As a small business owner, the New Year usually brings a renewed focus and determination for this year to be your best ever. But as we move through the first few weeks, this can fade, old routines creep back in and our positive mental attitude dwindles. Use these ten steps as a prompt and mental boost to attracting more customers and earning more money this year.
Target new customers – It is important not to rely on the same customers year after year, particularly if you have a handful that make up the majority of your revenue. So review your database and see if there are any other sectors you could target or even competitors of existing customers that you have not yet approached. Draw up a list of prospects and approach them with a specific offer. Keep doing this on a regular basis and track progress to see what is working well or what needs refining.
Call past customers – Do you keep in regular contact with all of your past customers? Even if the work you provided was at the time, a one off, it is worth contacting them again. You may be offering new or additional services they will be interested in or things may have changed for them, which provides an opportunity for you. Your previous customers have bought from you because they recognise the value you provide, so the hard work is already done.
Promote yourself online – Have a review of the content of your website to ensure your offering is clear to customers. Linked In and Facebook are powerful marketing tools that can help you attract and retain customers. If in doubt, there are many good workshops and courses available to help you get the most out of social media and dispel any hesitation you may have.
Get out there and network – There are not many businesses that could not benefit from attending some specific networking groups and they really are quite welcoming! The key is to do a bit of research to ensure that the ones you attend will have the right people going to it, your potential customers. So for example, if your target customers is in the construction industry then find these groups to attend, rather than a local group that will attract too wide a range of businesses.
It’s all about the process – When trying to attract new clients, it really is about focusing on the process of getting them, rather than worrying about the end result. Have a plan of consistent targeting, speaking to people and telling your target market what you do. The more prospective customers that know about the value you can bring, the more likely it is that some of them will want to talk to you further.
Partner up for a joint marketing campaign – Have a look through your contacts to see if there is anyone that you could team up with. Who do you know with complimentary services or products? You can team up on a joint promotional campaign to offer several benefits to your target prospects. This helps to share the costs, give a fresh approach, provides you with a boost of motivation and the possibility to market to a wider database of prospects.
Get doing some talks – With the host of groups, meetings, associations and networking events, there is every opportunity for you to share some knowledge and your expertise by providing a talk. This does not have to mean you standing up for 2 hours; it could be a 10 – 20 minutes speaker slot. It does not mean that you have to ‘sell’ either. Sharing your knowledge, informing people of news in your industry or providing a verbal case study are all great ways to indirectly promote yourself to potential new customers.
Have a business plan – All businesses should have a plan, even if it is just to state whom you want to do business with this year, what you will be offering and how you will go about doing it. Have some goals and targets built in so that you remain focused and keep on track. A business plan will help you to keep moving your business forward and ensure that you can monitor progress.
Talk to the press – I accept that it is not always easy to actually get things published – which it the aim of talking to press contacts. However, if you do not try and do not submit material, they will never be able to consider publishing your work. Draw up a list of the right publications for your business and give them a call. Ask them for examples and discuss what they might be interested in for their publication, and remember…they are always looking for content as this is what keeps the publication fresh, people subscribing to it and advertisers spending money!
Consider external knowledge – If you are struggling with an aspect of moving your business forward, get some help. You may struggle with calling prospects, writing good copy or getting started with a plan of action. There is so much help out there and it does not need to be a huge investment. A half-day workshop or course may be all you need to help you get started.