Archive for February, 2013

Can our Tweets help get business out of Twitter?

Twitter – What can anyone really say in 140 characters?

Aside from being snide about whatever happens to be on TV or divulging pockets of minutia about your everyday life, Twitter can be a remarkably useful business tool. The 140 characters and 2.7 seconds to get attention have freed us all to be really focused on a succinct message.

However Twitter only works for your business if you work to use Twitter properly. But how do you do this? Let’s take a look at some do’s, don’ts and handy tips for the business use of Twitter.

Firstly, the use of Twitter should be seen as part of branding, and act as a seed for your business name. It’s for this reason that the Twitter user within the company must be someone who is knowledgeable about the issues you are raising; otherwise the tweeting itself can seem rather aimless.

There may be a lot of talk on Twitter but it may sometimes seem like it’s not actually going anywhere, so is it just someone filling up the day?

It’s imperative the content of tweets are relevant, while not being too uptight. Focus on these key points:

  • Many businesses struggle to find topics. They take their knowledge for granted – disseminate it.
  • With effort you can figure out topics that spark real interest. Brainstorm 5-7 conversation topics and then a list of 10 more things within each category – this will give you a supply of tweets.
  • The best twitter topics for business are messages that provide practical solutions to problems your potential customers face every day.
  • Link to information that aligns you with the industry you represent
  • Promote your blogs, video and email marketing, as well as key people in your network
  • Retweet information that shows you support allies and gets you noticed
  • Use # to highlight specific target topics, people and conversations
  • Use Twitter to show your fun side and personality and to create immediacy and urgency
  • Above all, define your purpose and goal – if the only reason you are on Twitter is to drive traffic to your website then you need to rethink your strategy. It can do so much more than that.

Generally, the right way to promote your business on Twitter is to participate – talk about new happenings at your business, mention clients and people you are collaborating with, and pay attention to your followers and engage in conversation.

The wrong way is to always talk about your business. Twitter is not about selling, it’s about engaging first, and a sale may come from it.

This article was taken from a discussion of the Business Exposure Group.

If you are a Director or business owner and would like to attend one of their informative round-table discussions, please contact philipdrazen@bxgroup.co.uk

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Scaling up your business or steady growth – Which is appropriate in 2013?

There will inevitably come a point when, in order to stay alive, you’ll need to expand your business.

But with the crowded market and the economy in its current state, which is more appropriate a strategy in 2013 – scaling or steady growth?

The key thing to remember is that there is no set checklist for whether your business should scale up or use steady growth – it’s all highly circumstantial, and crucially about timing, and trial and error.

For example, Steals.com and Groupon are both daily deals sites, with the former working on the steady growth model and the latter scaling up quicker. Groupon had a meteoric rise followed by a steep decline, whereas Steals.com enjoyed a steady rise in business and website traffic, and is currently the more successful.

“I’m all for scaling successful business models, but I wonder if our desire for immediate gratification and big payoffs is blinding us to more solid, long-term return on investments.”

“You want steady growth because you can measure it, you can repeat it. You want steady because steady produces a flow of data.

  • Steady lets you A:B test.
  • Steady lets you learn
  • Steady takes the emotion out of decisions and we all need that.”

On the other hand, entrepreneurs often build companies from scratch and over the course of years, build a massive business. Scaling a company to that size requires a few key components:

  • Risk and reinvestment of money
  • Attracting and retaining key employees
  • Sharing success with employees and contributing to their personal growth
  • Surrounding yourself with intelligent people who have great ideas and advice
  • Having incentive-based compensation in place to reward employees for hard work and dedication
  • Expanding your market to other cities and countries
  • Luck

So, with all that in mind, how do you know if your company is scalable, outside of trial and error?

Firstly, success isn’t about growth, which is adding resources at the same rate as adding revenue; it is about scaling, which is only making small increases in resources. That said, scaling is much about staying alive as is it is ahead, because your competition could find that silver bullet to scale their business.

In order to find scalable aspects in your business, you must first find aspects that can be replicated very quickly. If your next scale requires just as much time and effort as the one prior to it, then your business is not scalable.

Three common mistakes that are made are to not:

  • Realise that customers are not the same as users
  • Recognise that first users are not the same as scaling users
  • Anticipate that first products are not the same as scaling products.

Finally, to make the scale as manageable as possible, consider these points:

  • Document all procedures, and have an accountant to help keep everything under control and on-record
  • Learn how to measure – trial and error only works if you know where you are going right and where you are going wrong
  • Maintain a database – the less information stuck in your head the better off your business will be
  • Manage working relationships so that you can maintain a personal touch as you grow
  • Segment and delegate responsibilities
  • Prepare your family – there will be a reduction in leisure time

Above all, be mindful that scaling your company requires a very different skill set than what is required to build one from scratch. It’s a bit like building a skyscraper – you can’t get to 100 stories just by stacking single storey homes on top of each other. You need better foundations and infrastructure to make it work.

This article was taken from a discussion of the Business Exposure Group.

If you are a Director or business owner and would like to attend one of our informative round-table discussions – held across the North of England, please contact philipdrazen@bxgroup.co.uk

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