Eight Makes Great! Strategies to build your business.
Whether you are just starting out or a seasoned business, success comes with a plan. Large or small if we fail to plan… any plan will fail. Follow these basic strategies and watch your business grow!
1. Focus-Decide what business you want and define it in detail.
If you don’t know who you want as a customer how will you know where to look? Write down exactly who you want as customers. Type of business, size, customer base, location…the better your description the better chance you will have of identifying how to market to them. Maybe your customer base is individuals rather than other businesses. What age, income, education or personal interests reflect your target customer? This is the first step towards building your business, knowing who your customer is.
2. Research-Find out all about your market and your competitors. Be specific as to what you want to know.
More homework! Now that you know what business you want, now you need to know what your competition is. How can you recommend your product or service unless you know how it compares in your market? Research your industry, its standards and what your customer really wants. How do you do this? Ask. Make in person calls to competitors and ask your customers just what is important to them. Conduct a focus group. Collect as much information as you can online. Contact the Small Business Development Center in you area. Be prepared.
3. Development of your value proposition. What do you really have to offer? Why should a company do business with you?
This is essential. Every person representing your company needs to have their “elevator speech” so ingrained in their mind that their response is automatic. Why should someone do business with you? What do you offer that’s unique? What is the value to them? How do you differentiate yourself in your marketplace? What makes you special?
4. Advertising-How do you communicate who you are and what you have?
Advertising is essential. Do you have a brand? How does the customer recognize your business? How do you communicate to the public what your business stands for and what you offer. Remember that perceptions are everything. The image or brand that you project is the first thing they see and becomes their first impression-positive or negative. Make sure you put forth a professional image. Advertising can be expensive, but you cannot afford to send the wrong message.
5. Public Relations-Third party recommendations.
Your best salesperson is a happy customer! What are your customers saying about you? Published testimonials are a valuable component in growing your business. I was impressed while waiting for my car to be repaired to read letters from satisfied customers posted on the walls of the waiting area. What I was also impressed with was seeing a complaint letter (they happen) which was accompanied by a response from the dealership apologizing and informing the customer of what action had been taken to correct the problem. Testimonials and sound public relations build businesses.
6. Human Resources-What people do you need to hire?
How will you train and support them? Do you have the right people in the right positions? Do you have sufficient staffing to ensure that your service standards are delivered consistently? The people you hire can make or break any business. It’s all about service. One of my more popular programs is “If you can’t smile-then don’t open the door!” Excellent service comes from excellent employees. Hire for attitude-train for skill.
7. Sales-How do you sell your products, communicate your message, and develop your relationships?
What are your strategies for sales? Do you have a plan? Do you have a sales force? What image do they project? How are they measured and managed? Do you have a sales training program? So many questions but each one is a measurement towards your success.
8. Customer relationship management-your delivery systems, technology, and front line contact standards.
How do you track your calls and measure your success. How often do you follow up and in what method? Is it working? “Follow up separates the amateurs from the professionals!” Are you keeping up with technology and utilizing automated programs that save time and improve efficiency? Do you have a data base to ensure future business and generate referrals? These will be the foundation for future business.
Follow these steps, answer these questions and grow your business.
Happy sales to you…..
Call Lynn at 360 733-6557 or email her at email@example.com
She will gladly help you with your sales success through individual sales coaching, classroom training or custom designed programs.