Let’s be honest, if you have spent any significant amount of time as a business owner or even learning about starting your own business then you have already most likely read numerous pieces on time management. If you have implemented them that’s great. If you haven’t then it’s time to stop wasting your time and get tough.
What are today’s top time killers?
Lengthy and unnecessary meetings can literally take down your enterprise from the inside. Do you really need in person meetings? You could potentially be burning the most productive hours of your week. Multiply that by everyone in your organization that is tied up in them. Unless you absolutely have to meet then you must not! If you really have to then have a strict agenda and outcome that you are going to achieve and ensure that something tangible that could not otherwise be achieved comes out of them.
The phone can be equally evil these days. In most cases there is really no need for you to use it. Don’t believe it? Time the number of minutes it takes you to have a phone conversation (including dialing, waiting on hold, calling back and all the etiquette) with sending an email. Again, unless the phone is the fastest or only way to handle something avoid it like the plague.
Email is now one of the biggest enemies of time management. Constantly checking your inbox or replying to multiple messages as they come in can kill your productivity. Which each email it could take your 5 minutes to get re-focused on the other tasks at hand. Refuse to check your email expect for 2-3 critical points in the day and only reply to emails either first thing in the morning or at the end of the day. Even better, hire a virtual assistant who can take care of email handling for you.
The same goes for social media. With smartphones more rampant than ever Tweeting and checking Facebook updates can burn hours everyday. Lock your phone in your office drawer while you are actually working if you have to. If you are worried about business outsource your social media management. You are either working on the most critical money making activities in your business or you are just playing.
If you really want to achieve better time management then start outsourcing right now if you are not already, and delegate every task that is not absolutely essential for you to handle personally. Be brutal with yourself when it comes to managing your time and it will pay off big in freedom and revenues.
The higher your credibility the higher your response rates will be and the lower the resistance will be when you make live contact with prospects. In fact in many cases you will find that your positioning will create a long line of prospects eager and ready to do business with you, no questions asked. How to do it? Begin using press releases and submitting them to PRWeb and PRNewswire, build your LinkedIn profile, have a book ghostwritten and use video testimonials.
2. Streamline Your Business Processes
The less hoops your prospects have to jump through the higher your conversion rates will be. Using virtual assistants you can make sure every incoming call is answered by a live agent 24/7. Go further and use separate numbers on your individual advertising channels so prospects reach the team member who is most qualified to help them, and empower your employees to make decisions.
3. The A Or B Close
There should never be a question of acquiring your product or service or not. It should just be a matter of which option or how much. Make this more powerful by offering a simple choice between the ultra expensive full package or the free choice which helps push them further along your funnel.
This doesn’t mean being able to just click to watch videos or listen to podcasts. Every marketing avenue ought to enable your prospects to connect with you instantly. Calling or emailing a company when you expect to receive a sales pitch isn’t that attractive. So what about having your Twitter or Facebook accounts managed in real time so that prospects can get answers instantly through a much friendlier medium?
5. Never Stop Testing
Even if you have perfected your marketing campaigns and sales pitches for now trends are constantly changing. Never stop testing to stay ahead of the curve and always seeing the highest possible conversion rates. Hate pouring over your web analytics? Outsource it to someone else.
Tired of seeing your competition in the news? Then why not create your own and get noticed while improving your SEO by engaging in press release marketing?
If you are already familiar with the concept of article marketing, then you will find marketing your business with press releases much the same. Press releases created by you can spread the word across the web about your business, attract new traffic, lend instant credibility and will remain on the Internet providing permanent high quality back links to your website.
What should you be writing press releases about? There are almost infinite excuses to create a press release including:
Company start up
Adding new executives
Launching a new website
Releasing quarterly results
Announcing an event
Addressing current news or economic conditions
Distributing your press releases has become a breeze compared to the old days of sending out your copy to a multitude of media sources in hope that one might pick it up. Now using PRWeb or PRNewswire you can have your message blasted out to a huge range media companies with a single click. PRWeb offers several packages that will pump out your press release to over 30,000 journalists as well as over 250,000 subscribers and the search engines.
Not sure how to draft a press release? You will find plenty of samples online, or just pick up your local newspaper. In terms of length you will want to make it at least 450 words, though avoid going to long which could take away from it’s effectiveness. When it comes to style remember that this is a press release and not a magazine advertisement or a billboard. It should be informative without being too self serving. Last but not least don’t forget to include links back to your website to interested readers and journalists can find you and to improve your search engine optimization.
Tim Ferriss, author of the ‘4 Hour Work Week’ may be one of the most well known pioneers of the new way of capitalizing on outsourcing to build Internet businesses that can almost run themselves. Still for many the idea of being able to run a business and making a living in 4 hours a week seems far too good to be true. So is the 4 hour work week a myth?
Far from it, there are now hundreds of entrepreneurs enjoying a whole new type of business model and starting new ventures on the web that require very little involvement at all. This doesn’t mean that you have to conform to one specific line of business either. It is all about online marketing, working smarter by using outsourced staffing and starting your business with the end in mind. In other words building a model that doesn’t need your hands on participation to operate on a daily basis. Some have created their own products and services while others have taken advantage of affiliate marketing. Of course any new venture in a new medium may take a little extra time to research and test. However once you get rolling you will find that you can easily spawn multiple businesses that can pretty much run themselves.
