Every business owner that I know is focused on numbers. They either feed off of them daily or procrastinate exploring them. Regardless of a business owner’s relationship to numbers, you can be sure that their business data influences their mood on any given day.
In business, it is always about the numbers. But which numbers should you be looking at?
I get exposed to a lot of data in my line of work. Not just the data for Bumblebee, but more so the data for my clients. I see web traffic analytics data, lead tracking data, social post analytics, email campaign data, sales data, and so on.
I also learned something about numbers a long time ago – we really don’t speak the same language.
I was never good at math in school and I won’t even discuss my performance in the college statistics class I took my sophomore year. And in my early days of selling, I would break into a sweat when my boss would ask “what’s the GP on that project?” And I won’t even describe my mental condition when told “I need your projected sales for next quarter.”
What I learned about my relationship with numbers was that I always had a kind of gut feeling about them. While I couldn’t do the math and calculations with any style or grace, I always had a good sense about them. What I also learned about numbers is that we aren’t always paying attention to the numbers that matter when it comes to improving outcomes, and that is what I want to explore through this post. Read more…
Memories of the pain and suffering you experienced the last time or possibly even the last few times; the last thing you want to do is repeat that experience.
I can’t say that I blame you, but you really shouldn’t use that as an excuse to not do what is best to grow your company. Have heart and read through as I have some suggestions to help you, but first, let’s see if you need to undergo a refresh or redesign.
I still hear that social media is a waste of time from attendees in a workshop, students in a business class, at business-networking events, and sometimes at a chance meeting.
There are still large groups of entrepreneurs and solopreneurs that have yet to try social media. Or, they have tried social media and found it to be a total waste of their time.
Well, I love a challenge so I will often ask them about which social networks they joined and what they did with them. The answers are relatively the same each time.
‘Well, we set up the profiles and posted things about the company, product or service.’ They might have even set up a coupon or campaign of some sort. Yet, nothing materialized. I even hear what a waste of time blogging is, and again, when asked to describe their efforts it goes like this – ‘we set up a blog and hired someone to write posts using our keywords.’
I have no doubt that these efforts failed to earn any results. In support of the further complaints of social media being a waste of time, the point is that no time was really spent and no real effort invested, and as the old profits of yore said, ‘you reap what you sow’.
This probably isn’t even a question that has come to mind. Companies that produce receipts at the time of purchase think about contact information and coupons, but businesses that produce invoices for their products or services seem to put little thought into the design of their invoices.
This recently came up while I was conducting a communications audit for a new client, and again as I was teaching a branding class. The attention to details placed on invoices typically has to do with the listing of items, pricing, surcharges, taxes, totals, terms, addresses and remittance details. Standard templates are often used and for the most part all appear to look the same – boring, uninspired, and truthfully – down right rude.
Getting paid for services rendered or items supplied is the single most important part of a business’s health and financial well-being, and yet so little thought is put into the design and content from a branding and marketing perspective.
I’m also guessing that businesses work on the assumption that an accounting department clerk or general administrative staff person is the only one who will see the invoice and so there is no need to dress it properly. You would be wrong on several levels here. First, someone in management or possibly even an owner may review invoices for approval first, and those staff people – they can be the grease or the cog in the wheel to getting you paid.
The invoice is the last touch in a transaction and has as much weight as a proposal or estimate. The opportunity to stand apart from your competitors, an opportunity to cement your brand, and a moment of truth that they made a good decision to do business with you and hope to again exist with your invoice.
Go ahead, pull out one of your invoices and take a good look. Then pull out your logo, your tag line – or brand promise, and your mission statement and evaluate how your invoice reflects on your brand.
I’m guessing you’re thinking that it is okay. The invoice is doing the job it was intended to do, but ask yourself – can it be more? Can the invoice communicate a meaningful difference between you and your competitor, or help to make this part of the transaction something they would actually look forward to, or possibly generate another order right on the spot?
The following are some suggested changes to make, and who knows, your clients might actually look forward to your invoices.
So, now that you have your invoice out in front of you and you’ve read this post, check your average days outstanding. Implement these ideas and check to see if there is an improvement.
Goodness, the year is 2014 and companies and organizations still aren’t getting email right. While I could go on and on about poor practices in email marketing, I thought I would focus this post on just one point – hopefully to effectively get the point across so that you don’t make this mistake.
I realize I posted on email marketing fails just last month, but that post covered several points on the topic. This post is dedicated to images in emails, or more accurately – your image as the email.
Why must your entire email be an image? I don’t understand what it is that you think we are going to see. Today’s technical environment is one of safety and speed so images don’t download automatically. Most people get their emails today on their smart phones or tablets first – and they are usually set to not download images automatically either.
So, if you were sending an email blast out as part of a marketing effort – why would you set yourself up for failure? The image in this post is from an email that I received this morning. This is not uncommon, but this morning it triggered a ‘what the…’ for me. There is not one single word to be seen until I scroll all the way to the bottom (note to readers – notice that I said I had to scroll all the way down to see anything – hint, hint). Read more…