Undeniably, customers are at the heart of every business and you need to keep on acquiring new ones to keep your business afloat. It doesn’t matter what you do, you may be a consulting firm or a bakery or a real estate agent, your business needs new customers. They not only provide increased access to finance but also help in boosting business growth.
However, it is easier said than done. In the competitive business world of today, you certainly need that extra edge over competitors to be able to draw in new customers. Here are 5 essential tips to get new customers and stay on top of the game –
1. Make it easy for customers to find you
Have you been complaining about how you just can’t seem to get new customers? Well, think for a second – is your business easy to find? It doesn’t matter how great your services are or how amazing your product is, it all boils down to the fact that are you visible to potential customers or not. Increase your online presence; put a digital marketing plan in place, make use of online directories as well. Make sure that you put yourself in front of your potential customers. Visibility is the Key to Credibility which leads to profitability.
2. Leverage your existing network
Try to put your existing network to use when it comes to getting more customers. Request your old customers to provide a referral; these could be the strongest leads for your business. Make efforts to network within your target market. For example, if you run a bakery business then join local baking groups, online baking communities and more. Then leverage this network to increase your customer base. Why not look up your local Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and join their networking events?
3. Speak at events and exhibits (or host one)
Sign up for speaking at events, exhibits and meet-ups within your target market. This is the best place to put your business out there, in front of your potential customers. If there are not many relevant events, then maybe you could host one? It would be the best chance to connect with your target market.
4. See whether free trials work for you
People don’t buy what they see or hear, they buy what they experience for themselves. If you can provide a free trial of your product or service, then advertise the same. If a complete free trial is not viable for your business then you could offer a small sample for free. This is a proven way to gain new customers; ones that are more likely to turn into regular clients. This isn’t proposing offering a free service as part of your accessing the market. It also works better for some businesses than others and can be built into your model in a positive manner.
5. Run a referral program
Referrals are often undermined whereas they should be treated like gold. Plan and put in place a referral program which mutually benefits everyone. For example, ask your customers to refer a new customer and both of them could get x% off on the next order. Overtime, you will have a good number of new customers coming in from your referral program itself.
If you would like to talk to an expert about acquiring new customers, then connect with the top business adviser in Romford, RBSS Consulting on 0333 355 1696 or drop an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We provide real business improvement strategies and also offer business start-up plans for small businesses.
The type of finance you choose will depend on what sort of business you are setting up, how much capital you need and what you will use it for. For example, you could:
Use your own savings or personal borrowings to get the business underway, especially if you can’t get finance or investment from external sources.
Borrow money from family or friends. But be careful. It is often hard for them to say no, but what happens if the business fails? How would you pay back their money? What strain would that put on your relationship. Are they ending you the money, or investing in a share of your business? Remember to put things in writing.
Borrow from a bank if you have a credible business plan and can offer some security. If your business is seasonal in its cash flow, it’s essential to be able to clearly illustrate these to your bank so you can plan an overdraft. Many businesses use overdrafts for day-to-day borrowing and to manage cash flow, and loans for long-. You may want to use funding to finance large purchases such as equipment. When considering bank finance, it is generally a good idea to take professional advice from your accountant or business adviser.
Can you secure outside investors? Perhaps you are willing to sell shares to business angels or venture capitalists. This can provide short-term finance without the need for repayment. Having investors can also bring in additional business expertise. When you hand over shares to investors it is likely that they may want some control over its management.
Do you qualify for a grant? Grants or government supports can offer cheap financing, and often come with business advice or consultancy. However, there is usually a lot of competition for grant schemes, and you will invariably need to meet various criteria first.
For those unable to get bank finance, you could consider commercial lenders – such as insurance companies and building societies. These tend to have lower interest rates. However, commercial lenders are also subject to fewer regulations than banks and so you may have to provide some security in order to obtain funding.
