5 keys to small businesses success in 2015

I was recently at the Small Business Success Summit in London. There were some really good speakers over the 3-day event – most had multi-million pound businesses and many had written successful business books – some New York Times Top 10 bestsellers and one who just missed out on the Top 10, but likes having had a Sunday Times “Top 11” bestseller!

But, what were the common themes that came out? Here are the 5 common factors in the success of all of them:

1 – Automated Lead Generation & Conversion

All of the businesses were expert in having systems that generated customers automatically, 24 hours a day. Ryan Deiss of Digital Marketer is one of the world leaders in this and shared many of his systems, but it was a common theme.

All had websites/lead magnets/opt-in forms/email sequences that could be triggered by anyone, anywhere and automatically lead to a follow-up and a potential sale. What do you have in your business that does this?

We’re not quite in the multi-million bracket (yet!) but, among other things, we have:

      • forms on our website that lead to automatic email follow-ups
      • automated social media posts as well as the “manual” ones
      • ebooks that can be downloaded and lead to emails and offers to use as your accountant
      • an email newsletter

Even though we’re not an online business, all of these run automatically in the background with the goal of leading to a face-to-face meeting or a phone call with a prospective client.

Whatever business you’re in, the goal is to have systems that generate new prospects even when you’re asleep.

2 – Continuity

It can be hard to find a new customer so, when you have one, you want to make sure that they buy from you again and again.

This could be through repeat purchases, or by putting together some sort of “continuity” scheme, ie a scheme where your customers pay you monthly for your product or service.

You might think “that only works for services”, but you can use it if you’re selling products – think of magazine subscriptions or month-long passes to the cinema. And Dollar Shave Club proved it can work for unusual items – they turned buying razor blades into a subscription.

So, how can you make sure your customers buy from you again and again?

3 – Premium Priced Products or Services

Instead of starting from scratch and trying to find new customers, successful businesses offer upgrades and “better” products/services to existing customers.

I’ve written a few blogs on this – examples include 1st Class upgrades on trains/planes, fast passes, ready-chopped onions, etc. The list goes on and on.

What “better” versions of your product or service do you offer? Speed, quality, size and comfort are all things that people will pay extra for, so there are lots of options.

4 – Multi-Media Marketing

Successful businesses combine lots of types of marketing – they use internet, post, video, face-to-face and others. And make sure they’re all joined up.

It’s tempting these days to rely on the internet but, for example, post remains really effective. People get less mail these days, so it’s easier to grab their attention…..as long as you put some effort in.

Have you tried “lumpy mail”? This is post where you put something in the envelope that stops it being just another envelope, and gets it opened first.

In the past week, I’ve received (separately) a ball and a pair of handcuffs. And I did indeed open those packages first! They were both from an online business but both tied in to what they were trying to sell me – the ball was a stress ball and their product could help reduce business stress, and the handcuffs were with an invitation to their “Escape” conference.

Even Google spend millions on mail to sell their Google Adwords. The mail then sends you back online, but it makes sure they cover everyone’s preferences.

5 – Mentors/Peer Groups

Who you hang around with matters….. a lot. If you hang round with successful people, you’ll strive to be more successful.

Think of it simply – if you hang round with happy people, they make you happy. If you’re stuck with miserable people, you’ll soon be miserable too.

Successful people put together peer groups where they can share ideas. And they have coaches and mentors as you need someone who’ll give you an honest opinion and isn’t attached to the business.

Sometimes, it’s hard to see clearly the next step for your own business, but it’s crystal clear when you’re looking at someone else’s. Even Richard Branson always has a couple of mentors/coaches. If it’s good enough for him, it will work for the rest of us.

As well as having a business coach, I’m a member of the Entrepreneurs Circle, where I get loads of ideas and support from the other members, as well as the EC staff themselves. And I have a monthly Skype call with another business owner where we set goals and give each other a kick to meet them. All of these help the growth of our business.

So, who do you hang round with who helps, or hinders, your business? And who else could help you?  


All of the speakers at the Small Business Success Summit shared these 5 factors. And they all have successful businesses. Was it coincidence, or should you be trying to implement these factors as well?

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Added by Jon Davies