Small Businesses

Category: Small Business Blog posts

The Rialto Mobile Marketing Blog

By Tim Fitzpatrick 31 Jul, 2017
Prior to having kids 7 years ago, I hadn't set foot in a Disney theme park in over 25 years. Since then I've been 5 times and the experience never ceases to amaze me. The customer experience at a Disney theme park is nothing short of amazing. I am always impressed at how well oiled the Disney machine really is.

Whether you love it or you hate it, there are some key principles any small business owner can take away from the Disney experience and apply into their own business.

On my most recent trip, I noticed a number of great things they do. I hope you can apply some of these in your business.
By Tim Fitzpatrick 24 Jul, 2017
Keeping your customers happy and satisfied will go a long way to sustaining a thriving business.  In fact, 85% of small businesses get customers through word of mouth.  Knowing everything you can about your customers - their goals, desires, fears, and motivations is critically important.

Is there a common goal or desire that every customer has? I believe the answer is "yes". Outside of seeking the specific product or service you offer, every client really wants the same thing. It doesn't matter what business you are in, all clients want the following whether they acknowledge it or not.
By Tim Fitzpatrick 10 Jul, 2017
If your company is like most, you are heavily focused on new customer acquisition. There's nothing wrong with that, but often times customer retention and loyalty get overlooked at the expense of new customer acquisition.

What good is acquiring new customers if you are having trouble retaining them? Acquiring new customers and then retaining them really go hand in hand. You must have both in your business to maximize growth & profit, and to have a sustainable business long term.

I'm going to give you the key to managing customer retention in your business and it's one word...

MEASUREMENT.

By Tim Fitzpatrick 28 Jun, 2017
Becoming more productive is one way of ensuring you excel at what you do and you maximize the time you have available. If you’re in business, it’s important to be at your best and ensure your productivity is at its best. Following are some of the best productivity hacks you might want to embrace.


1. Schedule a monthly 80-20 analysis

This has proven to work time and time again. Focus on the 20% of activities that bring about 80% of your desired results.

Doing this will enable you to figure out where you should and should not be spending your time. Once you identify the highest and best use of your time, you can delegate and/or eliminate the rest. Perry Marshall's book, 80/20 Sales & Marketing , is a great read that will give you more in-depth information on how to take advantage of the 80/20 rule in your business.


2. Keep your list of priorities short

Being responsible for the success of a small business may require you to be equally attentive to your to-do list. Writing down what you should do doesn’t necessarily mean that these are the priorities you should focus on. It’s important to have a short list of priorities so you can hone in on the projects that are truly important.


3. Sideline non-urgent emails

Keeping abreast of the latest news/trends that are specific to your area of business is important. This doesn’t mean you should read every newsletter that comes into your inbox.

I realized I was falling into this trap and set up filters in Gmail to send these types of email messages into another folder.  Now, I review that folder when I have time.  It's been incredibly effective. 


4. Restrict meetings to 30 minutes

Consider making it a habit of restricting your meetings to 30 minutes. Most issues can be addressed in and around those minutes or less. The only time I would consider extending the time is when you feel a certain issue needs extra attention. Significant amounts of time are wasted in meetings, get out of this rat trap now!


5. Dedicate downtime for yourself

This might seem counterintuitive. How can you be more productive taking time off work? If all you do is work, you will burnout at some point. You can't burn the candle at both ends forever.

Taking time off to recharge actually helps you come back to work in a better state of mind, ready to work and focused. Check out this article for more details, Take a Vacation: It's Good for Productivity and the Economy


6. Plan your day around the times you work best

Depending on your flexibility, consider scheduling your workday according to the fluctuations you observe in regards to your energy levels and moods. This can make all the difference in the world when it comes to your productivity. Don't spend the time of day when you are most productive on unimportant tasks.

Fo example, if you tend to fade off in the afternoon, focus on your top priorities first thing in the morning when you are alert and fresh. You will be far more productive when you spend time on your most difficult tasks when you are at your peak performance level. 


7. Delegate

If you feel overwhelmed, consider delegating some tasks to another person or distributing them to other members of your team. You should spend your time on the things you are great at and delegate the rest. Delegate to people you know are better equipped to handle the tasks you need help with.


8. Avoid analysis paralysis

It's important to have enough information to make an informed decision, but after that, you need to be ready to pull the trigger.  Overanalyzing leads to doubt and wasted time.

Check out this article on Jeff Bezos and his philosophy on making business decisions.  It's a great read.


9. Have at least one day a week that is meeting-free

If you allow it, meetings will take up far too much of your time, which is why it’s imperative you designate at least one day a week where meetings are forbidden. Take this time to work on critical tasks, projects and goals without distraction.

I started doing this several months ago and it's amazing how much I can get done in a short period of time when there are no distractions.  Give it a try.


