Category: Startups


The majority of small businesses are established in response to market demand for a product or service. Many build their businesses by serving that demand and enjoy growing profits without putting much effort into long-term planning or marketing.

Every choice you make when buying a product or a service represents a point of differentiation between one company and their competitors. These differences, whether subtle or distinct, determine which customers will buy what they sell.

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Consider the well documented case of Domino’s Pizza. Why did Domino’s become a billion dollar behemoth in an overcrowded market in just a few years? Did Domino’s make the best pizza? Not even close! Did they offer comfortable in-house dining? No way! Did they offer the largest selection on their menu? They offered the exact same pizza as ALL of their competitors!

They dominated by adopting and implementing one major strategy. They created a market dominating position, which was fast hot pizza, targeted specifically for hungry college kids.

So now ask yourself what, if anything, makes your business different from your competitors as perceived by your targeted prospects and customers?

Everyone can add value to their business. And adding value doesn’t have to blow your marketing budget or take up hours of your time. There are many ways to enhance your business in the eyes of your clients.


Step number one, determine your strategic position in the market.

What specific niche market or segment of the marketplace should your business focus on? Determining this involves combining the skills your business has with the unmet needs of your targeted prospects and then designing your produc

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t or service to fulfill those needs.

Domino’s strategic position was “fast hot pizza for hungry college kids.” For Starbucks, “delicious hand-crafted beverages that makes life better.”

Step number two, determine your primary market dominating position.

This is the most dominating advantage that separates you from your competitors. Domino’s claimed it could deliver its pizza in 30 minutes or less, or they would give it to you for FREE! This was the primary advantage that met the needs of their newly defined market position – hungry college kids that wanted food fast.

Step number three, determine your supporting business model.

How will you specifically deliver what your strategic position and primary market dominating position promises? What changes, if any do you need to consider making to your business to ensure you deliver consistently on your position and your promise?

Domino’s built a supporting business model that enabled them to consistently provide their promised primary advantage, which was fresh hot pizza delivered within 30 minutes. To make good on this promise every time, they were forced to create a supporting business model where they built low-cost, plain vanilla stores strategically located near college campuses.

Since college kids aren’t the most reliable workers on the planet, they were forced to hire additional delivery staff and have additional drivers on a stand-by basis. Together, these innovations allowed them to consistently meet and often exceed their primary market dominating position.

Step number four, determine your secondary market dominating position.

What additional competitive advantages does your business offer that your customers will perceive as being different from your competition? Domino’s secondary benefits might include special pricing, assorted sizes, a much broader selection of toppings or additional menu items.

Step number five, create your market dominating position statement or elevator pitch.

This is a simple statement you can create by combining steps one through four. This helps you to state unequivocally what differentiates you from your competitors to your targeted prospects and customers.

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Domino’s market dominating position is neatly summed up in its slogan, “fresh hot pizza delivered in 30 minutes or less, or it’s free.” An expanded version of this might say: “Domino’s provides busy customers with fresh hot pizza and other food items within 30 minutes or less. Our assorted pizza offerings combined with our value pricing makes Domino’s affordable to everyone.”

This presentation will focus on helping you to define your market dominating position and then we can help you create a powerful and compelling elevator pitch that will effectively communicate your value to your marketplace.

Learn more on my FREE Online Focus Group on Tuesday 30th June 2020 4-5pm. Register here :

If you’re reading this after the 30th June 2020 – then you can access to all the info you need to grow your business at :

By Duncan Mercer –

10 Tactics to Profit Acceleration

As a business owner I know that in this day & age that you’re busier than ever – revenue and profits are critical to the survival of your business but you lack the time & resources to take your business to the next level.

I understand the need to quickly introduce effective ways to increase both revenue & profits with as little out of pocket expenses incurred as possible – these can be implemented with the smallest amount of effort, time & expense. Each strategy will impact your overall revenue and profits dramatically, even if each one produces just a 5% increase in sales.

This is the power of exponential growth – you’ll be able to see this for yourself as you implement each strategy. A 5% increase is a very conservative number – my clients often see far higher returns, but I like to under-promise and over-deliver.

Here are 10 effective strategies to achieve this growth :


There are numerous ways to grow your business through the internet and the possibilities are growing by the minute.

ADVERTISING – the benefit of this strategy is that you’re not limited in geographic reach and you can be highly selective with your target audience.

