How to Succeed in Retail in the Age of Amazon

How to Succeed in Retail in the Age of Amazon

 

So you had some extra time on your hands during quarantine and came up with the “next big thing” for retail. Maybe it’s a new premium direct-to-consumer item or a platform for social shopping. Whatever the case may be, in the current age of retail, every business team needs to ask themselves the trillion-dollar question: How do we compete with Amazon?

Amazon’s Corner on the Retail Market

Like Walmart did for brick-and-mortar big box stores, the retail giant has hoarded market share by offering lower prices on thousands of retail products in virtually every industry, and it’s paid off. Amazon reached the trillion-dollar mark in 2018, being only the second company to do so (Apple was first just a month before).

 

You may be wondering how Jeff Bezos grew his operation to the giant it is today from its humble beginnings in his garage in Bellevue, WA, but consider this: Amazon has been at the forefront of innovation when it comes to online shopping and shipping to your home. It revolutionized shipping speeds with Prime memberships, paved the way for the use of delivery drones and even built more warehouses to accommodate large metro areas.

 

And that's not all: Amazon is always looking at the big picture and making highly intelligent organizational moves and acquisitions. For example, healthy eating and finding organic food choices are trends that have been on the rise for some time now, and consumers have been willing to pay more for those choices. So what did Amazon do? It bought Whole Foods, the largest, fastest-growing organic food chain. No wonder it reached the trillion-dollar mark.

 

Paying attention to what consumers want outside of the online arena and giving it to them in a new format is brilliant, and something to think about if you are trying to compete in the e-commerce space.

The Customer-Centric Business Model

As a rule, once a company obtains a certain level of success, the customer satisfaction rating will slowly decline as the corporation has bigger things to deal with. Amazon has only gotten more “customer-obsessed” with their exponential growth. A list of their company leadership principles explicitly states that at Amazon, “Leaders start with the customer and work backwards.” Earlier this year, in a Harris Poll on corporate reputation, Amazon was ranked in the top 3 for the 8th year in a row and the top 10 for the 12th consecutive year. And Amazon topped the ACSI Retail Report for the eleventh year in a row. Clearly they are onto something when it comes to customer satisfaction.

 

Smaller businesses have an advantage because they have always been better at building relationships. However, they can hold onto customer satisfaction as a top priority by posting crystal clear return policies and by offering one-on-one assistance when needed. Live chat is a fast-growing trend in customer support. We all feel more appreciated when we feel a connection with someone, so allowing your customers to make a personal connection with you and your business can go a long way.

The Coronavirus Effect: Recovering from a Spending Freeze

As in all other sectors, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on both e-commerce and brick-and-mortar retail. E-commerce sales are forecasted to jump 18% by the end of 2020, but brick and mortar sales will drop by 14%. This TechCrunch article points out that the bump in e-commerce will not make up for the expected 10.5% drop in overall retail sales to $4.894 trillion—a level not seen since 2016. E-commerce may be enjoying a boost, but when all is said and done, Americans are technically spending less and gravitating to the top two in the category, Amazon and Walmart, for only the most essential purchases.

The Bottom Line For Small Businesses

While most new small businesses won't be able to directly compete with Amazon, there are ways you can be successful without feeling like you need to overcome the impossible.

 

Here are two ways of staying relevant in the space:

 

  • Go where consumers already are: that is, Amazon. For some, this is a classic “if you can’t beat 'em, join 'em” scenario in which a business foregoes fulfillment hassles by distributing directly through Amazon. For many, this has proven to be a successful strategy, turning a profit by letting Amazon take all the credit.

 

  • Create highly specialized products and services. Another new rule of thumb emerging across multiple industries, narrowing your niche and focusing on a very small percentage of the market can help you gain loyal consumers who know you are the only place to get what they need. Now that Americans are spending less, and Amazon has proven to be resilient, the retail behemoth is sure to keep its market share for the time being.

 

What may have worked for small businesses two years ago likely won’t work today, and what works today may not work tomorrow. Being nimble and finding small (but bright) windows of opportunity may be just the thing you need in order to survive.

An earlier version of this article was published on Forbes.


