Who Is Your Target Audience?

One of the first priorities of any business should be to identify and establish your target audience. Familiarity with the target audience is critical to an effective marketing campaign, social media use and sales strategy. Making the effort to get to know customers better leads to a strong relationship between the business and the consumer.

your target audienceTo better identify and familiarize yourself with the potential target audience for your company, consider the following:

  1. Don’t make assumptions. You may assume that your target audience is a certain age group or demographic, but your products or services may actually appeal to a wider range of people than you assumed.
  2. Educate yourself. Properly identifying a target audience will require a bit of research. Don’t be afraid to delve into psychological studies, industry reports and more. If this seems like an intimidating task, turn to an experienced marketer for guidance
  3. Listen to social media. What kind of conversations are you having through social media? Listen carefully to what your customers are saying, and take the time to notice who they are. The people who connect with your business on social media could be an accurate representation of your target audience.
  4. Make room to grow. Close examination may reveal that your target audience is different than you originally assumed. Don’t hesitate to adjust your marketing strategy appropriately or, if needed, reach out for professional marketing help for advice regarding how to connect with your target audience.

your target audienceIt’s surprising how many businesses and entrepreneurs cannot appropriately identify their target audience. You may not have a picture of your target audience that is 100 percent accurate, but a closer examination of your customer base can help shape the vision for your business in a positive, profitable way.

A Remedy For Decision Fatigue

Decision fatigue, simply put, is the idea that people become overwhelmingly weary of making decisions or being in charge for a certain amount of time. Those required, by choice or appointment, to make decisions consistently will eventually face the phenomenon known as decision fatigue. This is a certain hazard that comes with being the boss or managing certain aspects of a company’s operations.

This explains why some of these individuals may be short tempered, more likely to lash out at coworkers and family members, or make irrational decisions. Just a like a quarterback is more likely to throw an ill-advised pass right into coverage in the fourth quarter rather than in the first, a person is not at his or her best at the end of a long day or prolonged period of stress. Decision fatigue is more than just a bad mood or lack of motivation–it is a type of genuine mental and emotional exhaustion.

If you believe that you suffer from decision fatigue, you already recognize that there are times when you are not able to perform at your best. Acknowledgement is the first step to overcoming this obstacle, but you may also consider some of the following in order to avoid this issue as much as possible:

  • Schedule important meetings earlier in the day
  • Deal with personnel issues only in the mornings when you are mentally alert
  • Make sales calls and contact referrals at times when your mental acuity is higher
  • Commit to making a daily schedule so that you know what to expect out of every workday
  • Take short mental breaks throughout the day
  • At the end of the day, leave work-related issues where they belong–at work

Even the wisest people have times where they face decision fatigue. This is not a reflection of your intellect or practical understanding as a businessperson, but rather a signal that your body and mind need a break. Recognize these moments for what they are, and give yourself permission to deal with decision fatigue, or any emotional or mental struggle, appropriately.


Let Dreams Guide You to Your Purpose

What is fire without heat, or a bulb without light? The answer? Well, not much. The same goes for entrepreneurial ventures without purpose.

Perhaps, not surprising to some, an individual’s purpose in life is often related to his or her hopes and dreams. Unfortunately, dreams get downplayed a little too often once people enter adulthood and are instead relegated to Disney World and children with big, wide eyes and a hope for the world. Instead of squashing that dream in pursuit of a more sensible future, entrepreneurs can relight their dreams while simultaneously discovering (or perhaps rediscovering) their purposes.

With dreams come purpose.
Still not convinced to follow your dreams? Children often dream of what appears to be comically stereotypical futures. One kid wants to be a veterinarian, another wants to be an astronaut and another a doctor. Pretty generic, right? But, the reasons and motivations behind those dreams often reveal a deeply burning purpose that is perhaps igniting for the first time. The first child is not dreaming of becoming a veterinarian because puppies are cute, but he or she is doing so because helping animals brings joy. The kid dreaming of being a doctor just wants to help people in any way he or she can. And what about that astronaut with his or her eyes on the stars? Maybe he or she understands that someone needs to give hope to the world.