10. Create a comfortable workspace

Take the time to personalize your workspace, make it your own. Consider personalizing your space with photos of your family members, children, and friends. If that’s not an option, personalize your desktop background. 

It's challenging to be productive when you don't feel great about your workspace.  Being in an environment where you feel great sets the proper foundation for you to be your most productive.


11. Make your health a priority

Always make your health a priority, without it, you have nothing. Putting your business first at the expense of your well-being is a mistake.

On a plane you are always told to put on your oxygen mask first, then help others.  If you aren't in a condition to take care of yourself, you won't be able to do anything to help others or your business.

Lack of physical activity coupled with poor nutrition has been linked to low productivity, so eat balanced meals and drink lots of water.


12. Say "NO" more often

Small business owners have non-stop demands on their time.  Often times, we say yes without really thinking about the consequences of it.

Anytime you say yes to something, you are saying no to something else. Forget about FOMO (fear of missing out) and say no more often. It will free up your time to focus on the things that really matter.


13. Get great at time management

We all have the same amount of time in a day, yet some of us get far more done in that time compared to others. It all comes down to time management. Productivity is directly related to how you manage your time. Give your attention to the important matters and don't stress about the rest.


14. Dump social media

Did you know the average Facebook user spends 50 minutes a day on Facebook?   That's almost 6 hours a week!

There are some reasons to be on social media, especially from a business standpoint, but usually,  social media is a complete waste of time ! If you can't give it up, at least limit the time you spend on it.  The time you save can be spent being more productive and enriching your life.


15. Done is better than perfect

Do you fall into the trap of wanting everything to be perfect? If so, you're not alone. I used to be this way.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you should put out substandard, low-grade work. But, nothing is perfect and spending the extra time to try making it perfect is simply a waste of time.

Know when to say when and move on.


I'm sure you can find at least a couple of these tips to implement and be on your way to increased productivity in no time. Have fun!

What tips are you going to try?  Feel free to comment below and share.

Check out our FREE cheat sheet to help you catapult your marketing to the next level.   Click the image below to get it now.

By Tim Fitzpatrick 15 Jun, 2017
As a small business owner, I'm sure you want to increase the growth of your business. I'd bet you also want to maintain the loyalty of every customer, whether they are new or long-time customers. Customer loyalty is an incredibly important aspect for the success of any small business. It costs a significant amount of money to acquire new customers.  Having systems in place to keep those new customers coming back will not only save you money, it will increase your business too.

Providing the best customer experience possible will go a long way to encouraging loyalty and engagement with your customers. Here are seven strategies to help you.

By Tim Fitzpatrick 07 Jun, 2017

Customers are the backbone of any business and every small business owner should strive to please them by providing the best customer experience possible. Depending on which study you read and what industry you are in, acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one. 

Customer retention and loyalty are critically important for any small business. A customer who is unhappy can take their wrath to social media or other online platforms, which can quickly bring negative impacts to your business. Creating an excellent experience for your customers will help in nurturing new and existing relationships and provide opportunities for your business to grow.

Here are 7 tips on how to keep your customers remarkably happy.

     

  1. Talk to your customers regularly

    Schedule periodic calls with your customers to learn more about them and what you can do to make their lives easier. Ask great questions that will help you identify your businesses strengths and weaknesses. You'll build stronger relationships and learn new ways to grow your business in the process.

  2. Strive to be different

    Being different sets you apart from your competitors. Let’s admit it; most people are usually attracted to the leading brands in the market. You certainly want to be as great as possible, but what makes you different? Why should someone buy from you instead of your competitors? Identify those attributes that make your business unique and special, then promote the heck out them! 

  3. Create valuable content

    Content will help you build authority in your field.   Sharing new market insights, opportunities and your opinion on certain matters will also help you stay on top of your game. Podcasting, blogging, video...the type of content you choose to put out really depends on you. Do what you are comfortable with. If you publish valuable content that helps your customers succeed they will be eternally grateful to you and your business.

  4. Be decisive

    A majority of clients come to your business because they believe you are an expert . You cannot afford to be uncertain about what you can and cannot accomplish for your clients. They need to read confidence in the conversations you have with them. Avoid words such as “if” and "maybe" in your communications. Taking the time to prepare for your client conversations will help ensure you come across as the expert and instill confidence in your clients.

  5. Be realistic on what you can offer

    One of the most common mistakes small businesses make is over promising to their clients, which inevitably leads to disappointment. You may think such a move will increase sales, but if you consistently do not meet expectations it will negatively impact your reputation and customer retention. Upset customers are likely to share their bad experience with a number of people.  Even worse, most unhappy customers won't say a word to you about it, you'll never even know.  In order to prevent negative chatter about your business set realistic expectations so you don’t end up disappointing your clients.  Focus on underpromising and overdelivering!

