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Are you an entrepreneur starting up a new business? Or are you a business owner in the first 5 years of your small business? If so, this checklist can help you identify where you are in terms of growing and building your small business.
Answer the following questions using this scale then use the scoring guide at the bottom.

1. Do you have a detailed, written description of your ideal target market that includes, at a minimum: typical buyer demographics, geographical area, annual revenues, industries, and psychological characteristics?
2. Have you written down the specific challenges and problems your services/products solve for your ideal target market?
3. Can you easily and clearly explain to interested prospects what you offer in less than 30 seconds and how it benefits them?
4. Do you know the 3 biggest obstacles you face when marketing and selling your services or products?
5. Can you clearly present several factors that differentiate your company, your services, and/or your products to prospects who are knowledgeable about your competitors?
6. Do you know exactly how you compare to your competition in terms of: the quality of your products/services, prices, and amount of selection?
7. Do you have a written business or marketing plan that includes: a SWOT analysis, competitive information, your unique competitive advantages, specific marketing strategies with timelines, financial projections, and contingency plans?
8. Do you have sufficient capital currently available to carry your business through the next 18 to 22 months (for start-ups) or at least the next 6 to 9 months (for established small businesses)—in case of an economic recession, lack of results from sales and marketing plans, or a short-term physical disability?
9. Do you know the average percentage of your revenues you are currently spending (or anticipate spending) in each of these categories: all marketing materials, sales efforts, office equipment and supplies, ongoing marketing campaigns?
10. Are you currently using at least 3 different marketing strategies effectively to find new clients (not including any referral sources)?
11. Do you have all the necessary sales and marketing materials you need to give to prospects including: marketing brochure that focuses on the benefits of your services/products, sales sheets, detailed product information, company overview, website and company logo?
12. Are you able to describe the different stages prospects use in moving from not knowing about your business to becoming a first time client?
13. Have you identified the most common objections you hear from prospects and have you memorized strong, non-defensive responses to each one?
14. Can you clearly answer this question if asked by a prospect today, “What are the specific benefits and results I would receive from using your services or products.”?
15. Have you memorized a compelling response to this question, “What do you do?”
16. Are you fully using the power of internet marketing, to reach out to new prospects, track your marketing efforts, keep in touch with your clients, and upsell your current contacts?
17. Have the net profits from your business increased at least 20 to 40% in each of the last 2 years?
18. Do you have a list of at least 50 to 100 people who you can tell about your new company and ask them to refer people to you?
19. Have you developed strong relationships and partnerships with several other companies who offer non-competitive products or services to your ideal target market with whom you could arrange a cross-marketing relationship?
20. Do you have a compelling reason to tell prospects who ask you, “I have a lot of companies offering me these services. Why should I buy from you?”
Your Total Score

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