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4 Reasons You Can’t Scale Your Business

4 Reasons You Can’t Scale Your Business

Are you struggling to take your business to the next level? Do you want to scale your business, but no matter how hard you work it just isn’t happening?

I work with a lot of small businesses that have plateaued – they have stopped growing.

Here are four key reasons why:-

 

Poor Goal Setting

They have set themselves up for failure by not setting SMART Goals.

The goals they have set are unrealistic, which eventually end up demotivating them. This means they start to procrastinate…which means nothing moves forward. You need to have goals that will work for YOU and YOUR BUSINESS model! 

 

No Or Wrong Team

They think they are a superman and that they have to do everything themselves. Juggling all moving parts in a business is not easy. Even superman can only be in one place at once!

 

Plus, how will your vision come alive if you’re trying to do it all on your strength and skills? You have limitations (think superman and kryptonite). The sooner you accept that and get help, the sooner you can succeed

 

Lack of Process Implementation 

You have lots of ideas and vision, but it is all in your head. Which means no one else can help you out.

Suppose things are not working how you set out. Then it is time to look at your processes and SOPs – WHAT you do, WHY you do it and HOW you do it.

Re-visiting and documenting these will help you evaluate whether the process is productive. Help you streamline the way you work. Plus, allow you to delegate

 

Lack of Systems

Most small businesses set up systems as they go along. This means they don’t always work as they get bigger.

Having systems and tools that work for where you’re currently in your business BUT ALSO where you want to be is essential for scalability.

 

If you’re struggling with any of these 4 key points and it is preventing scale your business. Book in a call HERE and we can discuss help and options to take you to the next level. 

Smart Goal Setting

Smart Goals E-Book Graphic | Bravapro
Do you have a list of objectives you want to achieve? Now is the time to upgrade your goals! By writing SMART goals to focus on your objectives and move your goals forward.

Setting SMART goals is easy with my updated e-book. It’s a straightforward guide that explains:-

a) What SMART goals are

b) How they can help you achieve your business and life objectives.

The e-book includes a self-help worksheet. Designed to help you master the SMART goals technique faster, without the worry of where to start. 

How To Achieve Consistency In Your Business

How To Achieve Consistency In Your Business

Fact –  consistency contributes to your company’s bottom line!

Consistency should be a core value and run throughout your business processes. It can make a real difference to how your company grows and to your overall success. You can have the best product or service in the world, but if you do not implement and deliver it constantly, you will never be successful in business

 

How To Maintain Consistency

Consistency starts with YOU – sorry to be so blunt but that is the truth. The consistency of your business is a representation of your habits/routines. You are the key driver for consistency in your business so the way you plan and schedule tasks ultimately as a huge impact on your wider business

Consistency impacts all areas of your company. If one area doesn’t deliver consistent results, the whole company doesn’t deliver a consistent result. It is a ripple effect. Hence, you have to consider strategies and processes to each business area, in order to help yourself maintain a consistent approach.

 

Have A Plan

A goal without a plan is just a dream

It’s a little hard to be constant if you don’t have a plan as a starting point. Your plan is your road map, it guides you to your end goal, mapping out all the stops on the way

People tend to get very worked up when faced with writing a business plan. However, it doesn’t have to be something that is pages long or complicated. Nor does it have to be set in stone. It’s Ok to have a basic plan at first, just a framework, from which you can add the structure later.

For example, you could initially commit to posting on social platforms every day. Only as the plan develops will you add detail around what to post and at what times etc.

If you try to plan every element of a business or project from start to finish you will end up feeling overwhelmed, with loads of ideas and thoughts running through your head. It is most effective to start simple with the framework, then add ideas onto this foundation.

Going back to our example there is plenty of advice out on the internet and many would say posting once a day would not be enough to be successful, that it should be 3 or 5 or even more! But you need a plan that you can realistically achieve, one that works with your other business and personal commitments.

It is better to post once a day consistently and increase the number of posts if you have time. Than setting yourself unrealistic targets and burn yourself out trying to achieve them.

You have to be super honest with yourself and what you have time for.

You may be able to do anything but you can’t do everything.

