By Arman Sadeghi, an Octane blog contributor and CEO of Titanium Success
There are 14 powerful secrets to supercharging your business and doubling your company’s profits. However, you must first make sure you are in the right industry. It doesn’t matter how good your company is, how well you do marketing, and how hard you work if the industry you are in is dying. Take a step back, look at your industry, and determine if it is growing, maintaining, or shrinking. Do not waste a decade of your life building a company in an industry that is simply not lucrative. Once you know you’re in the right industry, implement these 14 secrets and enjoy the success that will follow.
Secret #1: Track and measure results.
If you want to double your profits in six months, you must first start by knowing what your profits are now and track them on a regular basis. In most businesses, this can easily be done on a monthly basis. However, if you have a smaller business, you may even be able to track this more often, such as weekly. If you track your profit on a regular basis, you and your team will magically start doing new things that will increase revenue, cut costs, and increase profitability.
Action item: Place a one-hour weekly or monthly block on your calendar to review your company’s profits and do absolutely everything you can prior to this block to make sure you have the numbers available and as accurate as possible.
Secret #2: Educational marketing.
The days of multimillion-dollar budgets for marketing using Super Bowl ads and digital billboards in Times Square are long behind us. While companies with big budgets can still utilize those avenues, you can stay competitive by simply providing content that educates, as opposed to constantly trying to advertise your product or service. Focus on creating articles, videos and other content that uses your expertise to educate people.
Action item: Focus on creating one piece of educational content per month and do three things with it: put it on your company blog, send it out to your email list, and make printed copies available to distribute when meeting with prospects and clients.
Secret #3: Track your sales funnel.
In order to succeed in sales, you must always know how many prospects and leads you have in the various stages of your funnel. Most business owners make the mistake of thinking that the most important step in the sales process is getting orders. But research shows that this is the part of the sales process over which you have the least amount of control. Focus on tracking every step of your sales process, starting with the most important step of all, which is at the very top of your sales funnel. It typically includes making an initial contact of some sort or lead capture system.
Action item: Invest in a CRM solution that tracks your sales funnel or set up an Excel sheet where you track all of the stages within your sales process with exact numbers on a daily basis.
Secret #4: Revolutionize your industry.
Stop trying to do what everyone else in your industry does. While it is critical that you adopt all of the best practices from within your industry, you cannot stop there. Focus on finding new ways of doing things that no one else is doing. Listen to your customers and focus on what you can do that others are simply not doing or unwilling to do. Steve Jobs did not attempt to make another flip phone or a Blackberry lookalike back in 2007; he absolutely revolutionized the mobile phone industry. No matter what kind of phone you carry today, remember that it’s because of Steve Jobs that you have it.
Action Item: Calendar a three-hour block once per month by yourself or with the most innovative members of your team discussing what you could be doing that no one else in your industry does.
Secret #5: Focus on solving your customers’ pain points, not talking at them about what you do.
Most websites, brochures, and sales presentations focus on what a company provides. Set yourself apart by focusing instead on how you address your customers’ pain points and how you can make their jobs and lives easier. Slowly change your presentations, website content, and brochures to come from the perspective of addressing customer pain points, instead of talking about yourself.
Action item: Take thirty minutes every two weeks to do an in-depth interview of one current client with the focus of understanding their jobs, their lives, and their businesses so you can identify their pain points. By the end of the year, you will have 24 different perspectives with an investment of only 12 hours of time.
Secret #6: Create standard operating procedures.
Functions within an organization that rely on an individual business owner or employee to do something just right are simply not scalable. To have a scalable business that allows you to grow consistently, you must create standard operating procedures for the most important functions. These procedures are step-by-step instructions for how something is to be done and they are stored in a centralized location. Consider a service such as SweetProcess.
Action Item: Take 15 minutes per week to document one current process within your organization and make sure that that procedure is put into action and used consistently starting the moment it is created.
Secret #7: Focus on raving fan customer service.
Satisfied customers are useless in a world where we are so incredibly connected. Your organization’s customer service goal should be to create a consistent stream of raving fans and those who are almost fanatical about what you do. Go above and beyond for every client in order to consistently create raving fan customers. Even the most dissatisfied, unhappy, and even angry customers can be turned into raving fans if they realize just how much you care about them and what they have to say.
Action item: Look up and find your worst online review and make it your mission to convert that individual into a raving fan within seven days or less. If your business does not have online reviews, reach out to the last client who was less than 100% satisfied.
Secret #8: Social media is a must.
Today, your company absolutely must have a social media presence in order for you to succeed. If you think that social media is just for fun or for the younger generation, you are missing out on the biggest opportunity to grow your business available today. Even if you only do B2B, understand that Google is now looking at social media engagement as a metric to see if you are relevant within your industry.
