You’ve registered your business name, received your ABN, developed a business plan and taken all of the necessary steps to start providing your products or services to the public. So what’s next? How do you start building a reliable sales pipeline and ultimately, get new clients to help sustain your business, and grow it, too?
How do I get new clients?
Surprisingly, this is one question we hear time and time again. More often than not, it’s this question that is pushed to the back of the pile while the short term focus of building a new business takes priority. But, what about the long term? The countless hours and tireless efforts that have been invested often go to waste when a new business goes to market, and more often than not, it’s because the long term goals haven’t been considered. You could have the perfect business plan in place – you’ve identified your niche, established a point of difference, have a great understanding of your competitors, hired any support staff you require and now there’s nothing left to do but start. Unfortunately, getting clients isn’t as easy as some startup business operators think. It takes time, dedication and, yes, financial investment to attain new clients and customers. So, where do you start?
1. Start by talking
Tell people what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Know your target market and go where they go to network – events, conferences, meetups and expos are great places to kick things off. Check out Eventbrite if you’re short on ideas or want to find upcoming events in your area. Despite the technologically driven environment we live in, face to face communication and good ol’ fashioned word of mouth are still some of the best marketing assets you can have to develop relationships and attain new clients.
2. Get a website
Building relationships in person is great, but what else can you do to get new clients on board? Once you’ve established rapport, where do you send your potential customers to take the next step? It’s astounding how many small businesses still operate without an active online presence – whether that be through a website or other online channels such as social media. Taking your business online is hands down one of the best investments a small business can make. Not only do you now have an easily accessible destination to send potential clients, it offers a platform to outline your services and pricing and explain to potential customers why they should choose your business over your competitors. With the ability to add customised forms and develop content specifically tailored to the needs of your target audience, your website is often your first port of call for customers looking for the products or services you offer and allows the opportunity for you to collect and gather their details for further marketing opportunities.
3. Invest in Advertising
You might have heard of a little thing called Google. Okay, let’s be honest – it’s pretty big. In fact, it accounts for approximately 90% of all search traffic, with the remaining 10% spread across the smaller search engines such as Yahoo! and Bing. With this much traffic attributed to Google, you can imagine that competition to appear on the first results page is fierce at best. Doing so takes time, an optimised website and a bit of trial and error, but with dedication it is certainly achievable. In the short term however, there are alternative solutions such as Google Adwords, which allow you to place paid ads in search results for specific keywords or search terms. Not only will this give your business instant visibility in Google, but the additional click throughs to your website will help build credibility and in turn your website’s’ organic reach. True to the old adage of ‘You’ve got to spend money to make money’, posting ads will require a financial investment, however with the correct strategy in place, has the potential to yield considerable reward.
Over to you
As you can see, it takes time, dedication and financial investment to attract new clients. With that said, if you take the time to understand your market and put in place the appropriate steps to help reach them, you’re well on your way to building your database and generating a healthy sales pipeline.
Get a professionally designed and built website for $0 upfront* and start driving customer growth. Each package comes with 12 months of ongoing support.
The changing landscape of the Community Sector is being driven by mass reforms within the aged care and disability services sectors. This rapid evolution is forcing non-government organisations to rethink their position within the market to ensure a competitive advantage.
Why this is important in the Disability & Aged Care Sectors
One of the major necessities of successful marketing is having a comprehensive understanding of the environment in which you operate. This is of significant importance in the disability and aged care sectors as more and more businesses enter the market in order to capitalise on more open markets created by person-centred and consumer directed service delivery.
Most organisations have, at the very least, the standard marketing tools and functions in place – a website, an occasional newsletter to clients and maybe one or two social media accounts. Although this is a very good starting point, without understanding the market in which you are operating, efforts to increase engagement are often misguided and end up falling flat.
Ask yourself these 3 questions:
- Do you understand what makes your organisation different to your major competitors?
- Are you finding it increasingly difficult to compete against new competitors?
- Do you have a plan or strategy in place to attract customers and drive growth?
Without an understanding of the impact these things can have on your broader marketing efforts, your organisation will find it increasingly difficult to thrive. So, where does this leave you?
