Monthly Archives: September 2016

How to create a buyer or user persona for your business

Creating a persona doesn’t have to be hard and it will lead to a better product, better marketing, and a better business. In other words, it’s a small investment that can pay off big time.

The 10 basic components of a persona

I’ll give you a few tips for creating your persona in a minute, but first let’s review what makes up a good persona:

  1. Name
    While this may seem obvious, giving your persona a name is a huge step forward in making your persona real. When you persona has a name, they’re easier to relate to as a “real” character and easier to talk about in marketing and product development discussions.
  2. Professional and personal background
    These two elements go together. Specifically, you want to describe what your target customer does for a living and where they are in their career. You also want to expand their background into a quick review of your persona’s hobbies, educational background, likes and dislikes. This background influences your persona’s disposable income and also their brand choices.
  3. Demographics such as age, gender, education, ethnicity, family status, etc.
    Here, avoid dividing up your persona into age ranges or percentage male/female. You’re creating a fictional character for this exercise, so be specific about age, family status, and other details. Once you have created one persona to represent your core customer, you may think about creating secondary personas to represent other customer groups. But, for now, just create one persona with as many specific details as possible.
  4. Goals
    What are your persona’s goals? Oftentimes, user goals are beyond the immediate problem that your company solves. For example, while we sell business planning software, our customers’ goal is to create a successful company.
  5. “I need/want” statements
    What does your persona want and/or need in order to reach the goals you have defined for them?
  6. Concerns
    What concerns does your persona have? Are they worried about security? Are they concerned about potentially difficult return processes? How important is reliability and long-term access to your product or service?
  1. Past buying behavior
    Do most of your customers buy from you repeatedly? Or is their purchase a one-time purchase? Does your customer have brand loyalty? How have they solved their problems and achieved their goals in the past?
  2. Environment, including physical, social and technological environment
    Often overlooked, your persona’s environment is a critical aspect that defines who they are. If you’re building an online application, is your persona going to be mostly using your site from home? From work? Maybe on their mobile phone? What is their home or work environment? Is it noisy or quiet? Answering these questions will create a full picture of your persona and how they will be interacting with your site.
  3. A quote that sums up what matters most to them
    A user quote should be just one or two sentences that sums up what matters most to your persona. For example, our persona Garrett says, “I want a simple planning solution that will impress my investors and not take too much time away from actually building my business.”
  4. A photo

To complete your persona, add a picture. After all, your buyer persona should be real to you and your team and adding a picture accomplishes this. It may seem counterintuitive to just focus on one person, but focusing on just one customer that is a good representation of your core customer base will make your marketing and product development much, much more effective.

 

5 steps to create a persona

Now that we know what a persona is, it’s time to create one. Here are five steps to create your persona:

  1. Survey your existing customers
    If you have customers, put together a survey, get on the phone, or talk to them in your store and get to know them better. If you have email addresses for your customers, you can even use services like Rapleaf to automatically gather demographic data. If you don’t have customers yet, find people who you think are going to be your customers and talk to them.
  2. Get out of the building
    This seems obvious, but it can be a huge hurdle for many marketers. Your biggest advantage over your competition is to get to know your customers in their “native habitat”. Seeing where your customers live and work gives you the real-world picture of how your customers will be making decisions. You can also observe what other brands your customers choose to surround themselves with.
  3. Research online
    If your customers are all from one location, or from a single industry, you can get a lot done online. If you’re trying to learn about a location, Wikipedia is a great resources to learn about the region your customers are from. Do they live in a college town? Where are most people employed? What are the prevailing politics?

If you are researching a particular industry, turn to YouTube. You’ll be able to find industry experts talking about the industry as well as videos showing workplaces, locations, etc.

  1. Analyze your data
    Once you have collected all of your data, you need to synthesize it into one persona, as I described above. Over time, you may end up building multiple personas, but even having just one persona to work with gives you a huge advantage over many businesses that just do “shoot from the hip” marketing and product development.
  2. Share
    Since you’ve now gone through all the effort of researching and creating a persona, now is the time to share with your entire company. This is not something that should only be presented to the management team. Everyone in the company should know who your ideal customer looks like, how they make decisions, and what kind of interactions they expect from your company. Some companies have even made posters of their personas and put them up on the walls of the office so that everyone knows exactly who they should be trying to design for, market to, and sell to.

Keep in mind

Finally, here are a few mistakes to avoid when creating your first persona.

