Score a Goal or Make a Resolution

How do you develop your business strategy each year? Do you focus on goals or resolutions?

Goals are measurable accomplishments that can be complex and made up of many separate mini-goals.

Resolutions, however, are simpler, behavior-driven activities. Resolutions are meant to give you motivation and encouragement.

As we learn from the challenges of the recession in 2010, here are a few of the top business resolutions for this year:
  1. I will not let email rule my day.
  2. I will embrace social media.
  3. I will start a business blog.
  4. I will try new marketing activities.
  5. I will stop shying away from networking events

While these resolutions are meant to give you motivation, they are too simplified to use as measures for your success. But you can develop goals out of any of these resolutions. It's about staying focused and excited about all you want to achieve in 2011.

Networking Strategies for the New Year

If you’re having difficulty developing your leads into actual sales, try these networking tips. Following a dedicated plan for every new contact you make can help turn names into a bigger bottom line.

  1. Implement a database application that allows you to record key targeting data about prospects when they first call you or when you meet them at a networking function. Create targeting segmentation flags when you input them into that database so you can group them for subsequent email or calling campaigns about a specific product or service.
  2. Record EVERY inbound inquiry the day you receive it. Don’t forget to include what you are providing the prospect—sending information, preparing a quote or scheduling a meeting. Also input each new prospect you meet at networking events within 24 hours.
  3. Create customized, targeted email templates to the prospects you meet at networking events and send them an initial email within 24 hours.
  4. After sending the first email, schedule and make the first call to follow-up 24-48 hours later. Don’t skip this call! When the prospect answers the phone, don’t jump in to ask right away for an appointment or tell what you can do or want to do for them. Engage them in a conversation focusing on their business first.
  5. Send a second email 2- 3 days later if you haven’t received a call back. Reiterate your desire to help them and their business. Acknowledge their busy schedule and offer to meet them at their convenience. Let them know you will give a follow-up call in a day or two.
  6. Schedule the next call for 48 hours later. Leave a similar message to your last email.
  7. Put them into a regular schedule to receive tips or a newsletter from you. It’s important to stay in front of them so that when they do need your type of service or product, they will think of you!

The Effects of Coffee on Collaboration

In stressful meetings, does coffee help or hurt the situation? Lindsay St. Claire, Robert C. Hayward and Peter J. Rogers attempted to answer that question in a new study, which is summarized here by the BPS Research Digest: “For two men collaborating or negotiating under stressful circumstances, caffeine consumption was bad news, undermining their performance and confidence. By contrast, for pairs of women, drinking caffeine often had a beneficial effect on these same factors. The researchers suspect the differential effect of caffeine on men and women may have to do with the fact that women tend to respond to stress in a collaborative, mutually protective style (known as ‘tend and befriend’) whereas men usually exhibit a fight or flight response.”

How to Capitalize on Your Business Name

This month’s issue of Fast Company magazine features an interesting article discussing the art of brand names. The article focuses on Lexicon, a marketing agency with a track record for creating iconic brand names like Blackberry and the Colgate Wisp. The process they use is part science and part serendipity. It is a telling exploration of an effort that many large businesses pour months of time and millions of dollars into.

How much time and money did you spend identifying the name you were going to use for your business? Perhaps the name just came to you. Or maybe you asked dozens of people and went back and forth about it. Instead, try asking yourself if you really know what your brand name is saying about your business. Potential customers will likely hear the name of your business before they hear anything else. Once they hear that name, they are also likely to have a first reaction to it.

To help you get the most out of your brand name, here is a list of five different brand naming methods:

1. Familial. Some of the world’s greatest companies started this way -- simply by taking the name of their founder. If your business fits this model, chances are you have a strong personality at the head of the company. This person is likely the voice of the company and will give people a personal connection to the business. It is important to provide potential customers many opportunities to relate to the individual. The stronger the relationship between the personality and the customer, the more business the company will retain.

2. Logical. Logic is a great and often underrated way to name a business. Next Day Blinds is a great example of this, and if your business was named with this in mind, the biggest benefit you have is that it is the type of business you have is immediately obvious to anyone who hears your name.

3. Thematic. A theme can evoke an emotion for an entire category. Restaurant owners tend to be particularly active at using this type of brand name to describe their establishment. The added benefit of this is that going with a theme provides you with a canvas from which to create an entire experience for your customer.

4. Localized. The most important aspect of a name like this is location. By using a specific location in the name of your business, you have highlighted that your location is going to be a key reason for customers to visit you. Much of the value you can gain from this is by having smart ways to reach out to potential customers who are already close to the location you want them to be at.

5. Random. For some businesses, having a unique name is the most important thing simply because the name can help you to stand out and be memorable. Consistency is the key to making a name like this work for your business. Make sure you use it on all your printed materials, that it is repeated often and that it is integrated into everything that you do.

Article based on work written by Rohit Bhargava.


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