The Rule of 2/3

There Are No Unicorns: Making the Hard Choice for Good/Fast/Cheap Marketing Support

 

You've heard of this rule before. It’s basically a law of physics in the business world: you've seen it applied to various industries of service providers, but that doesn't make it any less true. Marketing professionals know this rule all too well, but it can still be a stumbling block for our clients because it doesn’t seem fair and it’s not fun to think about. The hard truth is that the killer deals and 10-in-1 unicorn gadgets that exist in the retail product world just don’t exist in the realm of professional services.

 

The Rule: GOOD. FAST. CHEAP. You can only choose 2.

 

In short, it translates to this: you can’t have it all. If you don’t have a bottomless budget or all the time in the world, anyway, something else in the equation has to be sacrificed. While we would love to promise you that your great marketing strategy will pay for itself, we know that’s not exactly how budgets work. Instead of urging you to dig deeper into your pockets and put a strain on your business to put a top-tier marketing plan in place, we would much rather walk through the Sophie’s Choice situation with you and help you make the decision that’s best for your business right now.

The Options

CHEAP: You are always looking for a deal. It is our human condition to try to find ways to save money and retain the best value for the work we are paying for

FAST: You also want your projects done as quickly as possible.

GOOD: Not only do you want it done quickly and for less money, but you want it to be good. Good design, good strategy, good in every way.

Why can you only choose 2?

VALUE: The value of quality marketing work is not necessarily synonymous with the amount you pay. Value is provided when something is done well, with intention, and provides both instant results and long-term outcomes.

CHEAP + FAST: When you're choosing two, cheap and fast end up being a likely option. After all, those are your two primary motivational factors—get it done now and get it done for the least amount possible. The problem with this strategy is that it forces your marketing team into a situation in which they have to cut corners, spend less time finding the best possible solutions

and instead finish a “quick and dirty” version of your project. That means the thing you have sacrificed is GOOD. Your project will still have a lot of positive attributes, but will it be everything you hoped for, and be perfect without any missteps? Definitely not.

CHEAP + GOOD: In the above situation, it seems like the issue is one of time: by combining cheap and fast you lost quality, which is what you need in the long run. Choosing cheap and good could be a better combination because you save money while getting a higher quality completed project, which could ultimately mean higher value. The sacrifice here is time. In order to perform high-quality services at a lower rate, your team will need to manage this project differently. And you may be one of many projects in process, so in order to spend the time wisely on your project and make it beneficial to the team, they will need to take extra time.

FAST + GOOD: Yes, this is an option. Yes, we can do what you want in the quality that you want in the timeline you want, but that will mean our team will have to work double-time, triple-time, and that means itʼs going to cost you more because you will have to pay for that time and extra time spent.

Keep this in mind next time you are trying to hire a marketing company or any other service provider: you may have three options, but if you’re looking for real value, you will have to sacrifice one of them. Unicorns are hard to come by, and if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Which 2 would you choose?

Need help deciding? Get in touch with us and let’s talk it out. 


Productivity Tips for #EntrepreneurLife in 2020: Eat the Frog

If we could sum up 2020 in one quote, it might be this one by Herbert Hoover: “About the time we can make the ends meet, somebody moves the ends.” This feeling of endlessly chasing a moving target, treading water or running in place was already a familiar part of the entrepreneurial experience. As a marketing and sales agency that works primarily with small businesses, we’ve picked up some tricks over the years to create structure out of chaos and forge ahead into productivity. 

2020 has taught us some new things about doing business in uncertain times, but when it comes to productivity, some of our tried-and-true basic principles have come through with the best results. Our answer to Herbert Hoover’s pithy proverb is this one by Mark Twain: “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” This is our classic antidote to procrastination at the @revenue office, and we pride ourselves on being adept and graceful frog-eaters. But in the time of big pivots bringing a deluge of new and daunting tasks, sometimes we find a few more frogs hanging around on our to-do lists than usual. Can you relate?

We’ve seen many successful entrepreneurs and business owners adapt this frog-eating concept into a philosophy that keeps them on track and focused. So how does it work? For me, it gets broken down into these simple steps:

Step 1: Create a list of to-dos. I am a major list creator, so much so that I sometimes have lists of what lists I have. Each morning, as I set out to start my work day, I create an all-encompassing list of things to do. This list is primarily focused on the goals for that day, but often includes larger projects that I can complete in stages. The key is to make your list as comprehensive as possible first.

