Starting a Business on a Limited Budget – Seed Academy’s Donna Rachelson’s Plan

Can you start a business with limited funds? If you brand yourself well and use your funds wisely, says Donna Rachelson – a driven entrepreneur, investor and branding and marketing specialist with a passion for helping women, corporate go-getters and entrepreneurs make their mark.

Here is Donna’s plan:

Every year, we run The Real State of Entrepreneurship Survey and every year, our findings show that the South African ecosystem remains difficult for entrepreneurs to navigate. 88% of the surveyed business owners are self-funded, with a third of them of having needed less than R10 000 to get their idea off the ground but all of them agreeing on the top three challenges – finding customers, raising funds and focusing on too many things at once.

With minimal money at entrepreneurs’ disposal, the question that begs answering is how much funding do you need to be your own boss and what should you be doing with it to get the biggest bang for your buck?

Start with the skills

Could limited funds give you the kickstart you need to make your business a reality? In my opinion, yes – but you’d need to be very clear on your plan of action – and it would need to be strongly focused on marketing, networking and business development as these are the skills that continue to hold our country’s entrepreneurs back.

Nail the idea

I’d start by choosing one big idea, a product or a service, that differentiates you from the rest.

There has been a strong shift towards service-orientated businesses in recent years but if you head down this road, make sure your offering is competitively unique and can easily generate an income.

If you choose to offer a tangible product, ensure that it is something simple with limited variations – you don’t want to have to spend all your money on lots of stock that you may not be able to move or have to pay storage for. You’re looking for something easy-to-source and easy-to-ship.

Take it online

Next up is to make your offering accessible online – this is the cheapest, fastest way to reach the most people. Remember though, your funds can only take you so far.

Then start marketing it aggressively

Consistently marketing one big idea over a plethora of complicated options will ensure you maximise your impact rather than leave your customers confused and indifferent. Ensure you have a professional brand identity and then religiously replicate this across all of the top social media platforms and if you can afford it, your own e-commerce website.

And connecting with your customers

When it comes to the image you and your business portray to the world, remember that both are important but that potential customers want to get to know the face behind the brand. Gone are the days of being able to hide behind a strong corporate logo or successful product range – people want credible advice and authentic endorsements. Actively cultivating what you stand for puts you in control of influencing your network and ultimately, converting your leads into sales.

The goal is to build a network

Online advertising will help you to gain a following and a social media content strategy will enable you to keep your potential customers engaged – but most importantly, developing your network comes down to building mutually-beneficial relationships that you can quickly tap into. This means choosing who to know and how to look after them and often, requires more ‘give’ than ‘take’ to build a reserve of goodwill that you can later draw from – be it in the form of influential testimonials, sales or further business funding support.

Finding success on a budget

There are many worldwide examples of entrepreneurs who have rocketed to success by starting small, keeping their expenses low, using the internet as their sales platform and most notably, prioritising relationships and service above everything else. In our very own backyard, we can look to YuppieChef, NetFlorist, Superbalist and Nic Harry – who actually started out with only R5000!

Just keep in mind that for many, failure and learning are part of the journey too. It may take a few brilliant ideas to catapult you into the limelight – just be sure not to fail too slowly and throw too much money at a single idea. Rather, fail ‘fast and forward’ – letting go of what is not working and putting your learnings into practice so that you can build something even bigger.

Ultimately, there is nothing holding you back from being the next South African phenomenon – if you cultivate a strong brand and use your funds wisely to market yourself and your business, the world is literally your oyster, thanks to the internet.

This article originally appeared on www.smesouthafrica.co.za

Ditch the small, incremental moves!

Here is an extract from my book Play to Win: What women can learn from men in business.

This chapter of the book has a very important message for women in business: ditch the small, incremental moves! This is lesson number 4 of my 9 lesson guide for business women, and is followed by a cheat sheet to help you ditch the small, incremental moves called 5 strategies to help you make your leap.

If you would like to read more, you can pick up a copy of Play to Win: What women can learn from men in business here. Rina Broomberg, co-founder of cliffcentral.com, said of Play to Win, ‘In my four decades as a women in business – both in management and as a consultant – I’ve read tons of books and attended seminars galore but this says it all in a concise and easy read. It’s the kind of book women need to keep close and dip into regularly.’

Lesson #4:
Ditch the small, incremental moves

Women are inclined to climb the career ladder one small step at a time – and that’s not always the best strategy. Men are far less risk averse – they are more likely to aim high, take a bit of a leap, and fast-track their progress up the corporate ladder.

