Make Your Employees Your “Marketing Missionaries”

Make your Employees your “Marketing Missionaries”
Every employee that comes into contact with a prospect or client is performing a marketing function for your company. The question is, do they know how to perform that marketing function in a way that represents the organization accurately and positively.
Business owners should add marketing training as a major component of the ongoing development of every member of the staff. This includes new hires as well as ongoing training for all employees.
Below are the kinds of things that should be included in the marketing training of your staff.
Here’s how to spot our ideal client.
Write a paragraph that paints a vivid picture of the kind of client you seek, including the kinds of problems or challenges they are experiencing that make them right for you. “What is their pain?”
Here’s how to present our unique point of differentiation.
Give your staff a simple way to introduce what your company does that’s unique. This is your core marketing message packaged in an elevator pitch kind of way. It is your “UNIQUE SALES PROPOSITION”.
Let them practice this in role-playing situations until they are comfortable delivering it in an authentic manner.
These are the trigger phrases for our prospects.
People rarely walk around saying they need your product or service. What they do, however, is lament the lack of something, talk about specific problems or state an aspiration.
Instead of saying I wish I had some new accounting software they say things like I can’t ever get a handle on my receivables.
Your entire staff should know the most common things people actually say that would indicate they could be an ideal prospect.
These are our brand standards for images, colors and type.
It’s funny how much time and money you might might spend on getting the image, color and font just right, but then everyone else in the business that creates communication just wings it.
The best way to adhere to brand standards is to make them internal as well as external. Train everyone on the use of color, type and images and demand that they adhere to these standards in internal communication. This will ensure that everyone is consistent in the use of the visual elements of your marketing.
Make employees aware of your current lead generation campaign.
Show off your latest ads, direct mail creative and offers that are being put out in every medium. Make sure that your entire staff can talk about your current promotions.
Not only does this allow them to feel more engaged in the marketing, it equips them to talk about it when asked.
Here’s how we educate and serve our customers.
Make sure the entire staff is required to read the company blog, understands all of the educational content, attends your online training and routinely takes a shift answering customer service calls.
Here’s how to refer a prospective client or employee.
Make employee referrals an expectation and place appropriate emphasis on it by turning it into a game with a clear set of rules and way to win. This assumes that every employee is “on board” with the company’s mission.
All of the education done in the previously mentioned steps will make this a natural focus.
Here’s how we measure marketing success.
Show your staff how to know if they are winning the game. Share the key strategic indicators your organization uses to measure success. Teach them what these indicators mean and help them dig in and find a way to tie what they do to one or more of these numbers.
If you can get every employee to realize the way their day-to-day contribution is added to a key indicator of success and ultimately to the overall success of the organization you give them a way to connect everything they do with success.
Every business is a marketing business and all employees, trained in this manner, can become contributing members of the marketing team, no matter their job title.
Lee Thomas,
“Helping People into the RIGHT Franchise/Business for THEIR Success”
Franchise Paths to Success, a dba of
Integrity Business Ventures, Inc.
www.integritybusinessventures.com
lee@myIBV.com 888 701-6413

Veterans Show Their Colors as Business Owners

As we honor veterans for their military service to the United States, we can also salute their contributions to the economy.

Veterans owned 9% of U.S. businesses in 2007, according to the most recent census data. Those businesses generated $1.2 trillion in receipts, or about 4.1% of all business receipts nationwide, and employed nearly 5.8 million people. (The U.S. Census Bureau released the figures in May.)

The International Franchise Association says that 1 in 7 franchise businesses is owned and operated by veterans. That translates to roughly 66,000 veteran-owned franchise businesses in the United States, providing jobs for 815,000 people and generating more than $41 billion annually.

The Right Stuff
Ranger Up leads (L to R): Tom Amenta, COO; Tim Kennedy, partner; Nick Palmisciano, CEO.
Nick Palmisciano, who started the apparel company Ranger Up with some Army buddies in 2006, believes military experience can be great training for creating a business. “Veterans never quit, are extremely creative and industrious, and are exceedingly mission focused. These three attributes are essential to succeeding as an entrepreneur,” he said.

“Because of their training and discipline, countless military veterans have found franchised business to be a perfect fit for their skills,” said Brian Miller, president and COO of The Entrepreneur’s Source.

Steve Burnett, a Navy veteran and owner of Tasti D-Lite in Jacksonville, Fla., agrees. “Franchises seem to me a natural fit for a vet since we are used to following orders, rules, a system. Franchisors have a proven system which if followed is usually successful.”

Key Support and Funding Sources

To start and/or grow their businesses, veterans can get help from unique funding opportunities.

