Very few things can compare to owning a successful small business, and very few things are as difficult as the journey that gets you there. In a competitive global workforce, it’s becoming increasingly more complicated for businesses to hold onto customer interest. That’s why we thought you’d appreciate some tips on how to get your business ahead of the game:
- Set very defined goals
Don’t just tell yourself that you want to ‘get more sales’- what does that mean? The key to setting more defined goals is to put some numbers in place. Remember that building revenue is a numbers game, and setting a specific goal like ‘achieve a turnover of $1 million by the end of the financial year’ is both more concrete and easier to understand than simply ‘get more sales’. From there you can break that down into even more specific micro goals – how are you going to achieve that? What kinds of projects/sales will let you reach that number?
- Know who your ideal customer is
Do you know who you’re targeting? Maybe you know their age range, socio-economic level, etc. but do you know if they’re introverted or extroverted? Detail-obsessed or couldn’t care less? Knowing who your customers are will give you a valuable clue as to what kind of buyer they are. For example, an introvert may not want a lot of active contact, either face-to-face or by phone – emails would work best, whereas a detailed-obsessed person would want to thoroughly research every aspect of your product/service before making a decision.
Simply put, you might like to create buyer personas. Once you’ve got those down, tailoring your business to attract the right clientele will be a lot easier.
- Know what you sell and more importantly what your ideal customer buys
So now you know who it is exactly that you’re selling to, it’s equally important to know what they’re buying, and what you’re selling (and whether those two are the same thing). If you have a good sense of both, you can work on tweaking your product/service to better fit what your ideal customer wants – the hard work will pay off when you find yourself with more prospects than you’ve had before.
- Fix your customers’ and prospects’ deal breakers
Remember, as a business, you’re trying to attract customers. And that means you need to watch out for anything that might potentially turn them away.
Deal breakers might include – lack of diversity in employees, in terms of culture or gender; time restrictions due to opening hours (it’s a huge turnoff when a business isn’t open on a Saturday morning, for example); lack of social media presence, including no sign of a website.
Going back to point 2, knowing who your customers and prospects are will help you to know who they aren’t, and therefore what they wouldn’t want from a business.
- Create a marketing process
There are three elements you have to have in your marketing process:
- Features (what your product/service has or does),
- Benefits (what the customer will be able to do/be/have from your product/service), and the most important of all,
- The ‘What’s In It For Me?’ principle (what the customer ultimately will have as a result of your product/service)
Get all the elements down, and you have yourself a clear and concise process for marketing your product/service.
- Maintain consistency across every possible customer touch point
‘What’s a touchpoint?’ I hear you ask. Well, they’re exactly what they sound like – ways for your customer to come in direct contact with your business, and they include everything from your website to your on-hold music. Make sure they’re all easily accessible and understandable for the customer – if you completely change the look and URL of your website while in the middle of managing a possible customer, you’re going to lose the sale.
- Continue your marketing process and stay in touch with your customers and prospects until they buy or die (or take out an AVO)
Did you know that very few sales are made on the first point of contact? In fact, it takes 5 to 12 contacts to get 80% of sales. And remember to practice customer love – show the customers how much you care about them by writing thank you notes or emails, with loyalty rewards and personal service. They’re more likely to return if you outwardly show how important they are to you.
- Build your personal brand (and no, I don’t mean get some pretty, but usually very over-priced photography)
Stock photography has its place, but that’s not the face of your brand- a unique logo will show off the credibility and reliability of your business. Your business’ look should include symbols and colours that will make it easily recognisable to prospects and customers.
- Productise or service-ise your offering
Be able to offer your customer a variety of options – if you offer a service, find a product that you can offer as a sort of trial run of your business. If you sell a product, offer a service that’ll encourage customers to purchase more. For example, if you’re a clothes retailer, consider offering a styling session for your customers to help your customer figure out what clothes suit them best. If they receive that kind of help, they’ll be more likely to purchase more from your business.
- Make marketing, sales and customer service everyone in your business’ job – yes, really. That’s not to say that you should have Lucy your receptionist try her hand at design (that’s usually a really bad idea), but rather that everyone in the chain needs to understand their role in the customers’ decision to trial, support and/or stay with your product or service. If everyone understands what they need to do for the customers’ benefit, it’ll be easier to offer the best possible service to them.
If you’re serious about building your small business revenue and reaching your business goals, you might like to try 1st in business- the revenue building game – helping you develop your small business through business building activities.
Of course, if you’d like to learn more about getting your business ahead, we’d love to chat! You can always give us a call on (02) 8012 8008 or drop us a note.