You just don’t get to where to you want to go if you take the incremental approach. I remember my own business mentor confronting me strongly when I presented my plan to build my business. I presented a structure with a number of part-time resources, to which he replied: “Are you serious about building a business, or do you just want to play?”

In most companies, the people who get ahead – those who really shine – tend to do so by making big, bold moves. It’s a bit like Survivor: they ‘outwit, outplay, outlast’ and leave their colleagues in the dust. Think of Khanyi Dhlomo, who went from beauty editor to editor of South Africa’s True Love magazine when she was just 22.Within a year of her appointment, True Love’s circulation doubled from 70 000 to 140 000 and the magazine became the most widely read women’s magazine in the country.

It starts with a vision or visualisation of where you want to be, and then that vision must be aligned with a strategy. All revolutions start with an idea in one person’s head, but without strategy and action, that’s where they are destined to stay.

So you need to have a basic sense of what you want, and where you want to go, and then visualise yourself there. As soon as men walk into the building, they see themselves as the CEO, and behave accordingly. That’s what Monica did when she started as a project manager at Strate. But you need that alignment between vision and strategy. And the thing is, it is risky. You might fall flat on your face, or make a mistake here and there. But that’s better than being stuck, fervently wishing you’d done something different.

Many women spend big chunks of their careers idling in neutral. They are comfortable where they are, even if they’re not happy or fulfilled, and know they could be doing better. They rationalise everything: they’re good at what they do, the money’s good, and so on. And then they spend a lot of time in counter-productive, negative thinking, focusing on what they don’t have, instead of visualising what they do want and chasing that. They play small, and they stay safe, and so they stagnate.

But that’s the problem with not taking risks in your career: if you keep doing the same thing, nothing changes. And then you feel trapped.

So, how do you break out of that risk-averse mind-set? You start pushing yourself out of your comfort zone in other areas first. You start by choosing something that makes you uncomfortable: zip-lining, bungee jumping, going to movies by yourself, wearing bright colours – you know what makes you cringe.

Go and do that and then analyse your reaction – what did you discover about yourself, how did you surprise yourself? What lessons did you learn?When you’ve done that, apply the same principle to your work life: what can you do for your career that makes you feel uncomfortable? Make a list and start with the least scary idea.

For example, think about people who do the job you want – could you reach out to them in some way? Ask them to mentor or sponsor you? Take them to lunch and pick their brains? Could you take your boss out for coffee and ask about promotion opportunities that might be coming up or ask for a raise?

Could you write an article – or a series of articles – about your area of expertise and put it out on LinkedIn or Facebook, and start to establish yourself as an expert in your field, and raise your profile?

And when a job comes up that you’d love to do, but you think it’s a few too many rungs above you, why not apply for it? Believe in your abilities. Believe you can make a difference.

If you’re not pushing the limits of your career comfort zone, you’re wasting opportunities. You have to take risks and make mistakes to learn and build your leadership skills. So it’s important to make bold moves: consider a role in a whole new area, propose a new idea, take an international assignment. But be courageous and adventurous.

And don’t wait – do it early. The earlier you take on a career-related challenge, the more you will build your appetite and tolerance for risk, and the more you will build your skills set.

Author Margie Warrell writes in Forbes magazine that many middle-aged people who talk to her say that if they could do their career over again, they would take more risks, settle less, and speak up more often. So it’s important to learn to take those risks earlier on in your career so you’re not left with the same regrets.

It can be a bit difficult to get there, because so many of us have an in-built ‘negativity bias’ – we over-estimate the downside, exaggerate the consequences and underplay opportunities.When we are assessing risk, we tend to focus more on potential losses than on potential gains: what might go wrong rather than what might go right. But in reality, the odds are not nearly as stacked against us as we imagine.We also tend to exaggerate the consequences of failure: we think catastrophically and focus on the worst-case scenarios.

And then, women in particular tend to underestimate their own abilities and walk around in a fog of self-doubt.We avoid proactively going after new opportunities and taking on new challenges because we don’t have enough faith in ourselves to conquer the obstacles they involve. But there are things we can do and ways of thinking that can mitigate all of this behaviour.

First, think about finding a sponsor – not a mentor. That means someone who will advocate for you, and it’s most likely to be a man. “Men are a catalyst to our transformation. The individuals who contributed to my success were mostly men,” says Jo-Ann. “There are many men who serve as cheerleaders of women.”