“The Patriot Express Loan was invaluable,” said Palmisciano, whose business is based in Durham, N.C. He and his partners were able to expand Ranger Up in its third year of operation, and they qualified for the loan with 10% collateral (compared with 50% for similar businesses).

Burnett noted that Tasti D-Lite participates in the Vet-Fran Program, which gave him a 25% discount on the franchise fee. He also got a loan for equipment from the Navy Federal Credit Union.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) website lists several resources available to help veterans start businesses, including the Veteran Business Outreach Center Program (VBOC), the Entrepreneurship Boot Camp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV), and loan programs, including the Patriot Express Loan.

Tips for Success

Steven Carey, a former Air Force fighter pilot who retired as a colonel after more than 30 years of service, started CertaPro Painters in 2008, and it has become one of the top home-painting businesses in the Mobile Bay area of southern Alabama.

He offers four steps for fellow veterans who may want to start a business:
• Take a behavioral test that assesses your strengths and weakness. It will help you determine your suitability for running a particular business.
• Join service organizations like the Air Force Association or the Military Officers Association of America and begin networking with those who have jumped on the entrepreneurial wagon.
• Call five business owners in your local area who have demonstrated success. Sit down over lunch and listen to their story.
• Make sure you are mentally and fiscally ready to take on the challenge of running a business.

“Being an entrepreneur is the most satisfying thing I have ever done, with the exception of being an infantry platoon leader,” Palmisciano said. “But you will work twice as hard as you ever have, and it’ll cost four times as much and take eight times as long to be successful as you expected.”

Michael Kothakota, who started WolfBridge Financial just over two years ago and has seen 200% growth since inception, offered a final tip: “Don’t be afraid to be creative. We’ve all had to do something like jury rig a humvee with duct tape to get the mission done. This is no different.”

By Tom Musbach | Yahoo! Small Business Advisor – Tue, Nov 8, 2011 7:12 PM EST

Provided by
Lee Thomas,
“Helping People into the RIGHT Franchise/Business for THEIR Success”
Franchise Paths to Success, a dba of
Integrity Business Ventures, Inc.
www.integritybusinessventures.com
lee@myIBV.com 888 701-6413

Following Her Passion Led to One Franchisee’s Success

When Peggy Kennedy says she’s working near capacity, she’s no longer talking in terms of late nights at the office, polishing PowerPoint presentations. For Kennedy, who formerly worked in financial services on the East Coast and found refuge as a West Coast pet-care industry franchise owner, nowadays it’s about the time she and her staff spend caring for clients of the four-legged variety.
“I’m working all the time–weekends, vacations, I’m always checking in. And I’m adding administrative staff just to keep up,” says Kennedy, referring to the Fetch! Pet Care franchise she’s been running in the Los Angeles area since 2006. Buoyed by a largely word-of-mouth clientele sprinkled with Hollywood celebs and their pets, her pet-sitting and dog-walking operation hit all-time highs this summer for monthly revenue, grossing more than $30,000, up from $1,500 in its early days.
The revenue surge by Kennedy’s operation, one of 140 Fetch! franchises in 32 states, even caught the attention of Fetch! CEO Paul Mann, who founded the company in 2002. Aware that Kennedy was logging long hours at work, Mann says he recently urged her to “slow down and get some [administrative] support.”
If Kennedy is working too hard, it’s because of her passion for companion animals. When she’s not managing a force of 40 part-time contractors, she’s volunteering at a local animal shelter or bringing pets into her home for foster care. “One thing that’s really admirable about Peggy is her volunteer work. That woman just has the biggest heart,” Mann says. “The business demands a skill set strong in operations, marketing, staffing and managing people, Mann explains. “Obviously these are people who love pets. Often they come from a job in middle management, looking for something they can have as their own,” he says.
Kennedy more than fits the bill, Mann says: “We got lucky with Peg. She absolutely represents what this business is about. She’s loving and caring, reliable, professional and smart, with a good head for running a business. She’s always asking us questions and learning. That’s been a key to her success.”
In 2005, when Kennedy abandoned her corporate cubicle at Capital One in Boston to move west with her husband, she resolved to turn her lifelong love of animals into work in the pet-care field. After a stint volunteering at an animal shelter in Utah, she found Fetch! and initially worked as a dog trainer and walker for another franchisee near L.A., then as a franchise owner herself.
Beyond word-of-mouth, Kennedy has relied on networking with other pet-care professionals (groomers, veterinarians, etc.), and more recently on social media marketing tools, including Facebook, Twitter and a new blog, to help the 5-year-old franchise succeed in a business that’s both highly seasonal and highly vulnerable to economic downturns.
“She’s in the business for the love of the business, not to get rich,” Mann says. “That’s a good place to be coming from.”
“I’m not getting rich by any means, but we’re paying the bills, and I make my own hours doing something I love. It’s a different–and nice–lifestyle, ” Kennedy says.
Then there are the perks: spending quality time with animals, some of which come with a celebrity attachment. As busy as she’s been, Kennedy has been forced to relinquish some clients to her contractors. Still, she says she gets the pick of the litter: “A few of the stars I’ve held onto.”
Lee Thomas,
“Helping People into the RIGHT Franchise/Business for THEIR Success”
Franchise Paths to Success, a dba of
Integrity Business Ventures, Inc.
www.integritybusinessventures.com
lee@myIBV.com 888 701-6413

