Client care (also known as customer service) is a hot topic that can make or break your business.
Buyers have little patience for poor client care.
They will quickly get tired of waiting while trying to talk to a live person when they call.
They will get irritated if they have to go through an interrogation when they speak to someone to return something.
They may hang-up or disengage if it’s challenging to communicate clearly due to a language barrier.
If you provide clients with a simple, efficient, pleasant experience, they will revisit your business over and over.
More importantly, happy clients spread the good news and will tell everyone they know about your business.
Clent care starts with knowing what YOU want. How do you want your small business to be seen in the marketplace?
You are the visionary for the future of your business. Creating a clearly defined plan for your business that includes client care is essential to your long term growth.
Here are three main client care goals to consider:
- Make it easy for your clients to do business with you. You can do this with advertised specials, direct to client online interaction, clear instructions on your website, and other technology-based programs that make it easy for a client to engage with your business.
- Doing business with you needs to be a warm and pleasant experience. Your staff must be knowledgeable, approachable, understanding, and patient. Your clients need to feel like they are getting value for their time and money. Perceived value goes beyond the price of products or services and extends to their buying and service delivery experiences.
- Ask yourself, “How can I afford NOT to offer amazing client care?” Client care should not be a question of expense, but instead value and client experience.
Now that you know what you want to achieve, you can create a strategic plan to reach the client care goals you created for your business.
With your client care goals in mind consider these steps when deciding on the programs and standards you’ll put into place.
- Share your client care vision with the rest of your staff.
- Connect incentive programs and bonuses directly to client care.
- Monitor the level of client care your staff is putting out.
- Know what’s important to your clients. Always consider their wants.
- Continuously review your client care goals. Add to them and make revisions as you update client profiles.
If you’re having a hard time deciding on what you want, the tools, resources, and training in our GUIDED TOUR can help you define your wants and needs in relation to creating your client care program.
We’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment and let us know what you thought about these ideas.
Be sure to ask any questions you may have. We’re always happy to reply.
Whenever I look at business development, I always like to focus on the three keys that are the foundation of all business development programs.
The goal is for you to put a structure in place to build a solid foundation.
There are three main areas of business development:
When done well, these three areas will help you build a solid foundation for your business.
Let’s look at each one of these areas in-depth:
Innovation, putting ideas into action
Innovation should not be confused with creativity, which is the expression of ideas.
Innovation is taking these ideas and putting them into action.
Innovation is where a large amount of your focus should be in the beginning, and even throughout your business’ entire lifespan.
Quantification, establishing the value of innovation
Quantification refers to the numbers. We are talking about the value of your innovation.
The best way to gauge this is by your client’s response.
Look to positive responses for what you are doing right and keep doing it.
Look to negative responses to find out what you’re doing wrong and fix it.
Quantifying both positive and negative responses will enable you to keep growing and progressing with the needs of your clients and business climate.
Orchestration, focus and create stand-out ideas
Once you’ve had a chance to find what areas are working, you can narrow down those areas and concentrate on making them stand out ideas.
You shift your focus here to get the most out of your business and to meet the needs of your clients.
We can help you work through these three areas to put together a franchise prototype for your business during a GUIDED TOUR.
In the next few blog posts, I’m going to transition to the 7 specific areas you need to consider in your franchise prototype process:
- Primary Aim
- Strategic Objectives
- Organizational Strategy
- Management Strategy
- People Strategy
- Marketing Strategy
- Systems Strategy
These 7 areas will fine turn your plan for the ultimate level of success. Stay tuned and check back often.
The small business lifecycle is essential to understand because effectively navigating it will expand the life of any small business.
The small business life cycle is the component that allows you, as the business owner, to achieve your greatest small business goals.
There are four different stages of the small business life cycle. They are:
- Growing Pains
We’ll talk a little about what each of these cycles means and how they can each help expand the life of your small business.
Stage One: Infancy
Infancy is generally considered the craft or technician phase, where you, the owner, is birthing the business.
