Customers are the heart of all small businesses and without them the business is sure to fail. Therefore, it important that they are treated properly and you strive to build a relationship with them, to ensure you gain a loyal customer.
Here are six essential steps to consider when building a strong client base;
Whether it is via email, text, phone, newsletters, websites, social media or face-to-face it is vital that you are letting people know you exist. Let them know what your business is about and how customers can get your services or products. Why should they get them from you and not somebody else? A good tip is to share some knowledge or useful tips and tricks. Communication is also important in the aspect of replying quickly and professionally.
2. Customer Service
Go the extra mile for your clients and make their experience personal. Customers will always remember the companies that treated them well and those that treated them badly. Ensure you deliver good customer service by ensuring staff are well trained, customers are listened to and not rushed. Reply to queries complaints or emails as soon as you can. This will ensure that they will come back if they need your services again and they will recommend you to anyone they may know who needs those services; therefore, building up your client base.
3. Customer incentives
Incentives give customers a reason to come back to you rather than go to another company. This a good way to start building a client base from nothing, especially if your services are something new and not well-known yet. Having incentives like a free consultation or loyalty rewards can influence people to use your services over another companies; as they know what they are getting before they pay for the product or services. This allows them to make a decision based on what they want rather than what people have told them.
This is a great quality to have for customers. People have very busy lives these days, so it is essential that deadlines and agreements are met on time and up to standard. For example, someone may own a small office supplies company and an office may order some ink and the delivery date is next Monday but it doesn’t arrive until the Wednesday and they had ran out of ink between the date in which it was supposed to be delivered by and the actual delivery date. This could cause a customer not to want to come back to your business. The client may write a bad review online about the business, which may cause other people not to try your business. So ensure when discussing deadlines and deliveries that enough time is left for these to be met and communicate with the customer throughout to see if it suits them or if suddenly a deadline can’t be met.
5. Address customers by name
Make sure that you clearly communicate to customers that you respect them and make them feel important as they are by addressing them directly and taking time to know their names. Depending on which sector you’re in you will know whether to use Mrs, Ms or Mr, etc or their first name. This builds loyalty and builds a good relationship from the start. If you tell a customer your name they then know who they are speaking to and what they have discussed and can refer back to it if needed and be held accountable. Also customers are more likely to open up to you and will gain more trust to form the basis of a good long-term relationship.
6. Training staff
Training staff is essential to provide good customer service. Make sure that all staff have an overview of the business and can give customers answers for all aspects of the business, rather tah having to deal with too many departments for simple queries. Staff training allows the employees to feel more confident in their job role and motivated which allows for good work which leads to reliable and loyal customers, as well as staff retention.
If you want to talk it through how to improve your business in order to increase your customer base, give RBSS Consulting a call on 0333 355 1696 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We offer you real business advice and solutions for start-ups and small businesses.
Is your businesses struggling to be seen? Does it have an active presence on social media, or are you like one of the many business owners who say that they don’t have time to post regularly on social media? Do you know that social media makes a difference? These social media platforms will bring awareness to your business, organically grow your business, and one of them may even make you some extra money! By not doing so you are letting opportunities pass you by.
Most of you are familiar with Facebook, so I’m focusing on three other platform that small businesses should get to know, as they could be a real boost to your business. Although they are free, time is also money and they require an investment of time. Time well spent can generate money on the short to long run. Make it part of your wider marketing strategy, be consistent and you will get results.
Use Twitter to get your businesses noticed; especially if your competitors are using it too. By using Twitter you can begin to level out the playing field and you can have equal opportunities to show your services, products and expertise.
Twitter is a quick way to get a message across to a lot of people that you don’t personally know. For example, if you are holding an event, Twitter is a great way to spread the news fast and to an audience that you didn’t necessarily have before.
‘Retweets’ show how many people shared your tweet, this is a good way to see if people like, dislike, agree or disagree with your content. This is good for seeing what you can improve and what you should carry on doing.
Instagram is great for business that can present their products and services in a visually appealing way, for example: fashion, art, food, cars, etc.
This allows your company to create a good first impression and it also gives you the opportunity to get people interested in what you do. Instagram allows potential customers to see what service or product they will be getting before they approach your company.
When you follow people on Instagram it allows you to see what kind of content they like, this allows you to see what the competition is doing and to see what kind of things attract your target audience; this gives you ideas about how to improve your business as well. Also having followers helps because it brings your page higher up on the list when people are searching for certain things.
If you post good quality photos (which you should be doing anyway) and you post regularly, then you have the ability to attract collaborations with other companies. This spreads the word about your company faster and gives you the opportunity to earn extra revenue.
On Pinterest you can post business related pictures but unlike Instagram they don’t have to be overly aesthetically pleasing. Pictures on Pinterest just have to be eye catching and informative.
On Pinterest you can link your pictures directly to your website. This means that when people click on the image they go straight to your website. If you prefer, you can simply just post the picture and put your website in a link below. This means more people visit your website and you have a higher chance of getting more customers.
Pinterest converts browsers to buyers. This means that if someone is just looking through Pinterest they could end up visiting your website or even buying something (you can buy and sell on Pinterest too).
User engagement is high. Pinterest has a wide range of ages and they are willing to post nearly anything, because that’s what Pinterest is about and Pinterest also encourages it. The more boards your picture gets pinned to the more people will see it.