Step 2: Prioritize your list. Once your list has been created, you want to take a few moments and prioritize it. I generally categorize my list into things I can complete today, those that are deadline focused, those that are in stages and those that arenʼt deadline focused but would be great to accomplish as soon as possible. Once you have a priority in mind, you know where you need to spend your time.

Step 3: Read your list. Read it, and as you do so, mark the items that make you groan vs the items that are relatively simple to complete and donʼt bother you much.

Step 4: Biggest Groan = Frog. Inevitably, there will be one item on your list that you simply do not want to do. Perhaps when you were reading your list you were trying to imagine ways to procrastinate it. You will know what that one thing on your list is. For me, it’s often something to do with cash flow. I just simply hate reviewing accounting and financials. Iʼd much rather spend my time on fun marketing projects and writing.

Step 5: Eat the Frog. As Twain said, the key to having a positive day is to eat a frog first. That biggest groan on your list—do it first. Get it out of the way and the rest of your list will be no big deal.

Mark Twain knew what he was talking about! We use the frog-eating method every day to stay on task. The feeling when you accomplish that thing you were dreading is a natural high that keeps you going all day. Just take a few minutes every morning to prioritize your task list, and when the frogs come to call, you’ll know what to do.


Benefits of Hiring a Fractional CMO in 2020

In the unfolding economic crisis of 2020, most business leaders are pushing forward into new territory in one way or another, whether it’s internal restructuring or a complete overhaul of your offerings. Marketing is a high priority to not only survive these relentlessly uncertain times, but also to make sure the work you’re doing now is building towards a more sustainable future for your business. Many early-stage and small businesses are finding that they don’t have the marketing leadership in their C-suite to keep up. 

There are plenty of ways companies end up in this situation: maybe you’ve gotten by without a CMO thus far, but other roles are too busy to manage marketing right now, or maybe things are changing fast in your industry and you need an expert with a wider range of experience. Maybe your company is growing faster than you anticipated and you need a marketing leader who can step in and chart the course until you can afford a full-time executive. An agency could do the trick, but you need a dedicated person “on the ground” with you who can strategize and implement with your team. 

The short-term, big-commitment marketing leader you’re looking for does exist: meet the fractional CMO. This role is typically brought in to build up or manage your company’s marketing function on a part-time or short-term basis. From a cost-benefit standpoint, fractional CMO services deliver an incredible amount of value for much less than what an in-house team of their caliber would cost. The average salary for a full-time CMO is $174,573, and they usually have a marketing director or marketing manager working under them to carry out tactical work (earning average salaries of $87,915 and $65,399, respectively). And that’s before any benefits, payroll taxes or bonuses. All told, hiring a team with all of these roles plus support for digital and social implementation would cost over $400,000 per year in salaries alone. Working with @revenue for fractional CMO services costs about 30% less than that—around $280,000. See what we mean by fractional?

Take a look at some of the benefits a CMO offers that you won’t find with a consultant or a typical agency:

Evolves existing strategies and processes

When tried and true marketing channels aren’t working like they used to, it might seem like you have to abandon your entire strategy and start from scratch with a new approach—especially if you see your competitors finding success with new technology, social channels, etc. and you can’t keep up. Trusting an agency to make these calls for you can feel like a huge risk, and it is. If you don’t know where to start with new channels or how to make the transition without breaking the budget, a fractional CMO will take the time to get to know your existing strategy and make incremental changes to evolve it along with new tools and best practices so you can keep your momentum and your audience as your marketing processes change. 

Crafts and manages a unified strategy with your team

Maybe you’ve tried some new marketing channels and been burned by one-stop solutions that didn’t do what they promised. Opening up new avenues for marketing takes an integrated strategy with someone experienced at the helm keeping a close eye on your metrics and making adjustments as you go. It takes a level of communication with your CEO and your team that most consultants and agencies don’t have the capacity for, but a fractional CMO is flexible to step in and actively manage your strategy in real-time.

