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Bettering your Business in Spain

How to stay on top of your business, be better organised and increase your sales. Information, ideas and advice from a business coach working with entrepreneurs and small and medium size businesses in Spain.

Increase Motivation by Reorganising your Workspace
12 April 2013

It´s Friday, have a tidy. Experts have revealed that Executives waste up to six weeks a year searching for lost items and that clutter destroys motivation amongst staff.

Research shows that a simple reorganisation of the office, together with more efficient storage can increase productivity by 30%. In a the National Association of Professional Organisers conducted survey, 91% felt they could be more efficient at work if they were better organised. 

Interestingly, one of the areas to improve on was separating personal belongings from the work desk.  Creating a designated place for personal items like coats, lunch boxes, gym bags etc. cuts down on frustration due to clutter in the workplace.

Often, people hang on to pieces of paper that contain information that can be easily accessed online. Digitize notes, information and articles that you may want to read again so they are easily retrieved electronically rather than sorting through a pile of papers.

How can you better reorganise the workplace?



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All Business Books should come with a warning
14 January 2013

I would like all business books to come with a warning label that only 1 in 10 people will find the book useful. 

It would be for our own good.  It isn´t that most books aren´t useful, rather that they would be so much more useful if they were written for only a few and not for everyone.  The old adage when you try to please everyone then you please no one rings so true.  Business authors flirt with ideas without really getting to the meat and potatoes of the subject matter as it may lose relevance for some.  This is unfortunate, so perhaps with a warning label then writers will feel more at ease to dig deeper in their topic and demonstrate their expertise and help a few of us more thoroughly. 

This label isn´t just to help the writer but to also change the mindset of the reader, reading business books is a brilliant way to develop understanding, clarity and skills, but our business salvation will not be found in one business book. Therefore we should stop seeking "that book".  An MBA at London Business School cost £57,000 for the programme commencing August 2012.  An MBA is widely seen as the most thorough form of getting all you need to succeed in business.  Well you can buy a lot of books for that, so you shouldn´t expect to find the nugget to business success in one book that claims to make you be a millionaire within a week.   Rather, make it a habit to read books regularly, that way you can build up your business knowledge.  

Great value can come from reading regular business books written by experts as they keep us focused, motivated, offer different strategies and advice and sometimes deeper understanding on a subject matter. 

So until governments impose a warning label on all business books I suggest read broadly and search for those authors willing to dig a little deeper and risk losing everyone's attention.  

Check out our Top 3 Business books read & reviewed for 2012 and see if they are a good Business Book fit for bettering your business.

 

Wishing you all the success and happy reading 



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Tips for boosting your sales this quater
18 September 2012

Want a boost to sales this quarter?  Don´t overlook your existing or past customers.  They are the cheapest and easiest customers to sell too.

Finding new customers is 6 times more expensive than selling to existing or past customers.  Why is that?  Well, your existing customers already know and trust you, have brought from you before, and understand the ethos of the company.  You also know them, what they like and how to reach them.  This is valuable information you should capitalise on.

So we are recommending to our clients to implement an existing customer promotion in their 90 day goals this month.

I don´t know if you have been to FNAC recently but they are using this existing-customer focus to maximum benefit with their money back membership rewards program.  With discounts and money rebates you are incentivized to return regularly to spend and collect your rewards. A rewards program is just one of the ways to boost backend sales.

So here are some important things to consider in preparing the promotion.

1) What is the offer?

What can you give your existing customers that they would appreciate and buy?   Use brainstorming sessions and customer research (remember your customers will have the answer) to determine this.   Types of offers can include:

i) A complimentary product/service to your existing core product/service -  i.e  a new massage technique in additional to the manicures and pedicures you offer.  A new type of city tour if you are in tourism, a how-to-care for plants educational evening if you are a florist.

ii) Adding core-product extensions, follow-ups or check-ups - i.e. a new discounted head-shot from a photographer after 1 year, updated SEO trainings,  long-term servicing contracts on sale of a boiler/car, a one-day refresher seminar.

iii) Complimentary services from a strategic partner that offer your clients added value and add a commission revenue stream to your business -  i.e.  A sport shop offer’s discounted driving range practice to its customers that purchase golfing equipment.  A Wedding Dressmaker gives their clients a wedding shower cake from a local cake designer.