At this point, the relationship between your business and you, as the owner, is that of a parent and new baby. There is an impenetrable bond that is necessary to determine the path your business will follow.
The key is to know that your business must grow to flourish. You cannot stay in the infancy stage forever.
Stage Two: Adolescence
In this stage, you need to start bringing your support staff together to delegate to and allow growth to happen.
The first step in adolescence is hiring a technical person so they can bring a needed level of specialized experience.
During the adolescence stage, you become a leader and manager. Adolescence is where team building and planning needs to start.
A relationship should be built between you as the business owner and newly acquired team members to foster growth and plan for the future.
Stage Three: Growing Pains
There’s a point in every business when a business expands and becomes chaotic.
Growing pains is the stage where challenges frequently arise causing the business to seem out of control.
While more clients and revenue can be a “good problem” to have, it is still a problem nonetheless.
In this stage, you are faced with several critical choices. You can:
- Avoid growth and stay small
- Go broke and give up
- Push forward into the next cycle
Many small business owners give up during the growing pains cycle. This accounts for the high failure rates of small businesses today.
Stage Four: Maturity
The last business life cycle stage is maturity. This does not mean the end of your business, however, at this stage, some business owners think about selling their successful business.
Your passion for growth must continue for your business to get to the seven-figure level you likely aspire to reach.
One challenge with maturity is that many business owners tend to coast along in this stage.
The best advice is to keep your entrepreneurial fire burning so you can push your business forward and realize your highest business goals.
Remember that all four of the small business life cycles are connected
As you go through the four key small business life cycle stages it’s vital that one supports, then builds upon the other as you move your business through each one.
If you have questions, we have answers
If you have questions on which stage your business is today or how to navigate the often challenging waters of growth, take our GUIDED TOUR.
Or ask Bill a question to get the answers and perspectives you need to reach your long-term small business goals.
Advertising and marketing are areas where there is always confusion. The reason for the confusion is there is so much information available and much of it is conflicting.
It makes any small business owner wonder, “Who should I listen to and what should I do to promote my small business?”
Today we’ll look at how the “kings of industry” use adverting and marketing to wine, dine, and otherwise entice prospects.
Most successful small business professionals use a series of information-based promotions that build emotion and include a call to action.
This type of marketing is more effective than standard company branding.
The same principles that go into putting together a high impact (and, often, high priced) advertising and marketing campaign can be adapted to fit your promotional needs with similar results.
Here are 30-ideas on how to put together and execute a professional, effective advertising and marketing campaign:
- Put together a short report that’ll you’ll automatically send to prospects when they contact you. Your report should include a brief description of your business and your specialty. Don’t forget to include case studies, samples, or other proof of your success.
- Develop value-oriented yellow page ads.
- Consider weekly or monthly newsletters as a way of educating and informing customers about your industry and services offered.
- Offer a free seminar, webinar, or lecture to build awareness of your business. It’s important to ensure that sure you make the information pertinent to your target market and find speakers who are respected and known in the industry.
- Buy an existing business, introduce better marketing, and grow this new business faster than a “from scratch: business.
- Always test different versions of your ads and marketing materials to find the most effective ones.
- Use direct mail marketing to grow your business.
- Put together a database of previous customers and send them new information.
- Offer incentives such as frequent purchasing benefits, loyalty programs, or referral programs, for example.
- Approach large firms who may need your services. Then negotiate a deal to become their exclusive expert in your field.
- Offer a 24-hour information line with a regularly updated recorded message. Make this available to all past and future clients.
- Donate time or materials to local charities to show support in your area.
- Offer free “clinic” for the general public and discuss the questions that are likely on their mind related to your business.
- Organize seminars that your clients can pay to attend by putting together a high-perception value package.
- Approach local newspapers and offer to write a weekly column about your area of expertise. Don’t ask for money, just a byline and bio.