DO NOT SPREAD YOURSELF TOO THIN.

Use something like the Covey Matrix to evaluate and prioritise your daily tasks will help you determine how much time you have each day. From there you can determine what you can consistently achieve with regards to a given project.

Make Your Plan Actionable

Once you have actually created a strategy, bring it to life. Produce schedules that will sustain your plan, make to-do lists and also track your progress.  It sounds simple but putting something in your calendar or planner gives you a far better chance of achieving results.

The bottom line is you need to make time to follow your strategy and then you have to take responsibility for actioning the plan

 

Develop Processes and Systems


The third piece of the consistency puzzle is to build in systems and procedures that support you and your plans. These can be as easy as a checklist or more complicated like a Customer Relationship Management system. Having suitable systems and procedures in place allows you to follow the plan without missing a step. They give you the tools and structure to remain consistent.

A Word To The Wise

If you attempt to do this for every area of your organization at once, it will appear extremely overwhelming and you are likely to burn-out. So, just like developing a plan, start small and build piece by piece. Do not overwhelm yourself as this will be counterproductive in the long run.

Also, while I’ve said consistency is a good thing, you also need to be flexible. It’s not about having a meltdown because your child is ill and you’ve missed a week of social media posts. 

You are allowed to take a step back, re-evaluate, re-focus and adapt your strategies  Remember, it’s not about what you do some of the time it’s about what you do most of the time.

Let’s break it down…To be consistent and successful in business you need to:-

  • Get A Plan
  • Take Action
  • Work out a System
  • Evaluate
  • Adjustment Accordingly

Writing it as 5 bullet points makes it look easy, the trouble is the devils in the detail. There is so much more to each bullet point and that is where we often get stuck. We spend ages planning, but then struggle to turn that into actionable plans. Or, we have the processes and systems that are so cumbersome we can not achieve the plan, so we get demotivated. Or, we get it all in place (hurray!) but we never review so we never grow!

 

It is not easy, but trust me, the more you practise the better you get and the easier it becomes. It is a case of building structure, routine and habits that work for your and your business.

But, it takes time and practises. I know I have been there!

It is easy to do it with a client…plan….put it in place…evaluate…adjust…but you don’t apply it to your day-to-day operations. This is why I offer a range of packages all geared towards giving you the consistency and structure your business needs! Book in a call and I can tell you more

 

10 Ways To Improve Your Customer Experience

10 Ways To Improve Your Customer Experience

Most business owners understand that customer experience can be the difference between success and failure. In most industries, there is a high degree of competition. Hence, it is far more cost-effective to retain a customer than to attract a new customer. Business owners should not ignore the importance of their customer experience.

However, customer expectations are rising fast. Often quicker than businesses can react. Customers expect immediate replies to enquiries, delivery needs to be speedy, and after-care must be five stars. However, the number of processes and administration involved can impact the need for speed. Companies often don’t have the skilled resources to maintain customer support, let alone commit to improving it.

That’s when a Virtual Business Manager (VBM) could be the solution. 

Below I suggest ten-way that outsourcing can improve your customer’s experience. Putting you ahead of the competition when it comes to attracting new clients. Plus, more importantly, helping you keep your current customers.

Ways To Improve Your Customer Experience

1. Standardising Processes 

As your business grows, the need to standardise your customer experience processes increases. By systemising your processes, you can offer a consistent level of customer support. Moreover, systemising improves the customer experience by increasing efficiency and enabling team members to reply quickly to enquiries.

2. Automation 

A Virtual Business Manager with a firm grasp of technology. As such, they can suggest a range of systems to automate your customer’s journey. Resulting in improved your customer experience, as well as reducing workloads and increasing productivity. The potential systems a VBM could set up include 

  • CRMs, 
  • Internal communications, 
  • Email sequences to target audiences, or 
  • Emailing a downloadable link, e-course or product, to name just a few.

3. Call Answering

Answering calls from potential customers should be the number one priority for any business. Specialised Virtual Business Managers or Virtual Assistants offer call-answering services to support your internal teams. Therefore, outsourcing can make sure your business number gets answered professionally and promptly whenever the customer calls.

