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5 Questions every entrepreneur must answer to be successful

Kendra Y. Mims is a full-time writer in the Chicagoland area. When she is not writing articles on health, home, living, travel and fitness for online and print publications, she can be found writing fiction or with her head in a good boo...

Is your business in need of a facelift?

Is your business in need of a new look? Whether it's a new website or product, reinventing your brand is essential to staying ahead of the game, recruiting business prospects and retaining current clients. Here are five questions for entrepreneurs to help them determine if their business is in need of a facelift.

1. Is my business on the cutting edge?

Gone are the days of getting ahead in the business world by only implementing old-school business practices. Times are changing, and entrepreneurs need to work hard to stay ahead of the game, whether it's through social media, upgrading their products or adding new services. As an entrepreneur, you want your current and prospective clients to think "fresh" when it comes to your brand... not "dated."

"Because everything is changing at such a fast pace, you need to be perceived as on the cutting edge. I don’t want a résumé writer, career coach or a marketing consultant from the old-school world. I want the ones who know the latest and the greatest, because all of this technology has impacted how we market our products and services," says Wendy Enelow, career executive coach.

2. Where does my target audience hang out?

Enelow points out that the phone book was the number-one way to gain business 20 years ago. But social media has a huge impact on businesses today. When it comes to integrating social media into your business and expanding your online visibility, Enelow encourages entrepreneurs to find out where their target audience hangs out online and prioritize their social media marketing based on their findings. Whether it's Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn or video blogging, the answers for all entrepreneurs will vary, even if they're providing similar services.

"There is nothing that is 100 percent absolute for every entrepreneur because it depends on who you are, what it is that you're providing and who your audience is," says Enelow. "I think video blogging is great for the right audience. However, if your audience is a senior-citizen crowd who are 70 plus years of age and you’re selling comfort products, then no, I do not think that video blogging is the best way to reach your audience. It’s all about the audience first and foremost."

3. Are my company's marketing materials and website up-to-date?

Enelow points out that websites and marketing materials that haven't been updated in years are outdated in terms of color, look, feel and functionality. She also encourages entrepreneurs to review their Web copy to make sure it is tight and clean, not wordy and dense.

"We live in a world of 140 character tweets. That doesn't mean your Web copy has to be 140 characters, but it does mean that whether it's your website, yellow pages advertisements, company brochures, blog posts or other communications you’re putting out, they need to be tight, lean and clean because that’s how people read and absorb information these days," says Enelow. "When you're looking at that 10-year-old brochure or company website, it may be great, but I know it needs a facelift. Because if you haven’t lifted it in the last two or three years, it’s out of date."

4. Is my brand authentic to myself and my company?

Though social media is huge in the business world today, Enelow urges business owners to remember that networking is still a huge part of their branding. Your brand in person has to be consistent with your brand online.

"Your brand may be in cyberspace, but it all comes right back down to who you are in a one-on-one setting, because the networking piece still matters. Your brand has to match who you are in the cyber world and real life."

5. What makes my brand and business different and the best?

What makes your brand unique today may not be the same as it was five years ago.

"You always have to be developing new products and services in whatever business you're in because there’s always going to be something newer, greater or different, so you always have to be able to answer this question. Your answer will probably change over time because there’s constantly new competition coming into the market," she says.

Enelow says that rebranding is an ongoing, perpetual process.

"It is constant, particularly in the environment we operate in today, where technology and social media are having a huge impact on how we market and reach out to everyone. You constantly have to be working on your brand."

Enelow's tips for entrepreneurs

  • Don't wait until your downtime to market because it takes time for marketing to produce results. The best time to market is when your business is booming. I always recommend that other entrepreneurs schedule time into their calendars to work on their marketing, whether it’s an hour a week or the last Friday of every month.
  • If your website is not enhanced to be mobile friendly, then you need a makeover.
  • If you’re the one delivering the service and having an interaction with the client, the brand becomes you. You have to understand when you are the brand and you have to not fight that.

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