High-level partnership

Speaking of communication, if you’ve made a big pivot recently and need to maintain consistency at a big-picture level, a fractional CMO often has the business leadership experience to take part in those C-suite conversations. Lots of companies are finding themselves in need of a high-level manager with the experience to build up a new marketing foundation while sales are lower than usual and they are still smoothing out the operations of a new business model. It can be a challenging time to hire the kind of full-time support you will eventually need, but a fractional CMO will fit the bill until the time is right.

Supports your sales team

Is your sales team struggling to work as a team while client responses are turbulent? Do they have any strategic marketing support, or are they creating their own materials? Often when there isn’t a robust marketing department, the onus falls on the sales team to generate, develop and close their own leads. Trying to get by without a dedicated marketing leader is a recipe for sales team burnout. A fractional CMO will find the gaps that are costing you sales and fill them so your salespeople can do what they do best.

A fractional CMO delivers the marketing leadership you need to keep growing your business while you need to keep cost, commitment and risk to a minimum. But the key factor that can really make or break this decision? The relationship you build with your fractional CMO is mission-critical. You have to find someone you trust, who will tell you the hard truths that will make for a better strategy in the end. At @revenue we call this Professional Love, and we insist on loving all of our clients, especially through their most difficult times.

But all good things must come to an end. Your team might absorb the new processes after the initial implementation, or the new revenue you generate might open up room for a full-time marketing executive. It takes about 6 months to see the full ROI from your CMO, but you may decide to work together for several years. Our team is great at documenting processes to hand back to your team whenever you’re ready. 

Are you as excited as we are about the benefits of a fractional CMO? Get in touch with us and let’s talk about it!


How to Support Your Small Business Community During the Coronavirus Outbreak

It’s almost become a campaign cliche that small business is the backbone of America; but in the year 2020, amidst a viral outbreak like we’ve never seen before, the strength and flexibility of that “backbone” is being tested. Without much direction or aid coming from the government, we’re looking to each other to make a way forward—but there’s so much noise it’s hard to make some sense of it all. Our responsibilities as business owners have changed overnight and we’re asking ourselves where the money will come from, if and when we’ll have to let someone go, and how to go about making sales in a quarantined market.

Without a doubt, it’s an urgent time to support our networks while offering the opportunity to support us back. Nobody wants to come across as taking advantage of this awful situation, but what does one do if they want to appear authentic and actually help? Our team had a meeting of the minds this Monday; we came up with our best ideas to help you get through this time and come out on the other side with a team that believes in you, a customer base that knows that you care and partnerships that are even stronger.

Spend Wisely: Support Small

The #1 way to support your fellow business owners right now, as always, is to shop small. It’s especially important to think about brick and mortar businesses that usually rely on foot traffic, like restaurants and retailers. Many are scrambling to build online stores, but some have gift cards available on their existing websites. One of our favorite tricks for lunch meetings on lockdown is sending a GrubHub gift card with a list of locally-owned options.

Everyone’s budget is in flux, but necessaries like cleaning products can be found locally instead of at big-box stores. Think about any birthdays coming up and any other gifts you need to buy soon. Spend some of your downtime searching these local business directories to find what you need right now:

Communicate Mindfully

As we all huddle up to our laptops to stay in touch with the world, we live and do business through our online presence, and our messaging becomes more critical than ever. Be sure to communicate with each of your audiences—yes, everyone—clients, partners, employees, the public, about any changes that will affect their business with you. Communicate with your existing network first before reaching out to new contacts. Post important information in a central location, like on your website, and use appropriate channels to share it.

Just as important as spreading the word about the changes in your business is putting other news on hold until you know for sure that it’s still moving forward according to plan. And even if it is, think twice about whether or not a big announcement is still appropriate. Blaring good news while so much is being canceled may come across as tone-deaf. News about product launches and events may need to be softened or postponed.

Manage Your Fear and Be a Leader

Fear of the unknown is a whopper, especially when you have a team (or a small community) looking to you for answers. While it’s an important time to show resilience, being honest about the things you still haven’t figured out is a much better look than withholding information.

