Mayur Gudka

I am THE BEST Small Business Growth Consultant in North Shore, MA.

4 Lessons to Remember Forever

One of my heroes is legendary basketball coach John Wooden. Below, I’m sharing just four of countless lessons Coach Wooden has taught me through his books.

  1. Foundation of success lies in industriousness with enthusiasm coupled with skill.
  2. Never be afraid to make mistakes. If you are not making mistakes, you are not doing anything.
  3. Young people need models, not critics.
  4. The purpose of criticism should be to correct, improve or change; never to humiliate or embarrass.

Hope you found some wisdom in these lessons as I did.

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Get a Customer Retention Strategy!

 

Most likely you have a customer acquisition strategy. It helps you bring new customers in. The best-in-class businesses also have a powerful customer retention strategy.

What is a Customer Retention Strategy?

In simple words, it brings your customers back to your business over and over again. So, the lifetime value of each customer can increase.

Why is this important?

The cost of customer acquisition can be expensive. Even if you can acquire your customers for cheap dollar wise, it can prove to be expensive time-wise. Having a customer retention strategy in place gets these customers to walk in without spending much of money, time or energy in marketing.

To state the obvious, working both strategies in tandem can increase your revenue trajectory exponentially.

So, how to build a Retention Strategy?

Figure out a way to keep in touch with everyone who interacts with your business either online or offline. One of the best ways to do this is by capturing their email address.

If you find your customers are apprehensive giving out their email address, offer them a incentive.

Once you have their email address, send them regular newsletter or product promotions. This will keep your business on top of their mind.

Another way to do is ask them to connect with you on social channels. This can be a bit challenging than ask them for their email address. If your customers are conducting their transactions online, then ask them to connect with you online at the end of the transaction – on the “Thank you” page. It’s called the, “strike while the iron is hot” technique. They just bought something from you. They love you. They will like your Facebook page without any hesitation.

If the customer is conducting the transaction in-person, offer them an incentive to like your Facebook page. Maybe, if they showed the cashier that they liked your page, they can get a 5% off their order. Or, maybe they can get a special gift bag that cashier keeps in the back.

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What is your Website’s Job?

It’s 2017. I used to think every small business in United States has a website. I was so wrong. According to GoDaddy, 6 out of 10 very small businesses are not online. Geez Louise! What’s going on here. Anyways, for the sake of discussion in this article, let’s assume you HAVE a website.

So, what is your website’s job? Can you answer this question? Most small businesses have trouble with it.

Let me ask you a few other questions:

  • What is your secretary’s job?
  • What is your accountant’s job?
  • What is your HR manager’s job?

These are easy questions. Business owners have no problem answering these because they have a clearly defined job function for each one of them.

Your website is really your employee. It should have a job function just like your accountant or your secretary. And it is your job to identify its function.

  • Is it to provide basic information about your business to prospective clients and customers?
  • Is it to generate leads for your business? In that case, it’d be your sales rep.
  • Do you want your website to be your customer service representative?

What do you want your website to do?

Once you clearly define it’s job function, then you can design it to fulfill that job function.

Not all websites are designed equally. A website should be designed to fulfill its job.

A website who’s job is to merely provide information and a phone number or an email address to reach the business is much simpler and much different than a website who acts as a funnel attracting only qualified leads.

If you are unclear on your website’s function or want to know whether your website is doing its job correctly or not, email me at mayurgudka@gmail.com and I’ll help you answer these questions.

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11 Small Business Marketing Tactics

Ever since childhood we’re trained to think in terms of good or bad.

That however, is the wrong way to think when it comes to marketing tactics.

Marketing tactics are either effective or ineffective.

Taking out large newspaper ads proved very effective 30,40,50 years ago. Not so much today. Doesn’t mean it’s a bad tactic. It’s simply ineffective for majority of the population in United States. It might still be highly effective in other parts of world.

With that in mind, I want to share 11 Small Business Marketing Tactics with you today. Seven of them are digital and four of them are traditional marketing tactics.

Digital Marketing Tactics

  1. Email Marketing
  2. Search Engine Marketing
  3. Social Media Marketing
  4. Content Marketing
  5. Online Ads
  6. Online Video
  7. Mobile Ads

Traditional Marketing Tactics

  1. Direct Mail
  2. Newspapers
  3. Radio
  4. Local TV

The success or failure of each of these tactics depends on several factors including, who you audience is, how do they prefer to be communicated, how successfully can you communicate your message to them.