Consider crowd funding – also known as crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, crowd financing, equity crowdfunding, or hyper funding) describes the collective effort of individuals who network and pool their resources to support efforts initiated by other people or companies. Crowdfunding is used in support of a wide variety of activities, including disaster relief, support of artists by fans, political campaigns, start-up company funding, or free software development, inventions development and scientific research. Crowdfunding can also refer to the financing of a company by selling small amounts of shares to many investors.
Most businesses use a mixture of finance sources. For example, you might invest your own money to cover market research, bring in outside investors to share the risk and borrow from the bank to purchase equipment and machinery.
All of this can be confusing and overwhelming, so it is advisable to speak to a business consultant first. Our Romford-based team at RBSS Consulting can be reached on 0333 355 1696 or by email at email@example.com.
If you’re serious about your business you will have to resign from your day job at some point. Making this decision is like jumping out of a plane. At first, you are eager to put on the parachute and get up in the air, the idea of free falling on your own is exciting.
You are now several thousand feet up in the air, with your feet hanging out of the plane. Then the question come into your mind. Is it safe? Am I ready? Should I wait? But if you wait too long the moment might pass completely.
The first thing you should do is double-check your business plan. Has it covered everything? Do your finances make sense? Do you have accurate financial projection? Do you have a marketing strategy? What about staff, equipment, premises? All of these things need to be considered and you need to be confident in your plan.
Next, are you sure that your product or service will work? Make sure that you have sufficient market research and that it is something the public want and need. Are they willing to spend money on your product or service?
Most importantly, can you financially afford to give up your job to focus on your business? So many people think that the reason their business isn’t doing as well as they expected is because they don’t have enough time to put into it. Make sure this is the real reason it’s not doing so well and it’s not just that the business really is viable.
Think ahead. It’s likely that your business will take longer than you expect to become profitable, make sure you are financially secure enough to cope with it. So before quitting your job, perhaps see if there is the option of part-time, freelance or contract work with your employer – an arrangement that will give you far greater flexibility and won’t tie you down, but will still give you some regular income. Alternatively, are there other sources of funding you can fall back on? Can you release equity from a home? Can a partner’s income cover over both of your financial needs? Do you have savings?
Before taking the plunge, it is well worth investing time and money with an experienced business advisor. They can really help you to ensure you have considered everything and bring experience and knowledge to help make the right choice for you. Remember that quitting your job will put an enormous amount of pressure on your new business to succeed. It might not be ready for that. You might not be ready for that.
Give RBSS Consulting based in Romford, Essex a call on 0333 355 1696 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are many reasons for business failure. From poor management and not following the business plan, to bad market research, to poor marketing strategies - the list goes on. From the outside, it can be easy to spot what someone isn’t doing right, but when you’re on the inside it’s not so easy to see the mistakes being made, even when you’re the one making them. Below we look at three common business mistake to avoid that could save your business from going under.
1. Bad financial management
All too often, businesses find themselves running out of money. Cash flow is key for all businesses. How this happens usually falls into one of these categories:
2. Bad customer service
It’s surprising how many businesses have bad customer service. Remember that without any customers, you wouldn’t have any business. Giving good customer services doesn’t have to be hard or expensive. Listen to your customers if they complain and put it right quickly. Ensure that it doesn’t happen again. Word of mouth can spread all too quickly and it can have devastating effects on a business.
3. Not joining the digital revolution
It’s hard to think of anyone not being active in digital these days as it is prevalent. As a business consultant, I see all too many businesses still avoiding digital. Society spends more time than ever on their screens, be it a phone, tablet or laptop. There is no getting away from it, the digital age is here and one of the biggest mistakes that you can make is to ignore it. Now more than ever you must have an efficient website, that it is mobile and SEO friendly. You need to be active on social media and posting regularly. If this is not part of your expertise, don’t hesitate to seek advice from a professional.
Running a business is a continuous learning curve. We all make mistakes. But acting quickly and making necessary changes can determine the future of your business. Having someone to get business advice from and bounce ideas off, like a business adviser, can be incredibly helpful.
At RBSS Consulting we help start-up, small and larger businesses through their development stages. If you need external business advice give us a call today on 0333 355 1696.