12 Ideas to Grow Your Business Today!
By all reports in most areas, the economy is starting to show the green shoots of recovery. Still no one can tell you if the recovery is going to stick or if something will happen to crash it.
As a business owner and manager, it is important to get your business into shape now so you can create and exploit new opportunities as they present themselves.
The following are the golden rules that will help your business grow now and well into the future:
1. Market to existing customers with targeted, personal and tangible materials that they will remember. The essence of marketing to existing customer is having a database. I am surprised at the number of businesses that don’t have and maintain a database containing information about their existing customers. A database can either be a sales contact software or an old-fashioned file folder. The information you want in your database is obviously contact information, like addresses and phones numbers, but also purchase history, product and service preferences, conversations you had with customers, any incoming requests or communications from customers, success stories from customers to personal information like birthday’s and anniversary’s.
Why is this important? Your customer database is the brain of your business and without it, marketing to existing customers in a meaningful way is almost impossible. Besides if you want to sell your business, as much of 75% of the value of your business is in your customers. The data you have about your customers the more value that is to the buyer.
2. Live communication is the key to your future income and growth. All marketing efforts should cause a live communication with a customer or prospect.
3. Call or go see your customers with regularity. The more you know your customers the better you will be able to present a solution. Also the more personal contact you have with customers the more opportunities will be presented.
4. Always promote for new business. As much as 65% to 70% of your marketing budget should be invested to get new customers. The reason is attrition. Every year you will lose 10% to 35% of your existing customers for whatever reason. I have seen business where everything is going great, they are very busy and making money and because they are so busy and doing well the owner does not promote. He says “ I can’t handle what we have now, why would I want to promote for more?” Then a month later, his biggest customer merges with another company and boom, like that he loses 50% of his sales volume.
Advertising and promotion is like insurance, it insures against unforeseen crashes. If you are busy, hire and train more people or look for ways to get more production out of what you have. It is very dangerous not to expand. We can help you find a targeted lead list of prospects that will help you grow your business.
5. 80-hour weeks are the basis of burn-outs and crashes. To follow-up with number 4 above, one way to get more production out of what you have is by better organizing your business. Are you, as an executive in your company, wearing hats and doing parts of jobs that should be worn by others in your organization? If so, get the people who are supposed to be doing the job, doing the job. It might also be time for you to hire an assistant to handle your traffic and channel demands to people in your company who are supposed be handling that demand or traffic. Get out of your head that just because you own the business or are a senior executive that you have to personally handle everything that crosses your desk.
6. Promotionally don’t just give things away for free, always get some sort of exchange from a giveaway, even it is simply contact information so you can drip market to them.
7. Website. One, make sure you have one and two, make sure it is up-to-date. Today, people consider that you are not a legitimate business if you do not have a website.
8. Invest in training your employees. The better they are trained, the more stable they are and the less traffic and demands you will have coming across your desk.
9. Handle customer complaints quickly and properly. Do not let an unhappy customer drift off, get in touch with them and make them happy. Funny thing about human nature, studies have shown that a happy customer will tell 3 to 5 people about your great service, but an unhappy customer can be word of mouth advertising on steroids. He will tell at least 20 people how bad you are.
A plus is that unhappy customers present an opportunity to find holes in your service.
10. Always ask for a referral and a testimonial. When a customer is happy, that is the best time to ask for referrals and testimonials. Testimonials should be used for marketing.
11. Prospects sometimes need to be asked more than once for the order, so use multiple stages or mail follow-up info packs.
12. Always resist making promises you can’t keep. The rule here is to under promise and over deliver.
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