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One Of The Best Things You Can Do To Have A Successful Small Business

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Image courtesy of PRESENTERMEDIA

As 2014 draws to a close it’s a good time to reflect on the year that’s almost over … on what went well, what didn’t go so well and how we can make improvements next year.

In doing this, I realised one of the greatest things I’ve done to improve my business over the years is something I haven’t shared a lot about publicly.

What is that one thing?

It’s being part of a good mastermind group.

A mastermind group is simply a small group of people who get together regularly to help brainstorm and support each other in achieving similar goals.

I was first part of a mastermind group back when I first began this business in 1998. There were about 12 of us and we were all brand new to the world of self-employment and empire building.

Our weekly sessions were instrumental in fine-tuning our start-up businesses and our support of each others’ businesses was incredibly valuable in those early days.

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Image courtesy PRESENTERMEDIA

My current mastermind group consists of just three of us – myself and two colleagues. We are all at similar stages of our business growth and success and looking to take things to the next level. A fourth member has already achieved our goal level of success and has also been guiding us from a mentoring aspect along with providing support and encouragement.

After an intense planning week together earlier this year we now have weekly mastermind calls where we discuss how we’re going with our plans, what challenges we’re facing, how we can overcome those challenges and what we’re going to do in the coming week to keep working towards our plans.

Having a weekly meeting is essential to help keep each of us motivated and on-track, and to help keep us accountable for doing what we say we will.

No matter what stage your business is at I strongly encourage you to create a mastermind group of your own if you’re serious about growing your business.

Some key points to remember when building your mastermind group are:

  • Mastermind groups work best when all members are at a similar level and/or have similar goals;
  • Make sure you meet regularly (preferably weekly), either face-to-face, via phone or via Skype;
  • Each group member should support other mastermind members, but remember to share the celebrations too;
  • Your mastermind group should be kept reasonably small. It could have as little as two members and ideally no more than 15 (although I prefer to keep this even smaller);
  • Consider setting a group celebration – something very special – to be enjoyed ONLY if ALL mastermind members achieve the goals they set by a pre-determined date.

This last point is very important. Achieving individual goals is great, but by pre-planning a group celebration that can only be enjoyed if ALL mastermind members achieve their goals is very powerful.

This helps to keep individuals motivated as nobody wants to be the one who didn’t achieve their goal and let the team down. But it also helps members support each other to help ensure everyone stays on track.

When you manage a business it can sometimes be a lonely journey. But when you have a mastermind group surrounding you, it truly can make all the difference.

If you are not already part of a mastermind group for your business I encourage you to find others who are on a similar journey as you whom you may be able to create a mastermind group with.

How Do You Package Your Business Image?

The way you package your business will have a direct impact on your success in small business.  But packaging for small business goes way beyond the look and feel of a given product; packaging of your small business includes imaging of all aspects of it — everything that the outside world will see lends to the image you create, and so you need to pay attention to all details, large and small, when creating your business image.

What Will Your Image Say About You?

Before you can apply your packaging, imaging, and concepts across your business you need to decide what that image will be.  For this, you need to first answer this question: “How do you want your business to be seen?”

Decide how you want people to perceive your business, services, personality and products.  Will you be…

  • Funky?
  • Trendy?
  • Modern?
  • Arty?
  • Corporate?
  • Professional?
  • Relaxed?
  • Busy?
  • Exciting?
  • Old-fashioned?
  • Traditional?
  • Sophisticated?

Whatever it is you choose to portray, you need to keep that image as the focus of everything you produce.

Full-Business Packaging And Imaging

A business image is created through consistent packaging and communication.  our overall business image and packaging should be giving out the same messages.  As you move to create your image and possibly branding, you need to review every aspect of business to make sure that message is consistent.  This means looking at everything from product or service invoices to the cars you drive and the clothing you and your employees wear.  It means developing marketing that is consistent with your image and drafting policies for staff and representatives that dictate the presentation of your company to the world.

Think of everything that your clients see, and every interaction, and then formulate a plan for portraying your business’s image.  Look at major and seemingly minor details, like:

  • Building and office décor
  • Website design
  • Website content
  • Product description
  • Communicating with clients
  • Marketing materials
  • Ads
  • Letterheads
  • Dress codes

The most important considerations when creating your business image are message and consistency. You must focus the message you send, and then take steps to make sure it remains consistent. Make your business recognizable and predictable and give clients the confidence of knowing who and what they are buying into when they do business with you.  Target your business by sending the messages that your clientele are receptive to, and that shows that you are committed to them.