Sync your business: 5 leap day inspired tips

 In Accelerator, Entrepreneurship, Startup, Strategic Growth

TODAY is leap day – what is it? February, the month of love, hearts, and valentines, has 29 days every four years. Why TODAY? It’s to bring the Gregorian Calendar in SYNC with the Solar calendar. Without this correction, the calendar year would be off by about 1 day after 4 years. Let’s celebrate TODAY in getting in SYNC with our customers, business strategy, and finances. Here are 5 easy leap-day inspired tips to get in sync for SCALE!

1. Get more in sync with you target customers. Use lean startup methods in your existing business (albeit if you are a “grown up” startup, a solopreneur, or a small business) to interview, engage and connect with your target customer. First, know who your “persona” is. A Pinterest board is a perfect way to visually map out who is your ideal customer. A fabulous colleague has created an excellent board of “who’s our customer” for her business, Purpose Driven Product (connect with her is you want to have a stellar startup pitch).

The other 2 ways to get quickly in sync with your target market is to send out a quick survey of the top 3-4 questions you would ask them if you would be RIGHT in front of them. Choose your questions wisely as they do not have a ton of time and you want to get the BEST information to inform your GROWTH goals. You can use Google forms, survey monkey or ca simply just put a form on your website that you send your customers too (keep them on your platform is a GREAT idea). The SECOND way is to ask your most values customers for a quick testimonial about your work, services or products. This can be done over a quick email (with a simple “reply back with 2 sentences”), or a form you send them to on your website or if you know your target customer looks at Linked In for reviews, have them submit one via Linked In. Then, leverage those testimonials on your website, on your communications, and your videos.

Give your persona what they need, ask them if you delivered what they wanted, sync up with similar customers, and ask again.

2. Keeping calendars in sync with editorial calendars of your PR goals. Scaling your business is predominantly about getting in front of more buying customers. How can you do that without going one-by-one-by-one? Get in front of them WHERE they are shopping or finding their information. Set up a “pie in the sky” publication that you would like to be featured in. Inc? Entrepreneur? Forbes? Go on their websites or google search for them and find their editorial calendars. As soon as you get those publications identified and their calendars discovered, it’s time to sync your own editorial calendar to match up. There is no shortage of free editorial templates available.

Sync with editorial calendars of your targeted PR efforts.

3. Connect more efficiently with strategic alliances. You have already identified who are your strategic partners and have been giving them what they need, correct? If you have, reach out to them, set up a meeting, and discover what else you can be doing to be reciprocal partners in growing each other’s customer base and both becoming more successful. If you have not, go back and define who are those strategic partners. Strategic alliances / partners are those entities (either not for profit networking groups, corporate groups, or other small businesses) who are in front of your target market before they come to you, thus more likely to buy from you because of the linked recommendation. I like to bucket, or group, my strategic partner lists so that I can better manage how I interact with them. Synching their calendar of events with my calendar of events is a great way to bring more synergy. Then, it’s time to reach out to the ones at the top of your priority list and ask them, “How can I help”, because you have already identified that they are benefit to the continue growth of your business.

Your strategic alliances are in front of your target customer, sync more strategically with them by providing more value.

4. Get in sync with your finances. Understanding your burn rate and planning for growth will allow for Small business to scale strategically.  What is your burn rate? 50% of your revenue should be spent on ways to scale your business to become more competitive in this global environment. Check out this GREAT article about the 3 important burn rate considerations of any business: (i) Understand net vs. gross, (ii) burn vs. opportunity, and (iii) not all burn rate is created equal. That is more retrospective, of course. Now, plan for SCALE! What are the finances you need to scale towards the brilliant business you want to have. The SBA has excellent programs for creative financing (loans, lines of credit, etc.) that can help you plan and achieve that growth projection.

Regular review of finances, both burn and projections, allows for efficient syncing with your scale plan.

5. Sync up through a business review what is a need vs a want. A regular internal review of your business, to really define what is needed vs wanted, is extremely important to manage and grow an efficiently venture. As a solopreneur, just scheduling quarterly meetings with yourself, a trusted colleague (the best are other solopreneurs you can sit down with to go over each other’s businesses), or a business coach (many offer accountability sessions that are reasonable priced and are that “back pocket strategist” you need). During those meetings, review broadly the 4 main components of any small business: Operations/processes, marketing, business development and finances. Here are a couple of questions you can use during those meetings. (i) Can you automate any of your operations? Can you assign any processes to a virtual assistant so you can focus on what you (and only you) can do. (ii) What percentage of revenue are we using for marketing? Can we be more lean in our marketing efforts? (iii) What business development efforts yielded conversions? In our current calendar, what are similar types of efforts are we doing? Get rid of the others. (iv) Can we decrease expenses on the “nice to haves”? Can we recycle any portion of our supplies?

Identifying and reviewing what is needed vs wanted in your business will sync lean strategies for optimal growth

Today you get an extra day to enjoy working ON your business instead of IN your business. Get in sync with your ideal customers, reconnect with your strategic alliances, review your financials to match scale with expenses, and sync up your “must haves” more tightly and release your “nice to haves”. I LOVED the article by National Geographic on the history behind leap year and watch for the leaping animals pics there too. LEAP into your BEST, most BRILLIANT year EVER by SYNCHING up with what is truly valuable for your business. #leapyear #leapday #leapday2016 #leap2016 #sync #businessdevelopment #business #strategy #scale #growth #bestyearever

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