Time to take action
Whether you’re just entering the market or are an established organisation, there’s no better time than now to undertake an audit of your current positioning. This will help you and your team to identify any areas that may require improvements or discover opportunities that you may be missing out on. Either way, having a better understanding of where you sit within the competitive landscape will provide valuable insight into what steps you need to take to position yourself for success and drive financial growth.
Start with your brand
How you communicate, what you communicate, when you communicate, what your values are and the emotional reaction you want your customers to feel when engaging with your business are all crucial parts that make up your brand. Unfortunately, these defining elements can be afterthoughts, or more often than not, neglected altogether. By reviewing your current brand and asking yourself a few simple questions about where it currently stands, you are well on your way to establishing yourself as a serious competitor in the disability and aged care sectors.
To help you get started, we’ve developed a comprehensive guide to help you through this process and give you a valuable resource to share with and include your staff and stakeholders. Our free Position Your Brand for Success Guide provides comprehensive insight about where to start and what to think about to distinguish your business and drive financial growth in the Community Sector.
Where to start and what to think about to distinguish your business and drive financial growth in the Community Sector.
When we decided to update our website at the start of the year, the team spent hours writing, rewriting and fine tuning the copy on every single page until it was perfect. Developing content is often one of the most difficult (and important) aspects of defining your brand, and for us, we wanted to make sure it was just right. After all, we were developing our voice – how we would communicate our message and how that message would be perceived by the masses. It had to be perfect.
As a brand, we decided that if we were going to be heard, we needed to be bold, and this was reflected throughout all of our messaging. One of the subtleties that has truly stuck with me however, was in the form our Call to Action…
Make it Happen – Small Business Advice that Everyone should adopt.
At the time, it seemed like a simple phrase to use as a creative alternative to ‘Contact’ or ‘Enquire.’ Now however, as we delve even deeper into our business and continue pushing the boundaries in all directions, it’s becoming one of our defining attributes – our ethos, if you will.
Truth is, running a small business is tough – a sentiment to which many of our clients and partners can also attest. Hours are long, the workload immense, and we’re surprised the coffee machine hasn’t spontaneously combusted from overuse. So what is it that drives us and pushes us through the seemingly endless roadblocks? It’s our passion for what we do, our passion for the success of our clients and most of all, our drive to make it happen, no matter the circumstance. We’re in it because we love it – and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
This doesn’t just apply to our own business of course – it applies to that of our clients’ too. We’re often engaged by people who want to work with Amergin based solely on our credibility. This speaks volumes to us as a business, because it’s that ethos – those three short words – that got us to where we are today, and it’s that same driver that we apply to all the work we put out. After all, without our valued clients, Amergin as we know it may not even exist.
For those of you are going through a similar phase of starting and maintaining a small business in today’s entrepreneurial landscape, I implore you to keep pushing. The days won’t get shorter and the workload will keep piling up, but as the old adage goes, you only get out what you put in. Keep pushing the boundaries, keep working, keep doing. When everything seems overwhelming or like you’re fighting an uphill battle, remember why you decided to do it in the first place. Make it happen and enjoy it for what it is – yours.
In any competitive business marketplace, how do you fly the flag to get noticed? Here are 5 marketing tips you can adopt that will help elevate your business.
5 Marketing Tips
1. Define Your Marketing Goals
Know what you want to achieve and then map a pathway to get there. Your marketing objectives should support your business goal and aligning these means your efforts will be strategic and help you make a real difference to your business.
2. Know Who You Are Targeting
If you place five different bits of bait on a fishing hook and you catch a fish, how do you know what bait worked? It’s important to market yourself with purpose. By this I mean understand your target audience; create an identifiable business persona based on this target market; and, tailor your message to reach this audience. Doing these three things will always give you better results than trying to sell to everyone.
3. Understand Your Competition
If you don’t know who you’re competing against, how do know what makes you different? Pick three competitors who you feel pose the biggest threat to your business. Learn their strengths, weaknesses, point of difference, their target market and most importantly your opportunities to effectively compete against them.
4. Define your Unique Selling Position
Once you’ve established your opportunity, define your Unique Selling Position (USP). Convert this into a message that targets your audience and communicate throughout your website, collateral and advertising.
