We have a new home!

We are the proud owners of a very new home!

Visit us at http://www.horizonbrands.co.za and we will continue to dazzle you with our wisdom, expertise and marketing tips.

~ Sam

Rest on your laurels and lose your edge!

 

Rest on your laurels and you’ll lose your edge.

 

Are you the top of the food chain in your industry? Perhaps you own a monopoly or are a forerunner? The best of the best; a giant amongst your rivals?

Are you a Blackberry?  A Sega?   Perhaps you have as much market share to lose as Kodak did to Fuji. Where are the giants of industry from the past? Is there a hall-of-fame for the “ones that were”?No.

Complacency is one of the direst threats to a business, and it is just as relevant a threat to multi million corporations as it is to small business owners. Once you believe yourself untouchable, you are vulnerable to your competitors; and in a market built on competition, your days therefore are numbered.  Your best innovation is only another stepping stone to the next-best-thing, and if you’ve thought of something new, the chances are that someone can think of a better, faster, cheaper way of doing it. Well, that’s the doom and gloom of it all.

On the bright side, if you are the new entrepreneur with grandiose ideas, the gap between you and the top isn’t as wide as some would have you believe. And if you already have your slice of the pie,  your continued success relies on your ability to mitigate complacency in your business.

The 5 major warning bells of complacency are:1

1.  Resistance to change.

2.  Being unfamiliar with the competition.

3.  Extended period since your last internal product, service and procedure review.

4.  Lack or decrease in new business/clientele.

5.  Loss of market share.

So what can you do? That’s easy. Here are the top tips to battle complacency:

1. Always be learning. Know that there’s always something new to learn and be humble enough to admit your weaknesses.

2.  Always adapt. The digital age has heralded unprecedented innovation so be sure to remain ahead of the marketing game and abreast of new developments. Online shopping can contstrue an extinction event to proprietors relying solely on the walk-in customer in certain industries, and are your competitors exploiting social media to gain an edge over you?

3. Think ahead of your competition. If you’re reactive to their innovations, the opportunity cost in getting up to speed with their products or services might mean your demise. Be proactive.

4. Time spent thinking is not always time wasted. Spending too much time pushing out product in a frenzy can muddy the waters of what’s going on around you. Take a step back every now and then, look ahead and decide if you’re going in the right direction.

5.  The bottom line is not the only thing that matters.  If you’re just a report-reader chances are you’re missing out on ways to better your business. Know your people, processes,  and product as far as is possible, especially if you’re a small to medium enterprise.

6. Don’t procrastinate. Nobody got ahead by simply thinking about it. Plan and implement. Exercise caution where caution is due, but if you find yourself procrastinating, stamp it out. Life’s scary, deal with it.

7. Judge ideas on their merit and not their source. A good idea can come from anywhere, and even the most experienced business men and women may give poor advice.

FOUR CHRISTMAS MARKETING MISTAKES TO AVOID

Yup! It is that time of the year again, Christmas time! Those annoying Christmas commercials are playing on your way to work and the temperature has dropped dramatically. Everyone seems to be a little more cheerful and considerate that the holidays are close. Christmas is after all the time to reconnect with all your clients, customers and prospects, but as any person would know, the holidays can also be disastrous.

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Instead of paying a web marketing services company to tell you what not to do for your next campaign, actually pay attention to what others are doing! Below you will find four Christmas marketing mistakes your business should avoid so you can be far from a Christmas marketing disaster!

1. Running The Same Campaign Each Christmas: Having a picture of your employees and you at your last year Christmas party all wearing the same ugly sweater was pretty funny the first year considering everyone had way too much to drink. In fact, it had the same impact with laughter the second, but after that you should really consider something newer and more original each year. Christmas campaigns are perfect for your business to have a chance at grabbing all the people’s attention that put the idea of your product or service on the back burner. But, why? It is because these campaigns will remind them that you are a wicked company doing different things that deserve their attention. So do you not think it would be a good idea to get creative with Christmas campaigns each year and not be so afraid of thinking outside the box? When you kick off a campaign that has many components it is a perfect way to keep your content new and fresh.

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2. Forgetting To Reach Out To Your Network: Are you not sick and tired of trying to come up with a lame excuse to give a lead a call that you have not spoken to within a few months? Or even you just want to reconnect with all of your customers? Perhaps you want to increase your employees engagement and get the whole gang into a holiday spirit. Regardless, it does not matter who you want to connect with; Christmas campaigns are a perfect way of doing it! It will remind people that your company is out there and will give them a sneak peek into a wicked campaign that is if it is actually interesting! So do not miss out on this valuable marketing opportunity your company can have this Christmas!

3. Forgetting Not Everyone Celebrates Christmas : When the countdown begins it may almost feel like everyone is celebrating Christmas and Christmas only, but you as a business, you need to know that you will also be marketing to various people with different religious beliefs and backgrounds. Remember even though the majority of people celebrate Christmas, there are other holidays being celebrated too such as Chanukkah and Kwanzaa so be sure to be sensitive about other holidays when working on your Christmas marketing campaign.