When Your Bank Won’t Make You a Business Loan

When Your Bank Won’t Make a Business Loan
Study alternative financing sources such as angel investing groups, crowdfunding sites, microfinance organizations, and internet lender “aggregators” then prepare to prove you’re worth betting on
Small business lending has been tight for the past few years, due to a combination of stricter lending standards embraced during the financial crisis and a downturn in loan demand. Although U.S. commercial lending is on an upward trend this year, startup business funding from banks tends to be nonexistent, even in the best of times.
Most loan officers want to see at least two years of solid revenue and a track record to fuel future success before they will consider making a small business loan. Add a bankruptcy on your record within the past seven years, and your chances with even the most knowledgeable and empathetic bank officer are pretty much nil, unless you have a business partner with good credit or someone who is willing to co-sign a loan with you.
“Bankers want to make loans: It’s how we make money. And we live and work with businesspeople in our communities and we want to see them succeed,” says Robert C. Seiwert, senior vice-president and director of the American Bankers Assn.’s Center for Commercial Lending & Business Banking. “But we make loans. We don’t knowingly make equity investments in businesses because we don’t get paid for that.”
While getting a bank loan is something you should put off for a couple of years, the good news is that a recent study shows that small businesses that have had past bankruptcies do not fare any worse than their nonbankrupt counterparts. Here are alternative funding sources you can investigate:
• Find ways to bootstrap your startup so that you can fund it yourself. There are myriad business services available online, offered for free or at low cost. If your business idea is one that you can build up gradually on nights and weekends, you can keep your day job so you don’t need to live off the income from your business. With reasonable technology costs, home-based service companies often start operations for under $10,000. Some get started on even less.
• Talk to friends and relatives about whether they can help you with a short-term loan or small investment in your startup. Make sure you put legal agreements in place with these people to avoid disputes about repayment or equity shares later on.
• Crowdfunding is a relatively new solution, facilitated through online platforms designed to support businesses and creative projects. Some crowdfunding sites are aimed at funding artistic projects with donations that do not have to be repaid; others basically arrange peer-to-peer lending. Look at popular sites such as Kickstarter and Prosper to get an idea of how the process works. One caveat: Many of the loan-focused sites will request your credit score and charge you a higher interest rate if your score is low.
However, Eric Eckardt, founder and chief executive officer of VBizPartner, says his new site does not take credit reports into account as it helps entrepreneurs raise money through their social networks. You can propose the interest rate you want; most small business owners are currently choosing from 4 percent to 7 percent, he says. “Some are amortized and some are interest-only, with a balloon payment at the end of the term. If they start [to raise funds] and are not generating interest, they can come in and change the interest rate,” Eckardt says. His company, based in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., takes a 5 percent fee on any money raised.
• Microfinance may be an option for you. Check with your city or regional economic development center. These agencies have a mandate to boost businesses in their area and many offer resources for entrepreneurs. City or county personnel may be able to refer you to a regional nonprofit investment fund or a community development agency that makes loans to microbusiness owners in your area. They also may have ties to local angel investors, although you will have to get your business running and make substantial investment in it yourself before you’ll be eligible for private investment.
• As you’re getting your company operational, establish a relationship with a local or regional bank that specializes in small business lending. Get to know some of the bank officers, perhaps through your local Chamber of Commerce or municipal business-development association, and keep in contact for future loan possibilities. Credit unions also make small business loans, so opening an account with one of them and inquiring about their lending policies can’t hurt either.
Another good source is Boefly. They now have aggregated over 100 lenders across the US. Each lender provides their lending criteria, which Boefly put into their database. Then they “match” the lenders criteria to the borrowers situation. They can be found at www.boefly.com.
Lee Thomas,
“Helping People into the RIGHT Franchise/Business for THEIR Success”
Franchise Paths to Success, a dba of
Integrity Business Ventures, Inc.
www.integritybusinessventures.com
lee@myIBV.com 888 701-6413