5. Have Foresight
Have a good understanding of the business environment you’re operating in. Stay informed on industry trends and predicted change. If you’re an innovator, you’ll be one of the businesses that not only anticipates change, but initiates it.
By following these marketing tips for your business, you’ll be well on your way to having a competitive edge in no time.
Starting a small business is one of the toughest yet most rewarding experiences you can undertake (as the entire Amergin team can truly attest). If you can survive your first year, you’re in for the ride of your life. If you can’t — well, we don’t believe in that word. Keep trying and learn from your mistakes.
You’ve got the idea, you’ve got the passion and you’ve got the drive, but what else do you need to consider to help push your small business to the next level?
There’s no simple answer to this question. However, over the next few months we’ll break down some of the non-negotiables when it comes to effectively running and marketing your business.
We’ll kick things off with an unmistakably important, yet often overlooked aspect of small business: Your Brand Strategy.
A common misconception that many small businesses have is that their logo is their brand, and often stay fixated on this before looking at the overall picture. Don’t get me wrong, your logo does matter as it identifies your brand visually, but that’s just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to your overall brand strategy.
Take a Step Back
Before you get too carried away with how your brand will identify visually, take a step back and ask yourself the following:
How does my brand communicate? An established Tone of Voice unifies your brand consistently across all channels. It’s not just about what you say – it’s how you (and importantly, your team members) say it.
Am I being consistent? Cohesive messaging helps establish brand recognition. Keep your messaging consistent across all channels (whether on or offline) so that your brand doesn’t appear disconnected. Keep your visual representation aligned with your messaging.
What’s the rush? The small business life is busy and your days are filled with a multitude of tasks. It’s important not to rush through these initial stages of building your brand. After all, it’s effectively laying the foundations of your business to which will help drive growth in the long term. Remember, it’s a long-term game and Rome wasn’t built in a day.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to defining your brand, but by simply asking yourself these questions the process is already underway. Stick to it and you will see results.
What other aspects of your brand strategy have you focused on? Let us know in the comments below.
I stumbled across a powerful YouTube clip today and now find myself writing this article on a Sunday night. While I won’t tell you this clip will change your life forever, if you do have 18 minutes spare this week, I highly recommend you watch it. But first, let’s take a step back and build some context.
Understanding individual purpose in life is an ongoing battle most of us struggle with. In reality, most of us won’t find the answer (at least while we’re alive) and certainly not in its entirety. So, we look to different people and places to draw our inspiration in the hope of finding some answers. And as we get older and change as human beings, so do the inspirations we draw upon to drive us forward.
So when I tell my six year old son the most important thing he can do is to love himself, I say this with absolute confidence. If you can do this, you will undeniably break through the fear and and self-limiting beliefs that hold you back from your true potential. You will truly be inspired by positive change and your purpose in this world will become much clearer.
Once you learn to love yourself, you’ll be able to “live life fearlessly”. Enjoy!
The changing face of disability services
Today, we’re seeing a growing segment of Australians realising they are no longer fulfilled by their jobs. Many are forced to work longer hours, expected to do more than ever before and with fewer resources. These expectations have left thousands of people working in organisations across Australia – quite simply – worn out.
While we’ve seen mining booms come and go, Australians are looking for new ways to build a business in a secure marketplace and move away from the old dynamic that’s simply not working anymore. The good news for the tired workforce is that Australia is poised to enter a significant economic shift that will change the landscape, forever. According to a recent Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) survey, Australia ranks third for total early-stage entrepreneurial activity among innovation-driven economies.
An agile Australian economy will need creators, innovators, start-ups and entrepreneurs – more people will need to create, rather than apply for, their job.
So where does this opportunity present itself – technology startups? In part, yes. Technology will continue to shape our daily lives and thus economic and employment influence. However, a fundamental shift in the way governments conceptualise and fund essential support services is also creating new opportunities for innovative service providers wanting to give back to their communities.
For instance, the National Disability and Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a new way of providing individualised support for Australians with disability, their families and carers across Australia. With the previous state disability systems throughout Australia seen as inefficient, fragmented, unfair, underfunded and leaving people with disability without the support they needed, the NDIS provides a national response to move Australia forward.
The NDIS presents huge growth opportunities for Australian businesses. As a Federal Government initiative with bipartisan political support, its future is secured. Once it’s fully operational, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will be one of the biggest Government-funded programs after Medicare.
