- Posted by Jeff Vacek
- On February 26, 2016
- 0 Comments
On average a car is made up of about 30,000 parts.
And if just one of those 30,000 parts is missing, worn down or malfunctioning in some way, shape or form, it could spell disaster for your car’s life or even yours (i.e. the seat belt malfunctions).
Wow, okay that last sentence was kind of morbid.
Sorry, but follow me here…
Your business is made up of potentially THOUSANDS of parts as well. Just like a car.
And just like a car, if any part of your business is missing, worn down or malfunctioning in some way, shape or form, you could be well on your way to a business disaster of varying degrees.
What’s scarier… Is just like with a car, you may not know that part of your business is wearing down, on its way to malfunctioning or something of the like.
So, you need some sort of ‘early warning system’ or ‘regular check-up’ for your business, just like you do for your car.
When you take your car in for service your car service center typically has something like a 30-point check-up OR a 125-point inspection OR whatever.
Well, here’s my 6–point inspection check-list for your business. Yes, its only 6, compared to 30 or 125… But as you’ll see, these are huge and made up of several parts each.
And I’m not talking about a car now 😉
BRAND, PRODUCT AND PERSONAL REPUTATION
What do people think about you, your brand or your product?
Are you watching what people are saying about you or your business on Social Media?
Are you watching your reputation management in the search engines (primarily Google)? What comes up on the first page of Google for your name, brand, company, product, etc.?
If what people are saying about you in Social Media or what shows up on the first page of Google is NOT good, then you need to do something about it.
Post A LOT of great content about you, your customers, people you’ve helped, good reviews, etc. everywhere you can on Social Media and your web properties.
Get testimonials from your happy customers and clients.
Get someone that specializes in Search Engine Optimization and have them work with you on your Google reputation management. No guarantees… But often times with 60-90 days of work bad stuff about your brand, product or yourself can be pushed to the 2nd, 3rd or 4th page of Google and beyond.
CUSTOMER ONBOARDING, SUPPORT AND CARE
I once heard the great success coach Bob Proctor say, “The biggest thing that stops people is the start.”
Brilliant words, especially if we keep it in context.
I see a TON of businesses get bad reviews, lost customers and even go out of business because their customer onboarding process sucks!
Think about the bad customer onboarding experiences that you’ve had as a customer.
Do you want to do that to your customers?
If it seems like you’re losing customers quickly, check your onboarding process.
And the biggest key with onboarding or anything else customer support/care related is COMMUNICATION
Don’t assume your customer knows everything. I don’t care what you sell, the service you provide, etc. you cannot EVER assume your customer knows everything.
If you sell a physical product, provide the most detailed instructions you could possible provide.
If you sell a service, software or something of the sort, then communicate on how to get the MOST out of your service, software, etc.
If you sell courses, information or coaching, create a guide or a curriculum that your customers can go through that is also VERY detailed.
Speaking of communication… For crying out loud, check up on people… It can be a mass email for all I care. Your customers should be segmented in your CRM, email system, database or whatever such that you can send all of them a bulk email to check up on them.
You don’t have to do it one-by-one.
In that email, make sure they know how to get a hold of you if they have any issues, challenges, concerns, etc. with your product or service.
Better yet, automate that email… There are plenty of good CRM (C = Customer, R = Relationship, M = Management) systems and software that can do all of that on auto-pilot for you. You just write a simple ‘check-up email’, load it into the CRM and tell it how many days after the initial purchase, service date, etc. to email it out to your customer.
That is huge! Your customers are arguably your most precious asset… Not too mention the money and sweat you gave in return to acquire them. Why waste all of that?
Here’s a great quote by Neil Patel, one of the great young business minds of our time…
“If you are not tracking your data and not trying to figure out what makes people sign up, use your product, come back, and leave…it is going to be hard to grow.”
Great quote, from a really smart dude, but I think I would change it a little. (underlined and bold what I changed…)
“If you are not tracking your data and not trying to figure out what makes people sign up, use your product, come back, and leave… it is going to be hard to stay the same, much less grow.”
Honestly, if you’re not tracking your data, watching your analytics (the right ones, but that’s for another blog post) and measuring what you need to measure from a ‘numbers’ point of view, you might as well drive down the freeway and throw $100 bills out the window.
Action without tracking results (good or bad) is a complete waste and as we say in the South, “just plain dumb!”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen someone throw up an online sales funnel and then just start driving traffic to it without any thought about tracking.
Even if a funnel crushes it, if you don’t know exactly why, how are you going to do more of what’s making it crush?
At the very least, know what your costs are to acquire a customer are AND what the lifetime value (LTV) of your customers are.
