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Firstly, understand that whilst you can control your business to some degree, you can’t control the general market atmosphere. Up’s, downs, good times & recessions are all just a normal part of the swings and roundabouts of business. In the ‘old days’ I used to have a small design business that was affected by market conditions. In the down times, I would stress, panic, chase work and generally lose focus.

After 5-10 years of similar trends of up and downtime, it became apparent that no matter how much I fought, the quiet patches still occurred and revenue dropped. On the flipside, I found during the busy, more positive times that business was good, and revenue flowed. It was also during these busy times that the busyness hilighted the need for good systems and processes. Trouble was though that I had no time to put any new processes and systems in place. I was too busy!

It tome some years to recognize that these periods were actually market trends and not just a result of bad business effort. Look around and talk to business people today and you’ll find that nearly all businesses are in the same economic condition. Almost all are noticing the same patterns, so it’s not just you – we’re in a bad trend.

Here are some simple tips you should consider to help your business run smoother in tough times…

Continue reading about Is your world going quiet? Don’t panic – here’s some ideas…

As an old playwright once said…

To Sell, or not to Sell: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous, less fortunate entrepreneurs, Or to take arms against that sea of tall poppies, and by opposing their methods make thy sales? To chase the sale: to automate thou sales methods; Yes; and by sales automation we end the heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks, that can arise from older traditional methods.

Selling software online always works the best when you don’t have to sell. Rather all you do is ‘Fill a need’ or ‘Solve a problem’. It should be transactional (automated where possible), not emotional. Transactional selling scales, emotional selling doesn’t.

If you have to ‘convince’ a company to buy your software, chances are you’re doing something wrong. The reason I say this is that the brand, messaging, product, website, documentation and value message should already have done the ‘selling’ to the customer. You should only need to ‘close the sale’ or make a ‘transaction’ depending on your model.

Continue reading about To Sell? Or Not to Sell?

As founder and CEO of www.proworkflow.com – our web based project management software company, I have many challenges on a daily basis. Basically my day is troubleshooting and helping sort people out. So I’ve decided that this description of the term C.E.O. is a little more relevant.

Continue reading about CEO = Creative Entrepreneurial Organiser!

So the world is going to hell in a hand basket? Stocks going pear shaped? Mortgage or job looking shaky? Old ‘Bush’ about to pull 700 billion out of nowhere to devalue the economy further? Can’t sleep at night?

Join the masses – we’re all in it together. It’s pretty basic really, the economy goes up, then some years later it goes down. Guess what – than it goes up again… Wait for it… Then down… Spotting a pattern yet?

This isn’t going to be a groundbreaking blog post about recessionary survival tips for software companies, rather this is just a list of common sense reminders we should all apply and consider from time to time. It just happens that now is a great time (while the world is economically hurting) to apply them. It will get better, but now is an opportunity to make your startup or business more efficient so when the tide turns you’re in a good place to scale. So here’s my tips on some key areas:

Continue reading about Software Startups – Tips for surviving a recession

It’s a hard balance being in the Software/SaaS (Software As A Service) industry. We can put lots of time and focus into systems and development, but sales may suffer… or we focus on sales and then development suffers… or focus on acquiring new customers and current customers start leaving.

When current customers start leaving, we call this churn. Whilst churn is a natural occurrence in all software companies, it is also an indicator that something isn’t right with either the product or the business model. Software companies can be so focused on building online communities to gain traffic and new users that they often forget about the more important community – their user base. These are the ones that pay their bills.

Don’t misunderstand this comment as there are great benefits to building online communities. The point I want to make is that the community strategy surrounding your marketing efforts is very different from the community strategy to increase current customer retention.

Whether or not the current customers collaborate with each other or stand alone, they are still part of your user community, and it’s vital that you know the key factors that keep them using your solution, referring to others and not running to a competitor. Here are some of the main areas to consider when looking ways to increase customer retention.

Continue reading about Some Thoughts on Customer Retention – the Unseen Community in Software & SaaS companies.