Do You Have What it Takes to Run a Non-Employer Business?

 

Non-employer businesses have been a big part of American business for many a decade. And even with the employee-rich startup culture in boom, non-employer businesses are still on the rise.

So is this something you should be looking into in your own business pursuits? It’s important that you understand a little more about how this part of American business operates. Take a look at these facts. They’ll help you get a sense of the bigger picture when it comes to this type of business.

What’s a non-employer business?

A non-employer business is actually something most of us is familiar with. It’s just that we don’t often use that term to describe the business. Basically, the owner of the business in question doesn’t employ anyone except themselves. They’re self-employed and are going at this pursuit solo. Some may say that a more accurate term would be a non-employee business. But the business owner doesn’t employ anyone, so the non-employer term definitely makes sense.

 

The data

Non-employer businesses are hardly a minority of businesses, believe it or not. When you think about it, this makes a certain kind of sense. After all, it is markedly easier to start one of these businesses than it is to get something going with employees. If you count up all the businesses in America, then you’re going to find that most businesses are non-employer businesses. The United States Census Bureau found that non-employer businesses made up the majority of all businesses in America. In 2013 it was estimated that for every thousand residents in the country, there were 72 non-employer businesses owners.

 

However, the same study also shows that these businesses only make up a very small portion of the country’s overall business revenue. After all, most of these businesses are likely to be the part-time pursuits of self-employed people. They may even have another full-time job for a regular business. It’s estimated that just under 4% of America’s business revenue generates from non-employer businesses.

 

If you’re interested…

Non-employer businesses can work really well for people interested in going into business solo. As long as you’re not expecting to run some crazily complex operation, not having employees to look after can work to your benefit. And there are certainly plenty of resources available to you if you need help. The IRA will be able to talk to you about certain tax breaks you’d be eligible for. Companies like Office Evolution can offer you office solutions suited to your business model. The SBA will also have resources for businesses that don’t require employees.

 

 

The costs saved by going at a business in this fashion are really remarkable. The average capital expenditure of a small business with ten or so employees exceeds $150,000. Many non–employer businesses will only spend between $3,000 and $5,000. However, it’s important to remember where a lot of those extra costs go. They go towards employees who, presumably, end up bringing in more in revenue. So you have to be sure that your business can make the profits you need without hiring the help of part- or full-time employees.

Category: Careers

Black Friday: Mistakes Your Business Should Avoid On The Big Day

Black Friday is something that has become synonymous with businesses and customers around the world. Lots of countries celebrate it, and they all do so in their own specific ways. Sometimes, they restrict it to Friday only. At others, they make it a week-long thing, hold it on different dates and more. No matter what your business plans to do this year, it’s beneficial to use this as a marketing opportunity. It can also present plenty of stumbling blocks, and that’s where we come in.

 

Mistake #1: Not Using Hashtags On Social Media

There are a lot of marketing blunders we could mention, but we’re going for this one. I’m going to assume that you’ve already got an elaborate social media plan in place. But, if you fail to include the Black Friday hashtag in your posts, it won’t reach as many people as it should. You might not realize it, but there are lots of people who check that hashtag all day for the latest deals. If you’re not showing up, your deals will go unnoticed by the social media masses.

 

Mistake #2: Underestimating Demand In-Store

Alright, you’ve got a bit of time until Black Friday this year (it’s late November!). So, use this chance to get a proper inventory system going. Maybe, you want to buy barcodes from www.barcodesolutions.co.za? This could assist your audit and stock ordering process. Maybe, start predicting customer trends based on other companies’ Black Friday experiences? On the big day, you don’t want to run out of stock.

 

Mistake #3: Underestimating Demand Online

Oh, we’ve all seen this before. A company advertises a too-good-to-be-true sale, and everyone clicks onto the website immediately. Before anyone can make a purchase, the site crashes. A failure like this could mean the company misses out on huge profits. Think about a good web hosting company from somewhere like www.webafrica.co.za/hosting/. Make sure it can cope with the demand.

