ranone eNewsletter
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ranone business advisor
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grow-your-business
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IN THIS ISSUE:
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- How to Build "A Client Journey Map" - Secrets to Keep Your Business Looking Good
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- Keeping Track Of Your Business - 4 Steps to Writing a Great eBook
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How to Build "A Client Journey Map"

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So what the heck is a client journey map? It is a way of documenting the total client experience across all contact points of your business on their path to a sale. How are clients interacting with you and where are the gaps?

Analyzing your business in this way is important because it helps you improve your client’s experience by looking at it from their perspective - not yours. The better that experience, the more chance you have of holding on to them and the more profitable that relationship will be.

What we have learned is that your client's journey through your business doesn’t follow a constant path. They may interact with some touch points and completely miss others.

A touch point is any part of your business where your client interacts with you. It might be by receiving an invoice or submitting a form on your website or phoning your business for help.

Seeing your business through the eyes of your client can help you decide if it is more important to update your website or instead send some of your team on a telephone answering course.

Here are some tips to help you create a client journey map:

1. Identify your target market. Understand who they are. Considering the 80/20 rule where 80% of your sales probably comes from around 20% of your customers. Identify a specific gender, age bracket, income level, marital status or other demographics that really help you to hone in on that ideal client.

2. Your client journey. Prepare a flowchart which shows the various paths that your clients experience as they learn more about your products. If they are navigating your website, what is their experience like? What pages would they typically refer to before making the call? What is their experience during the call? What is their experience as they move towards the sale?

3. What are your client’s goals? Your clients are only interested in their goals, not yours. How do they interact with your business in order to achieve those goals? If they are looking for instructions on how easy it is to use your product, are they able to easily find an explanatory video?

4. Identify all of the touch points. Look at all the areas in your business where your clients have an interaction. How does their experience at each of these touch points help them realize their goals? Does your blog answer the questions? Do your testimonials help? Is your team trained to identify issues and deal with them on the phone?

5. Identify the gaps. Find the touch points which aren’t delivering as they should be and put a process in place to ensure that your client’s issues are being addressed in a way that makes sense to them.

Mapping the process helps ensure that your marketing collateral and sales procedures focus clearly on your client, improving your chances of success.

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Keeping Track Of Your Business

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a website that works
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While bringing in new clients, developing marketing strategies and managing accounts are all sound and necessary practices for a small business, they do not, in themselves, ensure the overall health of your business.

Monitoring progress throughout your business is like attaching a pace-maker. It aims to provide a steady and rhythmic pace for the business to follow in order to prevent flat-lining.

The first two areas that should constantly be monitored are cash flow and incoming sales leads. Without either of these, your business is on the fast track to failure. Improper cash flow management is the #1 killer of small businesses - and we don’t want you to become a statistic!

Keep track of money going in and out, as it is happening. A cash flow forecast is the best way to consistently reduce the chances of something going wrong.

Sales leads need to be managed. Every business manager needs to know how many leads their marketing activities are attracting, how many are converting into prospects (this gives you an idea if your marketing is attracting the attention of the right type of customer) and how many of those prospects are being converted into clients.

Another important piece of the puzzle is measuring the extent to which you hold on to the clients you have worked so hard to acquire. We refer to this metric as your client retention rate.

Focusing on generating sales leads without having a strategy in place to increase the amount of time those customers stay with you is a bit like running a bath without first putting the plug-in!

Knowing all of these essential numbers can provide you with information on which part of your marketing and selling processes are working and, even more importantly, which ones aren’t. That allows you to focus on the areas that are more likely to improve your Return on Investment.

Assign and assess key performance indicators (or KPI’s) which are necessary to achieve your most important objectives. Don’t introduce KPI’s just for the sake of having them. As in the dashboard of a car, the fewer the better and the more impact they will have in helping you reach your destination the more prominence they should have.

Implement monthly meetings dedicated to analyzing these KPI’s so that swift action can be taken to correct any part of your business that isn’t performing as it should.

