Minding Your Own Business

With an increase in business closings and job losses, consumers are finding themselves spending less money and being even more picky about where they are spending it. This of course has had a negative effect on many business owners and their bottom line. Here are seven quick strategies any business owner can begin implementing immediately in order to help them weather the economic storm.

1. Before you even begin to think about how you can get new customers in your door, it is important that you focus on keeping the ones you already have. A majority of consumers who are unhappy with your products or service typically won’t tell you, they will simply find a different business to patronize. It costs 6 times more money to gain a new customer as it does to keep the one you already have. With that being said, you want to make sure you are taking care of the customers you already have with exceptional service because as the saying goes: “you never miss your water till your well runs dry.”

2. Another great way to really take care of your current customers and keep them coming back is to remember them on their special day. So what day is that exactly? Their birthday of course. Nothing says I appreciate your business more, than receiving a special gift or discount on your birthday.

3. Follow up with your customers frequently so that your business is constantly in their mind. You can follow up and stay in contact with them via email, text messaging, and post cards to name a few. By using any one of these forms of communication you can keep your customers up to speed with any special offers or discounts that you may have.

4. Get social with your current customers as well as potential customers through the use of social media. These last 5 years has seen an explosion of a multitude of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Meet Up just to name a few. More businesses are using these platforms to engage current customers and reach out to potential customers faster, and hopefully you are doing the same.

5. Well it’s no secret that the phone book is dead, since over 80% of people begin their search for a product or service online. Ten years ago I can remember keeping a phonebook in my car in case I needed to quickly look up a business. Nowadays with the growth of smartphones, phonebooks have become obsolete. More and more consumers are turning to their cell phones, home computers, and laptops to perform these online searches, which is why it’s so important to make sure that they can find you when they are looking for you. This can be done by optimizing your website for the major search engines, making sure your website is mobile ready, and also by making sure your business shows up on local online search listings such as Google Places.

6. Batman and Robin as well as The Lone Ranger and Tonto are two examples of great partners who worked well together. Why not reach out to other non-competing businesses in your area who share the same customer base as you and form partnerships with them where you are able to share your customer base with them and they are able to share theirs with you. For example if three related businesses were to partner together to offer each other’s customers deals from all partnering businesses, then that would of course expose your business to three times as many potential customers than you started with. Of course, more potential customers in your door will equal more potential dollars in your pocket.

7. Reward your customers for choosing your business over your competitor’s. Remember that you are probably not the only game in town so it is important that you give your customers a reason for continuing to come back for more of what you have to offer. Why not create a loyalty program that rewards them for patronizing your business. For example there is a well known coffee shop which gives out a reward card and stamps it every time you purchase a coffee from them. Once you have a certain amount stamped then you get a free cup of coffee. They have given their customers a reason to keep coming back and spending money with them and so should you.

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