With marketing, there are a few questions you have to ask yourself: How good are you at marketing? Have you ever had expert help? Are you making yourself a victim of tightwad ways and false economy?
So many business owners forget that most of us get 80 per cent of our business from 20 per cent of our customers. How well do you market to your best 20 per cent? Have you ever asked them respectfully for referrals for your business?
Business speaker and customer service expert Martin Grunstein argues that so many of us in business simply don’t ask for business. We don’t even effectively communicate to our customers what we sell, he says.
I learnt this first hand when I innovated by introducing a ‘messages on hold’ tape for my clients while they were waiting on the line. This simply told my customers that our business included financial planning, business coaching and the publishing of magazines and newsletters as well as books.
It staggered me the number of people who said they didn’t know my business did all of these things. Most knew me as a media commentator and business speaker and so for years I had ignored potential markets. The cost of this innovation was small but the returns have been considerable.
When you are feeling the pressure in business, Edward de Bono, who I interviewed on my Talking Business program on Qantas, says business owners have to be lateral thinkers to be successful. He says the successful competitor thinks outside the box, and his words are even more relevant when a recession threatens.
Believe it or not, when your business is under stress for whatever reason, it could be time to seek expert guidance. Sure, saving money and killing costs are important during tough times, but the stress could be partly of your own making.
You might be working in your business too much and not on it. You might have a lot of frustrations in your business and you don’t know how to create systems to rid yourself of them. The goal is to have a business that works for you and that works even if you are not there. That’s when you have a business you can sell, franchise or that can just be a joy to own.
I remember my business coach gave me some great advice a few years back and I will share it with you.
Tough times may not seem like the best times to give bonuses, but if one of your departments is truly excelling, you can build great staff loyalty by acknowledging successful efforts monetarily, she said.
Also, listen openly to your employees and communicate honestly about business conditions. Simple courtesies like these can have long-lasting positive effects.
Finally, now is the time to really talk to and listen to your customers it’s the best way to keep them and get more business from them. It is also the time to objectively ask if you need help from experts to make your business more professional.
– Make sure customers know everything your business offers.
– Ask for business
– Get guidance to ensure your business is running to its maximum potential.