4. Social Media Interaction 

Social media is a time-consuming, but often a necessary part of modern business. A Virtual Business Manager will monitor and respond to engagement on social media. Having the essential business understanding, they can reply to comments with the right type of interaction and information level. Hence, instilling confidence, not only from the original poster but also from others viewing the comments.

Moreover, they can also help you reach a broader target audience through research, managing your online platforms, sharing your content and managing adverts. 

5. Email Inbox Management

Your inbox can quickly get out of control. Therefore, having an experienced Virtual Business Manager can rescue you from the constant time-drain of an overflowing inbox. They can take over the management of your emails by using their experience to respond on your behalf with the appropriate information. Additionally, they can highlight any emails to you that will need your attention.

6. Sales 

Virtual Business Managers can assist with your entire sale process. They can support in multiple areas, including

  • Distributing sales information,
  • Answering queries promptly, or
  • Assisting with payments.

7. After-Sales Care

Some queries, even complaint, can arise post-sale. For instance, queries around delivery or handling refunds and returns. Post-sale is the point where a prompt, professional and helpful response can cement your customer experience. 

8. Request Feedback 

Virtual Business Managers can request and collate feedback from customers. Therefore providing valuable insights into how your business is perceived. The analysis of this data can assist you in making improvements.

9. Complaints

Handling complaints professionally and achieving a positive outcome for everyone involved is a real skill. With a diplomatic approach, your Virtual Business Manager can help guide customers through your complaints procedure. Hence ensuring issues are successfully resolved, and only escalating to you when necessary.

10. Other Communication

As business owners themselves, Virtual Business Managers are excellent communicators. Many are experienced copywriters and hence can help organise the writing of:-

  • writing content pieces, 
  • email sequences, 
  • website content, 
  • documents, 
  • blog posts, 
  • lead pages, and 
  • other communications that help share your business message.

Customer Experience Success

Hopefully, this has provided you with some ideas on how to improve your companies customer service. Working with an excellent Virtual Business Manager can help you implement improvements to your customer journey. Therefore, allowing you to provide exceptional customer experience needed to retain clients in the critical months to come.

Further Reading

How To Improve Your Customer Experience By Outsourcing

How Poor Communication Is Losing You Customers

Why You Need A CRM – A Simple Explanation

Why You Need A CRM – A Simple Explanation

Often, when someone starts a new business, their biggest clients are their friends, family, and acquaintances. Maintaining a personalised relationship with these customers is usually very easy. The small number of contacts and existing relationships make it easy to maintain great connections. These connections often result in referrals and fantastic reviews as a result of our personalized services.

However, with time, the businesses grow. Customers multiply, and it will most likely get difficult keeping tabs and feedback from every single client. It is for this reason that most growing and successful businesses require a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.

What Is A CRM Tool?

A CRM system is an automated system for managing all details and contacts of your customers and potential clients. Data stored is often determined by the business or industry. It can range from merely their contact details to:-

  • their preferences,
  • former communications,
  • emails,
  • previous purchases,
  • sales details,
  • follow-ups, deadlines, and
  • any other notes collected from your customers.

There is no limit when it comes to CRM.

With a CRM tool, you can centralise the data collected by all the members of your team, in one place. Therefore enabling you to maintain meaningful personal connections with an unlimited number of clients. While additionally allowing for the scalability of your business, generation of analytical reports, and collaboration with members of your team.

Why Use A CRM And Not Spreadsheets?

According to a study by HubSpot, about 40% of salespeople still use informal tools such as spreadsheets for CRM. While using a Spreadsheet has its perks such as affordability. As your business grows, spreadsheets will just not cut it, especially if you’re aiming for efficient and productive relationships with all your customers.

For instance, spreadsheets limit your entries for each client’s information. When working with a spreadsheet, you might find the need only to record the basic contact information of the customer. A CRM, on the other hand, allows you to keep track of every detail of the customer’s information across the sales process.

Additionally, as you hire more people in your team, you will require a system that allows all members of your team to access the information in real-time and to collaborate. Research has shown that 65% of successful businesses adopt CRM in the first five years of operations. The rate of adoption has also been proven to get higher as companies employ a larger team.

