Skills, Ruses and Slight of Hand
After working, volunteering and freelancing for more than the last three decades, I have harvested some actionable stories and experiences that might help you.
Your Daily Cash Adventures
You may not have a Certified Public Accountant to go over your books once a month, but you can have some tools that will help you run the cash and checks side of your business just like the big boys. Read more...
There are ten days during the year where you will find the banks are closed, do you cannot make a deposit and the US Post Office is close so you won't get any mail. Read more...
Starting up a new business seem rough to you? A thousand details, a million pieces of advice and when do you actually get to do business? Read more...
Give It Away
Max owned a rug store full of rugs shipped over from Iran from his family's rug factory. These were real Persian rugs made by real Persians who had been making them for nine generations. Max wanted to sell more rugs, of course. Read more...
Track Your Competition
This is a Competitive Intelligence Idea that you can add to your competitive arsenal.
Nothing focuses the mind better than the constant sight of a competitor who wants to wipe you off the map. You might know who your competition is, but do you know the little details? If you can’t find out the details, go down to your local business newspaper and suggest that you would buy advertising for a well-researched article on your industry, specifically on your biggest competitor. Push to get personal interviews as part of the research. Read the article and see how you rank up against them in the eyes of the completely impartial researcher.
Find out what makes the competition tick! Do they have a bigger sales team? Did they close one of your customers as one of their contracts? You will always need to know what your competitors are doing. Competitive intelligence research and information creates a vision of what market developments are happening and how you can be ready to respond to those changes.
You want to be agile enough to take advantage of opportunities, conduct effective marketing and advertising and translate that into market share.
1. Start with your competitors' websites. Businesses today spend huge amounts on keeping websites updated and fresh. A well laid out site attract and retains prospective customers. New businesses pop up out of thin air and begin their targeted acquisition of your customers and vendors. How do they describe their products and services, display benefits and use persuasion to convince a buyer?
2. Check to see if there has been a change in the management team. Personnel changes can mean an expert has been brought on board or a new set of eager interns are crawling all over the place. Is there room for your product and service to be tweaked or reengineered? A new face on the About page might signal that a reinvention is about to fire up.
3. Check to see if any of your competitors are attending any trade shows. Stop and consider if that little business on the other side of town that you thought was a mom-and-pop suddenly has a 50 square foot booth at a Las Vegas convention. Are any competitors doing open public demos of their products and services? Do you do public demos? What would it take for you to get a booth like that?
4. Get onto the magazine article marketing databases and find out if any of your competitors are writing articles about their products and services. Ebooks, white papers and webinars are easy marketing tools to spread the word about your knowledge and expertise. Find out if any competitors are positioning their products and services into new markets.
Put aside time and effort to keep track of your competition. Search Google news, CNN, find any public relations press releases and forum posts and get an idea on what they are doing. You should set up at least one press release each month and start posting into forums where you are the expert.
Quality competitive analysis gives you insights on your competition, provides a snapshot of their strengths and weaknesses and lets you fine tune your skills for a winning strategy.