  1. Don’t base your customer persona on one real customer. It’s tempting to go out, meet one customer, and then write a bio of that customer for your persona. A good persona is a composite of all of your core customers and will bring in elements from multiple real customer profiles.
  1. Don’t base your customer persona on stereotypes. This is similar to mistake #1, but you might not even realize you’re doing it. Don’t make assumptions about your customer persona’s interests and needs based on their age, gender, or location—do your research, and let your customers tell you about themselves.
  2. Inconsistencies make your persona unrealistic. Your persona should be as real as possible, so try to avoid inconsistencies. If your persona is a Portland hipster, they probably don’t also drive a BMW.
  3. Don’t be generic. As a counterpoint to mistake #1, don’t be too generic when you create your persona. Your persona shouldn’t be “between 30-45 years old.” They should have an exact age, specific interests, etc. You may find that you need to create multiple personas to represent different customer segments. Just make sure that each one that you create is specific and represents one of your core groups of customers.

Taking the time to create a customer persona will accelerate your marketing, sales, and product development efforts. The time you take to create a solid persona will pay off many times over in the growth of your business, so make the time and watch your business take off.

source : http://articles.bplans.com/

Simple ways to improve leadership skills

What makes a good leader is the use of effective management skills such as spending 50 percent or more of their time listening carefully.

Great leaders understand that some of the best leadership qualities entail listening to others with undivided attention.

When was the last time you actually listened single-mindedly to one of your staff members?

Can you remember when you last listened to someone without interruptions or distractions from either telephone calls or drop-in visitors, when you just focused intently on the person speaking with you, ignoring all else? When CEO Alan Mulally arrived at Ford, he used a technique he had refined at Boeing. He found a way to instantly shift the senior executives on his team from talkers to listeners by changing the way he evaluated his team’s performance.

“It always comes down to incentives. What’s the incentive for someone to behave differently? Is it recognition, time, or more money? No. It’s usually visibility,” he said. “When you give a speech, you’ll be scored by the audience.”

So those executives who were smart enough to leave lots of time for Q & A got better grades than those who lectured. And those managers who encouraged a dialogue with the team came out on top.

Great leaders with excellent management skills encourage input and change, and the best way to measure them is based on feedback they get from their best people. People usually give the best scores to leaders you trust and to leaders who listen.

The Most Essential Leadership Qualities

Integrity is perhaps the most valued and respected quality of leadership and one of the most important management skills you need to attain. By saying what you’ll do and then doing what you say, you will build trust around your team.

Do you stand up and speak out for what you believe?

Do you demonstrate the courage to stay the course when the going gets tough and the outcome looks uncertain?

What makes a good leader is the ability to stay calm and in control, especially when everyone around them is wondering whether it’s the right decision or if it was a mistake to commit to a particular course of action.

When you exude confidence in yourself, in the decision, and in the people around you, you instill the same feelings and attitudes in others.

Leaders have what is called “courageous patience.” Between the decision and the result, there is always a period of uncertainty when no one knows if the effort is going to be successful.

To be a successful leader, you must strive to have these essential leadership qualities. If you have lived with this feeling many times in your career, you’re in good company.

What Makes A Good Leader?

To be successful as a leader, you need a combination of two ingredients: character and competence. You need to be a person of integrity. Someone people trust and are willing to follow.

To be trusted in business, you must be trustworthy. You must believe in yourself, your company, the essential goodness of your products and services, and in your people.

You need to believe that you are offering an excellent product or service in every way, one that makes a difference in the lives of your customers.

You must lead by example and obtain management skills that inspire others to join you in the exciting project of building a great company. At the same time, you must become excellent at the key capabilities and functions of leadership and set yourself on a course of continuous improvement throughout your career.

“You need the humility to remind yourself that you’ve got to get better at everything you do,” insisted Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos. “I don’t know about you, but I’m never done growing my company or myself.”
Believe In Yourself

Management guru Jim Collins uses the phrase “Level 5 Leadership” to describe the characteristic of the best leaders, those who build great companies.

Out of all the existing leadership qualities, the most fascinating and distinguishing characteristic of level 5 is an often misunderstood trait: humility.

As it happens, humility doesn’t actually mean being humble . . .

People who are crazy enough to launch businesses as the economy is falling apart and then fight Goliath-size adversaries, are not exactly humble.

“Humility simply means you have a burning, driving, relentless ambition to serve and to win,” Collins told me, “Without the arrogance to delude yourself into believing that you are all knowing or always right.”
As a Level 5 Leader, you don’t believe you are perfect. You must, however, believe in yourself, and be convinced that you have what it takes to succeed and that you can get better. You are always looking for new ways to develop your leadership qualities and take your game to the next level.

If you enjoyed this article on how to improve your management skills and develop your leadership qualities, please share it with others right now!

Source : http://www.briantracy.com/

Confident key to successful lead management

Presentations are the most feared part of most managers’ lives. I’ve read that most managers’ would prefer the stress caused by moving house than give a ten-minute presentation. To some extent I get it. It can be intimidating to stand up in front of a roomful of people and talk. In another way I definitely don’t. A lot of the blame must go to ‘presentation skills courses’. Yes, it’s nice to be able to project your voice to the back of the room. It’s great to have exciting slides. It’s superb if you can manage the correct eye contact with your audience. Unfortunately (fortunately) within a few minutes of the start of the presentation most of the audience has taken this for granted – however effectively you can carry this out. The message is far more important. Get that right – in your own head – and you’re winning.