SOCIAL NETWORKING – this provides increased brand recognition and loyalty along with higher conversion rates because you’re being social and a cast decrease in marketing costs.

BLOGGING – zero cost to do but your time this really increases your rankings online with links.

SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION (SEO) – this is the practice of getting your website ranked at the top of search engine results without advertising.

ONLINE PRESS RELEASES – provide credibility and could lead to interviews with the media, on average 1 media interview could have 5 times the impact of a paid advert.

VIDEO MARKETING – If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video can have an even greater impact on your target market.

You don’t have to be an expert in all these options, but you could do with the knowledge in house or outsource to those that do have the knowledge.


Downselling means backing off from your original offer when your potential client appears to reject it – offering something less expensive or of lower quality, then once you establish the buying relationship, upselling and cross-selling at a later date.

The key idea is to get the buyer to enter into a long-term relationship by at least persuading them to buy something. It is much easier to sell to a client than to sell to a prospect.

First time buyers are always sceptical – but the fact they have come to you in the first place is something to be celebrated, therefore you have their momentary trust no matter how guarded.

For example have you ever been offered a full year membership to an online subscription or health club etc. and when you don’t take it up you’re offered a 3 month initial membership or even a 30 day free trial?

The odds of you staying or continuing to buy if you accept a downsell goes up exponentially.

Once a client enters into a buying relationship, no matter how small, you then need to think long-term as to how you can serve that customer best to keep them on board and buying.


When a prospect doesn’t buy what you sell, how many times do you follow up with them?

Small business owners focus on generating leads – but less than 1% of prospects are now buyers the other 99% are not ready to purchase at that specific time, but many could buy at some point in the future if you continue to nurture them and stay in contact with them in an ongoing basis.

Why is this important? 80% of ALL sales occur between the 5th and the 12th point of contact.

If you give up after 1 or 2 attempts then what you’re selling must not be very important!

This is where the drip campaign and follow up sequence comes into play. A drip campaign automatically delivers a form of communication to customers or prospects on a predetermined and scheduled basis.


Do you have a website?

Do you know for sure how many leads it generates each month?

Do you know for sure how many sales it produces each month?

Most business owners have no idea – can I show you why your website isn’t generating any leads or closing any sales. The key to success.

You must be able to enter the conversation taking place in the minds of your prospects.


You must be able to address the number one question on your prospects mind at just the right time.

It’s easier than you think – the question in all prospects mind revolves around 2 major points:

There’s a problem they have and they don’t want and there’s a result they want but don’t have.


INTERRUPT = Headline – first thing someone see’s or hears.

It must address the problem your prospects have and don’t want.

ENGAGE = Sub-Headline – 2nd thing they see or hear

It must address the result your prospect wants but doesn’t have

EDUCATE = Information you provide – presents evidence to your prospects that you and your product or service are superior in every way to your competition..

OFFER = Must create a compelling offer that makes it so irresistible your prospects can’t turn it down.


Joint ventures involve 2 or more businesses that decide to form a partnership to share markets or endorse a specific product or service to their customer base. Usually under revenue share basis.

The key is to find partners who service the exact same type of clients that need or want what you sell. You can find other businesses in your event chain.

For example a florist can get referrals from above them in the event chain i.e. jeweller, church, wedding planner, reception venue, dress. But also pass on referrals to cake makers, cars, dj / band & accommodation.

This is a strategy that can be implemented immediately and it begins generating instant cash flow.


Ever asked yourself how much more could I make if I simply increased my prices?

Optimising pricing is difficult and could be dangerous if you simply go for an increase of 5% across the board approach. You could lose some or all of your business.

How can you raise prices and get away with it? BUNDLING

This is the process of grouping together certain products to create packages which you then sell.

Eliminating the biggest complaint small businesses have of competing on price – you’re now offering more value. Customer shop value not price.

Bundling increases the perceived values o prospects buy more.


Easy & simply way to explain this strategy is using McDonalds as a case study – when you go in and order your meal, what do the staff always ask you?

Would you like to go large on that? – This is upselling

The same member of staff will then ask

Would like apple pie or a McFlurry with that? – This is cross-selling

These strategies are worth an extra $1.6 billion in revenue to McDonalds every year !