So, what was it that you dreamed of becoming when you were small? A scientist, an artist or maybe even a football player? Resist the urge to brush aside those desires when embarking down the path of entrepreneurship, because even when you were little, your purpose was trying to guide you.

Leaving Your Job? Follow These Easy Strategies for Entrepreneurs

The typical desk job or position at a large company can be difficult and frustrating for those with an entrepreneurial spirit. Far too often, ideas from these types of employees are overlooked or pushed aside in favor of more traditional pursuits for the company. For entrepreneurs, however, that type of response can be the start of something much bigger.

Many startups with some of the most innovative ideas were founded by people whose ideas were once ignored at their previous places of employment. Since these innovations typically fall in the same line of business, these startups tend to offer alternatives and even options not available at the larger, more established companies. The most successful entrepreneurs make the leap from employee to business owner by following some of the same strategies as the entrepreneurs who went before them:

  • Think big: Instead of thinking about where a project will land a business in the next day or next week, broaden your perspective to where it will lead your business over the next few years. Where will this new project or idea ultimately go, and what new options or products could it lead to?
  • Let go: Worried that an idea will not be successful on its own when Big Company Inc. turned it down? Fear can be one of the top roadblocks to successfully creating a new business, which means entrepreneurs have to learn to let go of fear in order to take the next step.
  • Embrace setbacks: Sometimes things just do not work out. A supplier falls through, web traffic is down or a new product is not performing as well as predicted. Instead of falling back in defeat, understand that setbacks are temporary, and then tackle the issue head on.

Moving away from a steady, guaranteed paycheck to become the owner of a startup is a remarkable moment in an entrepreneur’s life. Crafting personal strategies around basic entrepreneurial strategies that have stood the test of time is an effective way to make the transition.

Customer Relationships: Are You Getting It Right?

If you are a business owner, there is no relationship more important than the one you have with your customer. Customer relationships are vital to your business, and it is of utmost importance that you get it right–because you will probably only get one chance. Your customer service strategy may not be on the right track if your business does any or all of the following:

  • You try to manage your customers with software. Many businesses use a a software program to keep track of customer interaction, sales, returns and other various forms of contact. While this is beneficial on many levels, you must be sure that you are not neglecting building personal relationships with your customer and client base. If your software is dictating the way to deal with your customers, rethink your strategy and always aim for putting people first and computers second.
  • You are receiving poor feedback. It is truly remarkable how many businesses ignore signs of poor customer service and relationships. One complaint is unfortunate, two complaints are a trend. The second you identify an issue with the way your company interacts with customers, fix it.
  • You have few referrals and little positive interaction on social media. When people like something, they talk about it. If you are having positive interactions with your customers and they are pleased with what they are receiving from your business, they will sing your praises to family, friends and all of their Facebook friends. 

At the end of the day, every customer service strategy boils down to this: treat people well, and they will treat you well in return. When you go the extra mile, you not only impress customers or potential clients, you also lay the groundwork for a genuine relationship.

4 Ways You Are Sabotaging Your Path to Wealth

Riding a bike through a series of potholes laid out like a game of Tic-Tac-Toe is far from ideal, which is why the most thriving and bike-friendly cities tend to have well-maintained roads. Similarly, the path to creating wealth should be as smooth and free of obstacles as possible. This means addressing mistakes as they come along instead of brushing a mishap off as a one-time thing. This type of behavior only leads to damaged and cracked roads, in which untold amounts of money can be sunk. Here’s a few potholes that might be lurking on your own wealth path:

Following trends.
Remember scrunchies? Or padded shoulders? What about that awful perm immortalized in your aunt’s yearbook photo? Exactly. Trends come and go in the blink of an eye, and sometimes all it takes is one celebrity spread in a magazine to shift the entire course of what is new and innovative. Due to these unpredictable and sudden changes, it’s often safer and much wiser for individuals to stick to more conservative investments rather than following flashy trending items. Think of things that most people use, like transportation and food, and go there.

Taking everyone at their word.
Investing in new business ventures based solely on a presentation or a few drinks is possibly one of the fastest ways to lose money. Just because a person is optimistic and creates a great presentation does not necessarily mean that he or she has the business know-how to back up his or her words. Ignore any personal feelings about that person and spend some time researching any new investments.