If you are not using one of the above mentioned tactics but would like to see how you can use it for your specific business, email me at mayurgudka@gmail.com. I’d love to show you.

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Three Reasons I Fail

Every single time I have failed in life, it is only because of one of the following three reasons:

  1. I did not respect the process.
  2. I did not respect the results.
  3. I did not respect myself.

Let me elaborate on each of the points further for better understanding.

I did not respect the process

Achievement takes work. It’s a process. Often times the shortcuts are going through the entire process in the right manner. In my experience, when I try to cut corners in the process, the process doesn’t seem to work and I don’t get my intended results.

I did not respect the results

Other times I fail because, I don’t believe the results are worth the time and effort. And as soon as I make that decision, I give up on the process automatically thus never bring the goal to fruition.

I don’t respect myself

This is a self-image issue. Thankfully, this has not been the reason majority of the times I have failed. In other words, I don’t think I am deserving enough to achieve the results and thus sabotage my own efforts (almost always unknowingly).

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Not Bitcoin. Think Blockchain.

Bitcoin has been getting a lot of press in the recent years as an alternate form of currency. At the end of the day, it simply that – a form of currency that one can use to trade goods and services, nothing more.

In addition to it, Bitcoin is fighting a steep, uphill battle. The bitcoin enthusiasts love bitcoin because it’s an unregulated form of currency with no boundaries. As wonderful as this might seem, this is precisely the reason Governments around the world want it abolished. If the government can’t control it, they don’t want it to be around.

Hence, I personally am not too inclined to own bitcoins. I’ll stick with my dollars for now until they find a way to regulate bitcoins.

But, I am more than excited about the underlying technology bitcoin operates on – Blockchain.

The uses of Blockchain technology are far and beyond digital currency and its exciting. Here are a few to mention:

  • Smart contracts – digitization of documents and proof of ownership for transfers
  • Stock exchanges – digital trading platforms
  • Health records – decentralized patient records management
  • Smart property – digitally recorded assets
  • Music distribution – proof of ownership for digital content
  • Secure digital voting – fraud-proof, anonymous digital voting solutions

Another fact I love this is it’s a technology. It doesn’t have to be regulated.

Combining these two facts alone makes blockchain an exciting future technology, in my humble opinion.

If you’re going to invest into something like this, do you own due diligence before investing. This post is purely for entertainment and educational purposes.

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Martial Arts Goals

Every martial artist begins at zero. The first year is usually spent figuring out whether this thing called Martial Arts is for him/her or not.

The first few months are the honeymoon period where the person is excited and often times brags about learning martial arts to friends and family. After about six months though, repetition of same moves can set boredom, or advanced moves and increased amount of exercises can take physical toll on the body.

This is decision time. Are you going to quit or are you going to forge ahead and continue your martial arts education even though it’s hard?

For those of us who fall under the serious martial artists category, I believe we should strive to achieve the following goals (I know, at least I do):

  • Learn the correct form and technique
  • Build endurance
  • Build speed and power
  • Improve reflexes
  • Think how can I take my art to the next level?

The first four goals, I believe can be achieved within 5 years of dedicated practice. The last goal however is an elusive one that can take a lifetime or beyond.

In the next few paragraphs, I am hoping to expand upon each of these goals and share my understanding of them.

Learn the correct form and technique

A martial artists repeats day in and day out the forms he learns. My son practices martial arts everywhere he goes. Take him to a grocery store and he’s practicing his forms in the empty isles. At home, our hallway, the living room are his bedroom are his practice areas. He practices at the bus stop while he waits for the school bus to pick him up in the morning.

Can you imagine him learning the wrong form and practicing it a thousand times? He could easily get hurt in a tournament or even while practicing with a partner. Therefore, it is important to learn the correct form. The earlier you learn the correct forms in your martial arts career, the better and easier it will be.

It’s best to walk up to your teacher and ask them to watch your form and then take their guidance on how to improve it. Once they teach you, practice is a thousand or more times.

Build endurance

Endurance is your ability to practice until the practice is over, not stop practicing because you’re now tired. Every athlete needs to build endurance including martial artists.