 

 

Mistake #4: Letting Things Get Out Of Control

We’ve all seen those scary pictures of stores being looted by over-eager customers, right? We don’t want our store to get like that. If you think there’s a chance of it happening, consider hiring security for this purpose. It won’t be something everyone needs to do, but it’s worth keeping in mind.

 

Mistake #5: Failing To Capitalize On Brand Interest

This is the one chance where you’ve got much more interest than you’d usually get. Why aren’t you taking advantage of it?! Use this opportunity to get customer information and add them to mailing lists. Find ways to keep them in the loop in the future, rather than capitalizing off one sale.

 

Mistake #6: Forgetting About Upselling

You’ve got a chance here to satisfy customers’ needs and make a little extra money in the process. They want that ultra-cheap TV deal? Great! Why not add a games console and a few DVDs into the mix? Think about bundling and finding ways to maximize profit even further. Train your staff ahead of the day, so they don’t forget about this amidst the chaos.

Category: Retail

Learning, Adopting, Improving, Performing – The metric model to use; by Toby Beresford

The Learning Adopting Improving Performing (LAIP) model provides a new tool for categorising personal analytics metrics according to the maturity of the behaviour. This allows program managers to channel behaviour adoption appropriate to business priorities and the current status of the individual and cohort.

The model stems from a collaboration between  Ben Martin and myself when looking at metrics to encourage effective social selling practices.

Anyone creating a personal analytics program may find it a helpful tool when evaluating which metrics to include, when to include them and how to weight them.

The LAIP Model

In our LAIP model, maturity of a behaviour is evaluated along two axes:

  • how established is the behaviour?  has it become a habit?
  • how much value does the behaviour drive? is it worthwhile?

Based on these two axes we can create a boston matrix and into each quadrant we can categorise our metrics.

laip-model-1

Learning

The player is learning the new behaviour and associated tools / processes.

Adoption

The player is seeking to create a regular habit around the new behaviour.

Improving

The player already has a habit but seeks to derive more value from the existing behaviour.

Performance

The player is seeking to achieve higher performance in the adopted behaviour.

Worked Example

Let’s apply this model in the context of an inside sales team looking to drive telephone calls off the back of cold (unsolicited) emails.

Say for example I have the following metrics which I am tracking for each of my sales reps:

  • Total emails sent  (Learning)
  • 20  emails sent per day (Adopting)
  • Responses per email ratio  (Improving)
  • Number of telephone calls arranged (Performing)

laip-model-worked-example-1

Number of cold emails sent is a  Learning metric because it is relatively simple. Sending out emails is a new behaviour and for now I just want to track the total number I’ve sent. This helps me as I get going with sending out those cold emails.

Once I’ve got the hang of sending emails I might want to tighten up the metric so I can be sure I adopt the behaviour I want which is to send 20 each day. So a ratio formula – number of cold emails / day with a goal (20) is a real Adopting metric. This helps me adopt the behaviour I want to achieve.

My Performing metric, in this case, has nothing to do with the underlying behaviour but all to do with the value I am hoping to achieve with my cold emailing behaviour – which is telephone calls with a real lead. So here my metric is number of telephone calls I’ve arranged.  Over time I can make this more sophisticated, perhaps calls per month, per week and so on.

Finally there is a chance that I develop my cold emailing behaviour but it isn’t driving the value that I want. In this case I need to consider anImproving metric – a ratio of email responses to those sent out. This looks at the quality of the emails in terms of who I sent them to and their content. An improving metric assumes that the behaviour is established but is not driving value.

Handling misfit metrics

Like any model, the LAIP model can only offer an approximate view on reality – inevitably there will be some metrics that seem to fit into more than one category or no category at all. The expectation in this case is that the manager will provide a “best fit” assessment when plotting metrics on the matrix.

Conclusion

Overall this model offers gamification gurus a way of categorising metrics, particularly useful in multi-metric scoring systems where scores from multiple behaviours are composited into a single score.

By categorising the metrics,  the program manager can ensure that the personal analytics dashboard is aligned to the current business goals for the individual or current cohort. The program manager does this by weighting and prioritising metrics within the overall score algorithm.