Dressing to impress.
Splurging on fast cars and fancy designer clothes can be an exciting thrill, but make sure those purchases are made with the right mindset. First off, these purchases are rarely the best decision when true wealth has yet to be reached, and, secondly, they can be even more disastrous when made in order to impress someone else. Accumulating wealth should be a personal pursuit, and involving others ideals and opinions can make for a difficult path.

Thinking poor.
Just because rushing out to blow money on expensive luxuries is not the best idea while at the start of accumulating wealth, it certainly does not mean that your train of thought should remain fiscally conservative. Thinking wealthy can actually lead to better, more responsible decisions that can increase net worth and open up new opportunities to accumulate wealth.

So how is your own path looking? If some potholes have accumulated in it, then it is time to go back and fix them before continuing forward.

What it Means to Have the Entrepreneurial Spirit

Of course, no two people on this planet are exactly alike, and for good reason. Can you imagine a thousand Aunt Maries descending on Target? Or twenty Uncle Johns discussing their golf games around the Thanksgiving table?

The same can be reasoned for entrepreneurs. Each and every individual who embarks on a journey to self-sufficiency through business brings a unique aspect, trait or outlook on life that generates new customers. Since no one particularly wants 20 frozen yogurt shops lined up one by another at a strip mall, the differences between business owners are invaluable.

However, despite the differences and nuances in business operations, there are actually quite a few similarities between entrepreneurs, even in those who operate in very distinct fields of business. It is the entrepreneurial spirit that binds the men and women who break out and carve new pathways for themselves. Wondering if you have the entrepreneurial spirit? Here’s a few indications that you might:

You plan everything, from your mom’s surprise birthday party to every last detail of the summer road trip. Need to stop to refill the tank or stock up on snacks? You’re the person everyone looks to for that information.

You roll with the punches. No business venture can rise to success without handling a few blows along the way, and it takes the right kind of leader to see a new company through.

You see value in others. Even if a new business starts out as a one-man-show, most operations eventually need to bring in the right kind of expertise. You understand that seeking help and advice from others is not a sign of weakness but a strategy for success.

You are a natural born negotiator. Did you ever whittle down a grounding from three weeks to two? Maybe you picked up a pound of oranges half off because they were close to the sell-by date? You know what it takes to get the right price point and you don’t shy away from the process.

Because the world of business is as big and diverse as the Earth’s population, it is no wonder that many aspects of the entrepreneurial spirit manifest in other parts of life. Understanding how these skills have led to past successes can be a gateway into business success.

The 3 Biggest Factors in Affiliate Sales

When broken down, success in affiliate marketing ultimately rests on three different points: traffic, clicks and conversions. If commissions are faltering (or never actually picked up in the first place) the problem can usually be narrowed down to an issue in one of these three areas.

Traffic refers to the number of readers who actually visit your website. As an affiliate marketer, your readers are your customers for whom you’re providing a product value. Your blogs and posts, even the ones that do not contain affiliate links, need to provide some sense of value to your readers’ lives. If your traffic has tapered off, compare recent posts against ones that garnered a better rate. Chances are you will be able to spot the differences between them.

Clicks are fairly straightforward. If a reader follows an affiliate link, then he or she has “clicked” and been taken to the product that you wrote about or reviewed. Pretty simple, huh? Just get someone to click a link and viola! You have a click? But, hold your horses, as there is more to it. Readers must be compelled to follow a link, not just presented with the mere option of doing so. Be honest, be optimistic and give your audience what it needs in order to make that click.

Conversions can be a bit trickier and are largely overlooked by many affiliate marketers. After clicking the affiliate link, people have two simple options — make the purchase or don’t. Conversions refer to the clicks that ultimately follow through on a purchase. If you steadily experience slow conversion rates, consider the possibility that the product(s) for which you’re campaigning are not all that great. Take some time to compare other affiliate programs and related products before deciding whether you should stick with your current program or jump ship.

Of course it might seem overly simplistic to narrow down success in this business to three main points, but there is still a lot of room for personal movement and growth within these factors. However, without the secure foundation built by nailing down the right kind of traffic, clicks and conversions, most attempts simply fall through.