The problem with business jargon

The problem with business jargon

When one social group wants to exclude another social group, they often use slang words or jargon. It’s what teenagers do all the time so we have no idea what they are talking to their friends about! It is also what ‘experts’ do so you know that they know their stuff, and they can justify their fees.

 

I have recently been holding a series of workshops for entrepreneurs about how having a business plan can benefit your business. They were really well received but what one of the things that kept coming up was how the language of business, or business jargon, can put off people in small business.

 

I have sometimes noticed a ‘them’ and ‘us’ mentality; ‘us’ being the small business entrepreneurs, and ‘them’ being the big business corporate world. The perception seems to be that the corporate world speaks the language of business and this excludes small businesses, making them feel less business-like or professional.

 

In my work as a business coach exclusively with small businesses I have seen how limiting and disempowering this can be, so I work with clients to de-mystify the language of business. Let’s take back ownership of the business jargon and use it our advantage, after all, it really isn’t rocket science; they just want you to think it is…!

 

Here are the top 5 business terms and what they mean:

 

  1. Target market – the group of people who are most likely to buy your product/service.
  2. Marketing mix – the different activities you undertake to get customers (think advertising, social media etc)
  3. USP – Unique Selling Point. The thing that makes you different from your competitors.
  4. Growth potential – how your business is likely to grow. It might be through increasing your product range or offering your services to a yet untapped group.
  5. A) Direct Competitors – those selling the same or similar products/service (i.e., if you are a florist, other florists selling bespoke bouquets)

B) Indirect Competitors – those selling alternative products/services (i.e., if you are a florist then other places selling flowers/ready made bouquets)

If you need some help with business planning and want to find a way through the jargon click here to book a 30 minute free consultation.

 

Social Media and The Marketing Mix

Twitter, Facebook, Linked in photograph on Marisa Guthrie's Business Coaching Sussex website by 100Designs

One of the questions I seemed to get asked a lot by all my clients irrespective of what they do is “Do I need a Facebook page?” or “Should I set up a Twitter/Instagram/Pintrest account?”

Social Media Icons

Social media has indeed become a baffling minefield.  Many people in small business feel it is something they should be doing, something they should know about but are either just not that interested in, or are even intimidated by and frankly just don’t know where to start.

Before thinking about what you should know/do, you need to ask yourself some important questions about your business and your target audience. This will inform your ‘marketing mix’; put simply, the activities you undertake in order to get customers. Social media is only going to help you get business if the people you are selling to actually use social media in the first place. 

Before you decide what social media to use for your business, or whether you should bother at all, take these 3 simple steps:

  1. You need to know, if you don’t already, how customers and potential customers hear about you. It is good business practice to ask this of everyone who contacts you.
  2. Once you know that, ask them what social media they use, and what kinds of businesses they follow.
  3. Remember that good social media should enhance your customer’s experience of using your business, not just be another selling platform; think carefully about what posts would be of interest to the types of people who are interested in your product or service. 

Top Tip: Always post an image with copy, never just copy on its own.

Use it well, and social media can become a vital part of your marketing mix, not something you are doing for the sake of it.

If you need some help with the marketing mix and social media, click here to book a free 30 minute consultation.

 

A bargain at twice the price?

Fruit and veg in silver bowls on Business Coaching Sussex website by 100Designs

For something that at first glance seems to straightforward, pricing can be unbelievably tricky. You want your price to reflect the quality of your service or product, because if it is too low, people might assume you are not that good, but if it is too high you won’t attract customers and they will go elsewhere, but if it is too low and you do get customers then you won’t make a profit, but if it is too high, you won’t get any customers anyway… and so on and so forth. 

Phew, it’s a minefield! Getting pricing right is crucial to your business model, but it needn’t be that hard.

Let’s start with the basics: 

Check out the competition

1. First of all you do need to look at what you competition is charging and exactly what their customers are getting for their money. Find out what their USP, or Unique Selling Point, is, or in other words, the added value that customers get from buying their product or service. Compare it with yours. [N.B. If you haven’t worked out what your USP is yet, you might need to go back to your business plan – you do have a business plan don’t you…? Ok well that’s a whole other blog!] 

How much do your customers want to pay?

2. Find out as much as you can about your potential/existing customers and what they are willing to pay for a service like yours. They might be paying a certain amount for a service like yours, but with the added value of X, they might be willing to pay more.  

What are your own costs?

3. Scrutinize your overheads. You need to be sure your price takes in to account each stage of the production/service delivery process. It is very easy to forget that answering phone calls, emails, having meetings and travelling to and from those meetings, costs you time and therefore money. 

Pricing is one of the most important elements of your business so take your time to get it right. You’ll be so glad you did.

If you need some help with pricing and don't know where to start, click here to book a free 30 minute consultation.