  6. Identify opportunities proactively

    Make proactive efforts to know what needs to be done to improve the customer experience rather than waiting for customers to make suggestions. This is closely related to #1 above.  By communicating with customers regularly via surveys, email, phone and in person you can gather critical information on areas of improvement. Proactive communication with clients sends a message that you care about them and their investment in your business benefits them too.

  7. Always show your customers kindness and gratitude

    Customers are the lifeblood of your business. Something as simple as saying “thank you” shows customers they are greatly appreciated. So many people have forgotten what it means to be humble, kind and sincere. Letting your customers know how much you truly care is one of the best ways of building customer loyalty. Find the touch points in your business where you can add individualized messages to let your customers know they are appreciated.  You won't be sorry you did.


Some of the most impactful things you can do to grow your business are the simplest.  These tips are very actionable.  I hope you found at least a few that will help your business grow.


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Check out our FREE cheat sheet to help you catapult your marketing to the next level.   Click the image below to get it now.
By Tim Fitzpatrick 23 May, 2017

Are you the kind of small business owner who thinks you cannot afford to implement an effective marketing plan without spending loads of money?

Marketing doesn’t have to involve expensive forms of advertising like TV/radio commercials or Google Adwords. The fact is, your business risks losing customers if it fails to market its products and/or services regularly. 

Your small business needs cost effective marketing tactics. Fortunately for you, there are tons of cost effective ideas you can use to increase your revenue when you are operating under a tight budget.

Here are 6 cost effective ideas you can use:       

  1. Talk to your clients

    One of the best ways a small business can increase revenue is by talking to existing clients. You can do this yourself or you can hire an outsider to interview your clients. With a third party involved, your clients might be more willing to open up about their opinions of your business.  Choose a random sampling of your customer list and have at it! The information collected from the interviews should help you identify the areas that need attention.  One thing you should avoid is getting angry with your customers for sharing their opinions, even if they are negative.  The feedback, positive or negative, will help you tremendously.

  2. Leverage your local community

    Marketing tactics don’t have to be the big ideas used by most large businesses; you can choose to focus on your local community first. Getting involved in cause marketing can go a long way for many small businesses.

    Figure out what’s going on in your community so you can join in on events that are relevant to your business. For instance, you can sponsor a charity event or join residents during an environmental cleanup day. Getting involved with organizations and events that complement your business is a great place to start.  People value and appreciate such acts, and in the process, you get opportunities to build relationships with people in your community.

    For more information on cause marketing, you might enjoy this article - The Complete Guide to Cause Marketing .

  3. Public relations

    A lot of small business owners assume they cannot create PR without hiring the services of a highly priced firm. Although PR firms bring multiple contacts and experience, a small business can also create publicity in ways that attract many customers.  

    Many forms of PR are completely free.  Getting placement in local news publications, radio or TV can bring huge exposure to your business. Public relations also increases social proof, which builds credibility and trustworthiness for your business. 

    PR for Anyone  has some great tips for small businesses on a budget.

  4. Leverage existing relationships

    Everyone has friends. I've heard multiple times that each person knows at least 200 people. The reach of those 200 people is significant. As a small business owner, spend time networking with people you already know such as clients, friends, colleagues, people you meet at professional meetings and even family members.

    Be strategic about where you spend your time networking.  Not all relationships are created equal and you want to make sure you're leveraging the most from your networking time.  Being clear about the types of referrals you are looking for will also help your networking partners easily identify solid referrals for you.

    You should strive to educate first then sell later and you should always be on the lookout to find new ways you can add value to the folks in your network.

  5. Partnerships

    Collaborating with non-competitive businesses that complement yours is a very effective marketing tactic. When choosing businesses to partner with look for businesses having similar values to yours.

    There are a plethora of opportunities when partnering including bundled promotions, webinars, and co-sponsored direct mail. Just think about what you can do to add value to their audience and vice versa. Through collaboration, clients have an opportunity to learn more about your products or services from a business they already know, like and trust.

  6. Use email marketing

    Email marketing is flexible, cost effective, has a high impact and the results are easy to measure. It is still THE preferred method of marketing for most businesses.  

    One critically important fact about your email list to never forget, unlike Facebook likes or Youtube followers it is a list you own.  You never have to worry about losing your email list because Facebook made a policy update or changed an algorithm.

    The key to marketing to your email list is consistency and value.  You've got to be consistent.  Whether it's once a week or once a month, find a cadence that works for you and stick with it.  Focus on adding value in your email messages first prior to selling.  If all your email messages are focused on buy this or buy that, you will end up with poor results. 

    Are you looking for an email marketing platform to use?  I like Mailchimp and Mailerlite .

I hope you got at least one takeaway you can use for your business.

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Check out our FREE cheat sheet to help you catapult your marketing to the next level.   Click the image below to get it now
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