Congratulations, you own your own business. You’ve worked hard to make it sustainable. But what now? You want it to grow and still want to make a profit? So how do you do it successfully, without spending a fortune? Here are some tips to consider about how to grow your business profitably.
Profitable Business Growth Tips
Manage your costs
The most important thing to do is to manage your finances. Whilst you are trying to grow your business, you should make sure you are not spending money unnecessarily. Look at your spending, is there anything that you can cut back on or cut out completely? Are you getting the best deal from your suppliers, go back to each of them and ask them if they are able to make any reductions. Do you own or rent premises? Are you using this space efficiently? Are your processes efficient. Is there anything that you could streamline? How about your labour costs? Not only look at staff costs, but also think about effectiveness, materials etc. Are there energy savings that you could make?
Are you ready for expansion?
Is the product or service you sell ready for expansion? Something that works really well at one level, may not work model on a bigger level. Do you have the right systems in place to scale up? Have you thought about what being bigger looks like? Have you thought about any hurdles that you may face when things take off? Try to plan for these changes in advance by building it into your plan. By not doing so may incur unforeseen costs, which would be counterproductive.
Once you are sure it will be worth expanding look around the market. Who will your new customers be? How much will they pay for what you are offering? Review your prices and compare your products and services against your competitors. How will your customers by from you? Will you expand your online services? Introduce new methods like delivery?
Can you upsell or cross sell to your existing customers?
The Pareto principle, also known as the 80/20 rule whereby 80% of your profits come from 20% of your products/ services, usually also applies to customers. So could you focus more on your profitable customers to push sales? Think about upselling and cross-selling. Do you have the right team in place to do this?
How will your new customers know what you have to offer? Ensure a solid marketing plan is in place, depending on your budget.
Getting advice is one of the best things to do, whether it be bouncing ideas off someone or listening to financial advice. It can help give you the confidence to grow your business profitably. If you would like to speak to a business advisor at RBSS Consulting. Give us a call on 0333 355 1696.
Many businesses reach a point of sustainability with regular income and want to take the next step for growth, but safely. Businesses in debt can often make bad choices because they don’t think they have any other options. At RBSS, our business consultants often get asked the question ‘how do I grow my business without debt?’ We help clients with this situation regularly enjoy creating strategies to help businesses thrive. Although debt can provide businesses with the capital they need to grow, it can sometimes be a risky option and it’s not for everyone. So how do you grow your business without incurring debt?
All business plans, when created with budgets and forecasts, should have at least thought about the idea of expansion. Ideally at the end of each business year there are profits that can be reinvested into the company or put aside for when the need arises. If you are not in that position, there has to be other options.
There are ways to make the most of what you have and grow your business without getting into debt. Let’s explore the options:
Grow with your business
As mentioned earlier, you can choose to grow with your business; where you invest your previous profits to grow your business. You grow as fast as your sales do. This might be a slow process though and you might hit a point where you need to expand to survive and don’t have the money. That leaves you with a difficult decision to make. Having a business mentor can help considerably to help develop your ideas.
Equity funding, or angel investors, means that you get investors for your company who provide you with a lump sum of money. However, this option means that you are giving someone else shares in your business and that you won’t have full control. This is not for everyone.
Factoring, also known as accounts receivable financing, is where a business sells its invoices, or receivables, to a third-party financial company known as a ‘factor.’ The factor then collects payment on those invoices from the business’s customers.
The main reason that companies choose to factor is that they want to receive cash quickly on their receivables, rather than waiting the 30 to 60 days it often takes a customer to pay. Factoring allows companies to quickly build up their cash flow. This is a great way to get money faster than you normally would have done, allowing you to keep the business moving.
Other options include government backed schemes. If you are eligible you might be able to get financial support from one of these schemes.
For a consultation with one of the business advisers at RBSS, to see how we can help you grow your business, call 0333 355 1696 or email email@example.com
As a business, if you don’t grow or aim to grow, the business becomes stagnant, stale, just surviving and if not careful it can become irrelevant. That may seem hash, but it’s true. Having said that, some businesses want to remain small or the size they are and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, as long as they continue to reinvent, refresh and innovate and check themselves.
Talk about innovation in small businesses to small business owners and they say it’s for the big guys. That’s being small minded. In today’s economy, the plumber, the dog walker, high street chains and big corporates could all do with some innovation. Size does not matter. Innovation is not about doing things better, improvements, or reinventing the wheel, it’s about doing something different, introducing new things or methods. Sometimes a small change or tweak can have incredible impact.
Innovation doesn’t necessarily have to mean technology or inventing the next game-changer like Steve Jobs did. It could be a change in process making something more streamlined. Think customer service, think about methods of operation, think about value chains, etc. Easyjet recently introduced hands free travel, meaning that your hand luggage is taken to the gate for you, as well as check in from home. Now not every customer is going to take this service up but imagine a world where there was no more bag drops at the airport, but that they came to your door. That would make it more feasible to travel by public transport to the airport rather than parking your car – saving you that cost. What I’m not sure is if they drop your luggage home at the end of the trip…if they don’t perhaps they could…
That’s the sort of mind set that you need to move into. Think about the bug bears your customers face. Can you provide a solution? Be persistent and consistent in building that culture and you will discover something.
If you have come up with a great idea and want an independent business advisor to think all the aspects through with you, the team at RBSS Consulting would love to help you through that. We guarantee good business advice - we deliver real business solutions.
Contact RBSS Consulting at 0333 355 1696 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.