Furthermore, spreadsheets do not:- 

  • offer automation, 
  • marketing campaign options, or 
  • integrations with other apps such as emails. 

Moreover, they do not generate useful insights and comparative reports on your customers. Therefore, it might be time you considered upgrading to a CRM system.

Bottom Line

Small businesses find a challenge moving from spreadsheets to CRM, due to fears of complexity, integration, or cost. However, you can leverage the many user-friendly and free CRM tools for small businesses to get you started. As you continue to grow your customer base, perhaps you can invest in a premium subscription with more advanced features.

If you’re still not sure whether a CRM is an excellent fit for you, or if you need any help getting started with CRM, get in touch. As a Virtual Business Manager I can set up an automated CRM system that fits your business needs. Helping you grow your operations, manage your current & potential customers, and assist you with maintaining a personal relationship with each one of them, no matter how many they are.

5 Fantastic Ways To Improve Your Lead Generation

5 Fantastic Ways To Improve Your Lead Generation

Generating profitable business leads is time-consuming work. From collecting data to verifying contact information, creating a solid database consisting of people who are genuinely interested in purchasing your goods and services requires patience and experience. Hence, when hiring a Virtual Business Manager (VBM) to help you increase your lead generation, it’s important to find a person. Someone with brilliant people skills and extensive internet research experience.

 

1. Common Business Lead Generation Tasks

Chances are, you utilise various methods for gathering business leads already. From online surveys and direct mail, website landing pages to cold calling most business use several techniques. Lead generation can easily be a full-time job in itself. Instead of trying to manage all of these tasks yourself, why not outsource to a VBM. They can not only to do most of the leg work for you, but also proactivity come up with suggestion to improve your lead generation activities.

An experienced VBM can:-

  • Manage your email lists,
  • Respond to comments and queries on your social media pages,
  • Create marketing materials and send them out, and
  • Contact prospective clients and customers directly by email or even phone. 

All with very little direction from yourself.

To make business lead generation even easier for your Virtual Business Manager, create a list of specific tasks with deadlines or timelines.

For example, you could ask them to:-

  • Dedicate three days per month to cold calling customers.
  • Monitor social media and other online content at the beginning of each day to ensure a quick response.
  • Send email correspondence once a week.

A VBM is a small business owner themselves. Hence, once you have created a well-defined lead generation schedule that works for your business. Your Virtual Business manager can maintain and grow positive relationships with new and existing clients/customers.

 

2. Research New Leads

What’s the point of having a hundred new leads if most of them don’t result in new business?

Before spending time and money connecting with potential clients and customers, ask your VBM to conduct online research to determine how interested they are in potentially purchasing goods and services.

Knowing more about a lead – such as the industry or company they work for, role within a company and known business associates can usually tell you if the lead is worth pursuing, or not.

 

3. Utilise a CRM To Capture Your Lean Generation Activities

To make regular contact with clients and customers as easy as possible, ask your VBM to set up and populate a CRM tool (Customer Relationship Management Tool) complete with full names, phone numbers, email addresses, business websites and even physical business addresses.

As additional leads come in, your VBM can simply update the CRM, so that you know exactly what leads you have in your pipeline. Your VBM will take ownership for cleansing  the information held on a regular basis to ensure the accuracy of information.

 

4. Create Marketing Materials

In addition to following up on leads that come from your website, social media pages or from face-to-face meetings and other interactions, and experienced VBM can help with:-

  • create marketing materials,
  • editing journal articles,
  • post blog entries, and
  • update webpages to generate interest in your business.

Depending on the specific skills and experience your Virtual Business Owner has, they may even be able to design webpages or graphics, create business apps and offer suggestions for other ways to generate leads.