According to the Harvard Business Review study called The Sponsor Effect, women in the upper echelons of business management who have a sponsor are at least 22% more likely to take risks like asking for an assignment that will stretch them, or asking for a raise.

Nomsa Chabeli Mazibuko, Group Head of Marketing at Multichoice, has experienced this first hand: “At my first marketing position, my boss was a gentleman called Dr Ivan May. He was formidable, well-known, a hard man, but I learnt so much from him and I think it really shaped me in terms of my understanding. We can’t always learn from the book. It has to be practical and it has to be from human experiences.”

Nomsa says she has actively sought mentors and sponsors to help her along her career path: “I identified people that I felt had a lot to offer me in terms of their experiences. I’ve gone out to find them and they’ve always been willing to share. What’s interesting is that once you approach people, and it’s genuine, they are so willing to share.”

Diane Schneider believes a sponsor is an absolute essential. “You need a sponsor for sure, but it’s hard to find one if you play a passive game and complain all the time,” she notes. I talk about asking for what you want, not hinting, in the next chapter.

“Every major career move I’ve made was because of a sponsor selecting me for an opportunity,” says Diane. “And the three major step-ups I’ve made were all facilitated by women. My best bosses have been female.”

So how do you do that? How do you find someone who will take you under their wing and promote you when the right opportunities present themselves?Well, there are some simple things you can do to increase your chances of finding sponsorship. To begin with, make your value and your ambitions clear to those senior to you. Outperform in your current role, and ensure your leaders know what your goals and your achievements are.

Risk-taking is a vital step in preparing you for career advancement. And if you have sponsors with experience and expertise in your corner, you can take more calculated risks, and mitigate some of your anxiety about failure.

Risk is the cost of doing business in today’s world, so it’s vital to learn to embrace it rather than fear it. And then take bigger steps: stop focusing on tiny, incremental career moves.

“I think that is often what sets you apart from the rest,” says Aletta Alberts, Head of Content at Multichoice. “Not only as a person, but also in business. Are you just going to take the same things and do them over and over again? Or are you going to take the risk, take the bold step, and that’s going to be like a game changer for you?”

I’m an entrepreneur now, and I’ve realised that entrepreneurs, by definition, are risk takers. But with big risk, comes big reward. You can have an ordinary job and make small moves up the ladder if you wish. But to really get ahead, you have to stretch your mind.When I coach businesspeople, I ask them: “What would you love to do? Now let’s get you there.”

Our minds constrain us.What you believe, you achieve. You have to think big.

Donna Rachelson’s new book featured on Expresso

My interview with Expresso morning show aired this past Tuesday. I shared the inspiration behind my new book ‘Play to Win: what women can learn from men in business’ and got the opportunity to showcase my incredible team …

Watch: Donna Rachelson’s new book featured on Expresso:

Donna Rachelson’s book Play to Win reviewed in City Press

Donna Rachelson’s book Play to Win was reviewed in City Press on 30 August 2015:

“After the embarrassment of Bic’s now-infamous Women’s Day advert (Look like a girl … Think like a man), I was mildly sceptical when the book Play to Win – What Women Can Learn from Men in Business landed on my desk for review.

However, the book, written by Donna Rachelson, was a refreshing read and focused on women’s strengths in the workplace, along with advice on male behaviour and attitudes that could be adopted.

One of the things I really enjoyed was the feedback and positive advice from women who have succeeded in breaking the glass ceiling – such as Nomsa Chabeli-Mazibuko, MultiChoice’s group head of marketing; Monica Singer, chief executive of Strate; and Koo Govender, chief executive of the VWV group.

The book carries practical advice on issues from time management to self-promotion, and a handy tips section summarizes the lessons from each chapter.”

You can buy Play to Win here.

Donna appeared on eNCA’s Moneyline

How brands can push boundaries without being offensive

Article by | Source http://www.destinyconnect.com

We chat to brand guru Donna Rachelson on how brands can push boundaries with ad campaigns without being irresponsible

This week two big brands, LEGiT and Appletiser, got it all wrong with their advertising campaigns.

And while both companies have apologised for their unfortunate campaigns, with one being labelled irresponsible and the other criticised for having elements of racial bias, the two brands can learn a lesson about how to create meaningful campaigns without losing what their brand stands for.