If we didn’t know it before, it’s becoming abundantly clear that a business isn’t run by technology and systems: it’s run by a group of people with a shared goal. And when your mission is bigger than any single person on the team, you can have real faith that it’s all worthwhile. We at @revenue seek out other mission-driven businesses to work with because we believe this so much. Remind your team and your clients how important they are to you, and that no matter what else changes, your mission will drive you forward because it’s bigger than all of you.

Take Action

While you’re waiting on your bigger answers, take action on the things you have the power to do right now. If you need to get out of the house, My Block My Hood My City is accepting donations and organizing volunteers to distribute viral response packages to seniors. Reach out to your network and ask what kinds of support they are looking for.

One thing we know for sure is that this isn’t going to be over quickly; businesses that don’t already have a tech stack to support working from home will need to pull one together. Our team is working on a webinar to help you get digital quick, so watch out for more details! As always, let us know what else we can do to help.


You might need to hire a marketing agency if…

Let’s face it-- not every business needs a marketing agency. I know, it may seem counter-intuitive because every business needs a marketing strategy, but not everyone needs to go out and hire a professional to do the work. Whether you are just starting out or have decades of experience, marketing professionals aren’t free and when investing your time and finances you need to be sure that your business is ready.

That being said, there comes a point that professional support is what will take your business to the next level. Here are just a couple of signs that the time has come:

  1. If your parents don’t know what you do. You have no idea what your “brand” is and no idea how to talk about your business. You don’t need to be able to explain the intricacies of what you do, but you should be able to narrow it down to a couple of sentences. Marketing will help you to refine your message and give you crystal clear direction on how that gets expressed. Everything from colors and fonts to your voice and values needs to get expressed in a consistent manner that is easy for others to understand.
  2. If it gets pushed off your plate due to time or procrastination. You didn't open a business because you feel the joy of writing a good newsletter, or perhaps you avoid social media like the plague. Writing blogs, posting on social media and making website updates not only take valuable time but to do well it takes years of experience. Calculate your hourly rate by the number of hours you spend on marketing activities and see if you have some wiggle room to hire someone else to do it. Chances are when you leave it to an expert it will be done better than if you keep trying to do it yourself, and you may even save yourself some money & time along the way.
  3. You're ready for more business, but you don’t know how to ‘make’ it happen. If you've ever been asked "where do you get business from?" and your only answer is referrals, you are not in control of your sales... Let’s face it, hope isn’t the most effective strategy. If you are looking for more business, your marketing team should lay out a clear path to success and a pro will be able to recommend the right channels, strategies, and tools to get you there.

Agencies are great at providing the tools, resources, strategy, and implementation of marketing, but if you don't know your market, this is all a guess. Marketers work best when you know your business, and they help you communicate it. So go out there, talk to your customers, find out what they want more of and get clear on where your business is going. Then find a marketing firm that knows how to listen and provide great insight - they go hand in hand.

Although marketing might seem like the next step to growth, let’s not leave out it’s best friend: SALES! These two disciplines work hand in hand to drive more revenue. If you are out of balance, you will waste time and resources going down the wrong path. Schedule a complimentary consultation with our team @revenue to learn the best direction for your organization.


6 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a CRM

Still using Excel to track your networking connections? That might work, to a degree -- but it isn’t scalable. You easily lose track of contacts, you miss follow ups and you can do better. Do you dream of a tool that tracks your pipeline, stores all your notes and automatically reminds you to follow up, or even does it for you?

That tool exists. Enter the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system of your dreams.

You might be thinking, “Oh, great--another piece of technology to learn.” I hear you--technology is always changing, so it’s hard to keep up. Then, there’s the risk that picking up a new tool will just add complications, rather than clarity. Let me help you out. Here are six questions to ask yourself. Take the time to answer them, and odds are you’ll find the perfect CRM for you.

