How do you create a consistent brand? Try Electric Hair!

What does having electric hair have to do with creating a consistent brand for your business?

Electric Hair was set up by Mark Woolley, whose aim is for the business to become known as the best hair dressing brand in the UK. With salons in London, Brighton and Reading, the Oxford salon was opened earlier this year. As with all the other salons, the building has been bought by the business, which means it can be done up in a similar way to the other salons. When you walk in, you recognise the slick, modern decor of the other salons.

The team at Oxford have been handpicked and is lead by Louise, who used to work at the Reading salon; she lives and breathes the essence of Electric. Under her guidance, her staff are welcoming – you get a drink on arrival and a consultation, to discuss what you need. Like Mark, Louise is keen to develop her staff and help them achieve their goals. Her goal was to run a salon and with Mark’s support, she’s now doing it. If any of her team wants the same, she’ll inspire them to get there.

Does it matter if your hair is washed the same way each time to go to the hairdresser? Maybe not to everyone, but it is nice to know what you’re going to get. With Electric you know that you’ll get a great haircut (that looks better for longer than your previous hairdresser managed!) You know that you won’t get silly ideas about hair styles that don’t suit you, or outrageous colours you don’t like. You know that you’ll be treated as an individual and given the time you need, with personal care and interest in you. You’ll get the same treatment if you walk into any of the salons.

Creating a consistent brand is not about putting your logo on everything. It’s much bigger than that. It’s about treating your customers the way they want to be treated and about always treating them the same way, so that they know what they will get from you, each time they have any contact with them.

What can you do to create a consistent brand and give your clients the best experience you can?

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I can’t write a book – what would I write about?

Did you know that 95% of people who think about writing a book never get around to it? That’s a lot of unfulfilled dreams and ideas.

But did you know that writing a book is just about giving? This means that a book is about sharing your ideas and your advice; it’s about writing about what you know about.

I recently suggested to one of my clients that she should write a book. After she’d stopped laughing, she said, “What on earth would I write about and who would want to read it anyway?”

The client in question, Debbie, is a riding instructor who works with people and their own horses, helping them to develop better relationships. It’s not about teaching people to ride, but about helping her clients to train themselves and their horses to the next level of fitness and performance. It’s a bit like a sportsman having a coach who helps him with the next competition; or the business coach who helps her clients achieve greater success – whatever that might look like. A great deal of Debbie’s work is also based around the psychology of riding and how the way riders think affects the way they ride.

So to answer the first question – what do I write about? My suggestion to Debbie was that she writes about some of her clients and the training they’ve been through. She works with a huge range of people and horses, so I suggested a series of case studies to highlight different issues and the different – all successful – results they’ve achieved. Debbie actually enjoys writing, so that won’t be a problem; for people who don’t like writing, a series of case studies can easily be produced by interviewing people and transcribing the interviews.

And question two – who will want to read it? I asked Debbie how many happy clients she has, who would like to know more about training themselves and their horses. She has dozens and all of them would buy her book – especially if they’re signed! In addition, the number of horses in the UK is huge. (According to the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) survey of 2066 there were 1.35 million in the UK.) Take off of few for the people who own more than one horse; remove a few professional riders who have written their own books and you’re left with a vast number of ordinary people who love their horses, ride for fun and would love a book that can, practically, help them improve their riding and develop a better relationship with their horse – without spending a fortune on an expensive course or ‘horse whisperer’.

The good news is that having answered Debbie’s two concerns, she’s giving it a go and is going to write the book! We’re starting with a half day planning session at the end of September and once we’ve done that, I’ll write another blog to update you on progress. If you’re a horse rider who would like to read Debbie’s book, let me know! Once we have the outline, we’ll put details of the book onto her website at www.Gain-field.co.uk with details of how to order a pre-launch copy.

Is there a book in you? Do you know what you could write about and the ideas and advice that you could share? Even if you don’t have the answers to the questions, if you’d like to write a book, get in touch by leaving a comment and ask about our new Book Consultancy service.

How can you use the Law of Attraction in your business?

Do you use the Law of Attraction in your business, to get the clients, staff and suppliers you want? If you ever find yourself using words like ‘coincidence’ or ‘serendipity’ or saying that good things just seem to happen, then you are probably already using the Law of Attraction without realising it.

Some years ago I was introduced to a book called Attracting Perfect Customers by Stacey Hall. It showed me how to find perfect clients – the ones you really want to work with – and I’ve been using the techniques in my business and with many of my clients, very successfully.

Recently I learnt how to take the Law of Attraction even further in business, when I heard Michael Losier speak. He’s from Canada and has written a book called The Law of Attraction. He said that the Law of Attraction works because the words we use determine the results we get. A collection of words, put together in a string, becomes a thought. A thought becomes a vibe – a feeling or mood – which can be either positive or negative. Vibes become results – either positive or negative. So if you look at the results you’re getting and you don’t like them (because they’re negative), the way to change them is by changing the vibes you give off, which you do by changing your thoughts, which you do by changing the words you use. Michael says there are three words we need to take out of our vocabulary, to help us create positive results. They are:

  • Don’t
  • Not
  • No

So instead of saying “I don’t want an overdraft,” or “I don’t want to work with a certain type of client,” we can think about what we do want. “I want a parking space right outside that shop,” or “I want to earn £X this month.”

According to Michael, there are just three steps to creating attraction and getting what you want. They are:

  1. Identify what you desire
  2. Give your desires attention
  3. Allow it to happen

The third step is the most important and is probably the hardest to do; yet the speed at which the Law of Attraction will create what you want is in direct proportion to how much you allow.

Make sense? If not, get hold of a copy of Michael’s book! He’s not in the UK much, but is running some workshops in London this weekend (9-11 September) and you can find out more at www.MichaelLosier.com. He’s a really entertaining speaker and you’ll learn loads about how to create whatever you want in your business!

