FAQ Frequently Asked Questions Why Do I Even Need a Consultant? Every great sports star, business person, and superstar is surrounded by coaches and advisors. As the world of business moves faster and gets more competitive, it can be difficult to keep up with the changes in your industry as well as the innovations in marketing and management. Having a business growth consultant is no longer a luxury; it’s become a necessity. If you’re honest, you know that it is almost impossible to get an objective answer from yourself. That is not to say that you cannot survive in business without a consultant, but it’s almost impossible to thrive. A consultant can see the forest for the trees. A consultant will make you focus on the game, making you run more laps than you feel like. A consultant will tell it like it really is. A consultant will give you small pointers. A consultant will listen, and understand your pain. A consultant will help you remember the dreams you had when going into business…and help you get back on track to achieving them. Do You Just Help With My Marketing? While our primary focus is on marketing and business growth strategies, we’ll help you in other areas too. For example, part of our Reputation Marketing module includes a training program helping your staff become more adept at customer service. There is a concept we call the “inside reality" of your company. That term refers to the aspects of your business that make it excellent and deserving of earning new customers. We’ll help you analyze your “inside reality" and identify operations within your business that can be improved. We strongly believe in systems, the more you can implement systems in your business the better you can run your business instead of having it run you! What Will You Do, and How Long Will it Take? Just as every person is different, we believe each business is different. The plan that we suggest for your business will be based on the evaluation we make after reviewing your Marketing Audit and the conversation we have in the initial meeting. Which is to say that I cannot give you a specific idea of what we will do in your business, because we haven’t designed your plan yet. I can tell you that while about 80% of our strategic marketing focus today is online, we still incorporate traditional offline tools like direct mail and telephone marketing. We do that because they work. The particular mix of strategies for your company will depend on your goals, current situation, budget, competitive landscape, and personnel available to handle an influx of new customers. Here’s something else. Part of the Marketing Audit considers your current capacity. That is, how much more business can you handle well? It is no value to your business suddenly bring in 100 new clients when you only have the staff to properly serve 15 of them. We call this evaluating the “inside reality" of your company and is included in our modules. As far as how long a typical program might take, we like to make commitments in 12 month increments. We don’t try to lock someone in a contract saying that, but the plan we design for you will be based on a year of implementation. If you’ve been in business for more than a few months you’ve already seen, and maybe even purchased, one or more so called “quick fixes." Most consultants want you to believe that they can solve your business growth problems in a few days. Our philosophy at Alchemy is that establishing a foundation for long term success in your business means not just scraping the surface with a few “Google secrets." We prefer to design a multi-channel marketing strategy that offers you controlled growth. That means implementing one or two modules initially, then, as they pay for themselves, adding more marketing. Over the course of a year, working together, we help you fully capitalize on current markets for your product/service, and extend the reach of your company into new areas. You’re Based in Another City, How Does That Work? You may have read Thomas Friedman’s book from a few years ago called “The World Is Flat." His point was that with the communication tools available today business has truly become international. Even the shoe store down the street can have an ecommerce website or a store on eBay and sell to the whole world. Our business is living proof of that new reality: 75% of our clients live in another state. We regularly supply them with reports and updates via email, and schedule progress review conversations using phone, Zoom, or Skype. Occasionally a client will want us to be at their location for a specific purpose, but generally that is an expense that you don’t need to incur. How Do You Know This Will Work in My Industry? Really simple. Our team of consultants are experts in sales, marketing, business development, management strategies, hiring key people, and evaluation of markets; just to name a few of their competencies. With more than 250 business building tactics in our arsenal you will quickly see how effective and powerful our modules are. Add to this the fact that we have consulted with more than 300 companies in over 25 business categories and you can see that very likely that we have worked in a business that is the same or very similar to yours. How Much Time and Money will This Cost Me? The first couple of months your involvement in the processes will require more time. That might be review of copy or collateral materials, training your team in a new sales system, or regularly scheduled update meetings you’ll have with one of our team members. The actual implementation of tactics, what we call the “back office fulfillment" duties, are all done by one of our groups of specialists. If part of your program calls for a revision of your website, the actual work will be done by our web builders. If you are doing a PPC program in Google Adwords or Facebook, then another of our team will handle the day to day details of that marketing channel for you. As to the financial investment…well, nothing! That is if you look at it from the same perspective as we do. That’s the difference between a cost and an investment. Everything we propose for your company is a true investment in your future. Not only will you create great results in your business, but you’ll learn more than just marketing strategies. Working with our consultants will give you an education from experienced entrepreneurs you could never get in school, and this is knowledge that you can repeat over and over. So you don’t think I’m dodging the question, let me give you a range. We have clients who invest as little as $300 monthly and others who spend $7,000 a month. It will depend on your company, budget, short and long term growth goals, and how aggressively you want to pursue them. Are There Any Guarantees? Will all of your business goals be met by working with us? Maybe, or maybe not. We will never promise any specific result, nor can we guarantee that any of your goals will become a reality. The bottom line is we are your consultants, but it is still your business and it’s up to you and your team to take the sales opportunities we bring you and convert those prospects to customers and eventually to raving fans of your business. Only you can be fully accountable for your success. We guarantee to give you the best service we can, the benefit of all our experience and proven business growth strategies, and to encourage and even cajole you to reach for your goals. But at the end of the day it is your business. Here is the guarantee that we do offer. When we work with you to design a strategic plan we’ll define some clear goals that should be achieved within the first four months of working together. If they have not been achieved in that time period then we will continue to work with you at no charge until those goals have been met. OK, so What is the First Step? We’ll ask you to complete our Marketing Audit. This is a series of questions, most of them are simple Yes/No answers, but there are several questions that will require a more detailed response. The purpose of the audit is to help you pinpoint areas of strength in your marketing now, and help identify those aspects of your plan that could use further work. A common experience of people participating in this exercise is a lot of ideas and excitement about what can be done to bring in more customers and profits. It will also prompt some questions about specific marketing tactics and how to implement them. Once you have returned your audit, we’ll schedule a time to meet together. This typically is a 60 to 90 minute conversation where we help you dig deeper into the level your company is performing at today, and where you’d like it to be in twelve months. It is also an opportunity for you to get to know us a little more, and see if working together makes sense. At the end of this meeting, at your request, we will prepare a proposal detailing our recommendations specific to your company, and the investment you will be making. You can then decide when you’d like to begin. There is no charge for this initial meeting. When is The Best Time to Get Started? Yesterday. Really. OK, right now, today; before you take another marketing step, waste another dollar, lose another sale, work another 70 hour week. Far too many business people wait and see. They confuse activity with accomplishment and think that working harder will make it all better. Remember, what you know got you to where you are. To get to where you want to go you’ve got to make some changes and most likely learn something new. There is no time like the present to get started on your dreams and goals. How Do I Start? Call us toll free at 877-978-2110 and ask for a Marketing Audit. You’ll be connected with one of our consultants who will help you get started. We’ll set up a time for an interview so we can learn about your business. Then we’ll work with you to create a plan that helps you achieve your goals on a timeline that is affordable and makes sense for your business. This may seem like a big job at the beginning, but with an Alchemy Consultant you’ll have someone guiding you each step of the way.