Marketing seems to be a weakness of most business owners. We are great at our core business, but when faced with a myriad of marketing options in today’s digital world, it’s often easier to do nothing at all.
Marketing needs vary based on the point you are at in your business cycle. In the early stages of my company, I needed to grow, but didn’t have the funds or resources to do much marketing.
But the techniques I put in place were so successful that I continue to use and share these methods today.
Here are a few seeds you can plant for your business:
What else can I do for you? With this question, everyone wins. Asking builds strong client relationships because it gives clients the opportunity to share new ideas that you can expand upon.
You get exponential growth from a single idea, and if widely accepted, the solution becomes part of your standard offering. The client who was the catalyst for the solution takes pride in having been part of a solution that is monetized, and thus the relationship is further strengthened.
I even ask clients for input on my internal company projects — like a new website. The customer feels like they have helped you build your company and that builds customer loyalty and retention. It’s hard to fire a vendor when they’ve helped you build your business.
Keep your competition close
Find someone in your market who is doing similar work, but focuses on slices of your business that are outside your specialty. Discuss ways that they can refer potential clients to you for your specialty and reciprocate by referring possible clients in need of their specialty.
Creating this partnership has two benefits. First, both you and your competitor now have a new product you can offer to clients and you both benefit from increased sales.
Second, you both protect your own customer base by being the source of the referral to your respective clients rather than having your clients cold-called by your competition. A strong alliance with your competitor will usually make them think twice before soliciting your customers.
Philanthropy and volunteer work
In addition to volunteering for organizations based on my personal values and passions, I learned what some of my customers were passionate about, and, if our values aligned, I joined organizations they recommended.
If you are genuine to the cause, the mutual respect between you and your like-minded customers can be invaluable. You’ll meet other business owners with whom you can form alliances and partnerships, as well as plenty of potential clients. The introductions that are made and the testimonials that are given are endless.
So the art of farming your relationships and attracting new customers rather than hunting them will not only generate revenue growth, but will also produce a more stable and protected client base that you can continue to build upon into the future. ●
Name: Laura Neubauer
Company: National Association of Women Business Owners - Orange County
Laura is a native of Orange County and the founder of 4 Every Athletes Dream, a nonprofit that supports young athletes in competitive sports.
Reach her at (714) 630-2983 or www.nawbo-oc.org
Learn more about NAWBO-OC at:
Fear is a wild emotion for many reasons. When you bring fear into business, however, it can be a distraction, handicapping your growth and blinding you from opportunity. Unlike fear in a horror movie, where you know only bad things can happen, fear in business is quite different. Those who can overcome it will often achieve great results.
When you find yourself saying, “I’m afraid,” try to determine what is really making you afraid. Is it a fear of making cold calls? Is it making contact for that big deal or asking a business alliance for help? Once you have identified the true, underlying cause of your fear, ask yourself, “What is the worst that can happen?” In most cases, you will be no worse off if you fail. But if you succeed, you will be in a much better place.
Adopt a game day face
Like a professional athlete, we need to get in a game-zone mentality. We need to think, feel and act with confidence that we will succeed. On every play, we must put ourselves out there and envision the best possible result.
Similar to the athlete who is going to make the last play of a close game where the final play will determine the outcome, his combination of skill, vision and confidence has a significant impact on how it plays out. If he doesn’t execute the play, his team will definitely lose. But if he acts confidently, his team can win — and he’s a hero. Either way, action is better than inaction.
Working on overcoming fear can be as simple as listing out all possible positive outcomes. What could the results be? How can you benefit from those results?
This technique works well in both your professional and personal life. Once you have the list, tell yourself you deserve all the positive possibilities on the list. Internalize this belief. It will help build your confidence. All of a sudden, those tasks that elicited fear become steps in the process toward achieving the positive results and successes you deserve.
When you are able to overcome fear and start completing tasks that once made you afraid, you are able to create your own opportunities. You need to be free of the emotion of fear so that you can see the choices and the opportunities in front of you.
Otherwise, you may miss an opportunity right in front of you. Or worse yet, you may miss something that needs your attention and not be able to react in time because you are being driven by fear.
Finally, you succeed in overcoming fear when you turn that negative energy into motivating energy. Conquering fear becomes a game. You are now in the zone, and anything is possible. Your confidence becomes contagious, like the athlete who can rally the crowd on the last play.
The athlete believes he can succeed, the crowd believes he can succeed and then he succeeds. The crowd goes wild. Opportunities are like that as well. Your success becomes contagious, and more and more opportunities are created for you.
Laura Neubauer is owner and president of Deliver-It, a successful overnight and scheduled delivery services company, and president of the National Association of Women Business Owners - Orange County. You can reach her at email@example.com. To learn more, visit www.deliver-it.com or www.nawbo-oc.org