15 Ways to Give your Business an Unfair Advantage – Part Two

 Here are some great tips I read recently in Real Business Magazine. Click here to read part one; part three to follow soon!

6. Put social media at the heart of your business

“Social media isn’t just about marketing – you have to try and develop your entire business culture around it, “Explains Andrew Gerrard, a social and digital media consultant at Exeter-based Like Minds. Social media should become a part of everything that you do: your business strategy, objectives, customers, growth plan. “Develop yourself as a social business rather than an organisation that does ‘a bit of social media marketing’. This will leave you in a better position to engage with your customers, and it will drive your business forward and the profits up.”

7. Get ready for the cloud revolution

“In the future, all of your devices will exist in the cloud,” predicts Dan Dobley, marketing director at Google. “If you lose your notebook computer, you’ll just be able to pick up a new one and start where you left off, instantly.” The cloud computing market is still in its infancy, and opportunities for entrepreneurs are vast in this space. IDC predicts that spending on public IT cloud services will hit £46bn in 2015 (up from £13.4bn in 2010). Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Apple – they’re all at it. Make sure you’re there too.

8. Don’t hid away in your ivory tower

“Every year, Specsavers holds 95 retail communication meetings to update our partners on the latest strategies and to hear what’s happening in the stores,” says Dame Mary Perkins, founder of Specsavers. If things aren’t as they should be, she makes sure they’re dealt with as a priority. Keeping lines of communication open with all 1,600 stores has had remarkable results: Specsavers has never had to close a single shop and the company is entirely debt free.

9. When exporting, ask for your money upfront

“If you have a good enough product, someone will pay for it upfront – just make sure they do,” says Lara Morgan, the founder of Pacific Direct, the toiletries business she sold for £20m in 2008 . Getting your money upfront will make it easier for you to grow your international business. “There’s no excuse not to export. People put up unnecessary barriers, and that’s a waste of time. Just get on a plane!”

10. Future-proof your business plan

When starting a business or launching a project, remember to factor in how long it will take to get there. “Technology will move on significantly, and users will move with it,” explains Google’s Dobley. “Design your business plan for the future that will exist when you launch it. It will leave you in a much better position to delight your users and win.” Google believes the future is mobile, so it now builds all of its apps on mobile first, before porting them to other platforms afterwards.

Why doesn’t telesales work?

It doesn’t work because …
… when you provide a service, people will buy from you when they know and trust you. This is because when you sell a service, you can’t show it to people as you can with a product. You can’t show people what colour it is and how big it is; you can’t compare it to your competitor’s products. Quite often, you’ll be asking clients to pay you before you even start working with them. You’ll be persuading them to invest in you long before you create any results for them.
So this means that before someone buys from you, they need to get to know you and trust that you can deliver what you promise. Can someone build up that level of trust with just a phone call? Can you, or a telesales specialist persuade someone that you or they have never met, to part with their hard earned cash and give it to you? Can you (or they) sell something you can’t see, to someone who might not even be looking for your service?
For service businesses, telesales does not work.

It does work because …
… when you’re selling a product or promoting an event, you have something tangible that people can see and touch. If you’re selling products, you can actually show them to people. You can show them the cover of the book and some of the content. If you’re running an event like a workshop, you can show potential customers the material that you’re going to use. Because the event has a date, people can make decisions about whether or not they are free that day and how much time they want to spend out of their office.
Buying a product or booking a place at an event is transactional – it’s a one off decision and it’s a relatively easy decision to make. It’s not like investing in an ongoing service with monthly payments.

For service businesses selling products and events, telesales does work.

Don’t sell me X, sell me Y

Chantal Cornelius from AppletreeWhat do you really sell? If you’re a Marketing Consultant, do you really sell Marketing Consultancy? Is that what people actually buy from you?

Here’s an exercise you can use to get a fresh look on what you really sell. Ask people at a networking meeting, your clients or your staff for alternatives to what you actually provide. When I did this at a recent event, I said “Don’t sell me Marketing Consultancy, sell me …” and here are some of the suggestions I received:

… new clients

… introductions

… help with developing my community

… more business

… lovely customers.

Get the idea? So if you’re an Accountant, don’t sell me accountancy – sell me financial security. If you’re a catering company, don’t sell me catering – sell me an event that boosts my reputation. If you’re a career coach, don’t sell me career coaching – sell me my dream job!

If you need some suggestions for what you really sell, get in touch and I’ll send you some ideas.

Who cares about customers?

Chantal

As I walked into the shop, the assistant didn’t acknowledge me, as she was busy talking to her friend on the other side of the counter.

I started looking for a birthday card and caught a few snatches of their conversation. They were both talking, but not really to each other. Each one had their own agenda for the conversation – things they wanted to say – so they weren’t actually listening to each other.

Another customer walked up to the counter to pay for some cards. The assistant carried on her conversation with her friend, only speaking briefly to her customer to tell her how much she owed her. She did at least say thank you when the money was handed over, but she didn’t look at her customer. She was too busy giving her opinion to her friend.

I walked round the shop until I found a suitable card – about 5 minutes in all – and when I approached the counter, the assistant’s friend finally said, “Well I mustn’t keep you and it was nice to talk.” With that she left, leaving the assistant to give me her undivided attention. I was glad her friend had gone, because otherwise I’d have been tempted to say something to either or both of them. I only spent a few pounds in the shop, but that doesn’t mean I want to be ignored or treated like an inconvenience.

How difficult is it to pay attention to a customer, when they only need a couple of minutes of your time? If you only have a few minutes, how do you want your customers to remember you? For the wonderful way in which you made them feel, which leaves them wanting to come back again and again; or like they were intruding on your life and should never darken your door again?