Wednesday, May 28, 2014

5 Steps to Make Your Meetings Count by Andris Pukke

Too often I hear business people complain about how wasteful meetings are- time is money and unproductive meetings can be a vacuum for both. Due to the dynamics of personalities and politics in meetings, it’s important for the leader to keep things from derailing. You can make your meetings count with these 5 steps.

1. Establish the Goal
Deciding the purpose of your meeting will guide key elements like who the attendees of the meeting are and how much time should be invested. With a common mission for all parties, your goal should be reached at the conclusion of the meeting.

2. Outline the Agenda
Your agenda will be the guiding force to keeping your meeting on track.  Distribute it to your attendees along with any other relevant materials before the meeting.  Make sure that each item is necessary to reach your established goal and delegate someone responsible for each item.

3. Direct the Dialogue
Be prepared to determine whether off-track topics need to be “taken offline” (a.k.a. discussed later, amongst specific attendees) and direct the attention back to the task at hand. Remember the all-important purpose of the meeting: that goal you established in Step 1. Anything not progressing towards that goal can be disruptive to everyone’s time investment in the meeting.

4. Determine Next Steps
At the close of the meeting, make sure that each task has a deadline and has been delegated to a team member.  These action items should all pave the road to achieving the common mission of the meeting.

5. Send a Summary
Soon after the meeting ends, send a recap of the meeting to everyone who attended and those who could not attend.  This will solidify what was discussed, who is responsible for which follow-up tasks and how your goal will be reached. 

These simple steps will help you prepare for and take control of your meetings so that they count.  Ultimately, your team will end up feeling more productive and purposeful than ever.

How will you improve your next meeting? 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

3 Ways to Get in Front of Your Target Audience by Andris Pukke

Do you ever wonder why so many great businesses fail? Even ones with seemingly well thought-out business plans and with a proven demand for their service can fail if they forget to prioritize one key element: marketing.  I can’t stress enough the importance of getting your company in front of the right sets of eyeballs.  Marketing to your target audience must take precedence so that you can successfully reach key consumers.  Most successful businesses have capitalized on the ability to take a product or service and bring it market properly. Below are 3 key ways that you can get your business in front of your target audience.

1 – Website Creation
Your online presence is a reflection of your business and can allow you to create important sales leads.  On your website, you can request contact information in order to follow up with people whom you know are already interested in your business. 
You can also drive traffic to your site using Google Adwords, which allows you track website visits that eventually turn into customers.  When you have established a good conversion rate, you can then spend some of the budget on radio advertising.

2 – Radio Advertising
Take advantage of working with radio media companies since they have the data on who listens to what and when.  Once you’ve discussed with them your audience goals, they can also help figure out how to maximize your budget. Radio is a good place to offer a special discount or bonus to consumers for mentioning the spot when purchasing.
After a few months, measure your conversions from your radio advertising.  In the meantime, you may have to perfect your messaging in order to get more leads, but ultimately if the radio ads work, try television advertising next.

3 – Television Advertising
You want to be sure that your internet and radio advertising have proven successful before you spend the money on television.  Be judicious with your budget and shoot a good commercial with a production company that will give you a decent price.  Start small and test in local markets before working up to nationwide commercials.  Be sure to buy commercial time during slots in which your target consumer will be watching TV.  Use the crawl, walk, run theory with these 3 steps- one has to be achieved before you can go to the next. 
Have patience- it takes a solid amount of time to be able to property analyze the results of these marketing tools. Be prepared to refine your ad messaging as you learn more about what works and what doesn’t.
Have you tried internet, radio or television advertising to get your business in front of your target audience?  What kind of success have you had with these mediums?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

5 Essentials of a Successful Business by Andris Pukke

As an entrepreneur, it’s a necessity to have vision and the ability to determine whether an idea can actualize into a thriving business.  Over the years, I’ve found that there are five major essentials of successful businesses. 

1- A Comprehensive Process
We all know the phrase “time is money”. The most successful businesses have perfected the art of efficiency by determining a scalable process that can be repeated.  The product or service is one that can be replicated for all customers, instead of spending valuable time customizing for each client.

2 – True Demand
Confidence is key; however before investing time and money in a business idea, every successful entrepreneur has taken pause to determine the feasibility of their product or service in advance.  Ways to do this include demographic research and surveys on the target market.  The best businesses have figured out whether there is a desire for their product or service first, and made adjustments before going fully into the market.

3 – Talent
Building an all-star team can be one of the most difficult steps for an entrepreneur; however thriving businesses always have a strong employee foundation.  The leaders of these companies have taken the time to evaluate potential team members and get to know each person’s strengths and weaknesses so that where one player is weak, another excels. 

4 – Reinvesting of Profits
Booming businesses are always looking to expand.  Great leaders measure success on the growth of their business. They constantly roll profits into growth and expansion. When these businesses have made it into the black and are turning a profit, they reassess and determine the best way to reinvest that money into projecting the business into a new tier of opportunity. 

5 – Patience
The best businesses are ones that are run by patient leaders. “Slow and steady wins the race” is the mantra for smart entrepreneurs.  The companies that spend the time to properly evaluate the strength of their own business model in the beginning become more scalable. Patience, a proper process, and re-investing of profits always equal success.

These are the 5 qualities that I’ve seen as benchmarks of a thriving business. Can you pinpoint these characteristics in successful companies that you follow?