A Freelancer’s Guide To…Customer Testimonials

A Freelancer’s Guide To…Customer Testimonials

However good you are at talking up you and your business, what your customers say about you is infinitely more persuasive to new prospects. You only have to look at sites such as Ebay, Tripadvisor and Amazon, to understand how valuable customer testimonials can be in influencing buying decisions. Before employing the services of a new supplier, how many times have you asked yourself “Who else purchased this product/service and what happened when they did?” When you can show potential clients that other people similar to them have purchased your product or service and enjoyed some wonderful benefits you will increase your chances of making a sale. The New Clues website, from the authors of the successful book “The Cluetrain Manifesto” quotes “If we want to know the truth about your products, we’ll find out from one another.” Which means that you need to get your best and most loyal customers to specifically tell prospective consumers the benefits of doing business with you. How? Most importantly, make it easy for them to leave feedback for you. Asking 2 or 3 questions is more likely to get results than asking 10 or more.  These can then be asked by email or survey tools such as Survey Monkey. The most effective process I’ve found is by asking customers 2 very simple questions: Would you recommend this [service/product/event] to other [target market]? Why? Not only will you learn about yourself, but so will potential new customers. What now? When you’re asking for a testimonial and feedback, make sure you mention that it will be used on your website and social media channels....
Answer Your Phone!

Answer Your Phone!

What would you do if you called the telephone number of a service or product provider you needed and it simply rang and rang and rang? It’s tough enough getting a new business off the ground and every phone call can be the difference between success or failure, happy or sad, opportunity or misfortune. But if you don’t answer it then you may never ever know. Plus, what impression can it make to a potential or existing customer who may be on the other end of the line? Make sure all customers and prospects can call you (as well as through email and social media) and that if you can’t answer the phone – it happens, that’s fine – either a voicemail or virtual reception service is set up and can. And once you have set one up, test it to make sure it works and is a good experience for anyone who calls you. Because, if your number rings and rings and rings, eventually they will hang up and telephone somebody else. For more tips for starting a new business, click here.  ...
A Freelancer’s Guide To…A SWOT Analysis

A Freelancer’s Guide To…A SWOT Analysis

A SWOT analysis is a quick and easy way to understanding the big picture and is the starting point of strategic planning for your new business. The four areas of your business this identifies are: Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats The first two look at your internal influences and the areas of planning that you are largely in control of, such as your USP, resources and any skills gaps. The Opportunities and Threats are the external influences affecting your business, such as emerging technologies, competition and market demand. As we wrote in “New Business, Next Steps”, the four quadrants of the SWOT grid can also be used together. For example, look at the Opportunities you’ve identified and how, if you can overcome your weakness and improve your Strengths, you could take advantage of them. To complete a SWOT analysis, create a 4 box grid with the top two boxes marked Strengths and then Weaknesses, and the bottom two marked Opportunities and Threats. Or, much more simply, you can DOWNLOAD ONE HERE. Then answer the questions needed to fill your SWOT analysis. The questions below are guidelines and a starting point if you’re stuck… What are my strengths? What am I really good at? What are my unique skills? Where can I outperform my competitors? What can I do better than anyone else? What resources do I have? What is my USP? What are my weaknesses? What am I really poor at? What resources am I short of? Where am I at a competitive disadvantage? What should I avoid? Where do I lack skills? What might hinder my success? What are my opportunities?...
A Sale Is Not a Sale Until You’ve Been Paid

A Sale Is Not a Sale Until You’ve Been Paid

You have spent time sourcing the lead, built a relationship, won the work and completed the order. Feeling pretty good now, I bet and rightly so. But have you been paid? How would you feel if 90% of the payments you received were late, and you had to spend around 70% of your time chasing debt? Late payment damages thousands of small and micro businesses up and down the country and the problem doesn’t look to be easing. According to a study by Sage Pay in December 2013, the average small to medium business was owed £11,000, equating to £55 billion across the nation. The financial impact for most business owners weighs heavy on their cash flow, emotions and even relationships. Amy Davies is a freelance Journalist & Photographer based in Cardiff, and suffers the problems of late payment almost every month. She started by telling me about the impact this has on her and her business. Amy said “The impact for me is that I have to rely on credit cards, overdrafts and loans every month, as unfortunately, I can’t pay my rent, bills, etc late, but companies seem to think it’s acceptable to pay *me* late.” She added “While I’m not getting into huge amounts of debt every month or anything, it’s true to say that I need credit as a safety net and have had to use it on more than one occasion.” Amy estimates that, as a freelance journalist, around 90% of the payments she receives are late and around 70% of her time spent is having to chase payment, either by email or letter. Time she should,...
The Launch of St Ives Business Lounge

The Launch of St Ives Business Lounge

On 7th May 2015, we launched St Ives Business Lounge – a monthly, pop-up co-working event which provides a place for the 8,000 Huntingdonshire based business professionals to meet and work. You can see photos and comments from the event on the Cambridge Business Lounge Meetup Group. Here is my welcome speech which talks about the benefits of co-working and the value of networking events… For details of the next St Ives Business Lounge, or other CBL Events, visit the Cambridge Business Lounge Events page here....