Top 7 Connections Your Business Can't Do Without
By Kate Marsden
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More than ever before, being connected is critical to business these days. You cant operate in isolation and the range of places and people you need to connect with is growing all the time. If you are looking for improve your business, think about these connections and how well you are doing. Are you really connecting to:
- Your current customers?
How often do you communicate with your customers and prospects? If you arent at the top of their minds, the chances are your competitors might be. A lot of sales and repeat business is about being in the right place at the time, so your business needs to pop up frequently to hit that chance. It's better to over-communicate than under-communicate, as long as its with some decent content.
- Your old customers?
Nearly all business people know that they should keep in contact with old customers and clients, but many of them never do - or the contact is so infrequent it doesn't work. If someone has bought from you once they are far more likely to do it again - but it is up to you to keep reminding them that you are there. Make sure you dont spend longer trying to cold-sell to new customers than you do keeping in contact with old customers.
- Your customers connections?
One of the easiest and quickest ways to get new customers is to get referrals from your current ones. But far too many businesses never tap into this easy way to boost your profits. When was the last time you asked your customers if there was anyone else they know who might be interested in your services? Be prepared to offer an incentive if someone gets referred by another customer - as long as you can still make good profits, why do you care if they get something for bringing people to you that wouldnt otherwise come to your business. 50% of something is always better than 100% of nothing.
- Potential partners?
Partnerships and joint ventures can dramatically shift your business scale and reach. Whoever your customers are, there will be other people already providing services and products to them that could be complementary to what you do. Look for organisations where the partnership would be a win-win situation, rather than simply helping one party or the other. Start simple and do some informal partnership-work with another business. If that is successful you can gradually add to it and formalize the process, but if not you can quickly back out and move on to someone else
- Your Networks?
I find people often fall into 2 camps they avoid networking like the plague, or they do it so much they have forgotten that they have a real job to do. Think about why you are networking, what you are trying to achieve and how you will know if its working for your business. Think carefully about where to network - the chances are your customers may not hang out at networking events so you need to get more creative about being where they are.
- Your staff?
Many business leaders think they know what their staff really think and feel about their business, but in most businesses there is a gap between what the owners think is reality and the true reality. It can be really frustrating that even when you ask the question, the answers you get are screened in some way. Talk to staff directly, on their turf. Encourage them to be creative with ideas and allow criticism without being negative back.
- The Wider world?
If your business feels like its a bit stuck, the best thing you can do is lift your head up from the business and open your eyes to what is around you. Youve probably heard the expression If you do what youve always done, youll get what youve always got. Bear that in mind with your business and start to open your eyes to what is going on around you. Its amazing how much time is spent looking internally and not at the outside world. The competition and customers are outside not inside your business get your focus on them instead of what is going on internally. Look around you all the time for what is going on now and for what is starting to change for the future. And keep your eyes open for help there is a ton of support out there for small businesses sometimes you just have to connect to it.
Want help improving your profits and growing your Small Business? FREE reports to help Small Business Owners learn what really makes some Small Businesses successful- and how that can help your business. Download instantly for fast profit results! Kate Marsden is The Profit Mechanic and gives resources, tools and support to Small Business Owners to improve their profits. Read more about The Profit Mechanic here.
Article Submitted On: June 13, 2013