What are the biggest challenges for business in 2020? Take our 30 second survey and find out.

Without doubt, business and the way we do it, in order to get a good result, is changing. It’s different from how it was 20 years ago, 10 years ago and even only a couple of years ago and it can certainly be a puzzle to know what goes where, if you can’t actually see what the end result is supposed to look like. It’s not good enough to just have a great product to guarantee success, nor is it only the best at marketing that product and marketing itself has to be possibly the most confusing part of business, in attempting to get some real result that generates a customer, not just a “like, or reaction”!

Take our 30 second “Business challenges in 2020 survey” to share you what you think and find out what you need to focus on more this year, to grow your business. https://form.jotform.co/90707302203848

It’s more than just marketing and having spoken to many business owners and industry experts over the last six months, there are a number of areas that cause frustration and the following are the priority main areas that keep popping up over and over again and have been identified as to where businesses seriously need to focus attention on this year and moving forward.

  • Yes, marketing is up there, advertising, brand awareness, client attraction. If your trying to get a measurable and replica-table result, good luck! Businesses are spending far less on marketing than we ever have and it’s under 1% according to some benchmarking and it’s purely because it’s just too hard to get even a small result. So, businesses don’t do any. But the biggest challenge with marketing, isn’t that it doesn’t work, most does to some degree, but most businesses don’t measure the result, understand the cost per sale, the return on investment or do it long enough to get that result. They give up.

But there’s more to it than just marketing.

  • Staff: 80% of staff are disengaged and in excess of 51% are constantly looking for another job (on your time) even if it paid less and again the reason behind it is simple. Poor recruitment, onboarding, understanding of expectations, virtually no training or ongoing support. Skills levels with most staff are low, they often don’t know what to do, so don’t! And that includes returning calls from enquiries and customers, other than email based.
  • Management: it just doesn’t exist. Management is simply asking questions. Are we getting the result we planned? (If we had any sort of plan?)
  • Engagement: Customer service, experience, follow-up. There’s a very common theme with business failures, including the very recent fall over last year of the majority of the Jamie Oliver restaurant chain, in particular the UK locations. No engagement with customers, no way of ongoing follow-up, so they actually come back again.
  • Communication skills: the ability to talk, handle an enquiry, sell or just articulate what it is you do. People just don’t know how and can’t do it. In most networking situations their too scared to come up to anyone so don’t! They rarely even have a business card on them. If you ask what they do, they’ll go into a ten-minute monologue and you still won’t know!
  • Evolution, reimagining: Customers get bored and will change and go elsewhere for no other reason. They just won’t something that’s a little different. So, the solution is evolution! Far too many businesses rely on price, discounting, daily deal systems and outsourced delivery options as the way to attract clients, rather than a serious wow factor, or standout so that becomes the reason clients deal with and stay with you and often, it can have nothing to do with the core product.
  • Technology, automation, “insourcing”: you don’t have to do everything yourself. Too often I see businesses that don’t do any of the things, like sell, service or market, because they do everything themselves. You don’t have too. Technology and automation allow you to do so much of the ongoing client contact process, without you have to send every email, but if it’s about personalised service, why not insource that. Follow-up, ongoing service and client relationship development are a skill and process that can be done by anyone, other than the boss, as long as they’re trained, have an understanding of the expectations and the outcomes are managed.

Everything has some effect and the fact is you can have the greatest marketing and advertising program around, that brings you as many quality leads as you can handle, but if you can’t convert that lead through good selling skills and then don’t service that client, they’ll leave eventually anyway and go elsewhere and they certainly won’t refer anyone either.

When you talk to business owners as I do, they’ll come back with the challenges generally in simple terms.

  • More customers
  • More cash
  • Get some result from advertising.
  • My staff (if they’d only perform like me!)

But if the starting point is marketing and the process of lead generation and client attraction, what do you need to do to make something work, without spending a small fortune that you haven’t got. (At the moment)

  • Social media: unless your spending money on it (Facebook or Linkedin) and unless your posting hourly, it’s almost impossible to get any real result. Less than 1% of posts actually get seen, even if they’re paid for. There’s simply too much noise out there. But you need to be on there, you need to post at least daily, you need to have a presence. So, if you’re not, find a way, without spending at this stage, to post at least every couple of days as a bare minimum and build from there.
  • Email currently has an open rate of around 20%, but that doesn’t say people read it. There’s less engagement at the moment than ever before. But the only way you can do anything, is with data. So, collect it everywhere, then send emails out to your database.
  • Your website is key, but the easiest way to make them work is often ignored. The domain name is the easy key to finding your site and making it easy to remember. If by some chance you’re an animal photographer and your name is John Smith, don’t be tempted to use johnsmith.com.au just because you like your name. At least use johnsmithanimalphotographer.com.au or animalphotographer.com.au because it will be much easier to find, without the need to spend an ongoing fortune on SEO.
  • You could try print, but ensure you include a unique call to action so you can see the results, if any.

The old adage of test and measure is now truer than ever. There’s no point of doing any marketing or advertising if you’re not measuring the results. The leads that come in, the ones that go ahead and buy and the ones that don’t, what happens to them too. Everything is simply about understanding the cost per lead and the return on investment, plus also the conversion rates. If you know them, it almost doesn’t matter if you’re only getting some small positive result, just continue to tweak and improve.

There’s not one thing that businesses need to focus attention on this year, to standout above the noise of your competition in whatever field you’re in but be only slightly better than the rest and you’ll come out on top. Get the fundamentals right that effect almost every business and what holds most back, and any business is unstoppable.

ThinkBusinessGrowth in 2020

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