If your body gets tired within a minute or two in a fight, or if you find yourself huffing and puffing after doing 100 jumping jacks or running for about 5 minutes, you need to work on building endurance.

Greatest martial artists have fantastic endurance. You should too because one day, you will be a great martial artist.

Build speed and power

Increasing your speed and power are crucial to becoming a better martial artist. It gives you an edge over your competitors. If you observe the greatest boxers, it’s what they work on – speed and power.

It’s what Bruce lee worked on majority of the times too. In fact, Bruce Lee was so fast, the video cameras couldn’t capture his movements. This became a serious problem when he was filming for the TV show The Green Hornet. So, in order to capture his moves, they had to ask him to perform them again – this time slowly.

Improve reflexes

Once you have the form right, develop speed and power and have enough endurance to allow you to practice for hours at length, you need to improve reflexes. One needs to get to a point where you should not have to do the thinking for your body to defend yourself. As soon as your eyes perceive an attack coming towards you, your body should automatically rearrange itself to defend you. That can mean getting out of the way or blocking the attack.

How can you tell if you still need to work on your reflexes? If you have to think even for half a mini-second what block to perform when you’re being attacked, you need to work on your reflexes.

God knows, I need to work on mine.

A martial artist who has achieved these four goals will do extremely well in fights. No doubt about it. But, when he or she achieves the final goal (see below), will lead a fantastic life, or at least, that’s what I think.

Think, how can I take my art to the next level?

Martial arts is a way of life for many around the world. They eat, breathe and sleep martial arts. I consider it a way of life for me. The reason so many of us practice for years and often decades is not because we don’t know how to perform forms and need practice, but we’re in the quest of how can we take it to the next level?

A year of intense practice might give you one slight insight into how to improve your punch. You might realize that when you punch, your hand slightly turns to the outside which gives your punch away to the opponent. Fixing it, gives you an edge. That’s a breakthrough. It does not mean a year wasted. It means knowledge gained.

A good martial artists constantly thinks about how to take his game to the next level be it mental, physical or spiritual.

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Maya Angelou imparts words of wisdom

I was inspired today by an email I received from a friend about an interview Oprah had done with Maya Angelou on her 70th birthday. In there, she imparted some words of wisdom. It is my humble attempt to share them here with you.

Quotes by Maya Angelou

“I have learned a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.”

 

“I’ve learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life.”

“I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.”

“I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to throw some things back…”

“I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one.”

“I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.”

“I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone.”

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

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Customer complaints are gifts. Treasure them.

If you have a business, chances are you will have some customer complaints. No business can escape that. The difference between a great business and okay business is what do you once a customer complains?

Survey shows only a very small percentage of unhappy customers complaint.

The rest make a silent vow of never to spend their money on your business.

Isn’t that terrible? Don’t you wish more of your customers complained? It obviously gives you an opportunity to improve and win back their trust.

The worst is a silent unhappy customers. The one who won’t complain, just go about their way. In their mind, they’re not being rude to you by complaining. But, if they don’t complain, how can you win them back?

But, there just might be a way to get your customers to complain.

How to Get More Customer Complaints?

Follow-up after the transaction asking for feedback.

One way to get feedback is to ask them to score you on different areas of transaction.

Some ideas for businesses with physical locations.

  • Wait time before a salesperson approached them
  • Knowledgeability and usefulness of the salesperson
  • Product Selection
  • Checkout line
  • Checkout process

Some ideas for online businesses

  • Product selection
  • Ease of finding the product
  • Online Assistance Tool
  • Checkout process

Avoid asking questions such as “How did you find our website?” You can find this out for yourself by installing an analytic software on your website.

Focus on questions a software cannot answer on behalf of a customer.

Simply the scoring system too. When companies ask to score them on scale of one to 10, no one will ever give you a 6.75. It aggravates me when companies do that. Instead make the scoring system simple – just 1, 2 or 3.

  • One stands for “Just plain bad. Can’t go anymore downhill”
  • Two stands for “Could’ve been better”
  • Three stands for “Oh, dear god. I love it”

Some final things to consider and remember when asking for feedback.

  • Ask no more than one open ended question. Preferably, “what is one biggest change you would like to see implemented before your next visit?”
  • The customer is a busy person and be considerate of it. Keep the number of questions under 5. A lengthy survey automatically triggers a “No, thank you.” response in me.
  • Keep your scoring system simple.