Upselling means offering a higher grade or quality or size of the item that the customer may be interested in at the point when the customer is ready to buy.

Cross-selling means offering other products or services which complement the item the customer is interested in, at the point the customer is ready to buy.

34% of prospects will buy additional products or services at the time of their original purchase if they’re asked to do so – if you don’t do it they won’t !


Why do clients stop doing business with you? It may have nothing to do with the way you conducted business together in the past. There are many possibilities some of which could be

  •  They’ve been busy
  •  They’ve had something happen in life that has distracted them
  •  They simply forgot

Other things in life just come and get in the way – because these clients already know so much about you, unless their circumstances have changed dramatically or they had a bad experience with you in an earlier transaction, they could well be prepared to do business with you again.

As an example – a yoga studio had 200 paying members and 400 past members, so they sent an email to the past members and 30 started again giving an instant increase of 15% !

Three keys to effective implementation

  1. Clearly communicate your most compelling benefits – show them they’d be foolish not to come back to you.
  2. Make them an offer to help them feel valued and special – bundle something else in.
  3. Be systematic and persistent in your effort

Remember this is not just about the sell – you’re there to rebuild an ongoing buying relationship with your client.


This is the most boring and non-sexy of all the strategies, but finding an impact may be one of the easiest ways to optimize your profits.

Ask yourself – are your marketing and sales processes documented so that sales are predictable?

To what extent are all your system, processes, policies and procedures in place?

Without policies and procedures your business can never maximise on all the opportunities with which you’re presented.

Policy example :

Each person in your business must write a “to do “ list at the beginning of the month – divide this into weekly action plans and then you have daily to-do lists.

The supervisor will inspect each monthly to do list, each weekly plan and daily to do list.

What do you suppose happens to the productivity of that staff member, if they know they are going to be held accountable to their own created list ? This Creates focus and keeps staff accountable much like a Business Coach for business owners.

On average this will increase productivity by 20% which in turn increases revenue & profits

This strategy takes time and hard work – and is ongoing to make sure they are monitored and adhered to, but this is the key to running a great company and to great marketing.

If you incorporate policies, procedures and rewards or consequences for your staff to follow, and you follow through on them what impact would that have on your business?

What about policies & procedures for a client call format? For follow up? Post sale reassurance? Relationship building? Enforcing upsell, cross-sell and downsell strategies? To reactivate former customers? To ensure drip campaign is working? For cost cutting? For all internet marketing initiatives?

No cost involved but your time.


This is the one guaranteed way of keeping more money in your bank account. Good business owners will review their costs and try cutting those costs at every available moment.

To better get to grips with this you need to understand the difference between Gross Profit and Net Profit.

Most business owners use Net Profit to determine the extra revenue I find them – this is a mistake because net profit is determined after ALL costs are taken out.

However, adding additional revenue which does not incur an increase to fixed costs such as rent, salaries etc. will increase profits by the gross profit margin i.e. the revenue minus any direct costs eg sales commissions, credit card fees etc.

The additional revenue you gain from following my strategies will count as gross profit not net profit, but the better news for every penny you cut off your costs, goes straight to your bottom line. You get to keep all 100% of your cost savings.

Areas where you can save money :

  • Financing
  • Suppliers
  • Hours of Operation
  • Cash Management
  • Inventory
  • Transportation
  • Marketing

I’ve just explored, from a high level, 10 of the 25+ ways I know how to dramatically increase the revenue and profits for any business – I’ve kept the potential increases conservative, allowing under-promising and over-delivery this makes sure the strategies are realistic, believable and achievable.

I hope you can see that these minor increases over the 10 areas are easily attainable by any business and would more than double your profits.

If you incorporate more than 1 of these strategies, which are easily duplicated by any business, consider the exponential growth you’ll experience within your business.

If you’re ready to double or triple your profits and would like to know more then just contact me and let’s get started !

For more information and detail on this CLICK HERE

How can a Business Coach help me ?

Many businesses use a business coach. Others may be considering the benefits while some may not have any idea what it is all about. What is business coaching, and how can it help?

Business coaching is a process that can help take a business from where it is to where it wants to be. A dedicated business coach will assist and guide the business owner in growing the business, mapping out the best routes towards success and guiding them in the right direction.

