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Case studies from design industry professionals, from the smallest of firms to large, global organizations. Click on image - order your copy today!

How Selling Affects Consumer Lives

No matter what small business sector you operate in, you must be involved in selling or you will go out of business at a record rate of speed. You may not think of yourself as a sales professional, but you need to be if you want your business to succeed. Selling and sales are overlooked topics in most university programs. Somehow we are all expected to figure it all out on our own once we graduate and enter the business world. Unfortunately, it won't happen that way.  Small business selling is one of those skills gained through self-education, company training and experience.  Selling affects consumer lives. freedigitalphotos.net - nenetus   In their book, Rainmaking Conversations: Influence, Persuade and Sell in Any Situation, Mike Schultz [...]

By | March 1st, 2016|Sales|0 Comments

About Strategy and Strategic Planning

Most successful small businesses owe their growth and success in large part to use of strategy and strategic planning.  This is accomplished through a combination of strategic thinking, planning and management.  Adopting a strategic approach to business operations clearly defines the direction a firm needs to take to achieve leadership's vision of success. So, exactly what is this concept called Strategic Planning?  It is an organized system that begins with envisioning the firm as it will be when it is all grown up. That Vision of your company in its long-term ideal state is further defined in terms of its Mission.  In a few sentences, a mission statement clearly addresses every facet of your business:  the products and services you offer, pricing, quality, service, marketplace position, growth [...]

By | January 28th, 2016|Strategic Management, Strategic Planning, Strategy|0 Comments

Sustainable Small Business Growth in 2016 – 7 ‘Must-Haves’

'Designing Strategies' Newsletter January - February, 2016                      Volume 13 -- Issue 69 In order for your small business to be wildly… or mildly… successful, it is important to grow the company. A company that grows at a steady pace increases its chance of success. For some small businesses, growth will be successful. For other small businesses, their growth plan may be a complete failure. You might ask: “Why shouldn’t all companies on a growth path be successful?” That does seem logical, doesn’t it? However, without well developed planning and attention to details, you cannot assume that your, or any other company, can achieve sustainable small business growth. It seems that if a company is growing [...]

By | January 19th, 2016|Growth, Newsletter, Strategy|0 Comments

Marketing: Most People Don’t Know You or Like You – Yet

Is there ever a tipping point when you’ve saturated the market and you no longer need marketing or advertising for your company, its products and services? According to Christopher Ramey, president of The Home Trust International, the answer is no. “The more you’re seen where you’re not expected to be seen, the more you indelibly imprint your brand on your best prospects’ minds.”   Think about some of the big corporate names that have made millions - even billions - selling their products:  Nike, Coca-Cola, Ford.  They certainly have not stopped marketing to put their names in front of consumers. At the most basic level, prospects must know you exist before they would even consider purchasing something from you.  Too many small business owners seem to think [...]

By | January 8th, 2016|Branding, Marketing, Strategy|0 Comments

How to Increase Blog Subscribers

FreeDigitalPhotos.net - Stuart Miles I was scrolling through a HubSpot email marketing piece that included excerpts of several blog posts.  Near the bottom, I found a post about doubling blog subscribers.  Who wouldn't rush to click their 'Read more...' call to action’ (CTA)?  Are you NOT interested in how to increase blog subscribers - the number of visitors to your blog who will come back over and over again? The solution recommended in the Hubspot email, of course, was something easily accomplished by those subscribers to their own software system.  The HubSpot software system focuses on inbound marketing.  But, the idea itself was something any small business owner or leader can learn to adopt into their market planning.  Essentially, their recommendation was to [...]

By | January 8th, 2016|Marketing|0 Comments

How to Handle Negative Customer Feedback

Sometimes, as hard as we might try to provide exceptional service to every customer, one of them will be dissatisfied about something.  In an ideal world, every sale or project would run smoothly and result in a highly satisfied customer.  Wouldn't that be wonderful?  But, reality means that sometimes things will go wrong.  When things go wrong, sometimes it will result in negative customer feedback if the problem is not handled promptly. It would be nice if the dissatisfied customer would give us a call, explain the problem and let us resolve it. But, that's not always the case. Sometimes they will just sit back and brood about it, wondering why we haven't figured out what the problem is via ESP or mental telepathy. Then, after they [...]

By | January 7th, 2016|Customer Experience, Customer Relationships|0 Comments

Twitter Guidelines:  5 Reasons I Might Not Follow You

Like all social media sites, Twitter is set up to help small businesses make connections and build relationships.  Why individuals/companies choose to connect with Tweeple on Twitter can vary.  Some look for potential customers, some look for like-minded members on a wide variety of topics, and yet others look for someone with expertise they might need.  There are no rules about who, or how many, people you can connect to and build relationships with.  It can be helpful to use a Twitter Guideline or two to get you off on the right foot from the beginning. Twitter is a simple application to use.  You invite people of interest to you to 'Follow' you by ‘Following’ them first.  This is the Twitter form of an invitation [...]

By | December 28th, 2015|Strategic Planning|0 Comments

Holiday Season Marketing Strategies to Increase Year End Revenues

'Designing Strategies' Newsletter November - December, 2015                      Volume 12 -- Issue 68 It goes without saying that it is time to wish all of you the very happiest of holidays for 2015. We're entering the period of year-end holidays where families, friends and colleagues gather together in celebration. Our hearts are a little lighter - and more inclusive. Everyone is a little bit happier. We are a little more generous than the rest of the year, and treat each other better. Feasts are prepared, treasured family recipes are pulled out, decorations are hung and gift shopping marathons begin. It is the time of year to remember those who are not able to do all of those [...]

By | November 22nd, 2015|Marketing, Newsletter, Social Media|0 Comments

Today’s Customers Are NOT Your Father’s Customers

'Designing Strategies' Newsletter September – October 2015                     Volume 12 -- Issue 67 There have been various versions of the 'It's Not Your Father's (whatever)' on TV and in magazine and newspaper advertisements over the past few years. Ad Agencies must think we have yet to notice that things have changed and aren't the same as they were years ago. No surprises there. Of course things have changed. Almost everything has changed to some degree.  Today's customers are very different from those our parents dealt with in the past. Everything has changed.  Very few things are like they used to be.  Cars, clothing, homes, communication devices and the food we eat every day are not the [...]

Branding:  Do You Know Your Brand?

During a recent meeting with a fellow consulting colleague, we discovered that though our services are not exactly the same, our customers still share similarities.  This was especially true when it comes to branding and marketing.  Rob specializes in marketing and public relations for larger manufacturing companies. I do strategic management consulting with small businesses.  In spite of our different customer bases, it was clear that business leaders of all sizes and types of businesses often lack clarity when it comes to branding their company. During our conversation, Rob mentioned being called in by a prospect to work with their marketing people and and outside web site development company.  The company executives felt it was time to update their web presence.  This was exactly the type of client and [...]

By | August 31st, 2015|Branding|0 Comments