2) Research the best way to communicate your offering with your existing clients

How is the best way to reach your existing clients in order that you get the best response to your promotion?  Note, this is not always the easiest solution - for example, sending out a mass email with a promotion attached is not always a very effective way to get a positive response from your existing customers.

3) Make sure you have the resources.

This is a compliment to your current offering and business strategy.  You need to be able to cover the additional work-load and marketing as needed.  You don´t want to leave yourself short so your core business suffers or that you don´t implement your strategy at 100% of your abilities, or it won´t be as successful.

4) Find your existing customer details.

Hopefully this is readily available; otherwise this may take a bit of time.  It is important that you don´t continue loosing ways to more revenue by not keeping the contact details of your existing customers organised. If you don´t have any contact details, think of a way to start collecting them today.   Satisfied clients are your best marketers so you want to stay in touch,

5) Plan and implement promotion.  Then test and measure.

Make sure you measure the results of the promotion and make any recommendations for improvements at the end of it.

6) Put in the corporate calendar other dates when you will do the next back-end boost to sales.

Make it a regular occurrence.  After all that brainstorming I bet you came up with more than just one idea, and build off what you learn from this promotion to make it even better.

If you do not feel that you would be capable of doing an existing-customer promotion then you need to address the reasons why. It is an important part of growing a successful company and we need to take away the personal, operational or customer-service related issues that may be holding you back from these type of promotions.  One thing I do know, it isn´t normally as bad as originally feared.

I hope this is inspires you into action.  If you need any help on these type of promotions feel free to contact us for additional help.



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5 Free DIY Market Research tools to help understand your potential customer & marketplace
11 July 2012

 

Defining market segments to help your business in development

Throughout 2011, experts in marketing circles have been urging small businesses to recognise the changing nature of consumer buying behaviour. Whether your customers are other businesses or end consumers, 2011 has been the year that has drawn a line in the sand between how we used to buy products and services, and how we currently make our purchases.

Nowadays, as shoppers, we do 70% of our research about buying a product or hiring a service before our first contact with a potential supplier. As a result, it is crucial for all businesses to understand customers at a deeper and more accurate level. For businesses, this will give them insights into their customers’ real needs allowing them to better position their message and accurately focus their business offering.

If generating more sales leads is one of your business growth goals, you can use a range of free, online market research tools to better understand your audience. Let’s look at how you can cast a virtual net over the sea of data available to help you understand your market and better target your business opportunities.

1.         Get Spanish statistics

     National Institute of Statistics: http://www.ine.es/en/welcome_en.htm

The Spanish Government’s statistics agency INE has a bilingual website with ready access to data across a range of industry sectors. These sources are often updated monthly so you can get current, localized information about people,places and industries.

E.g.,if your business offers concierge services to travellers, you can get statistics on who travels to Barcelona, what country they come from, how much they spend, and their motivations for choosing this city as their travel destination

2.         Understanding Global consumer trends

    Trendwatching: trendwatching.com

Trendwatching, the website that termed the phrase “popup” to describe the temporary restaurant has a fascinating offering that examines global trends. Their newsletter is an easily digestible market research summary that can help guide your ideas about
how to position your business, how to create new products that match emerging trends, and how to better understand buyer behaviours and consumer interests.

3.         Demographic tools

      Alexa: www.alexa.com

You can learn a lot about your potential audience by seeing who reads the websites in your industry sector. By looking at some of the bigger companies in your industry, you can identify potential audience segments and make some educated guesses about who is responsible for making the buying decisions.  I really like this site as it has a lot of information about how people find you or your competitors online and it also shows who links to them which can make for very interesting reading.

Demographic profiles can be a bit limited for smaller businesses that don’t have a lot of online visitors, but you can register for Alexa for free and over time they will start compiling demographic data for your website.

 

E.g.if you run an interior decorating business, you could look at the readership of getdecorating.com to see the average
reader profile. According to Alexa, 3.4% of this site’s readers are from Spain (around 340 visitors each day). Alexa has data about the gender, age, education level, and website content topics. You can use these demographic insights to improve how you pitch your business promotional messages to readers and buyers in your market.

 

 4.         Data sources management tool

      Junar: www.junar.com

It is easy these days to drown yourself in data or bury yourself in spreadsheets. The Chilean-based startup Junar has a simple interface to help you manage your data sources. They recently introduced new graphing functions that also help you analyse your market research data. One of the best features of this online tool is that it can automatically turn any website with data into an organized spreadsheet. You can then select specific items in the spreadsheet and create a graph.