A business coach differs from a consultant; while a consultant will scope a project, consider alternatives and implement the required actions themselves, a business coach equips the business owner to do it by teaching them new skills and providing knowledge of the market and the journey ahead.


Impartial advice – While a business owner no doubt often relies on the support of family, employees and friends, ultimately, they will all have some form of vested interest. So, it can be difficult for them to be impartial. That’s where the business coach comes in. A coach can provide a confidential, objective sounding board to help solve the challenges ahead. Additionally, they can be relied upon to react to your ideas and methods honestly and tell it straight, are working on a process that could be improved.

Focus your attention – A business owner’s time and attention can be stretched in so many directions that it’s hard to focus on the key tasks that relate to your business goals. A business coach will help you to organise your tasks and schedule, leaving your business well organised and efficient and giving you ample time to work on the next stage of business growth.

Make you accountable – Sometimes it’s hard to keep promises, especially those you have made to yourself. A business coach will challenge you to achieve the objectives agreed and help you to channel your efforts towards achieving them.

Push you outside your comfort zone – When there are difficult decisions to be made or tasks to be completed, it’s easy to fall back into the comfort zone where you feel safe and secure. For many business owners, this means working in your business when you should be working on your business. A business coach will guide and support you beyond your comfort zone and push you to new heights, while also helping you develop your staff, allowing them to competently stand on the front line in your place while you’re working on growing the business from behind the scenes.

Two heads are better than one – Brainstorming ideas with your business coach can add a different perspective to your way of thinking. We all kn

ow that old saying, two heads are better than one, but a business coach can go far beyond that. A good business coach will explore your ideas from every angle, question your thinking, and provide alternative answers. This can often lead to finding better or more innovative solutions that you may not have previously considered.

Ask any successful athlete what factors contributed to their success, and most – if not all – will cite their coach as a primary influence. So why should it be any different in business?

So now you know what I do – if you’re interested in taking your business to the next level then contact me for a quick review call.

Download your FREE copy of my book :

Or perhaps you’d like to take a look at my new online DIY academy?


(source : )

Getting Smart With Costs

Being aware of your costs and buying smart is a key component of running an SME – costs can be crippling and CASH IS KING !

Let me give you an example of an internet based distribution business that with a nudge in the right direction managed to significantly reduce their annual costs.

This business sent out it’s products every day in cardboard boxes bought from their local stationary store, purely for ease of stock control – they bought them at a retail price of £3.91.

The irony of being an internet based business and not taking the small amount of time to Google search a wholesaler, set up an account and reduce their box cost by £2.36 to £1.55 is unfathomable. We’ll leave out the added saving made on fuel getting to & from the store to collect the boxes!

On top of this saving it was worth cross checking the Google search with businesses that were available on the cash back sites i.e. TopCashBack or QuidCo which both provided a further 9.45% cash back on their purchase of boxes.

The business sent out on average 5 items per day, therefore with this small amount of effort the business started saving £12.55 per day which equals £3,263 per year saving.

A saving is always nice when you’re running a business, but could there be more savings achieved with a little further investigation – of course !

The business used to use the most well know obvious choice for delivery of their items. Another internet search provided a courier broker that allows smaller businesses access to the discounted prices achieved with higher distribution numbers.

It allowed the firm to save £8.21 per parcel and delivered within 48 hours. Consider that on 5 items per day and all of a sudden there is a further saving of £41.05 per day adding a further £10,670 saving per year.

Just by getting just a little bit smart about costs, taking the time to search for better deals rather than convenience, allowed this particular business to add close to £14,000 per year to their profits.

This was just one area of their operations – a true eye opener to the statement “Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves”.

I invite you to take a look at 4-5 items you always buy regularly for your business and see how much you can save, I guarantee you’ll be surprised.

When you do, come back and let me know in the comments I’d be interested to see some other successes.


( Source : A Pocket Guide to Small Business Success – Rob England )

Kick Start Your Marketing

Today I’d like to teach you about the three most important start up marketing tools you need to get and keep new customers.

  1. In person: It’s essential you meet with customers/clients in person whenever possible. This shows you respect them and take the time to work with your clients to give personal attention to each of them.
  2. Follow up letter: Always take a moment to send a follow up letter about what you talked about, new agreements or partnerships made and to thank them for taking the time to meet with you. Likewise, you should always send thank you letters or small gifts to partners you find success with.
  3. Phone call: Use a telephone call to follow up with them to talk again about the matters you talked about in your meeting and offer any assistance you can to help their business run smoothly and more successfully.