As a result, the disability services market is set to expand dramatically in the coming years, creating significant opportunities for the existing service sector and for new entrants, as well as mainstream businesses seeking to make their services accessible and inclusive. Nationally, the level of expenditure on disability supports will more than double, reaching approximately $22 billion per annum and supporting 460,000 participants, once the NDIS is fully implemented. As such, there has never been a bigger opportunity than right now to partner with the NDIS and realise your business goals, while providing quality person-centred, innovative and responsive community services.
Amergin is helping a number of Australian businesses to become Registered NDIS Providers, providing support at each stage of the process. This includes meeting state and Federal government registration requirements while also differentiating businesses to help them stand out above the crowd and lay a pathway for a postivie and successful future.
Becoming a Registered NDIS Provider can be an overwhelming task, requiring a lot of preparation and planning. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to step you through the key things you need to consider before applying to deliver services to NDIS participants.
Access our FREE Provider Guide now and take action to change your life and those of other Australians.
True leadership is very difficult to find.
We live in a world where leadership is often graced to those who demonstrate certain, recognisable behaviours – these behaviours are often mistaken as actual leadership qualities.
Let me explain. You will never find the same qualities in person, let alone a workplace leader. There are however several key attributes you can look out for to help discern the ‘real’ from the ‘fake’. If you are able to recognise true leadership attributes in your staff, businesses will thrive. Failure to recognise these can create an interesting paradigm that will not only undermine positive work culture but also do significant damage to the business itself.
So, what is true leadership?
Our ongoing challenge as professionals (and individuals) is to find, and be guided by someone who inspires us, teaches us and empowers us. Success in these areas means we can of course lead with the same qualities. These three qualities are what every business should be looking for to lead their teams. Selflessness, charisma and you have the perfect recipe for a positive work culture, engagement and output.
Captaining the ship is important, but so is rowing with the crew.
Essentially, it doesn’t matter whether a company sells a brilliant product or service; without effective leadership a company’s profits, culture and efficiency will almost certainly suffer at some point.
A leader will work alongside (or behind) the team to offer support and guidance and most of all lead by example. Take a look at the influencers like Richard Branson who understands this point and I quote, “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to”.
The 2 things I’ve come to realise when it comes to true leadership in business.
- When someone tells you they are a leader, you can be 99% sure they are not.
- When someone demonstrates true leadership, people will naturally try to replicate that behaviour – then you get a good culture.
Written by Tony Dempsey
We would love to hear from you. What qualities do you look out for when employing leaders in your business?
I recall a story where a child fell off the play equipment at my sons school (as kids do). The child wasn’t seriously hurt but nonetheless, the teaching staff contacted the parents to let them know what had happened. The school subsequently received a phone call, threatening them with legal action for ‘gross negligence’. Sound familiar?
Unfortunately, the age of entitlement is almost certainly upon us. Overwhelmingly, people have higher expectations than ever before (generally) and are more sensitive to hardship. So, when the going gets tough, coping mechanisms can fail due to poor resilience development.
Each of of us possess a mental reservoir of strength and this will continue to help us overcome loss, pain and hardship. Experiencing more of these negative experiences will better develop your resilience (or vault of strength).
We can apply these learnings to business. Here are 5 things that resilience can teach us in business:
- We must see failure as a crucial ingredient to making us stronger.
- Resilience means we can overcome bigger challenges. Overcoming challenges means we succeed.
- Resilience promotes self-belief.
- Resilience promotes determination.
- Resilience promotes survival.
We’d love to hear from you! How has resilience helped shape your professional success?
It’s been a very busy year for the team at Amergin and we want to reflect on a few of our highlights.
- A brand new website.
- Completion of several BIG projects including ‘Escape from the Desert’, to support children’s mental wellbeing.
- Helped several organisations prepare for or work with the NDIS so they can make a difference in our communities.
- Supported and attended the 12th Biennial Asia Pacific International Mental Health Conference.
We are open for business until 23 December 2016 and recommence on 9 January 2017.
We wish you and your families a wonderful and safe Christmas break. If you (or any other businesses you know) could benefit from our services, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Thank you again and we hope to work with you in 2017!