Start Your Home Business in a Month: Week Four
Market, Assess and Success
This is the fourth part of a four-part series on starting a home business in a month. If you missed the first three weeks, which are about planning and putting your business foundation in place, and marketing, you can review them here:
At this point, you’ve done your research and put your business foundation in place, and began marketing. During this last week, you’ll do more marketing, create programs to ensure you’re getting the most bang for your marketing effort, and assess to make sure you’re being effective and efficient.
Day 22: Answer Questions on Forums
Marketing is about offering a solution to your target market. One of the best ways to do this is to go to the places they’re talking about their “problem” and help them. Online groups and forums are the ideal spot to learn what your market needs, and to give free advice as a way to build rapport and trust that will have them checking out your business. You can find groups and forums through a search on your topic and through social media (i.e. Facebook and LinkedIn have many groups). The key to success in groups is to be helpful, not a sales person.
Day 23: Consider Paid Advertising Options
To be honest, I avoid paid advertising as much as possible; however, depending on your business, it might be a great way to get customers and clients quickly. Today, many people are getting great results from Facebook Ads, which offers the ability to target your ad to specific market segments. Other advertising options include buying banner space on websites, sponsoring features on websites, and ezine ads. When paying for advertising, make sure your ad is going in front of your target market and write an offer that speaks directly to them.
Day 24: Develop a Reward Program for Loyal Customers/Clients to Encourage Referrals
The most responsive and least expensive form of marketing comes through referrals. Word-of-mouth marketing is free and the people who are referred to you are more likely to buy because someone has said something nice about you. Encourage people to make referrals by offering great products and services. Go beyond that by offering rewards, such as a discount when they send a referral. In fact, consider having a loyalty program (for repeat business), regardless of referrals. People like to do business with companies that appreciate them.
Day 25: Create a Customer Service Policy
Many people don’t think about customer service until they have customers asking questions or complaining. How you respond to customers will affect not only if they continue to work with you, but also what they tell others about you. Start by having guarantees and refund policies clearly outlined on your website or contract. Make it easy for clients and customers to get support and respond to them quickly. Always be professional, even toward customers or clients who might not deserve it.
Day 26: Deliver Quality Products and Services
This is a no-brainer, but now that you’re a few weeks into your business, it’s a great time to review your products and services to make sure they’re delivering on your promise. Is there something you can do to make them better? Remember, the better your products and services, the more likely people will buy from you again and tell others about you.
Day 27: Creating a Marketing Schedule
Now that you’ve implemented many marketing techniques, review what’s working and what isn’t to develop a marketing calendar that includes something each day of the week. For example, I don’t write or update every day, but I post Home Business content to social media daily. Items to have on your schedule include social media posts, email marketing, blog updates, group/forum visits and whatever else you’re using to find and attract your customers and clients.
Day 28: Follow up with prospects.
Prospects are people in your target market, many of whom may have expressed interest in what you have, but haven’t actually bought from or hired you. Too many entrepreneurs don’t follow up with their prospects, which is unfortunate, because many future sales can be made by staying in touch. Following up doesn’t mean you have pester people for a sale. Following up can include contacting prospects by phone or email to see if they have questions. They can be added to your updates list where you can periodically let them know about news, sales and other goings-ons in your business.
When it comes to buying, timing is often a key. You can’t be there at the right time, if you’re not staying in touch.
Day 29: Follow up with current and past clients and customers.
Are your clients and customers happy with your product or service? Are they struggling to get the results they wanted from what they bought from you? The best way to find out is to ask. A great way to build repeat and referral clients and customers is by following up after the sale to ask them if they have questions or feedback. Once or twice a year, do a survey asking for feedback and ideas on your business. Successful business es deliver what customers/clients need. The best way to know if you’re doing a good job is to ask your current and past clients.
Further, by staying in touch, you give them an opportunity to buy again, plus your attentiveness will encourage referrals.
Day 30: Fortify Yourself
You have started a business, you’re marketing it, and hopefully, you’re beginning to see results. However, you might also be experiencing setbacks, frustrations, and even failures. Success in a home requires stamina, persistence, tenacity and a never give-up attitude. You need commitment and tricks to keep you moving forward when you feel like quitting. Some of these tricks include:
- Reading or listening to success and motivational materials.
- Attending trainings or seminars in your industry to get new ideas and connect with others.
- Participate in a mastermind group or get a mentor for feedback and tips.
- Take care of yourself physically as well, with lots of sleep, a healthy diet, and regular exercise.
Day 31: Evaluate, Tweak, and Keep On Keepin’ On
Every month or so, assess what’s going on in your business. What marketing efforts brought the most results. Of those that fell short, study them and see if you can’t improve them. Or simply get rid of them and focus instead on what’s working. Are there common customer support issues that you can fix? Efficiency, getting top results from the least amount of effort, is all about focusing on what’s working and eliminating the stuff that doesn’t. You can’t become efficient if you don’t evaluate what’s going on in your business.
You’ve done it. In 31 days you’ve started and begun building a business. Now it’s time to keep doing what you need to do to find and reach your market, and provide the best quality product and service possible.