Starting a new business is a daunting task. Is the marketplace ready for the business? Is this the right time for the business? Once the business is open and has a customer base, it is time to make it grow. This can be stressful and fun. Getting to know the customers and vying for future customers is not easy and finding the right way can be frustrating. Here are some ideas that can help make it fun and less stressful.
- When growing a small business, it is important to know the customers. What are their needs? How can the products be improved to best meet those needs? Personalizing services and asking for feedback will make customers feel like their input matters and keep them coming back. It will also be that little thing that makes them tell others about the business and grow the customer base.
This engagement with clients is only part of exceptional customer service. Whenever possible make sure to go above and beyond for clients. They will appreciate it and will be more likely to refer the business to others.
- Keep that relationship with established customers strong through e-newsletters. Let them know of promotions early, so the can prepare and tell others. Always be on the lookout for ways to build a wider customer base.
- Promote the small business on social media. Social media is a powerful, free tool that will allow business owners to promote their business to potential customers. It also allows owners and managers to gain insight through “social listening.” What are customers saying about the business? What are potential customers looking for from similar businesses? What are they getting from those businesses? This is valuable information that can be used to create a strong business profile that will attract future customers.
- Attend networking events. It has been said, “It is not WHAT you know, but WHO you know that counts.” Networking builds relationships and can help widen the customer base through word-of-mouth marketing.
- Host a customer event. This will show customer appreciation and allow future customers to see what the business is all about. This is another way to give above-and-beyond customer service.
- Give back the community. Building brand awareness in the local community to attract new customers. Consider sponsoring or participating in a community event.
- Measure what works and adjust as needed. Where are customers coming from? Are the marketing activities working? Experiment with new ideas and refine the approach if something is not working. Focus on the activities that are successful.
By Jeanette Smith
Small Business Development Corporation: 8 ways to grow your business
Image Courtesy of Intel Free Press’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License