 

5. Maintain Regular Contact with Your Leads

It’s important to maintain regular contact with viable leads so your business remains at the forefront of their thoughts whenever actively considering your area of expertise. A combination of email, phone and direct mail marketing on a quarterly basis is typically more than enough to keep new and existing clients and customers aware of your business. Creating a quarterly marketing and communication can be plan is part of the VBM’s remit, as well as tracking all lead generation activity so you can see what is, and isn’t working

For most online businesses though, a sequential “stacking” or “stacked” email loyalty campaign along with monthly newsletters and more random personal/promotional emails does the job of maintaining a close connection with your leads quite well too, and once again a VBM with the right skills can set this all up for you.

 

Bravapro | Virtual Assistant, Swindon | Business development

Do you need help with your lead generation?

Is your pipeline drying up?

Check out my business development services to find out how I can help

How To Collect Business Data Successfully

How To Collect Business Data Successfully

Big businesses collect data because they understand it is a crucial part of an informed decision-making process. Data It is essential in understanding

  • customer behaviour,
  • sales trends,
  • business income,
  • risk management and
  • return on investment can have a profound on the success of a business.

However, while most small business owners understand the importance of data collection and analysis, not all of them use the data in their businesses.

Collecting the right type and amount of data is an excellent way for your business to achieve its goals and gain a competitive advantage. If you’re new to data collection, I have outlined below steps on how you can collect data for your small business:

 

Define The Problem

There is no point collecting data for the sake of it.

You need first to understand what you are looking to gain from the data. Once you know the problem, you can then determine the data and data source that would be best suited to provide the information.

Generally, data in a numerical format is easier to analyse. However, often this does not tell the whole story. For example, if you are looking at customer feedback, for ease, you may ask the customer to score you out of 5 or 10. Providing numerical feedback is quick for the customer, meaning you are likely to get more returns. But if it doesn’t give you any indication of what they liked/didn’t like which can be essential to improve your customer journey.

 

Set a Process In Place To Collect Data

The first step to data collection is to set up the data collection process that works for your business. The process should be replicable and scalable to allow for efficiency and accommodate future business growth.

Important things to think about are:-

  • who receives the information,
  • timelines for inputting the information
  • timelines for processing the information and
  • how the information will be presented and
  • how/where the process will be documented

 

Collect Data Consistently

There must be consistency in the collection of data. Creating templates and data entry forms is a great way to keep your data collection consistent. It is vital to ensure that all related data is collected and recorded in the same way, for ease of analysis and forecasting.

Remember, it may be necessary to train employees on data collection or to outsource to those who already have the expertise.

 

Secure Data Storage

Information is highly valuable and sensitive to the running of any business. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure the privacy and safety of any data from loss and unauthorised access. The secure storage of the data collected is provided through encryption, passwords and cloud storage.

Remember that if your data contains any personal information and you are in the EU, it will be covered by the GDPR legislation. Therefore, you have a responsibility to ensure that all those handling the data are aware of your legal obligations. If you are unsure of your data handling responsibilities, the  ICO is a useful resource.

 

Simplify Data Collection

Data collection can be quite an exhausting process for participants. Filling out multiple pages of printed survey forms might not get you the response rate you need. Simplifying the data collection by making it more engaging and more straightforward is an effective way to engage responses.

Using social media polls and online forms are some of the most innovative approaches to simplifying data collection.

 

Data Analysis and Evaluation

To gain the relevant information you defined initially, the data collection should be

  • monitored,
  • analysed and
  • evaluated

From there, the business owner is then able to make informed decisions with regards to

  • business changes
  • areas that need improvement,
  • where to cut back on expenses and
  • which areas to concentrate their focus on.

Data presents the business with an opportunity to advance its processes and operations, increase its productivity and attain its goals.

Where to Begin

Following the above steps will get you started on data collection and analysis for your small business. Soon you will be able to develop insights and forecast trends for your business and the industry even before they occur, enabling you to get one step ahead of your competitors.

 

Hiring a Virtual Business Manager with data analysis experience, like Bravapro, to support your business in data collection is a valuable way of keeping your business on top.

I can:-

  • set in place the right processes,
  • define the correct data to collect,
  • create templates,
  • select the most effective data collection method and
  • analyse the data, using Power BI or other appropriate tools

I can ensure the most constructive way to get the most of your data analysis through real-time report generation. Resulting in information to help drive your business forward.