First in the firing line was LEGiT’s Don’t Judge campaign, which showed an image of a young woman posing next to a much older, wealthy-looking gentleman.

Consumers were enraged that a brand that is particularly favoured by young women appeared to be condoning the Sugar Daddy phenomenon, where young women engage in transactional sex with older men in exchange for money or gifts.

After being lambasted on social media for the campaign, the store, which is owned by retail group Edcon, apologised profusely and removed the offending image from its outlets.

“As a fashion brand, LEGiT continually aims to be topical, and always on trend. With regards to our ‘Don’t Judge’ advertising campaign, we created multiple photographs that feature topical conversations about fashion and social statements,” the store said in a statement.

“The photograph with the older gentleman and a young lady featured in some of our store windows was part of the ‘Don’t Judge’ campaign. While it was certainly not intended in view of the current societal challenges, we fully appreciate that the photograph could be viewed as promotion of a particular lifestyle. While we don’t judge, this was not our intention. We apologise for any unintended offence.

“We have removed the photograph from stores where it was displayed. In future we will endeavour to be more circumspect in terms of the images and messages used in our marketing collateral. LEGiT will always continue to stand for the empowerment of women and we fully support South African women’s right to express themselves. Thank you for engaging with us.”

A day after DESTINY reported on LEGiT’s off-the-mark campaign, Appletiser found itself in the firing line for an ad they posted on Twitter on 27 May. It features a black woman and a white blonde woman and is captioned: “Every brunette needs a blonde best friend”.

While the intention of the ad was to show the fun side of friendship, according to Appletiser Marketing Executive Andrea Shuttleworth, that was not the message that reached consumers.

Some of the consumers who were critical of the Appletiser ad, accused the brand of making it appear that black people needed white people in order to get approval from society, News24 reported. Appletiser later apologised for the campaign and said in future they would tread more carefully with regard to race-related issues.

What is important is what the brand stands for and what it wants to be known for

We chat to brand and marketing guru Donna Rachelson about the implications of such negative publicity on a brand and what could have led to such off-the-mark campaigns.

It is inevitable that most brands will upset consumers at some point, Rachelson says. However, if this is done in line with the brand’s core values, it is easy for the brand to defend the campaign.

But when brands put out ad campaigns that are not a representation of what they stand for, it is quite difficult for them to explain away such a mistake.

“What is important is what the brand stands for and what it wants to be known for. It is also important to know who your target market is, who the message is intended for and how to create a meaningful message for that market.”

Rachelson adds that while not all ad campaigns will receive a positive response, it is how the brand responds to the negative criticism that makes the difference.

“I understand that one of the brands deleted negative comments they received online – I mean that is criminal. Once you are going out with something and it starts an engagement and debates, you as a brand need to engage with that debate,” she says.

She adds that by doing this, the brand is able to explain the ad campaign and create dialogue around it.

How to get publicity for free

Whether you’re a start-up or an established business free publicity is valuable for you to get your marketing message and brand promise out.

What you’re ultimately trying to do is to get prospective customers to like and trust you enough to try out your products or services.

To do this you can advertise – but there are two problems with this:

  1. Advertising can be expensive … particularly if you’re just starting out on your business journey.
  2. Advertising is not perceived as credible

Another way, of course is to get free publicity.
So, the question is how do you get your content in front of your target audience (for free)?

4 publicity tactics you may want to consider

1. Write press releases
Both online and offline (physical) newspapers and magazines are content hungry. It has been said that most publications get more than 50% of their content from sources other than their own journalists, this is a huge opportunity for local entrepreneurs to increase their footprint in their industry.

Publications are always looking for something newsworthy that is of value to their readership. If you’ve got what they want, they will publish it.

So, look for the newsworthy angles in your products or services. Your article won’t get published if it is a pure product punt. And, if you persist with product punts you’ll be blacklisted and all your work will go into ‘file 13’.

2. Social Media
This is a no-brainer. Your target audience is sitting on social media waiting to consume relevant information that is useful to them. So, make sure that you at least have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, You Tube and Pinterest for starters. Anything you post on this platform is free.

3. Blog Posts
You may have heard the expression that ‘content is king’. Well it is if you want to position your company as the go-to expert resource. One of the best ways to position your company so that your target market sees you as a trustworthy brand is to blog.

We suggest that you add your blog to your existing website. So, every time you write a blog post, you get more content on your website. The search engines then rank you higher because you are a ‘resource’ site that is giving a better reader experience.