The Sales Battle: 3 Data-Backed Risks of NOT #SocialSelling

The sales battle is ripe with competition. In the today’s disruptive landscape, sellers are scrambling to step ahead and be the first ally in their buyers’ journey.
That’s why we’ve created this following infographic — to arm you with valuable insights as you prepare your future sales strategy:

Social sellers realize a 66% greater quota attainment than those using traditional prospecting techniques

Sales professionals using social selling see 81% more appointments per week

90% of top salespeople use social selling tools, compared with 71% of overall sales professionals

Original Post
Category: Uncategorized

The Death Of Cold Calling: 16 Stats That Prove It [Infographic]

There has been many blogs posts, discussions and debates on the value of cold calling. Many suggesting that it is a dead and dying.

My personal opinion is that the cold call is still and should be part of the sellers kit bag. It is only by blending the new required social skills and older sales tactics can a seller truly provide value and credibility.

I came across this infographic from sales for life blog site and would like to share it with you.

What are you thoughts on cold calling? Does it remain? Perhaps now referred to as a warm call?

So is the term “cold” dead but the function still exists? Drop your comments below

Category: Uncategorized

The tunnel vision of Marketing is destroying Social Selling via @AmarSheth

I must admit that I really do like Amar’s posts of late. In this one, I really resonated with some of his statements. For instance:

Social isn’t the miracle medium. It doesn’t reward sloppy sales behavior.”

LinkedIn Sales Navigator, which is a powerful beast when used correctly. But when it isn’t, it can become an enemy”

Take the time to read and please add your comments below. Take care.

SALES & MARKETING TUNNEL VISION IS DESTROYING SOCIAL SELLING by Amar Sheth

Social selling is a term that is still entering the sales vernacular, but the definition of what defines a social seller is hasn’t been fully yet determined.

From our perspective, which may seem selfish to our non-sales friends, social selling is the ability to use social networking strategies to build relationships that drive pipeline and revenue. All other activities in the organization that roll up and drive to these fundamental principles are supportive functions.

However, this is not how many in organizations are looking at social selling. Their view is largely shaped by their departmental function. Let’s review some examples below.

THE MARKETING VIEWPOINT

When the marketing team leads the charge on social selling, it’s interesting to see how brand pervasiveness and amplification seem to the central focus. Updating LinkedIn Profiles, deploying employee advocacy platforms, focusing on content creation, etc. are heavily focused on this.

Additionally, when marketing is involved, an organization’s social media marketing team very well may be as well.

These are, programmatically, all necessary steps but very limited to the view that salespeople are simply distribution points of the company’s brand, image, messaging, campaigns and products.

But is that all salespeople are good for? The answer is obvious.

THE SALES VIEWPOINT

What’s more frightening is when sales executes own social selling with limited understanding. Yes, social selling is about building pipeline and revenue, but not at the cost of amplifying dated ideas on a new medium.

What am I referring to?

I’m talking about using the same old way of prospecting on social media. I’ve seen many sales professionals become frustrated after sending dozens of InMails on LinkedIn never to get a response. When analyzing further, it’s evident that their InMails read like cold, cookie-cutter prospecting emails.

Social isn’t the miracle medium. It doesn’t reward sloppy sales behavior.

This happens often when companies invest into products without proper training in changing mindset. I see this often when companies only invest in products like LinkedIn Sales Navigator, which is a powerful beast when used correctly. But when it isn’t, it can become an enemy.

The investment into tools must be harmonized with sales training on social. The two can’t live without each other. Without this, there is a significant risk of low product usage. When sales professionals don’t know how to effectively drive results, it can be challenging to show a proper ROI on investing in tools.

Sales departments should not expect deep levels of social selling knowhow from tool providers.  It’s just not possible. Their focus is on building world-class products, not how to use the tools to positively impact sales.

THE BOTTOM LINE

The challenge with viewing social selling from these two separate and distinct perspectives is how social is ultimately being affected. Without a unified and programmatic approach to social, impact can be very limited.

Aberdeen Research found that best-in-class companies that aligned sales and marketing experienced an average of 20% growth in annual revenue, compared to a 4% decline in laggard ones.