  1. What is your digital culture? Take a moment to list the email service, project management software, inbox and other programs you’re using. Are you a Microsoft Brain, or do you get down with Gmail? Tools like Zapier can help make the connections seamless.
  2. What does your network look like? Make sure that your CRM will allow for different sales pipelines and tagging structure so you can store all of the necessary data. A good CRM will track not just your leads, but your strategic partners, vendors and more. Avoid systems that consider everyone to be a ‘lead’.
  3. What kinds of automation will you be using? Look at what process flows you have.  Are you automating? Where might there be opportunities to automate? Things like email messages, task assignments, and reminders are critical for lasting CRM success.
  4. What do you need to track? Priorities vary from sales pro to sales pro. Consider what you truly need to measure and track in the future. Then, check to make sure the CRM you’re considering will accommodate. Things like weighted pipelines and varied sets of activity can help make your choice easy.
  5. How much time are you willing to dedicate to your CRM? No matter what platform you choose, a CRM is only as good as the information you put into it. If as an owner you aren’t the championing your CRM as part of your culture your team will not make it a priority.
  6. At the end of the day, does this make my business better? Simply put, if the answer is “no,” time to consider another CRM.

Now that you have been able to narrow the field by asking these questions, it’s time to take that new CRM out for a spin. Take advantage of a free trial to see how you like the interface. Once you settle on a perfect match, customize it.

Intimidated by the thought of putting together a sales process, automation, and contact structure? You’re not alone. It can seem even more daunting than choosing the CRM., Contact @revenue to get started.


The Impact of Values on Small Business

Value Statements, mission statements, retreats, and branding exercises are often considered luxuries that small business owners will simply slide off of their radar. After all, there are so many more important things to do, right?!?

The short answer is, yes. There are many important things to do. Until there is a crisis, conflict….or even a client interaction. Then, this collective verbalization of what is important to us, what we strive for, and what we can expect from our leaders and peers becomes the foundation for success.

There are always metrics that are analytically trackable: sales, financials, all the numbers, right? But when it comes to measuring the alignment of organizational values in a small business what are you supposed to look for?

Here it comes….feelings.

OH, YOU KNOW HOW I LOVE TALKING ABOUT FEELINGS!

Check in with your team, and at different times:

To understand the adoption of values in your business it’s critical to check in with your team and learn if what you thought would be important about your values is resonating with them. As a leader, when you set the values for your org you set them through one filter - yours. But your values, have no guarantee of aligning with the person across the table. When we asked our new admin, who had been with us for about 90 days, Song said, “The concept of professional love was completely new to me. very few of my past employers have been as kind and invested in me and my goals in life, not just professionally but personally as well.”

Wow. After 90 days one of our team members knew that we cared about her as a whole person. Professional Love. Check.

When we asked another team member how he was impacted, Ben’s response was, “I am excited about the creativity that I have experienced with how @revenue works with clients. Developing ways to creatively collaborate with clients fuels innovation and brings excitement to the marketing strategies that we provide.”
This felt like a completely different view of the same question, but it gave us an understanding of how he was absorbing what we thought we were communicating clearly.

Having those conversations and getting feedback gives you a place to open yourself to getting better. Speaking better. Professionally loving them better. So what is the impact of those values? They are a measuring stick for the leadership of your organization and an opportunity to openly communicate over more than just ‘is the task complete?'.

The deeper the understanding and engagement your team has around your values sets the tone for how they care for and communicate with your clients. Give them something to believe in...and then believe in them.

We would love it if you would share your organization’s values with us! Visit us on Facebook or LinkedIn and share your vision - we are all ears!


Tools for Business Development

If you have any responsibility for developing business, you know how time-consuming and taxing it can be. Following up after events, the back and forth it takes to schedule meetings and keeping track of it all can leave your schedule packed and your energy drained. Let’s face it, this is a full-time job for some, but busy business owners have a multitude of other responsibilities. That’s why @revenue is here to give you the best tools in the industry to make your business development efforts not only work more efficiently but also to work more effectively! Check out a couple of our favorites that we have tried, tested and proven to be the best for busy business owners.

EatNGage.
Looking to really wow prospects or find a good excuse to get in front of them? How about you buy them lunch! EatNGage offers an efficient all-inclusive engagement platform that will schedule lunch with your prospects… virtually. Food is delivered and your meeting is done through web conferencing so no one has to leave their desks. You save tons of travel time and your leads have a great new reason to take that meeting. Plus EatNGage offers automated reminders, build in video conferencing and email tracking.

