Basic Business Skills You Must Have To Succeed In Today’s Economy
Everyday I meet future business owners, current start up company owners and adults from various backgrounds in sales, business and marketing who have increasing confusion about computers, the internet and direct response marketing.
They range from coaches, to singers, to real estate investors, to MLM business owners, to copywriters and graphic designers to everything you could possibly imagine in between.
My advice to them is that there are some skill sets you must have to succeed in business. While some of these are not necessarily mastered by all these are the basic foundation. If you don’t know these foundational keys you can hire someone who does.
But what does the business owner who does not have staff or a budget yet to hire people do?
Master the foundational basics.
Last night I was on a private mentoring call with MaryEllen Tribby and Brian Edmondson. There were 10 additional people who were also a part of MaryEllen’s elite coaching program. The topic was JV partnerships and how it is one of the most cost effective ways to grow your list.
MaryEllen discussed ( as she does extensively in her book Changing The Channel) that your list is your single most biggest business asset. If you do not have a list, you don’t have a business- you have a garage sale. Garage sales operate with selling product and hoping that someone buys it for whatever you can get them to pay. I recommend MaryEllen’s book as one of the most foundational pieces you’ll ever have for your business.
Before you purchase list software, a bigger domain, a better header, ANYTHING…. get this book. It will save you a ton of money and make sure you’re not building on quicksand.
Understanding Direct Response Marketing will make or break you.
You MUST understand this to the core of who you are. It’s your compass, it’s a guide. It can’t be an option. MASTER it. You can’t just have an overview knowledge or you will lose a lot of money and growing your business will be extremely painful.
Then….your list, a targeted list of customers or clients who have interest in what you offer is your biggest asset.
How your treat your list is foundational to your success. If you abuse your list, only market to your list when you want to make money, only give of your talents and abilities so that you can make money, you might be in business for a few years but you’ll fade fast.
I’ve seen this time and again.
Companies come online with a skill set or product that they’ve used offline. They create a big following with JV partnerships or by porting over their offline customer base into an online portal. They have insane growth, they sell the same thing over and over again, they repackage it, they splice and slice their content into various different modules and then….. they begin to fade.
People stop answering. People stop responding as quickly. The clients tend to go to another ‘person’ online. So the company does what? They look for a ‘new brand’… a ‘new way’…. a new whatever… and when it doesn’t succeed as much as they’d like it to they blame it on the market, over saturation or the biggest cop-out..
The recession is a cop-out when it comes to direct response marketing.
This is a foundational tip for you. Write it down now and post by your desk.
If you’ve had previous success online but recently began to see a big drop in sales don’t always assume it’s the recession. $ 42 billion dollars were spent online alone in the month of December 2009. There are many companies as seen on Alexa.com that are not struggling to stay afloat.
MaryEllen herself made grown men cry when she recently walked away from an enormous salary with a fast growing company because she saw the opportunity to start her own business. So a recession can be a cop-out when you don’t want to really assess what is happening in your company.
Our company has seen it’s biggest profits in 2009 and are on track to triple that in 2010. Already we’ve doubled what we did in 2009. It’s not the recession.
But it could be lack of another foundational key.
People will go where they feel they are best being served. If they don’t create long term results and can’t seem to get to the next level with your product and your company it’s not a recession when they go to someone else.
People are the lifeblood of your company and they are savvy and know how to spot a fading company. Or one that is selling the same old message and the same old stuff as they were ten years ago!
People want you to grow and they want you to be ahead of them in your marketing. They want someone to follow.
Are you growing? Do you share with your clients what you’re doing to grow? Are you open about your company, your staff and do your customers feel like you are coming ‘alongside’ of them to help them reach their goals? (even if it’s buying a pair of shoes!) or are you seen as the “Almighty Expert Guru” who is off limits and no one can speak to personally?
I can always tell by how accessible a speaker is at an event.
When I go to events and huge company owners are networking with the audience, are more than willing to help and answer questions, I know I’m in good company. If the old business model of “put me as the expert and make me untouchable” is where you are operating from you might want to reconsider your M.O. ( mode of operation) That was outdated with the vacuum cleaner salesman at the door speel.
I’ve had company owners such as Bob Bly, MaryEllen Tribby, Brian Edmondson, Fred Gleeck, Rich Schefren, Gina Alexander and others return my emails or contact me personally just because I asked a question.
What do you think THAT does for my confidence?
Basic business skill number one- people.
Now let’s talk Computers.
Here is what you must know to operate a successful business: Email, MS Word, Instant Messenger, Facebook, Twitter. You must be able to cut and paste an image. You should be able to make text bold and italics.
If an enormously successful business woman, MaryEllen Tribby, who has seen more success than 90% of the women I know, can hold her own in the company of people like Steve Forbes, Time Warner, Weiss Research, Michael Masterson and others…. and she recently said, “I’m embracing the computer and the internet and really enjoying it” what makes YOU think you’ll get very far if you don’t.
Seriously… people talk about building businesses years ago with nothing more than a payphone and a brochure but that was 1980. I also built a huge $4 million dollar company without video, social networking, a Smartphone or much help in 1995 but much of what I did then is outdated and I’d be HARD PRESSED to repeat that today.
I use the basics of what I did then but my training has advanced to today’s culture, today’s client, today’s demand.
You need basic computer skills.
You also need to understand basic internet skills. Preferably social networking and WordPress if you want to get far.
Oh sure, you can hire someone to do it for you and you can have staff members who are experts in their fields but if you are starting out with a prayer and $ 3000 on your credit card in business that is NOT going to work.
Which leads me to the topic of debt.
Our company is 100% DEBT FREE.
I’ve built companies that were not and it’s painful. Ugh.
Let me say this loud and clear- do not put payroll on a loan. Do not hire people hoping you’ll grow enough to pay them. Do not put business expenses on a credit card and hope you can pay them off with enough sales.
That my friends is a recipe for failure. That is a lack mindset and it’s what shut down so many companies during this recent economic challenge.I’ll say that again. If the companies that recently crashed with the New York Stock Exchange did not run their payroll on credit we’d have seen a different result.
Basic business tip- you must not go into debt beyond what you can fund in 30-60 days.
If you are there already, get into some of my classes and get really good at doing things online that do not cost a lot of money. You cannot put that kind of pressure on yourself and succeed. 2 years from now you’ll be gone.
Basic business tip- you need a mentor.
If you are still trying to build your company without a mentor, a coach and someone who has done and is DOING what you want to do… you are in for a rude awakening.
I did this to the tune of $ 4million in profits and 90 hours a week later, sicker than a dog, on bedrest for 6 years and wondering if my children would have a mother much longer it was NOT worth it.
Hiring a mentor was the best thing that every happened to me.
Being accountable for what was instructed and using my God-given gift to go places I never dreamed was possible caused me to build something I never dreamed was possible.
Six years later, with many mentors to include Rich Schefren, ETR, AWAI, MaryEllen Tribby and others.. I still account each week, once per week, pay $ 700 per hour to a coach. (MaryEllen)….
I have always sought out the best of the best.
In recap. The basics will make or break you.
-You must understand people.
-You must have some basic computer skills.
-You must be able to use social media and WordPress.
-You must not go into massive debt.
-You must have a mentor.
Where are you today?
Which one of these basics are you lacking in?
Mark my words, if you learn these basics and go onto master them step by step you will be unstoppable.
Here are some steps to get you going.
I believe in you! Believe in yourself!
You were CREATED to succeed!