March 2019 Te Contractor’s Advantage
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Looking Forward to Spring
With the arrival of spring, I’m looking forward to getting back to cycling outdoors — that is, when the weather cooperates. Throughout the winter, I’ve been cycling indoors, thanks to my bike trainer. I’ve written about the trainer in past newsletters, and all I can say is that it’s a very convenient device. It turns just about any road bike into a stationary bike. crisp spring air. When I do get out, I like to go on 12- to 30-mile rides, depending on time. I usually stick to established roads and trails — so no mountain biking for me. My road bike handles many conditions, but it does have its limits. I’ve had my bike for awhile now and it is getting up there in age, but I know it has many more miles in it yet. As the weather does improve, I’ll be spending more outdoor time with my family, as well. It’s become a spring tradition to go camping. Well, I say camping, but that might not be the best term. It’s a little closer to “glamping.” We rent a cabin and get to enjoy many of our modern amenities — heat, electricity, refrigeration, and so on. Having spent some time in the Marines, I can tell you I’m done with traditional camping. While camping certainly has its virtues, I find it’s hard to beat our creature comforts. It’s a time to relax while being comfortable, and we definitely embrace that approach. Of course, a trainer is no substitute for the great outdoors and the
This year, when we go camping out at Deep Creek Lake in western Maryland, I will be furthering my kids’ education on a very important topic: fishing! My youngest hasn’t yet used a real fishing rod, so this year we’ll be making the transition. Last year, the kids used simple weighted rods. It was all about getting a feel for the idea of fishing. They didn’t have to worry about anything tugging on the line. This year, they’ll be casting lines and (hopefully) reeling in some fish. I’m excited to see what they bring in. Fishing aside, we’ll also be hiking and canoeing. Really, it’s all about taking in the scenery around Deep Creek Lake. It’s a beautiful area, and it should be a lot of fun. Later in the spring, we’ll be visiting family for Easter. We typically head down to Richmond to spend Easter weekend with my wife’s family. It’s good to get away, but it’s also good to spend time with family. We’ll
go to the Easter Day parade, have dinner, and watch the kids enjoy their Easter baskets full of all kinds of goodies. Back at home, we may also do some spring-cleaning. My wife may decide it’s time to clear away some of the clutter and donate it to charity. Whether it's your home or office that's cluttered, it’s always a good exercise to clear away anything that may be getting in the way, or anything you no longer need. Like cycling, it’s a healthy way to start the spring.
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Are You Qualifying Your Prospects? 3 Questions to Ensure You Obtain the Right Clients
Spring is here, and watching flowers sneak up through the soil in your front yard may remind you to consider growth of a different kind — the growth of your business. Regardless of whether you soared over your revenue goals the previous quarter or you took these last few months to recover from failed marketing efforts and missed opportunities, spring provides a great opportunity for overall growth. Still, it’s hard to know where you should focus your energy. To aid your efforts, here are four factors to consider for strategic business growth. 4 Factors That Might Be Affecting Your Business’s Growth This Season SPRING HAS SPRUNG Similar to nature’s processes during springtime, business growth begins far below the surface through good leadership. Your employees’ perception of you and your company’s mission is what determines their motivation to work hard. Take a step back to evaluate your leadership tactics and determine if they match your ideal business model. Often, replacing poor leaders with stronger ones makes all the difference in a company’s success. Business growth doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Just as leadership from your management team should be a major focus, your employees need a standard but solid foundation of knowledge in order to cultivate their own growth in the company. This spring, consider revamping your training programs by moving to online platforms that customize learning paths for each new employee based on previous employees’ feedback. 2. EMPLOYEE TRAINING 1. LEADERSHIP
The shotgun lead generation approach is both ineffective and inefficient. For years, businesses put the power of decision-making in the hands of the consumer. Companies chased after any opportunity to put their name in front of a lead, hoping their skills would lead to a conversion. It wasn’t until recently that marketing and lead generation trends flipped the tables. Rather than an organization spraying out strategies across every feasible medium, new tactics implement a more targeted approach to get the right clients. Here are three questions you can ask to qualify your prospects. Rather than taking any client they can get, a smart business owner focuses their attention toward the leads they want. It’s important to focus on candidates in a specific demographic. Doing business with those who match your requirements will result in happier clients and better relationships. HOW MUCH TIME ARE YOU WILLING TO SPEND ON A LEAD? Once you understand the type of client you’re looking for, the next step is to designate how much time you’re willing to spend fostering a connection. Just because someone fits what you’re looking for doesn’t mean they are worth the time investment. Some of your ideal prospects will demand excessive time from your team, making the cost of client acquisition even higher. Set a maximum amount of time you’re willing to dedicate to a lead, and as you get closer to that threshold, ask yourself if it’s worth continuing that relationship. You may attract the right lead, and you might be able to convert that lead efficiently, but that doesn’t mean they are the right fit for your company. Above all else, a client needs to match your core values. Your team is a direct reflection of your company, but so are your clients. By qualifying your prospects effectively, you’ll increase client retention, improve client satisfaction, and create rave followers. Rather than trying to find leads under any rock you can turn over, ask these three questions about each prospect, and you’ll find more success in business. WHAT DOES YOUR IDEAL PROSPECT LOOK LIKE? DOES THE PROSPECT ALIGN WITH YOUR VALUES?