4. Neglecting To Make Your Campaign Strategic : It truly is easy to create a Christmas marketing campaign. However, developing a strategic marketing campaign to reach your target market, engage with them, and achieve your goals is a lot more difficult. Planning three months in advance, yes in the summer time, is the best way to kick off an amazing, results-driven Christmas campaign. But, first you need to figure out what your objectives are, how you are going to measure your success and who you want to reach out to. Then you will need to develop deadlines to make sure you campaign achieves everything you wanted it to.

Now that you have just read what to avoid when developing your Christmas marketing campaign, what are some campaigns you have seen in the past which you think are the best?

Source – See more at: http://www.bentourage.com/business/four-christmas-marketing-mistakes-to-avoid/#sthash.5wpyDq8g.dpuf

12 MYTHS ABOUT STARTING A BUSINESS

Business Myths

1. I need to write a business plan before I start.

No, you don’t. Start-ups are so unpredictable that writing a business plan is a pointless exercise.  You don’t exactly know who your customers are or what benefit/value they get from your product/service. If you think you need to prepare a plan to raise start-up funding see point 3 below.

2. I need lots of business experience.

No, you don’t. There is a little unknown principle called be, do, have.  But for some reason our society believes it is the other way around – have, do, be.  People think you need to have a certain amount of skills, knowledge, contacts before you can start a business (do) and be an entrepreneur/business owner.  A better way to live is first of all just be an entrepreneur then you will do all the things that entrepreneurs do and eventually have the necessary things you thought you needed before you could start.  Essentially fake it till you make it.

3. I need to raise lots of funding before I can start.

No you don’t. This is a risky and unnecessary strategy.  What you need is a minimal viable product to send to potential customers to receive their valuable feedback. Then you can alter your product/service until it’s exactly what they want.  Let them guide you as in the end its customers that will eventually be paying you for it. If there is no demand for this product/service idea you will find out without wasting much time, energy or money.  An MVP is not just market research.  If you were conducting market research you would ask someone if they would find your product useful and they may respond yes – but there is a massive difference between what someone says they will do (during market research) and what they will actually do in the real world.

4. I need a flashy website that will cost thousands.

No, you don’t. You just need and MVP (see point 3). Just use WordPress and build a basic website and buy a domain. Build the site yourself for peanuts.  If your idea is a complex website that would perform a particular function online produce a concierge MVP which essentially means use manpower to carry out the function on a couple of customers to see if the idea has any potential and refine the idea before you spend thousands building a flashy website that would perform the function.  An example is a comparison website. Instead of paying someone to build the functionality – gather the information manually from the relevant sources and produce the comparison by hand and email the customer the results.

5. I will need to spend lots of money on advertising.

No, you don’t. Open a Google Adwords account and teach yourself how to run it effectively.

6. Once I start my own business I’ll have the freedom to do what I want when I want.

When you start a business you need to remember 2 things

1 You will be doing the job that earns the money PLUS all the other roles you didn’t need to worry about whilst in your previous job e.g. sales, marketing, finance, accounting, quoting, invoicing, HR, ordering stationary, buying the coffee, customer service etc.

2 When you start a business your customers own your arse until you can afford to hire staff to deal with these people. Remember this – they will want to know where their work/product is and how quickly you can sort problems out when they happen.

7. I need a nice office to impress customers/clients.

No, you don’t. This is not a required expense in the age of email/skype/dropbox/cloud computing and virtual offices. Work from home and if you need to meet a client then meet them in a hotel bar or book a meeting room at a virtual office centre. They will automatically assume you’re based there.

8. I need to come up with a revolutionary idea.

These ideas carry more risk as they may not have a predefined market established. A much less risky way forward is to look at how current problems are solved (needs are satisfied) and question the obvious – is there a better way (quicker, cheaper, easier, simpler, different) to solve this problem or satisfy this need.  A good place to start is to solve one of your own problems/needs.

9. I’ll need to hire lots of staff.

No, you won’t. Hire only when it hurts and only when subcontracting freelancers doesn’t work for you anymore.

10. I haven’t got the time.

Yes, you have. Turn off the TV and learn about the pareto principle.  Then follow it.

11. Its too risky to start your own business

No, it isn’t.  The concept of a job for life and job security doesn’t exist these days.  We live in a fast paced, ever changing transient world and due to the state of the current economy redundancies are commonplace.  I was made redundant 3 times before starting my first company.  Now I have owned my own business longer than I worked for any other previous employer. So I put this to you. It’s too risky to stay in a job and assume that you will continue to receive your paycheck at the end of each month.  When you set up on your own you are in control and can influence your own destiny better than when you work for a company.

12. It doesn’t matter if I’m not passionate about the product/service/sector I just want to make loads of money.

Take it from me it does matter. The joy of making money soon fades. After making loads of money you will be searching for something that is fulfilling and this comes from following your passion/purpose/calling.

Mark Heptonstall is a young entrepreneur, start-up mentor and personal development enthusiast from Leeds, England.  He likes to constantly question the obvious and experiment with conventional wisdom to see if there is a better way to do things.  Follow him on twitter @markheptonstall

Image Credit: http://www.tirereview.com/

Read more at http://under30ceo.com/12-myths-about-starting-a-business/#E13RiZMzMaHjA0gs.99