The rule of thumb is to write posts of up to 250 words. And, if you post once a week due to the usual time constraints experienced by entrepreneurs, does suffice.

Once you’ve written a post, be sure to share it with your followers on all your social media sites. It makes sense to get more eyeballs on your work.

Ensure that you have social sharing buttons on your blog posts so that your readers can share your articles with others too.

4. Networking events
Ok, so these aren’t totally free because you normally have to buy a meal or a drink or two. But, it’s close enough.

Your job is to expose your company to as many people as possible. Networking is a low-cost way to do this. The more people you meet with the more you can share your company’s story.

There are many more ways to get free publicity, but the four above are a good start. If you have any other ideas on getting free publicity, it would be wonderful if you could share it with us in the comments section below.

Why Marketing Metrics Matter

Whether you are an entrepreneur or marketing manager, if you’re spending any money or time on marketing or advertising, you’ll want to measure if you are getting a real return on your investment.

Marketing metrics help the marketer:

  • Tweak marketing campaigns
  • Decide where to put more focus on (in terms of time and/or money)
  • Decide what’s not working and what to drop

As a marketer, what are some of the metrics you should be focusing on?

1. Conversion

It’s all good and well getting leads into your sales funnel through advertising, content marketing, pay per click and email campaigns, amongst others. But where the rubber meets the road is in the simple question, “How many leads did we convert for our business?”

Conversion metrics are an excellent way to see if the time and money spent on your chosen marketing activities are paying off. The conversion metric will give you and idea of what to what to tweak, what to keep and what to drop.

2. Customer Acquisition Cost

A critical question to ask is “how much does it cost to acquire a customer?” There’s no point in acquiring a customer when the cost is more than the lifetime value of that customer. You want to keep your customers on the books so that they keep coming back and spending money with you.

3. Retention

Many companies spend so much time, effort and money to acquire new customers that they forget about the gold that is already sitting in their database – existing customers. Marketers should be asking themselves how long the customer stays with the company and how much he spends. There’s no point in spending huge amounts of money to acquire new clients when your existing clients are flooding out the back door because of poor customer relationship management strategies. A lot of focus should be given to retaining the customer (especially for entrepreneurs) because it is cheaper and more profitable to service an existing customer than acquiring a new one.

4. Lifetime Value

This is one of the most underrated marketing metrics but one of the most important. Working out the lifetime value of a customer is important for one reason. You’ll want to serve him better and throw more resources at him.

As entrepreneurs it makes sense to go to where the money is. So, if one customer spends R10 000 with your company, and another spends R100 000 with your company. Guess where the attention goes? Naturally, to the one that spends R100 000. Take your top 20 customers and figure out how long, they on average stay with your company, and how much they spend. For example, if your top customer spends R1-million with you per year and stays with your company for on average 10 years, this is a different dynamic, isn’t it. Because, suddenly a R10-million customer is a lot more appealing than a R1-million customer. So, don’t look at a customer’s once-off spend, but look at the lifetime value and psychologically it just wants you to serve him better.

What other marketing metrics do you think would apply to your business as an entrepreneur? We’d love to hear your ideas. Pop us a comment in the comment section below.

Get the most out of your meetings

Meetings can be a complete waste of time. Donna Rachelson advises on which meetings to avoid, and how to get the best out of those you do attend.

Define the objective of the proposed meeting

Because I had to rest a bit I needed to be more disciplined about how many meetings I could attend. This meant having to ask and challenge what every meeting was about. I often asked people exactly what they wanted out of the meeting and I soon realised that most of the answers they came up with could actually be dealt with in an email response or a quick telephone call. If that was the case, I chose not to have a meeting.

Even if you need to have a meeting, getting the person to define what they are looking for speeds things up. Set an agenda upfront so everyone is focused in terms of what needs to be achieved, ensure everyone knows what to prep before the meeting, and then stick to the agenda.

It is also a great idea to set a key objective (or objectives) at the beginning of the meeting and then check at the end if this has been achieved.

Use every minute wisely and cut down on wasted time

If you honestly need to have a face-to-face meeting (and this is sometimes the case, for example if it’s a brainstorming conversation that needs to happen between multiple people), think about how much time you need to achieve the objective defined.

It’s always intrigued me as to why we tend to set aside an hour for a meeting as the default. I have recently been setting up half-hour meetings and realised you can achieve as much in a short period of time, if you consciously cut out any unnecessary bits. For example, you might need to come to a team decision, which requires a meeting where everyone votes, but once the choice has been made, the details can be sorted out over email, or handed over to the person responsible for implementation.