Insightly.
We all know that relationships are the key to business success but how do you manage them all? Enter your Customer Relationship Manager, and for the @revenue team, that means Insightly! Never miss a birthday, followup or forgotten lead with this robust CRM. Build deeper customer relationships and grow your business faster with this all-inclusive tool to organize, document and track your communication. With a handy Gmail plugin and a robust mobile application, Insightly keeps you connected and informed however you work.

Grammarly.
Nothing is worse than when you make a simple grammar mistake in your email. It can mean the difference between getting the appointment and the cold shoulder. More than spell check, Grammarly uses context to ensure that even your typos get the extra eyes they need. Make sure every email and piece of writing is perfect and worth a response.

Mix Max.
The newest tool the @revenue team has adopted is already cutting our correspondence time in HALF! With MixMax you are able to quickly schedule meetings, track your email activity, design followup automations and use templates all at your fingertips. It is every salesperson dream as it not only has a ton of cool features, but it also works right in your Gmail.

Remember all these slick tools and fancy apps won’t help if you aren’t able to build solid relationships. If you are still looking for more business development skills, come to join @reveue at our next Executive Brief. Learn how to strengthen your business development efforts with our relationship-focused sales process.


Your Values, Your Business. Yes, You Can Build A Dream Business Based On What You Value Most.

When we begin a conversation with a client, we’ll typically ask: “What type of business do you think is right for you?”

Mind you, it’s not that we expect that individual to have everything figured out. Some people may know what they want, but may not look at the reality that accompanies that. Others aren’t sure at all but do know they want to control their own destiny. No matter where you’re coming in, we’ll typically take a more introspective approach and encourage you to ask deeper questions internally about your lifestyle before choosing a business.

Now, why do you think we would be so interested in what you value and the life you want to have? Yes, these are important but what does that have to do with owning a business?

Know The Business Behind The Business

Think about this: If you’re going to be a successful owner, you’re going to be heavily involved in that business for at least the next 10 years and probably more. If the organization doesn’t match up with your values and lifestyle, you may have some buyer’s remorse.

To illustrate how buyer’s remorse could happen, let’s say that you’re intensely passionate about a product or service – we’ll use dogs as an example. Since you have such a love of dogs, you figure that owning a pet store franchise is your true calling.

Sounds like a terrific fit, doesn’t it? Not so fast.

You may have a love of animals, but we still have to talk about what you will be doing as a business owner. In this case, you may be spending a great deal of time involved with inventory management, stocking shelves and a host of other responsibilities that take you away from playing with the puppies.

Doing what you love has to align with business responsibilities, which makes it crucial to take a hard look at each franchise opportunity to ensure your perception meets reality. This involves a series of deep questions that can force you to give careful consideration to why you want to become an owner and what you want out of the business. Because once you’ve addressed these questions, you’re ready to pursue an opportunity on your terms, based on what you value most.

4 Deep Questions Before You “Jump”

  • What are your strengths?
    When you think back to times in your career where you’ve been promoted, why was that? How did that happen? Was there something about that type of work that energized you?
  • What type of work environment and style do you prefer?
    Do you like working with people or independently? Are you a teacher? An organizer? Are you motivated by sales? Do you dread event planning? Do you believe you can thrive in a customer-facing role or do you see yourself as more of an operational leader behind the scenes?
  • What do you like to do most?
    Believe it or not, one of the areas we look to as evidence of what you enjoy is your prior education. What did you go to school for, even if it’s nothing to do with what you currently do today? That shows a degree of passion.
  • What does your family situation and schedule look like?
    Make no mistake – this is a big one. If you have a spouse and children, how would owning a business change your current situation at home? What are you willing to give up?
    Is your family on board with this commitment? There’s going to be a ramp up period to get the business running strong enough that you can pay yourself the salary that you want, including minimum expenses. It may take 12-24 months to turn a profit – are you comfortable with that? If so, is it because your spouse is working and can take some of the pressure off? Is it based on savings that you have or through an SBA loan?

You know your strengths, your work style, your greatest passion, and have a loving family that’s got your back for the next 12-24 months to pursue the next exciting chapter of your career in business ownership. That’s great – but there’s still one more vital component to your success that we can’t neglect – an outside perspective from a highly experienced franchise consultant who can help guide you to the right franchise opportunity that aligns just right with your values. That’s where organizations like On Pace and @revenue come in - we’re here for you!