Five pieces of advice you can implement now to grow your small business
1) Give it away
Giving and sharing aren’t exclusive to the holiday season. Share your knowledge FOR FREE with all of your customers and anyone else that wants to listen to you. Look, you’re probably an expert in your profession and have a number of great ideas and advice that would really help your customers. Write them down and pass them along to people as much as possible. Show your customers that you are dedicated to helping them and that you are a trusted, credible leader in your profession.
2) Communicate Consistently
Communicating on a consistent basis is one of the best ways to build your business. If you stop communicating with your customers, you’ll become invisible. Invisibility is good if you are a superhero, not if you are running a business. Worse, a competitor might start talking with your clients while you’ve gone silent.
Rather than just offering promotional communication, if you can offer information that helps your customers improve their lives, you can really shift your marketing into high gear. Consider starting a newsletter, offering free reports on your website or creating a direct mail advice campaign. Share your expertise with your customers frequently, authentically, and without expectations. It’ll help establish you as a caring, knowledgeable, expert and it will keep you in the forefront of your customers’ minds (also called TOMA or top of mind awareness).
3) Stand Behind
Have you ever heard, “I’ll just stick with what I have” from a prospect? Chances are that if you’ve been in business long, you have. Even if doing business with you is clearly the better option, sometimes people will just stick with what they have. Why? Often times you’ll find it boils down to risk. People don’t like risk, so they try to minimize it when possible. Help your potential customers minimize risk by standing behind your product or service and offer a guarantee.
4) Encourage Customers to Spread the Word
If your business thrives on referrals, develop a program that rewards people for stepping out of their way to send business to you. Develop an easy to follow, understandable, and convenient referral program for your customers, and make sure they know about it. Take a proactive, rather than reactive approach in obtaining more referrals. Give customers a way to easily refer prospects to you, explain to them how to do it, and reward them for helping you out.
5) Focus on First Impressions
Everyone knows that first impressions are critical. Did you know that your customers make assumptions and even decisions about your business in a matter of seconds? We all do this, and we all know that first impressions have to be good ones. The trick is you don’t know which impression is going to be first. Prospects might see your logo first, your website, a sign, or an online marketing video on YouTube, so it’s important that ALL of them project a clear, professional message to your prospects.
Your marketing materials and company identity tell a story to your customer: how professional you are, how quality conscious you are, and how unique you are.
What do your marketing materials and company identity say to customers? If you’ve never asked them, you should! Take inventory of all of your marketing and collateral materials. Line them up on a desk, or view them on your computer monitor. Ask yourself, “Do they all tell a consistent, professional story about your business? Are they projecting the image you want to send to your customers?” If they aren’t projecting the professional, consistent image your company deserves, consider making today the day you change that.