5 Leverage Tips for Small Business Owners
Join master business coach Michelle Landis, as she strives to create success and abundance for every business owner with the ActionCOACH method of focus, accountability, and results. Visit our weekly Q & A session as Coach Michelle tackles real questions on a variety of issues - and provides you with answers that will BRING RESULTS for your company!
Question of the Week: “I keep hearing this buzzword - Leverage. What does it mean for my business and how do I make the most of it?”
Coach Michelle: To get ahead in small business, owners must be willing to ask themselves quite frankly - am I truly getting the most out of all the resources I have at my disposal? Even if you feel the answer is yes, if you look very closely, I would wager there is room for improvement, or an area to explore that you haven’t yet considered.
Leverage, in simple terms, is every small effort investigated that may separate you from your competitors - by doing MORE with LESS, and thus increasing your bottom line.
So are you really thinking outside the box now? Remember that you are only one person, and that in order to maximize your leadership, you need to discover what tools you have to stretch your reach every single day. Here are five great tips for using leverage to your greatest advantage.
1. Social Media. If you are saying, “but I already have a Facebook page,” you need to read onward. Social media is about building ongoing conversations and relationships with your customers and prospective leads. It is about becoming the authority on YOUR topic, and increasing the awareness and comfort of your brand. When you become a trusted member of the online social media society, and when consumers are ready to buy, they WILL buy from you. Don’t make the mistake of throwing up a Facebook page and thinking you are covered.
Those who use social media to do nothing but push offers and coupons are transparent.
You do not need MERELY good content on social media. What you need is relevant content, interesting content, and an open dialogue with your customers - 24/7/365.
2. Your People. Hiring the right employees and sales people is one of the most critical aspects of owning a business. It gets tough - who enjoys the interview process anyway - but it is so very worth the extra effort you put into it. The right person in the right position is worth MORE than his/her weight in gold since they will be promoting your brand and products/services, and building a loyal, repeat customer base. Some business owners tell me that they are scared that if they invest too much time to train their people that those employees may leave and take their skills somewhere else. But what happens if you don’t train them right - and they stay with you??? Think about it.
3. Systemizing Your Business. This is an often overlooked leverage opportunity by small business owners who struggle with giving up control. But if your business is unable to run effectively without you, it’s not YOUR business, it’s just A JOB (and a tedious one at that). The key to making systemization successful is to make sure your staff members are properly trained to use the processes you implement. This involves creating manuals and videos. Your team really is your best asset, and frankly they are the only way your business will truly work without you.
4. Networking. Also known as strategic alliances, networking among like-minded professionals is an EXCELLENT way to leverage both your resources and time. Building mutually beneficial relationships is one of the best ways to spread your brand, often at very little expense. You must learn how to recognize the best alliances, and negotiate terms. But it’s not necessarily as difficult or treacherous as you think.
5. Utilizing Technology. Leveraging technology can speed up your daily business processes enormously - while delivering you, the owner, more time for you. Some examples would include database management, email newsletters (formatting/creation), customer service scripts, invoicing, or Facebook posting techniques - the possibilities are really endless. It’s up to you to list them and prioritize them by deciding which ones can give you the most leverage potential up front.
Now you should have some excellent new tools and strategies in your pocket to begin with. When we are passionate about what we do, this positive energy gets translated into creativity, into the amount of effort we devote to the business, and into inspiration for our staff and customers alike!
About the Author, Michelle Landis
Michelle is a certified Master Business Coach and owner of ActionCOACH of Greater Lehigh Valley/Berks. She is an educator and a business professional with over 25 years experience in the business world running both small and medium sized businesses. She has an extensive background in education, executive management, sales & marketing, operations and entrepreneurial pursuits that include international consulting in China, extensive teaching and educational endeavors as well as executive leadership roles with General Electric, Dun & Bradstreet and Armstrong World Industries. Her leadership skills have delivered over $58 million to the bottom line. Get a BUSINESS HEALTH CHECK with Michelle or connect with Michelle on FACEBOOK, join her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter.