without a script – it won’t get you the best results.

Planning is essential for the growth of any business whether big or small.

My clients work with me 5 times a year to produce plans for the next 90 days focused on growth.

What should I include in a business plan

Your business plan doesn’t have to be excessively detailed or formal. A simple document that outlines your goals, target audience, sales & marketing strategy & a simple cash flow forecast is sufficient to get you going.

If that still seems a bit excessive, I recommend getting started with a 6w’s plan (below) which can help you get clear on your focus and priorities.

However, if you’re looking for investors or applying for funding, you’ll need to prepare a more formal plan. Keep it simple and ensure that you keep jargon and industry-specific language to a minimum.

Your plan will want to include:

  1. Executive Summary – This is a brief summary of the contents of the plan and should be written last. You need to highlight in 200 words why your business is worth investing in.
  2. Directors Experience – Any investor, be it the bank or otherwise will want to ensure that their money is invested in capable hands. In this section you’ll need to succinctly explain why you are the right person / team for the investment based on your experience skills and knowledge.
  3. The Product or service – Describe succinctly products or services that you will offer. That their benefits are and what will make people want to buy them.
  4. The Market – Who is your customer, what is their avatar, Where do they hang out and what’s their pain.
  5. Marketing Plan – What strategies and tactics are you going to use to get your potential customers to buy
  6. Competitor analysis – Who are you up against, what are their strengths and weaknesses and how are you going to stack the odds in your favour.
  7. Business operations & Systems – How are you going to deliver consistently and what tools and systems do you intend to use.
  8. Financials – What are your expected costs and revenues, including cash flow forecast for 3 years based on assumptions of growth that align with your marketing plan.

 

What’s a 90 day plan

Growing businesses all over the world use 90 day plans to help keep their people focussed and on track.

90 day plans can take many forms; at Oi, we encourage our clients to set 3 SMART business goals as well as goals for their health, personal development & relationships.

Once we have some meaningful goals, we create step by step plans to help break down the goal into bite sized pieces and create a simple week-by-week plan.

If you’d like to create a 90 day plan. Why not join us at a workshop. 

Our clients use our Business Coaching Services  to help them stay motivated and accountable for the actions they need to take to achieve their goals.

 

What's in a 6w's Plan

A 6W’s plan is a simplistic 2 page mini business plan which helps you get clear on some of the fundamental elements of your business; including the customer, the operations/delivery timescales. Anyone can create a 6w document by answering the 6W’s – Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How. 

  • Why are you in business in the first place? 
  • What kind of  business will you run/what will you sell/what is the customer avatar/what are you looking to achieve?
  • Who is your target market/who is your customer/who are your key team members.
  • Where will you operate from and in which markets/where will you be in 5 years time.
  • Ho(w) will you deliver your product/service & How much will you charge/spend?
  • When will you take KEY actions?

Goal Setting

What is goal setting 

At a basic level, it simply means deciding on something you want and making a commitment to go after it.  Success in anything is a direct result of the attainment of a considered goal. Think about it, you can’t succeed at anything without first setting a goal to achieve something.

Why should I set goals 

Setting goals is one of the most basic and fundamental habits that successful people have.   

Jim Rohn said Goals are like a magnet — they pull. And the stronger they are, the more purposeful they are, the bigger they are, the more unique they are, the stronger they pull.

If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you get there? 

In The 7 Habit of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey uses a great analogy when he says that suppose you want to arrive at a specific location in Chicago, but you’re given a map of Detroit, you wouldn’t get to that location in Chicago no matter how hard you tried.

You could be more diligent or double your speed, but your efforts would only succeed in getting you to the wrong place faster.

Setting goals gives you a sense of direction. This way, you’re able to focus only on the actions that get you closer to them.

How should I set goals

You should set meaningful goals that you actually care about so that you’re motivated to pursue them. I always encourage my clients to use the SMART technique for setting goals. It’s a really simple way of helping people get focused on what it is that they actually want to achieve. 

Answering the following questions will ensure that you’re setting yourself up for success:

  • Specific – Does the goal clearly and simply state what you want to achieve?
  • Measurable – Is there a way of establishing when you have achieved it?
  • Achievable – If you work hard, and focus on it can you achieve the goal in the time allocated to it?
  • Relevant – Does the goal make sense and align with your bigger strategy?
  • Time bound – Is there a time frame or deadline clearly stated for completion?

A smart(er) way to set goals

The SMART technique was later adjusted to include a feedback loop. By adding ER. The E. standing for (Evaluate) and the R for (Readjust) the model acknowledges that we should periodically  measure progress and allow for flexibility. In our view it makes the model even more useful.

How can I make sure I achieve my goals 

The biggest challenge with achieving any goal is finding the motivation to consistently work towards it. At the start, it’s easy to stay focused because you’re full of excitement and determination but as time goes by and you fall into a routine, you may start to feel uninspired.

Having an accountability partner will spur you into action and encourage you to stick to the goals and commitments you’ve made.

I created our business & life coaching programme with this knowledge in mind so if you need someone to hold you accountable, I’d love to be the guy.

Confidence

What is confidence

Confidence is belief in yourself. It’s the conviction that you have the ability to meet the challenges of life head on, and that belief that you’ll succeed. Being confident requires a realistic sense of your capabilities and feeling secure in those abilities.

When you project confidence, it helps your credibility, make a strong first impression, deal with pressure, and tackle personal and professional challenges. It’s also an attractive trait, as confidence helps put others at ease.