Secondly, ask yourself this question: can we really wait to battle the inadequacies of existing corporate culture? Can we wait for people to “get comfortable” on social? Or, acknowledge that research should be done online (where else can it be done, the library?)?

Operating something that is so critical as social selling from two silos will limit progress, at best, or destroy the initiative altogether.

If you’ve read this far and are still wondering why social selling is so critically important, ask yourself if customer acquisition and nurturing matter to your business. The buck stops there.

You can reach Amar on Twitter  @AmarSheth or connect on LinkedIn

Original Post

The ULTIMATE SOCIAL SELLING routine for the modern sales pro [INFOGRAPHIC]

What is the perfect social selling routine? Salesforlife crowdsourced from 65,000 sales professionals to find out. They have put the results into a great graphic listed below.

How can you discover relevant content that sparks conversations with buyers? What is the best way to engage buyers online? How to track these interactions? And how do you overcome the dead zone, continually re-engaging buyers so they don’t forget you?

This infographic ensures you’ve got every stage of the buyer’s journey covered — from lead generation to prospecting, closing to nurturing. Enjoy.

The Social Selling Trick Most Companies Miss. Guest post by Amar Sheth

Social selling isn’t rocket science — but in many ways it’s treated like it is. There is definitely a right way and a wrong way of doing it. There are places you shouldn’t have sales professionals waste their time. There are shortcuts and social selling tips and “tricks” that can help accelerate results quickly.

But, despite this, the ability of a program’s success rests on your corporate culture.

When it comes to reinforcing social selling training, there’s a trick that everyone forgets and/or ignores, in hopes of a silver bullet/miracle solution.

TIME IS THE ANSWER

Companies want instant results from social selling and attribute a lack of results to this new way of selling, not the person applying it.

Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? It’s like me blaming my workout routine – not that I’ve not taken the time to work out more often or seek help.

Do we attribute a lack of desired results to the source or the self?

Here’s the reality: social selling, like all sales activities, takes time. It also takes executive sponsorship and the desire and ability to drive behavioral changes.

That ongoing reinforcement means you’ll need to invest time. And that’s the part I think most aren’t willing to do. They’d much rather put their teams through workshops, seminars, a few classes, etc. but when it comes time to blocking off their sales professionals calendars in order to try social selling and make a real go of it, they’re unwilling.

I’m not sure why we’re expecting results without a proper, daily investment of time.

Where did we get this notion that social selling was the miracle pill? I’m not sure, but reinforcement requires the ability for your sales leadership to devote time to social selling daily.

THE ROUTINE MATTERS

One of the best things you can have your salespeople do is practice social selling daily. Here is a routineyou can try if you’d like to practice social principles that are tied to revenue-generating activities.

Are you willing and able to dedicate 30-60 minutes/day of calendar time per sales professional? That’s what it’ll take to build momentum. The good news is that results will come in and they won’t be linear. We’ve seen tipping points happen quickly with exponential results.

It’s not unusual for a client to see 50X-100X ROI within a year if they’re willing to invest that time.

THE BOTTOM LINE

If you believe the statement that doing is the new learning, attending workshops and classes alone just won’t cut it. It’s a wonderful place to start, but expecting significant shifts in behavior is, quite frankly, a pipe dream.

This graphic from Axonify is a great example of why reinforcement is so critical. Human beings crave repetition. Repeating something helps with memory and retention of application.

Screen_Shot_2016-08-29_at_12.48.24_PM.png

Doing the work on an ongoing basis is the only thing that can radically boost the probability of success.

So that’s my recommendation to you all as you read this. Whether you’re a sales professional, sales leader, sales enablement or marketing professional, test your organization’s ability not to just train your sales teams in social selling, but to see if dedicating 30-60 minutes/day is doable post-training.

Are you practicing social selling daily already or wondering how to? Tweet me your thoughts@AmarSheth or connect with me on LinkedIn to share.

Social Selling – Basic Tools to Gain Influence and Dominate your Territory – Guest Post Timothy Hughes

I’m going to start this blog assuming you know about Social Selling already. That buyers can now cut you the seller out by using Google and other techniques. As a seller you will have already wised up to the fact you need to do something different.

