One of the most challenging areas for entrepreneurs is simply creating logical and consistent processes.
The truth is that without the right processes in place, you can have the greatest product on earth but you’ll never have a successful business.
The first 3 key processes every successful business needs are:
- finding and nurturing prospects
- delivery and follow up
Without these 3 key processes you will always be lurching from crisis to crisis. With these processes in place, you’ll find your business flows easier and grows quicker.
The reason most entrepreneurs fail to put these into place is that they are initially tedious and require nit-picking fanaticism to set up.
Most entrepreneurs are in love with the idea of business. They’re hunters at heart. They want to find a market, sell like crazy and spend the money. The rest of the business activities are …. yawn…. bo-ring.
So the intrepid entrepreneur rushes in headlong with enthusiasm and energy and would far rather continue forging forward than taking care of what seems like less important mundane details.
But – if you really want to make your business a solid enterprise than not only pays off financially but is also a saleable commodity, then, if you can’t stomach the details, get someone on your team who can.
Let me briefly illustrate the kinds of processes that should be put in place:
- Finding and nurturing prospects: This one is pretty easy to see. You don’t have a consistent way to find prospects, you can only sell sporadically. There are a number of ways of finding prospects:
- you can advertise on or offline
- you can cross promote with someone who serves the same market you rent or buy lists and send mail or email
- you can request referrals from existing customers
- Nurturing prospects is a little more tricky. Once you’ve established the first contact, you need to be able to maintain it on a longer term basis.We all know that prospects rarely purchase on their first contact. This means planning out a communication strategy that keeps providing the prospect with useful information and more reasons to buy.If you get this process implemented consistently, eventually you’ll reap the rewards in a steady stream of prospects converting to customers.
- Selling: You might think this one goes without saying, but believe me, there are a lot of people in business who shy away from closing a sale. Unless you love selling and walking away with a completed order, you’d better have a system to move an interested prospect through the actual mechanics of purchasing. There are a number of ways of doing this. Here are some of the things you’ll want to cover:
- make it easy for the prospect to actually buy. Don’t make them try to figure it out.
- Lay out the steps they need to take very clearly and make them simple
- offer peace of mind guarantees to facilitate the purchase decision
- give choices between at least 2 product / service options – people tend to make a decision based on choices provided. Make sure you’re not giving them just the options ‘yes’ or ‘no’
- set a specific deadline for the sale to take place otherwise your prospect will often remain undecided
- Delivery and Follow Up: Getting the sale is great but you’ll find that you can cut down on refunds and unhappy customers if you simply handle the delivery and follow up process efficiently. In fact, do a good job in this area and you’ll also find that your repeat sales and referral sales increase. In order to make sure that things flow smoothly once the customer has committed to purchase, it’s best to have both an automated system as well as some human oversight of the process.
- Make sure that your payment notification systems are operating properly in that both you and the customer receives notification that their payment has been received.
- Establish an anticipated shipping time.
- Spell out the next step:
- how many days until the product is shipped,
- is there a tracking number,
- what the customer should do if they have concerns or their product doesn’t arrive,
- return policy
- guarantees and so on.
These 3 key processes will get you on the road to a consistently more profitable business than you will have without them and will set the foundation for solid expansion.