Among the new breed of entrepreneurs using these concepts are many authors harnessing the power of the web for self-publishing. Self-publishing doesn’t mean small time any longer either. Just consider that Tim Ferriss received a $2,000,000 plus advance for his latest book. While others like Tucker Max have broken all the rules, selling more than 1.5 million copies of his book ‘I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell’ and boasting over 150 consecutive weeks on the New York Times Best Sellers list!
Far from it! Email marketing still remains a powerful part of any comprehensive marketing plan. Somethings may have changed, but those who are doing it right are seeing incredible results.
It is true that for a while email marketing became rife with spam and was being over used and abused to a point where you may have been lucky to see response rates as low as 0.5-2%. However those who are embracing the evolution of email marketing are currently realizing open and response rates consistently upwards of 10% and even as high as 50%.
Getting great results from your email campaigns all starts with your list. Buying super expensive email lists that are 90% junk is the way of the past. Obviously building your own opt-in list is where your focus ought to be. However this can take a little creativity to coax prospects into handing over their email addresses and can take a little time, depending on what you are offering in return. Leading entrepreneurs are now finding ways to cross promote through other company’s already extensive email lists or working with a marketing manager who provides a turnkey email solution.
The days of blasting out flyer type emails and expecting recipients to click through and buy immediately is also history for the most part. Consumers are more cautious than ever about doing business with email marketers. Instead look at your email campaigns as the top of your funnel and a tool for taking them to the next step. Use email marketing to generate more blog subscribers, social media fans and followers and to invite them to webinars, events and other soft sales pitches.
What else can you do to maximize the ROI of your email marketing? Getting them opened is often the biggest challenge. Winning email subject lines are usually well guarded secrets. In fact, they can mean the difference between 1% and 87% open rates. However, you can now use the Subject Line Research tool at MailChimp to compare your ideas with the millions of emails they have sent to gauge whether yours is likely to be a winner. Also consider when you send out your emails, not just which days, but at what time. Finally you now absolutely must be incorporating links to your social media in your email signatures and providing direct points of contact that enable immediate interaction.
What is it that really separates those in your industry that become the big players and those who just stumble along, never really getting a foothold in the market? It isn’t just access to funding, or a unique product, it is all about marketing strategy. As an entrepreneur it is quite likely you have already heard of the ‘Art of War’, the military strategy book from perhaps the most highly respected general and strategist in history, Sun Tzu. So what can be gleaned from this master strategist and applied to your online marketing so that you can dominate your industry?
Perhaps the most important lesson to be learned from the Art of War is to avoid head to head confrontation with bigger and better equipped competitors. Let’s be honest, if you try to take them on at their own USP (Unique Selling Proposition), go after the exact same customers, talk badly about them in the press or drag them into a price war there is a good chance they will annihilate you. Or at the very least cause you to waste so much of your resources that you have nothing left to fight with. In order to win online you need to be able to laser focus your resources on your ideal customers in order to make maximum impact until you can build up your finances.
This means it is much better to begin by honing in on one niche in your market and making it yours. This could be a specific demographic in your industry or by positioning yourself as the faster or easier option. Don’t worry this doesn’t mean that you can’t eventually dominate your entire industry. It is just easier and wiser to take it down one segment at a time.
How can you apply this to your online marketing? You should be using all aspects of your online presence to target your niche from the toll free numbers you use on your web assets to your domain names, the verbal branding you use and the prospects you focus on with PPC or CPM advertising campaigns. Going further you can take various actions to confuse the competition and even cut off their supply lines by making exclusive agreements with other online marketers. Though perhaps most importantly this means making better keyword choices which will yield a higher return for your marketing budget.
Globalization and the ease of making money online means that there is now no reason for you to be tied down to a specific location or suffer from high tax rates.
Savvy entrepreneurs know that minimizing taxes is often just as important as generating income and new wealth. Asset protection and minimizing your tax burden by incorporating your business offshore is now easier than ever. Depending on your exact needs and which location you find most attractive for incorporating you will find business formation services offering assistance from as little as $100 to several thousand. Today most will also include registered agents and can get you up and running with a new corporation, trust or partnership in a tax free destination in almost no time at all.
It is important to note that some of the old so called ‘tax havens’ are no longer as appealing. Many have entered into new agreements to disclose information or have become prohibitively expensive. Among those you probably want to cross off your list are Switzerland and the Cayman Islands. So make sure that you consult an expert who is up to date on the latest tax laws before you spend money.
Some items that you need to keep in mind when deciding where to incorporate your business offshore include easy access to your money, whether your incorporation service offers a privacy guarantee and the prestige associated with the country.
In some cases, depending on your country of citizenship you can also avoid taxes by spending a certain amount of time outside of your home country for each tax period. With the dramatic advances in technology and communications you will now find that you can run your business seamlessly from almost any corner of the earth while enjoying better weather and living like a king on a small budget. Making millions is great, but if you are wise it doesn’t have to take millions to live like the rich and famous. However before you jet off to a new sunny destination, it pays to check out their immigration laws and determine which locations are the easiest and least expensive for obtaining permanent residence or even dual citizenship.
If you would like to find out more on the world’s new tax havens and the best destinations for relocating offshore contact us and we will be more than happy to refer you to one of our asset protection partners to help you get the most out of your new wealth.