Here is a quick summary of techniques and tools you can use to support your selling efforts.

There are many others tool, if you have any suggestions or “hacks” you want to share, please do in the comments.

LinkedIn: Continue to build your personal brand this has to be buyer centric. That means that if a buyer (usually in salesperson avoidance mode) came across your profile, would they avoid you, or maybe you can convince them to stop by and ask your advice.  But please don’t see Linkedin as some passive “tick box” exercise, your should be using Linkedin to drive “inbound” through your profile.

Sales Navigator: Great tool to allow you to research and monitor your prospects and accounts. LinkedIn quote that for the average Enterprise sale 5.4 people are involved.  The mistake that sales people often make is that it’s easier talking to somebody in your comfort zone.  Often they are part of the problem and not part of the solution.  Sales Navigator allows you to get broader and wider in an account to cover all the bases and lock your competition out.

Twitter: This is a great resource to allow to find and engage with people in your prospects and accounts. While this sounds like Sales Navigator, what you will find is that Changemakers will tend to use Twitter as they see it as a way to grow and connect with influence.

On Twitter you need a clear biography, most corporations will insist that you need a comment that your opinions are my own and a link to your LinkedIn Profile. Don’t link to your corporate website.

Buffer: Buffer is a web browser plugin that allows you to “buffer up” tweets. While automation should be used with care, it is “Social” Media after all, it is a way that you can Tweet and work at the same time.

Tip: Do NOT post to multiple Social Networks at the same time. This is easy to spot and will be seen by followers of yours on multiple platforms to be spammy.

How do you Increase The Visibility of your Tweets?: One tool that will allow you to do this is Crowdfire. It allows you to follow certain hashtags.

Or why not follow all your competitors followers and steal their Influence?

How as a Salesperson can you see what your customers are talking about on Social Media?

Below is the dashboard for my Twitonomy account

 Twitonomy looks very much like the basic Twitter client. You can reply, retweet and favorite individual tweets.

But Twitter analytics is where the tool really shines. Once signed in, you’ll get a Twitonomy profile page that has all kinds of statistics. There is too much really to mention, sign up and have a play.

In terms of your customers it will help find them, you can see who influences them, the hashtags they are using

Want to know your customers better and be alerted in case of important information?

https://www.netvibes.com is a great application, like Google alerts on steroids this allows you to listen to prospects and customers at a micro and macro level.

Want to Create some Funky Content that will Stand Out? 

Picplaypost – This app allows you to create photos and videos collages, great video on Youtube here

https://youtu.be/oHGgz0owzQc via @YouTube

Legend – This app allows you to turn text into stunning animations.
Put your words in motion. Inspire people. Make friends laugh. In just 2 taps! Perfect for Instagram, Twitter, iMessage, WhatsApp. Save video or GIF.

Conclusion: Social Media is your best friends to be visible on the market on what you do well, to be perceived as an expert by your eco system and also to have information about your customers, partners, competitors, etc

But you don’t become best friends in 5 minutes, you need to get to know each other and you can find your prospects and position yourself as being there to help.

In my book Social Selling, there is a whole chapter on technology and a practical way that people can use it to create leads and over achieve your quota quicker. It’s written to help support you both salesperson and sales leader on your Social Selling journey.

Want to know how to sell to the modern, connected buyer?

If you’re interested in a blueprint to help you in your move to digital and social then I recommend my book.  “Social Selling – Techniques to Influence Buyers and Changemakers”.  Written in a workbook style, it’s designed to help you implement a digital and Social strategy across Sales and Marketing.

To order follow this link to Amazon there is also a Kindle, eBook version.

About the Author

Tim Hughes is co-founder of Digital Leadership Associates a company that provides support and guidance in all areas of Social as well as Social Selling.  He has been called “an innovator and pioneer” of Social Selling and in the recent Onalytica list of the most influential Social Sellers globally, Tim was named as number 1.

Tim can be contacted on Twitter @timothy_hughes where he has some 150,000 followers or tim@digitalleadershipassociates.com – You can find him at his blog The Social Selling Network