Monitoring the overall health and success of your business can also be improved by benchmarking. Knowing the numbers and, more specifically, the ratios being achieved by comparable top performers can highlight areas in your business which can be improved.

We have found this is a great way of achieving your goals in the most efficient manner.

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Secrets to Keep Your Business Looking Good

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selling your business
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Just as business health should never be neglected, it is equally important to present a tight, clean and stream-lined look to your customers.

We tend to be attracted to order and cleanliness, and will usually choose the business that seems to have it together on the outside, regardless of their internal situation. Presenting a well-cultivated persona, both online and in real life, is vital to a success small business.

Start by implementing consistency within your brand. There should be a common theme throughout your marketing materials; your website, business cards and other marketing materials should reflect the same feel. Seamlessly tie your company’s message into each channel and ensure that your clients can easily identify with your brand.

This can be down to the smallest details such as choosing a universal font and color to be used in all materials or on a higher level such as defining your company’s key marketing message.

Regularly update your website. Your website should be on a continual growth plan- it should never remain stagnant. It should constantly be in motion with regular updates.

A great website incorporates visually appealing graphics, content-driven text, user-friendly accessibility, and overall simplicity to promote your brand. Your website is a direct reflection of how you want your business to be perceived.

Take a look at the feel of your marketing materials and evaluate the attractiveness. A clean and elegant aesthetic exudes confidence and professionalism and can generate a feeling of comfort in potential clients.

Be consistent throughout. In presenting a front to your clients you want to both engage and be memorable.

Much as we may smell cologne and remember a person, the purpose of your branding is to evoke a positive sensory memory connected to your product or service.

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4 Steps to Writing a Great eBook

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get wireless stay wireless
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We are all coming to terms with the hype on in-depth content and the importance it holds in driving your business’ web reputation. A useful way of achieving this is by way of the eBook.

The perceived complications and expense of publishing hard copy has practically made this traditional medium obsolete. Today it has never been easier to wax philosophical on industry topics of your choice which allows you to share your opinions with the world (wide-web that is…).

Step 1: Brainstorming. Think of this as your old-fashioned word cloud based on your areas of expertise. Make a list of all the topics you feel confident enough to write about - this will help narrow down the options and determine where your most in-depth knowledge exists.

Struggling to come up with that long list? Ask yourself, what do others often ask you for advice on? What do people turn to you for? What do you spend time researching? Now choose the one that makes you the most excited, as passion will be a driving force in the completion of this task!

Step 2: Research the gaps. Now that you have identified your topic, search far and wide to see how this expertise may already be in play.

eBooks are a numbers game- identify a market niche in which your topic would be filling a gap. That niche should relate very closely to the target market you focus on with your marketing collateral. Purchase and read some of the similarly-themed books to get an idea of what works and what does not.

Step 3: That’s right- write! Begin with a detailed outline; this is the best way to determine your flow and pace of the book, as well as nailing down the essential content.

Some writers find it beneficial to begin by creating a list of titles for both inspiration and direction. Others find that firstly creating the table of contents provides structure.

Step 4: Edit, design a cover and get published! As your eBook will represent your brand, we suggest you hire a professional editor and designer to ensure the highest standard.

Once it is ready to go leverage all that hard work! Promote it on your website ensuring that prospects provide some of their details in order to download it for free. You can then add those details to your marketing list. Include a link to the eBook in your newsletters or included within any proposals that you email to prospects.

A well-researched and nicely presented eBook can really highlight your credibility, improving your chances of converting more prospects into clients.

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WHEN IN DOUBT, ASK ABOUT!

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Small businesses may never have the budgets that compete with the big guys but that does not mean there isn’t a wealth of resources readily available. Entrepreneurs are like-minded and tend to be generous with their advice - not sure how to handle a new challenge? Reach out to other business owners or join an industry group to bounce ideas off of each other.

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