- Develop a weekend or destination seminar for clients. Not only does this give you an action-packed weekend with your valuable clients, but it also gives them a tax-deductible business adventure that they won’t soon forget.
- Take a seminar and turn it into written form as a home study course, membership site program, audio, or video training program.
- Approach large companies and offer to give seminars to their employees, investors, or management team.
- Be proactive with your marketing.
- Barter for your advertising. Offer products or services instead of payment.
- Be willing to bring in new clients at an initial loss. It will likely pay off later through the client’s lifetime value to your business.
- Regulate your marketing budget to maximize the potential income to hit the next year and try to push back advertising costs for the next year to offset your expenses.
- Make offers to target market or target market businesses to pay them for referrals or shared databases.
- Offer loaner products to replace equipment that’s been repaired or refurbished.
- Give away something free to everyone who brings in a print version of your advertisement. Free offers within ads are a great way to see which advertisements are giving you the most bang for your advertising buck.
- Continually consider what new products or services you can offer to current clients.
- Develop an online order division of your company.
- Offer a proposition to your competitors to trade prospects that you were both unsuccessful in securing as clients.
- Use different marketing tactics as an excuse to attract your clients with new offers and goodies.
- Offer a “you-choose-the-price” program. You-choose-the-price is especially suitable for products you can’t seem to sell.
So, there are 30 great ways to market to other professionals and businesses.
Some other great ways to get your name out there for little or no cost are:
- Get involved in your community. Volunteer your time, donate to local events, and become a contributor to the community.
- Join your local Chamber of Commerce and attend networking events and other activities throughout the year.
- Join local, state or regional professional associates for further your networking opportunities.
- Become a board member of a local organization.
Advertising should never be your only method of marketing; there is a myriad of ways to get your name out there in a way that feels personal to your potential clients.
“My definition of marketing is simple—it’s all about educating the marketplace that your business can solve problems, fill voids, or achieve opportunities and goals the way no other business can.”
~ Jay Abraham
If you’re not sure how to make your advertising and marketing and advertising powerful, effective and profitable our GUIDED TOUR can help.
Discover the tools and resources that can boost your business to the next level and beyond.
PR offers small businesses a key to free publicity. The only cost is your time and energy to use this effective marketing channel.
There are 4-key public relations steps that you can take to boost your advertising results ten-fold over your paid advertising.
With a solid plan in place that encompasses all four steps, you’ll have a solid approach to use public relations in the best way possible.
Public relations include all the media, both offline and online.
Don’t limit yourself. The attention of newspapers, television, radio, magazines, bloggers, and ezines are all equally powerful. Online marketing is just as (if not more) important as conventional media.
Here are the steps to get noticed by the media:
- Put together a press release for your company. The press release should be relevant to your niche and address target market interests; not just announce your business.
- Create your press release to include one hook and one angle. Choose the most attention-getting hook and angle to ensure the media person you are sending it to will have an interest in reading it.
- Format your press release professionally. A suitably formatted press release will include a dateline, the most important information at the top, then facts, figures, and a wrap up with contact details, including who to contact for more information and how. Print the press release on your letterhead if you send it by mail or email it from your primary company email address.
- Send your press release to all television and radio stations, local and metro newspapers, national newspapers, industry magazines, and any other form of media that reaches your target market. Don’t forget to include relevant blogs, ezines, press release submission sites, and industry professionals.
It’s more important to make sure you address the needs of your target market rather than have a perfect press release.
If you provide people with a solution to a problem, a way to avoid a problem, and an opportunity to enhance their life the media and public will be interested.
If you have a connection (or the ability to get a connection) with a celebrity, this can practically guarantee you’ll get attention.
“One of the most powerful techniques every business should use is free publicity. As the name implies, there is no cost, just the time and effort required to attract attention to your business.”
~ Jay Abraham
The Creative Thinking for Business Online Learning GUIDED TOUR can show you how to put together press releases that work! Check out how the pro’s do it and craft the perfect press releases for your business.