 

 

5.         Data and information visualization tool

      Popplet: www.popplet.com

When you have collected your market research data and information from a variety of sources, you will want to be able to lay it out in a way that draws all the components together.

Popplet is a fun visual aid and information mapping tool that can help you collate and connect your market research, so you can refine your business messages to particular audience segments. You can use popplets like a mind map to lay out all of your information. Seeing your information visually can help you make connections you may not have thought of, and the mix of using data and images can engage your left and right brain to deepen your insight.

 

The most important market research tool for your business growth

While all of these free tools can help you investigate your market and industry sector at a more accurate and useful depth, there is no escaping the most important tool of all: time. Try and allocate a couple of hours every week – or perhaps schedule a meeting-free day each month to give yourself time to carry out market research activities and get to know your audience better. Tools like Junar and Popplet make the process easy and more enjoyable, so start integrating market research into your operations so you can keep growing your customer base. Knowing your market is essential to keeping your business in development and growing your business to the needs of the consumer

 

 



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Increase your business productivity - 10 useful apps
06 July 2012

 

Let software make things easier for you.  Here are some applications that will help your productivity and efficiency.  Most are free too.

1. www.dropbox.com – Great free storage app, simple to use, you can download to your desktop so you simply save like you would to your harddrive except that it syncs with the online portal and anyone else´s dropbox with whom you have shared the folder.  Surprising easy to use and allows you to store, share and access your files on any device. Once you download the software you’ll never have to email a file again.

2. Google Apps– Google has quite a few free tools that can help you manage your business and most work seamlessly together. If you want to move your business fully "into the cloud" google apps is a great and cheap option. Includes, Google Reader, Calender, Alerts, email, and other integrated apps.

3. www.podio.com -  Said to be the new Basecamp, Podio is a social work platform for the enterprise or project team.  Podio is easy to use, just like Facebook and twitter but designed for business collaboration. Connect with your team, pass content, and hold group conversations across all of your business applications.  Very professional especially for connecting with employees or clients on projects.

4. www.basecamp.com – With some very new and innovative kids on the block Basecamp is said to have been ¨left behind¨in some features, but it still remains a project management app worth mentioning, it lets you keep all your files in one place, keep all your client discussions centralized, and keep track of important dates making life a lot more organised.

5. www.yast.com-  If you feel like you need better time management try yast.  It is simple, you do something, you time it, you see how long it took.  Great for keeping control of time taken on assignments or time-wasting things.  Has a good mobile app too.

6.  www.evernote.com  - If a big part of your job involves coming up with creative ideas from online resources, then Evernote would be perfect for your business. It allows users the ability to save sentences and paragraphs they see online and even entire web pages. You can also type random thoughts, and record your ideas using their audio recording feature, as well as create to-do lists and access past notes from anywhere.

7. www.skype.com – Is a free software application that lets you make and receive voice and video calls over the internet and to landline and mobiles at cheap rates.  Also a great instant messaging tool between employees and offices to pass notes, web links and documents in real time.

8. www.salesforce.com- All small businesses need a CRM as they increase organisation, follow.up rates and client response times.  Salesforce is one effective CRM that helps organise leads, opportunities and accounts and much more.  Easy to share and assign tasks between multiple employees.

9. www.linkedIn.com – LinkedIn is great for networking, but you can also use it as a tool to find prospects, service-providers or collaborations by geography, name, job title or the type of groups they frequent.  I´m a big fan, with very useful relevant profile information so people can find you and you can find them.

10. www.wordpress.com - do it yourself website and blog builder.  While it is still useful to have a designer design your website, nowadays you should be able to make small and regular content changes to your website to keep it relevant.

 

There is an abundance of innovative tools available today that are specifically designed to make start-ups and small businesses become more efficient, competitive and profitable. This is great news for small business owners because in today’s highly competitive market it is important to get all the tools and help we can to remain competitive and productive.

Don´t shy away from these tools, business ownership is about continual development and staying up to date with innovation. They are normally easier to use than first expected. However, there is an abundance to choose from so choose those that will really add benefit. Start with one or two, master them and incorporate them in your daily routine and then move onto the next ones.

Please add others that you think deserve a mention.

 

Happy productivity!

 

For more business tips and information please check out our web-page www.freegreenbeans.com



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