Next time a customer complaints, be happy. Thank them. Ask them how you can improve. Make the change and notify them. Invite them again.

You will almost always turn a unhappy customer into a raving fan.

Now, don’t you just wish ALL of your unhappy customers complained?

I do.

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Create Job Fair Excitement through Social Media: 10-Step Process

According to the recruiter at my company, having a booth at a Job Fair costs anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000. If I were to spend this kind of money, I would do anything to make sure it was well worth my investment. Wouldn’t you?

I’m a inherently a problem solver. And it bothers me when people squander valuable and easy opportunities to make a difference. I see so many HR professionals spending valuable company resources on attending job fairs only to come back with a bunch of resumes and no real relationships with the candidates. That’s depressing, at least to me.

That can change. Using my 10-step process, you can not only double the amount of resumes, but the candidates you meet will be looking forward to apply at your company and build a genuine working relationship with you.

It’s all about value.
Want to attract great candidates?
Provide great value.

The 10-step process generates interest and gains a following before, during and after a job fair. Steps 1-6 should happen before a job fair. Steps 7-9 should happen during the job fair. And, step 10 should happen after the job fair.

Before the Job Fair

Generate Curiosity

You can send a tweet to your current Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn followers saying something like this, “We are planning something large in the near future. Wish I could tell you more about it. Have to wait until all is finalized.” You definitely want to send this first tweet once you are finalized about the job fair. Why? Your followers are now eagerly waiting to find out what the big surprise is. If the job fair doesn’t pan out, then you will not only be disappointing them but probably also lose some following.

Build Excitement

The tweet should say something like this, “FINALLY! So excite to let you know that we are going to have a JOB FAIR. Will follow-up soon with more details.” The job seekers following you will now start gearing up.

Subscribe for First Dibs

Send an email to your entire contact list stating, “Follow us on Twitter & LinkedIn to be the first one to know when and where the job fair is.” This way, some of the people who are on your contact list but are not following you on Social Media could start following your on Social Media channels.

Venue & Time Information

Send a Tweet stating the Job Fair’s location, date and time information.

How to get the most out of it?

You want to let your job seekers know that you care about them. You don’t want to waste their time finding your booth. So, in this tweet, let them know where exactly your booth will be located and when they come there expect to meet Mr. or Ms. XYZ. An awesome idea here would be to include a link to “How to make the most out of any Job Fair?” document. It can be anywhere from 1-few pages. This also makes you stand out from other companies that will be at the job fair.

Reminder Information

Send out a Tweet one day before the fair reminding your followers that the Job Fair is right around the corner and you cannot wait to see and meet them.

During the Job Fair

Job Fair Begins!

Send out a tweet announcing the start of the Job Fair. Ask people to stop by.

Share your Excitement

Have your company reps send out tweets from the job fair about the excitement and important happenings. This  builds positive energy among your followers and also reminds anyone about your existence at the job fair, in case they missed out on your booth.

After the Job Fair

Thank You!

At the end of the Job Fair day, send out a tweet thanking the participants for making it successful and stating that the job fair was incredible.

Where to get follow-up information

On the following day, send out messages on your social media accounts telling job fair candidates about where to find follow-up information on the resume they handed out at the job fair.

It is also helpful to send information about your company reps that will be present at the fair. This information can either include their bio if it is on your website or names and titles at the minimum. This helps personalize your company. When the candidate comes to your booth, they know to expect Mr. / Ms. XYZ as opposed to some Random Rep at other booths.

Bonus Step

Extract the e-mails of candidates who provided you with a resume and build a list.

Upload the list to your email marketing database and send out an email to them specifically with the follow-up information.

A personalized service like that can go a long way. It shows the candidates that the company truly cares about them.

One last idea – Stand out from competitors

Give a one-page document to everyone that stops. The document should contain:

  • Information about the company
  • A link on how to submit a job application
  • Who to follow-up with after the application is submitted
  • Links to company’s social media handles

It’d be a good idea to have this document be on a bright-colored paper. It separates from all the white-colored paper they will have.

Make sure the social media handles are spelled out.

Consider adding QR codes if you like.

While most companies will be handing out mugs and mouse pads, your paper will actually provide follow-up information.

It will make you stand out among the crowd.

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