You can drive A LOT of your strategy, make changes, analyze other metrics to get more insight if you just know those two key metrics/numbers.
Another good one is knowing the time it takes on average to get to your LTV. Knowing that, can REALLY help you decide how much, where, what and how to market.
In a nutshell… Know your numbers, grow your numbers!
Here’s all I’m going to say about testing in relation to checking up on your business…
Are you testing TOO much?
Please stop if you are.
Testing is SO important.
I live by it. In fact, if someone asks one of my team members, “What do you think Jeff will say about how this page, that copy, this ad or whatever will perform”, I know what they would say…
“Jeff won’t have an opinion until you test it!”
Ah yes, they know me very well and how paramount testing is for me.
I don’t over test.
I once had a client that had a 67% opt-in rate on his webinar registration page.
He asked me how he could improve it.
I asked him, “why”.
When he started, he was lucky if it was converting at 15%. Now it was converting at 67%.
That means for every 100 people that landed on his webinar registration page, 67 were opting in.
Unless there’s something glaringly obvious, don’t mess with conversions like that. Focus on the next conversion point, which in this case for him was getting people to show up for the webinar.
I see so many business owners, marketers, etc. do that. They get something good going and they mess it up by screwing with it, trying to make it better.
Again, it depends on the situation, but the point is that you can tweak and test something for so long, but at some point you need to back away and move on the next metric, conversion point, etc.
Don’t get paralysis from analysis by testing too much.
GET IT OUT THERE
So, you remember that Bob Proctor quote from earlier in the post?
Let me remind you…
“The biggest thing that stops people is the start.”
Will, that pertains to this item as well.
Just get it out there!
“IT” could be whatever… That new product, that new blog, that new corporate site, that new landing page, that new email sequence.
I see people ‘tinkering’ with something until the abyss ends and the NEVER get it out.
Apple didn’t wait years and years to release the iPhone until they got to the version of the iPhone that’s out today.
NO! There was the iPhone 1. And yeah, it sucked compared to the iPhones of today but there would be no ‘iPhone of today’ if they didn’t just get the first iPhone out.
Makes me think of another quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson… “Most men die with their music still in them.”
Don’t let your business die or never get off the ground because you didn’t get that next product out, or that next email out, or whatever… Stop analyzing, over thinking, etc.
JFDI… Just… Freakin’… Do… It!
YOUR TEAM, SYSTEMS AND PROCESSES
A lot of business ‘gurus’ might put these things into different categories [people, systems and processes].
Your team, systems and processes all make up what I call the ‘eco-system’ of your business.
And if they don’t all work in harmony, you’re screwed!
First, let’s talk about your team.
Do you have the right team?
Let me help you out.
If you’re not sure exactly what someone on your team does, they are not right for you.
If you’re just keeping someone around because you don’t want to fire them, they are not right for you.
I once fired a family member 2 weeks before her baby was due…
She had no support and nothing to fall back on.
I know, I’m a jerk, right?
It sucked to have to do that, but wasting time, resources, money, etc. on average or below average employees is much worse in the long run.
If you’re always complaining about someone that works for you, they are not right for you.
Your team is an extension of you. Every single member HAS to fit or else its like one of your body parts is injured and you can’t walk or something.
Do a real gut check on your team and get rid of people that are ‘dead weight’ before it brings the company down.
If you’ve got some good people, talk to them… Find out what motivates them and make sure you key in on that with their compensation, awards, rewards and acknowledgment.
It’ll really go a long way.
Now, your systems and your processes need to be streamlined. They need to work for you AND your team members, NOT one or the other. But mostly for your team. If you want to outsource or delegate, your systems and processes have to work for the people you delegate or outsource to.
Better yet, make them create the system or process themselves, as a team (great team building exercise by the way).
And besides the fact that they built it for them to use, it’ll build a sense of pride, comradery and loyalty within your team knowing they built something together.
And they will feel a sense of ownership as well.
Your systems and processes need to be documented and refreshed regularly. They CANNOT just be in someone’s head or on sticky notes all across your desk.
Take the time to do this for crying out loud. All the time I hear, “Jeff, I don’t have time to document it.” Then I typically say, “I bet you’ll make time to document or refresh if it breaks, won’t you? So, why not just document it now?”
There are many great tools to help you do it SO fast now that it really doesn’t take time away from your day.
And having everything documented will SAVE you time, hassle, pain and desperation later.
Trust me, its worth it!
Alright, so that’s my 6-point business inspection check list.
Check on all of these things at the very least quarterly.
You wouldn’t run your car into the ground… Don’t run your business into the ground either.
Find the holes and opportunities in these areas and do something about it.
You’ll thank yourself later 😉