How can I unshakable self confidence

As someone who’s struggled with confidence on and off for years, there’s a brilliant youtube / Audio by Paul Mckenna which I HIGHLY recommend. I played it every night for 2 weeks whilst I slept and it really works. Some other things that I know work are: 

  • Practice affirmations
  • Visualise yourself as you want to be.
  • Set yourself small achievable goals and tick them off daily.
  • Do something that challenges you every day.
  • Help someone else.
  • Exercise

 

 

What is imposter syndrome

Impostor syndrome is a genuine psychological impairment where you doubt your talents or accomplishments. People with imposter syndrome often have persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. Despite lots of evidence of your competence, people experiencing imposter syndrome are convinced that they do not deserve all they have achieved, and that they have achieved all that they have through luck.

Have I got imposter syndrome

If you’re suffering with any of the following symptoms, it’s possible that you may be suffering from imposter syndrome. 

  • Extreme lack of self confidence.
  • Feelings of inadequacy.
  • Constant comparison to other people.
  • Anxiety.
  • Self doubt.
  • Distrust in one’s own intuition and capabilities.
  • Negative self-talk.
  • Dwelling on the past

How can I beat Imposter syndrome

Having beat imposter syndrome back a number of times throughout my life, there are some strategies that I know work well. 

  • Understand that you’re not alone (loads of people I know have it) 
  • Talk to someone about it
  • Remember and be proud of your achievements
  • Know the value you provide
  • Stop comparing yourself to others
  • Reprogram how you feel about yourself

Networking

What is business networking?

Business networking is a form of marketing that involves building relationships with other business people. Networking can take lots of forms, from informal, infrequent gatherings at sporting events to regular weekly meetings with a strict agenda, and everything in between. The premise of networking is that people typically do business with people that they know, like and trust.

Our networking event Networking in… is the friendliest event on the internet. We meet every two weeks.

Join us and see for yourself.

What are the benefits of networking?

Networking is a great way to create referrals, acquire new business leads, and stay on top of business trends in your industry. People who network make genuine friendships and typically grow their business.

What are the main types of business networking?

You can network in lots of different ways and everyone does it slightly differently. Broadly speaking there are 4 different types of networking groups.

 

  • Casual contact
  • Strong contact
  • Online / Social media networking
  • Local professional organisations

 

Whats Casual contact Networking

Networking In, chamber of commerce 

Casual contact networking groups are usually open to professionals across all industries. They’re relatively easy to join and you get to meet people from a wide range of industries. Whilst there might be an agenda there isn’t usually a requirement to bring visitors or make referrals. 

 

What’s Strong contact Networking

Strong contact networks are more exclusive than casual contact networks.

They typically have more structured agendas with rules that they members must adhere to. Strong contact networking groups typically have a strong focus on referrals and minimise competition between members by only allowing one member per profession. Strong contact networks like BNI can work really well for some businesses and the right person with the right business can generate a lot of referrals. It certainly doesn’t work for everyone though. 

 

What’s online / Social media networking

Online networking events are carried out online. They’re generally more convenient than in-person events. You also get to meet entrepreneurs from all parts of the world – something that is particularly beneficial for digital entrepreneurs.

 

Local/professional organisations / sports teams

These networking groups 

Toastmasters, Rotary club, football teams etc… mission led rather than business led. 

What’s the secret to effective networking?

Networking is not about pitching your products or services. It’s about building relationships with other entrepreneurs and looking for ways to help each other. 

The best connections are created when you help others within your networking group by giving advice, referring customers, or helping promote their business to your audience.

Who are the biggest networking organisations in the UK?

  • BNI 

BNI is a networking organisation with thousands of chapters worldwide. Members pay an annual fee and then join local groups that meet weekly. Their motto, givers gain, encourages members to put others first by giving more than they take.

  • Rotary 

The rotary club is another great networking organisation where different professionals meet to exchange ideas and build relationships.

  • Fore Networking

Fore takes a slightly different approach to networking. They combine both work and play to offer monthly golf/networking sessions.

Business + Life Balance

Why should I aim for a better work life balance?

Simply put, the books of history are littered with “successful people” who were desperately unhappy. Far too many business owners and senior executives put their business above everything. They chase money and power and forget the things in life that  are really important – Relationships with loved ones – Health – Personal development. By making the important things; that are often overlooked big rocks, we end up happier, healthier and having more fun. After all, The Dalai Lama says that happiness is the meaning and purpose of life. So stop reading and go and tell your loved one, you love them 🙂

How can I get a better work life balance?

Decide on the things / people / activities that are most important, and schedule time in your diary to do them (routinely). Simple.

What's The Circle of life

The circle of life is a life coaching tool that helps people establish their feelings towards their life in a number of areas, including health, finances, business, spirituality, relationships & personal development. Completing a wheel of life will help you understand where you’re at, and then reflect on where you’d like to be. 

Download your Circle of Life worksheet

Why should I plan my life

You better have a plan for your life, or you’ll end up living someone else’s plan. Think about it.  The sad fact is that most people spend more time planning their annual holiday than they do putting in place a plan for their lives. If you want to create a better life for yourself, you need to dream it, set goals, put a plan in place and then hustle. 

What is a bucket list

A bucket list is a list of all of the things that you’d like to achieve over a period of time. The psychology behind a bucket list is that once it’s on the list (that’s written down, you’re more likely to look for ways to tick it off. When you tick it off, you achieve something you always wanted to do.

What should I put on my bucket list

The stuff that you always said that you’d love to do, the things your friends do that secretly make you a bit jealous. I endorse people having lists of at least 50 items and amongst others I get people to think about places, people, things, awards and activities.

Dream Boards

A dream board is a visual representation of the most significant things on your bucket list. It’s essentially a collage of pictures that inspire you and remind you of the things that you want to achieve. I encourage my clients to fill their boards with a mix of short, medium and long term goals and the rule is that you can only update your Dreamboard once you’ve done 50% of the things on it.

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