None of these will work if you don’t have a quality product/service to back you up!

Here are the key steps for putting together your start-up marketing tools:

  1. Research potential customers, buyers, competitors and their preferred methods of distribution.
  2. Talk to potential customers. Take a hard look at your product from a customer’s perspective and see what it needs to be successful.
  3. Follow up with your 3-step process from above.
  4. Develop systems for contact follow through, quality control standards and customer service.
  5. Develop post-sale follow up system to keep lines of communication open is customers and build on your current relationship which increases future purchases.

“Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs” Peter Drucker, management consultant

Here’s another one I love from an icon:

“If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.” Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motor Company

This lesson has offered you the tools to put together a start-up marketing plan that can be used over and over again to help your customer base and business grow in a manageable way.

Start Up Non-Exec Mentoring

Oranet Ltd are a recruitment agency start up – they are specialising in I.T. roles offering in excess of £100k per annum. Targeting the senior higher paid roles within all sectors.

Magnatec were engaged with Oranet in a Non-Exec Director capacity to help shape the path for the new business, be a devils advocate i.e. asking the difficult questions about subjects the owners may not have thought about. We also provided introductions from our network of businesses and people that we are or have worked with in the past.

It can be invaluable to any business at any time to have help in decision making or guidance or even a sound barrier to bounce ideas off. If you’ve run numerous businesses or just starting your first everyone can benefit from this kind of mentoring – “Everyday is a school day!”

This engagement was for 6 months and consisted of face to face meetings as & when Oranet required them or felt they needed to discuss something or sound out and idea.

We we’re also available on the phone and email for questions & support.

A Day in the Life …. the first week at Cubo

I didn’t sleep very well on Monday night. I hadn’t been drinking, I wasn’t stressed or worried about business or personal issues – as sad as it may sound I was excited about going into work on Tuesday morning. Why? I was going into work at my new office space, Cubo, in central Derby.

For many years now I have either been working on client sites on business parks or simply working from my home office, nowhere near a city centre and having to drive all the time – low overheads for a small business I hear you say, but in fairness I had been looking for the right office space for a long time and nothing fitted my vision.

Then a few weeks ago I saw a post about a new office space opening in central Derby, in the Old Post Office on Victoria Street – CUBO. I was first shown round by Romey Lee (Business Development Manager) about 2 weeks before completion. There were builders everywhere, no desks or chairs just noise and dust – BUT WHAT A SPACE !!

I saw the potential in their plans immediately – a modern, open plan central work space for businesses to utilise for their own work & the potential of collaboration & networking with others.

I was hooked and couldn’t wait to sign up and get started in there – what to choose though; Hot Desking, Designated Desk or a Dedicated Office of varying sizes. Initially I took a hot desk to “test run” and I’ve finally decided on a designated desk.

Back to Tuesday morning and I jumped on my local bus that has to & from stops directly outside the office (Brucey !) walked into Cubo and was immediately greeted by a beaming Charlotte on the reception desk along with Marc & Becky Brough, Romey & the rest of the Cubo team.

First things first – a superb coffee expertly made by Mandy, the in house professional Barista. Fully inclusive with your monthly membership fee which also includes all rates, bills, network, cleaning, furniture other teas etc. and …… wait for it …… BEER ! Yes – free beer available as well.

What’s not to like – when I arrived on Wednesday morning before I’d even got my laptop out, Mandy had delivered my favourite coffee next to me.

I’ve already had conversations with other businesses who joined the first week, including Helen Bee from Clean Living, let alone the fun & laughter with the Cubo team. It is a productive, vibrant, modern business like environment that feels nothing like work at all.

It’s now the end of the first week and there has been a constant flow of potential new members viewing, signing up and saying hello all day and as it’s Friday I’ll be shutting down soon but instead of racing to get home I’ll be going to have a beer and a chat with the others on the sofas & bean bags on the ground floor first.

I don’t work for Cubo but I’m more than happy to recommend this office space and the team without hesitation – but don’t take my word for it they are holding an open coffee morning on Thursday 13th February 9 – 10:30am so come and have a look for yourself and make your own mind up. CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

Cubo offices will be opening up in Sheffield & Nottingham soon.