3. CUSTOMER LOYALTY
While it is important to increase brand awareness and expand your customer base, it is essential to also increase sales potential with your existing customers. Look for opportunities to grow your profits with the customers you already have through add-on sales, customer loyalty programs, and referral business.
4. SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
When you adopt policies of social responsibility, you affect your community — and therefore your customers — in a positive way. Take the month of March, for example, which is National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Awareness Month. You can get your business involved in various organizations geared toward raising awareness. Through sponsoring events and donating money, you can increase your client base while simultaneously helping others.
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Get the Most out of Your Digital Home Assistant
More and more people are welcoming in the Amazon Echo or the Google Home into their spaces. Everyone knows they make great Bluetooth speakers and can tell you the weather forecast, but they’re also capable of so much more. Digital assistants can do a variety of tasks depending on how much you want them to do for you. For example, if you want your digital assistant to be heavily involved in your daily life, you can use the Echo or the Home as the core of your “connected home.” You can connect numerous compatible devices to these assistants, including other Bluetooth or networked speakers, lights, thermostats, coffee makers, refrigerators, and even microwaves. Of course, therein lies the challenge — you must have compatible devices to make a connected home efficient. And let’s be honest: Many of us aren’t going to buy a connected fridge or Wi-Fi enabled lightbulbs just to get the most out of our digital assistants.
What you can do, however, is make use of what you already have. Here are some ways to put your digital assistants to work without committing to a connected home. Both the Echo and the Home make excellent communication hubs. In the home, they can be used as a local intercom system. Do you have a few Echo Dots or Google Home Minis? If you do, you’re set. You can communicate in any room where another device is present. Your digital assistant can also make outgoing calls. As long as the device has access to your contacts (or the person you’re trying to contact has an Echo or Home), you can easily make the connection. Want to send a text message? No problem! You can dictate a text to anyone in your smartphone’s contact list and send it without ever touching your phone. Aside from communications, the assistants can handle calendars, appointments, emails, and more. You can ask for information relevant to you, like “When is my flight again?” Google Home can recognize your voice, or the voice of anyone in the house, and respond accordingly. There’s no worry that anyone’s calendar or appointments will be mixed up with yours. If you want to learn more, search for tutorials online. We’ve only scratched the surface when it comes to what these digital assistants can do for you.
HAVE A Laugh
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Jeremy Wyatt firstname.lastname@example.org www.HarrisonLawGroup.com 410-832-0000
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Inside This Edition
Getting Ready for a Great Spring
Strategic Growth This Spring
3 Ways to Qualify Your Prospects
Are You Getting the Most out of Your Digital Home Assistant?
Have a Laugh
Longevity in Your Company’s Practices
How to Make Sure Your Business Is Evergreen Don’t Let Your Productivity Dip From ‘Unforeseen’ Changes
YOUR BRAND’S FUTURE
The typewriter, the horse and buggy, dueling to the death for the honor of your lover — some practices just get phased out, often for good reason. Humans are constantly coming up with ways to make our lives as easy as possible. But, as with all progress, that means the old ways are abandoned in lieu of a new fad, and this can happen overnight. Don’t let this happen to your brand. Don’t let “unforeseen” changes in the marketplace sweep your product into the proverbial garbage can. While some things are simply unavoidable, there are certainly some pre-emptive measures a businessperson can take to ensure their innovations stay evergreen. Keeping your product relevant for years to come starts with research. At the beginning of your venture, make sure to look into trademarking, even for trademarks overseas. Nothing can derail your brand faster than having to change a product name after working so hard to gain traction. After you think you’ve found the right name, make sure that appropriate domain names are readily available before making your final decision. STARTING OUT
When planning for your business, you need to consider whether or not there is a market for it in the future — or in the present, for that matter. Conduct research to determine if new technology could emerge that would render your product ineffective. It’s also important to study proposed laws that could potentially compromise your operations. For example, Washington joined about a dozen states earlier this year that required paid sick leave to be awarded to employees. Since it didn’t make headlines, you wouldn’t know unless you made it a mission to be informed. Not complying with laws like these, whether out of defiance or ignorance, could result in penalties and fines. To truly make your business evergreen, you need to be thinking and planning far ahead. Any amount of time spent researching the future of your field is not time wasted. If you don’t plan for inevitable change, your business may fail before it even takes off.
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