“What’s the worst that can happen?” I ask.

The replies tend to fall into two categories; physical and mental. On the physical side there’s; projector failing, nothing to write on, nothing to write with, no chairs, too many chairs, room too hot, room too cold, no one turning up, too many turning up, finishing too early, finishing too late, audience being bored. Go through these one by one and ask yourself “So what?”. Think of everything that can go wrong and plan an alternative. Great. Something you hadn’t even thought of will still undo you. Something will not go exactly to plan. You know that. How many things in any other part of your life has gone perfectly? Exactly.

The good thing is that people don’t judge us on the mistakes we make but on the speed of recovery from those mistakes. Think of the best customer care you’ve received? Nine out of ten occasions people recall a situation that went wrong. It went wrong but the service they received to put it right led them to remember it and recommend the company to their friends years later. Speed of recovery.

OK now that you know there will be mistakes and you’ve accepted it, truly accepted it life gets easier. You can arrive early, do all your last minute panicking in peace, relax and wait. People will forgive you if you’ve prepared as thoroughly as possible. You can’t help it if it’s the day of a tube strike, the room gets flooded or police have cordoned off the area looking for armed terrorists. It happens.

The second category of things that can go wrong is the mental side – your mental side. You do need to get this right. Preparation is the key. I know it’s a cliché but it’s also true. This preparation starts right from the moment it’s decided you’re the one for the presentation. Firstly, do you agree? If not get out now. It doesn’t get easier the longer you ignore it. It’s like that sink full of washing up you leave in the kitchen for a few hours, a day, a few days. It never gets easier – just a bit worse, a bit harder to face each day.

Once you’ve decided it is definitely going to be you – accept it and go for it properly. Do you really want them to know and understand something they didn’t know before or do you just want to tell them something and get off? If it’s the latter and you just want to impart knowledge, send them an e-mail and save yourself and your audience some grief. If it’s the former then you need to prepare thoroughly. This means that on the day you can throw away your notes, talk and listen. And to listen effectively you’ve got to involve the audience.

It is so much better for everyone if you interact from the start. Find out what the audience knows and doesn’t know. Find out why they’re there. Find out their particular interests. Get them involved – they’ll enjoy it more and so will you. It may well be more nerve racking than hiding behind a script, but it is so much more rewarding. But this can only happen if you’ve got your head straight first. To do this you need to ask questions and get them to ask you questions.

How presenters deal with questions by the audience is a tremendous indication of where they are in terms of confidence. If the first line in a presentation is “I’ll take questions at the end” then the odds are that;

a) they are petrified,
b) they have no idea what they are talking about, or
c) they have hours worth of material and they’ll never reach the end.

You need to take a deep breath, throw away your neat, colour-coded notes and go for it. The audience will certainly enjoy it more and guess what? So will you. I promise.

Source : http://www.emeraldgrouppublishing.com/

Thin difference Between Business and Non-Profit Company

You can find a few major similarities, even so, amongst the 2 that will assist reconcile distinctions and make them appear more alike than distinct, which is important to comprehend.

Leadership/Management Issues

With any huge group or organization, the leadership and administration of workers and volunteers will be really important. In for-profit corporations leadership retains the workers contemplating income, bonuses and teamwork, even though in nonprofits the main focus is more on what very good these are undertaking for the public, how they need to work collectively to be successful and so on. Different motivations does not suggest that the leaders and professionals of the two should act any differently in their techniques for motivating the business.

Both Include Price to your Entire world

This can be a major level of contention to some people in that they do not see how for-profit businesses include value towards the planet the way nonprofits do. Nevertheless, for-profits, their companions and their public relations departments add value to your entire world by making positive their workers are content, they’re well taken care of and secure within their work opportunities. Additionally they add price by being a few of the public donors that nonprofits depend so much on to perform the good they do, during which case they may be much far more alike than diverse.

Just take Key Work

There exists no doubt about this one – the two nonprofit organizations and for-profit ones get key work and time and effort to achieve success and executed. Board members, mission statements, bylaws, goals and achievements awarded to equally are important to equally. Do not forget that they are each businesses, during which case they both need to work inside a comparable manner and in a comparable potential to be able to achieve success. Nonprofits and for-profits are equally very involved with their own workings, and are as a result quite related.

It could be difficult to dismiss the foremost distinctions among for-profits and nonprofits in the entire world – consumerism vs charity, tax exemption, etc. Nonetheless focusing on the similarities between the two could make a more harmonious partnership among them, including for the accomplishment and profitability of the two and additional the lead to for each in the long run.

Nonprofit Legal Center offers suggestions and helpful information for you to discover much more about http://www.nonprofitlegalcenter.com/ and http://www.nonprofitlegalcenter.com/ institutions.