Action item: Ensure that your company has all of the following fan pages and you have daily (at least weekly) posts on all of these platforms: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google +, and Pinterest.
Secret #9: Blogging on your company website is a must.
Regardless of your industry, you must have a blog on your company website and ensure that you have a weekly post. If you are not a writer yourself and you don’t think you have time for a weekly update, you can tap into employees, friends, and even customers for content. Additionally, while your ideal blog post would be 500 words or more, you can make simple blog posts that are no more than a paragraph and even things that you can copy and paste from an email that you wrote. The key is that the search engines want to see new content on your website and your customers will begin engaging with your content, even if you do not see the value. If you have no clue how to setup a blog, try a simple platform such as WordPress.
Action item: If you have a blog already, create a content calendar for the next 12 months. If you do not have a blog, start one today and make your first post by tomorrow.
Secret #10: Know exactly who your ideal client is.
In an era where digital marketing platforms allow you to identify your target audience with every intricate detail, it is critical that you know exactly who your ideal client is. Whether you are B2B or B2C, you must know every detail of your ideal client, including demographics about company size, revenue, profits, age, gender, interests, and many other details. If you think that “anyone” can be your ideal client, you are essentially marketing to no one.
Action item: Use the Facebook Ads Manager tool to identify your ideal client today. While this is a tool created for those placing an ad on Facebook, you can use it easily as a tool to identify your target audience by spending five minutes selecting the various attributes of your ideal client and never placing the ad.
Secret #11: Remind yourself WHY you are in your business.
Many entrepreneurs what to know HOW to succeed or WHAT they need to do to succeed. Instead, the question is WHY do I do what I do? If you get connected with why you are in business, the “how” and the “what” will come much more easily. One easy way of figuring out why you are in business is to fast-forward to a time when you have already achieved your goals and see what you enjoy the most about this victory.
Action item: Spend 10 minutes today making a list of why you are in business and what your end goal is with what you do.
Secret #12: Eighty percent of a company’s success hinges on the psychology of the leader.
It may be hard to imagine that 80% of your organization’s success is based on your mindset, as opposed to your products, services, marketing, and anything else you can imagine. Focus on getting yourself in a place where you are at your best, including balance in your life between health, wealth, relationships, and business, and enjoy how much easier business will become.
Action item: Take five minutes to rate your current status on the ten areas on the Titanium Wheel of Life. By giving yourself a score from 1 to 10 on each of these areas, you will quickly see where you may need to spend some time in order to have a smoother wheel that can roll along faster and better.
Secret #13: Develop a KPI dashboard.
Every company, every department, and every position must have a key performance indicator (KPI) dashboard to track the most important measures on a regular basis. The best KPI dashboards have less than five items that are tracked on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. By tracking these metrics, you will start to see where your focus needs to go. The result is that you and your team will begin to make massive headway in your business.
Action item: Think of the three to five most important numbers within your business that you can track on a daily basis. If you think of something that cannot be tracked as frequently, put that on a separate list.
Secret #14: Work harder than your competitors.
Genius is simply a lifetime of effort put forth in private for just a few moments of seemingly effortless results in public. Don’t be fooled by those who tell you that genetics, luck, and opportunity are the reasons for success. The most successful people in the world simply work harder than anyone else. Don’t think you can beat your competitor if they are working while you are sleeping.
Action item: For one day, wake up two hours before you normally rise, even if that means waking up at 3:00 a.m. Get yourself ready and go to the office. On your way to the office, think about the fact that you are working while your competitors sleep. These next two hours are free time that you have in order to gain an edge over all of your competitors–notice how that makes you feel.
Bonus Secret: If you have a family, kiss each of them every morning and every night.
For just a moment, I want to speak to you as a fellow entrepreneur. Throughout my life, I have worked harder than just about anyone else I’ve ever known. This has been the secret to my success. But one practice I started last year has given me a feeling like nothing else before it. If you are like me, sometimes you have no choice but to wake up before your spouse or kids and get home from work after they have already gone to sleep. Take two minutes each morning and night, going to each of their beds and just give them a little kiss. My two little girls and my beautiful princess certainly appreciate the little kisses I give then on my way out.
Action item: Do something to take care of your family today, not because you want to be a better husband, wife, father, or mother, but because your business coach, Arman Sadeghi, told you so.
These 14 secrets are things that can help inject rocket fuel into your business so do not take them lightly. Focus on applying as many of these as you possibly can and review this article often, even treating it as a monthly checklist. Please share this list with other entrepreneurs who can gain an edge from it.