Improve the minutes of the meeting

I’ve noticed that how the minutes of a meeting are compiled influences the action that is taken. For example, if the minute-taker writes down almost every word said, resulting in long paragraphs of text, important information may get lost in the mix. It also means the person is more likely to miss points or make everyone else wait as he or she tries to keep up.

In comparison, summarising discussions into short, sharp actions of what is required and when it needs to be done by (and who is responsible), ensures it’s easy to highlight key information and keep everyone focused on the same objectives.

Learn to do a quick summary

I like to summarise the key actions at the end of the meeting so everyone is aware of what needs to be done, and by what date. It ensures that everyone is on the same page, and is also a great way to show you were listening and to boost your visibility (even if you didn’t talk much during the meeting itself).

Some tough questions to ask yourself about your marketing for this year

1. What channel should I not be using this year?

Yes, you read that right. It’s not about adding an extra marketing channel to your arsenal in 2015, with all of the accompanying admin, energy, input and spend. What I suggest is exactly the opposite: paring down the number of channels you use.

Take an honest look at your platforms. Are they all equally effective? Do they all deliver convincingly, more often than not? Are there one or two you’re using because you feel that you ‘have’ to, like Twitter or Facebook? Are you diluting your efforts by spreading your marketing resources too thinly across too many activities?

Then, ask yourself exactly what your marketing needs to deliver this year. Be specific. Apply real-world numbers to the issue (like ‘25% more qualified online leads’) – not general visions (like ‘enhanced online lead generation’). You’ll find that, the more explicitly you state your objectives, the better you’re able to plan, and the more clarity you’ll have when it comes to allocating that marketing budget.

2. Where am I going to find an extra 2% of budget (over and above the requisite 5% – 7%) to spend on my marketing next year?

Well, read Tip #1 again. Because there’s probably at least 2% hiding there, in extraneous marketing efforts that are on your agenda because a) they’ve always been there, b) they kind of seem to work or c) everyone else is doing it.

Shave them. And then take that 2% and use it strategically. On something that’s relevant, makes maximum impact and delivers the best return on investment.

For example, spend the 2% on intelligent design and strategic copywriting. Find talented creatives who know their stuff and can help you and your business to look like absolute winners. Spend it on implementing a sustainable referrals system, where you actually come out and ask your satisfied clients to refer you, rather than waiting for them to do so. Or, hire an expert in search engine optimisation.

3. What am I going to say ‘No’ to this year?

Beyond saying ‘No’ to platforms that aren’t sweating for you (re-read Tips #1 and #2), you also need to say ‘No’ to things that demand attention, sap energy and don’t grow your brand. This is about attention capital: the idea that wherever your attention is invested, there is energy that is unleashed, which yields (or doesn’t yield) a return.

Now, attention capital is valuable because it is linked to time and is therefore scarce. So, refuse the so-so opportunities that will take time without helping you to achieve your objectives. Out-source or delegate things that are not ‘core’ to your happiness or success, so you can devote time and energy to things that are. Let go of guilt, which is more about other people than it is about you. And stop saying ‘I should’.

4. How can I give my customers more, for less money?

It’s an unfortunate reality that, when companies start feeling the sneaky pinch of recession, they start to look for ways to give customers less, for the same amount of money. On paper, this looks like a great solution. But it’s counter-intuitive – because, if you want real success in marketing, you need to give customers more, instead of less.

You need to be the winner, so that when scared companies stop marketing and dial back on service, they leave a vacuum that’s ready to be filled. By your business.

Ask yourself what you can do to make customers love you. Ask questions like:

  • What can I invest to make the customer experience so great that people want to keep coming back for more?
  • How can I surprise and delight my customers?
  • What do customers typically hate about my sector or industry? And how can I invest in fixing that by doing things differently?

5. What weekly activities am I going to use to turn my customers into brand ambassadors?

This question means: What are you going to do, every week, to get your customers to leverage their social and other channels to help you spread a positive reputation for your brand? For a start, take a deep breath. Because research shows that customers are five times more likely to talk about something positive than negative.

Then, pick up a pen and make a list of five specific and measurable things you could implement on a weekly basis. You’ll find some ideas here, here and here.

Good luck!

© Donna Rachelson. All Rights Reserved.