Six Ways Being a Conventional Entrepreneur Can Hurt You
Written by Ashwin Satyanarayana for Gaebler Ventures
Leave your competition in the dust by being adaptable to change. From new technologies, hiring techniques and marketing strategies, change can help you become more competitive. Here are six tips for becoming a cutting-edge entrepreneur.
Change is difficult for us humans and entrepreneurs are no exception.
Small businesses all over the world suffer from "me-too" condition - wherein they do business just like their competition does. Nothing about one offer is more compelling than the other. Not only that, "being conventional" isn't good for the bottom line, most of the time. Here are some ways how being conventional can hurt you, as an entrepreneur.
Change Is Constant In The Business World
Conventional ways of running a business can really hurt you as an entrepreneur. Acknowledge the fact that customers won't do business with you if they find that something better has come along. Things constantly change; customers are smarter today thanks to the availability of information from the Internet (Social media, reviews, forums, news, etc). Word of mouth is more powerful than ever and your brand can be trashed or revered in a matter of minutes. If you don't run with this juggernaut of a change, you will be run over by it.
Find a Better Way to Reach Your Customers
Smaller, more agile and smart, companies have found new ways to reach out to. For instance, Internet marketing is big, it's resoundingly effective, really inexpensive and mind-bogglingly result-oriented. Are you still banking on conventional ways of marketing? How do you reach out to your customers? Do you still use the prohibitively expensive print, TV and outdoor media? Have you tapped into the power of social media, email marketing, and using pay per click campaigns?
Try New Powerful Selling Techniques
Do you still travel all over the country (or even the world) to sell your products and services? Are you burning your bottom line by feeding your expensive, but unproductive, sales staff? Are you guilty of spending countless business hours trying to develop channels through dealers, distributors, etc?
It's not to say that these ways of selling your products and services are out-dated. They are still effective. However, there are smarter ways to sell: launch an affiliate program, deploy an e-commerce website, promote on the Internet, differentiate your product/service offerings, use various other platforms to sell, try offline affiliates by offering more incentives for them to sell your products. You just have to move, things will fall into place.
Pay Less and Get Better Staff
Are you still spending thousands of dollars on trying to look for, hire and retain staff? If you are any other conventional business owner, you would have already faced the brunt of attrition and a rapidly shrinking work force. It's difficult to get good people and even if you do, it's expensive to keep them happy and motivated enough to work.
Enter the new ways of getting talent - hiring freelancers. Go to a site like elance.com, guru.com or odesk.com and pick your people from there. Hire them for a small task and check them out. If you are satisfied by their performance, you could always pay them for their full-time services.
Make Your Marketing Dollar Accountable
For businesses following conventional ways of marketing, calculating the returns on investments has always been a challenge. Like David Ogilvy of O & M advertising agency said something in the lines of "I don't know which part of my marketing dollars invested brings me results." You now have ways to find out what kinds of revenue you make if you invest X dollars. You can also track your various marketing vehicles and check whether your campaigns on the Internet did well when compared to the newspaper. What got you more business - the hoarding or the TV ad? Also, you can automate most of your marketing itself thanks to technology and the Internet. The conventional, "spray-and-pray" theory is a thing of the past; now, it's "invest-this-earn-that."
The Benefits of Technology
Do you have a manufacturing business? Do you provide services of any sort? No matter what kind of business you run, there is no way technology can't find itself as a core part of your business.
In more ways than you can fathom, technological advances have a direct correlation to business profitability. Use it to make your business smarter, serve your customers quickly and efficiently, streamline your operations, automate or semi-automate some of your business processes and much more. Business success is never found under a rock.
Ash has an undergraduate degree in engineering and an MBA from Ohio University. Today he is a corporate trainer, business coach and a freelance writer.
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