“Find something you love to do, and you’ll never work a day in your life”
– Harvey MacKay
- I get to learn something new every day
- I am blessed to work with a variety of talented, dedicated and passionate people
- I am blessed to be able to “fill in some gaps” where small business owners need it
- I am blessed to take my 20+ years experience and help entrepreneurs
- I am blessed to have passion for what I do and I love doing it!
Tell me what you do and why you love doing it!
If you fail to foster the growth of prospect relationships now you won’t have anyone to call on when your well dries up.
It is mission critical to dedicate all the time needed to properly serve your current customers. This is a good business decision and is expected by your clients. As a small business owner your plate is already full. It is easy to minimize the importance of creating and building new relationships simply because there seems to be no time to do it.
This could be a grave mistake. If you don’t keep new customers coming through the door you may one day find yourself without any new ones. Depending on what product or service you sell, not fostering the growth of new relationships could dampen the success of your company.
I said most of this in a previous post. Some things bear repeating.
Still Fostering Growth…
Merriam- Webster says to cultivate is “to foster the growth of…”
I was talking with a client of mine today about a new client she just brought on board. Her exact quote was “it takes time to cultivate these relationships. I have been talking with this person for six months and just now he is sending business my way.”
Fostering the growth of (or cultivating) relationships not only with existing clients but with people who could become clients down the road is a key element to growing a sustainable business. As a small business owner it is almost impossible to find time to do the daily work you have to keep with and try to foster relationships that may or may not produce a new client down the road.
- Set aside a specific amount of time each week to find and cultivate relationships outside of your current client base (an hour per day or lunch once per week or every Friday afternoon, etc.)
- Continue to foster the relationships with the most potential (your time is valuable, spend it wisely)
- Talk with a marketing coach for some creative ideas to foster the growth of new relationships
Don’t miss the importance of this one – if you fail to foster the growth of prospect relationships now you won’t have anyone to call on when your well dries up.
Happy New Year!
May your New Year be filled with…
- Passion for your work
- Passion for your clients
- And a passion for life and family
- Effective communication between your team and your clients
- Effective communication between you and your team
- And effective communication in all you relationships
Now is a great time to reflect on all that we accomplished or missed the mark on in our business over the last year. It is important for all businesses to take inventory. This is more than just counting the number of widgets we have left – it should include taking an inventory of how well we served our clients/customers and how well we served our employees.
As a small business owner how well did you serve your employees? Did you empower them to do their job effectively? Do you they see your passion for the business? Do you all work well together as a team?
How about your client’s? Do they feel like they matter to your organization? Do they feel like you listen to what they need and then provide it?
If your answer to these questions is a resounding yes! then celebrate and do more of the same in 2011. If your answers are and it stings a little then perhaps the New Year should ring in some changes.
Food for thought…
V Veracity – Be consistently truthful in what you say.
People really are paying attention.
A Adjust – Continually assess and adjust your approach to
L Listen – Really listen to what your customers are telling
you. You may learn something.
U Understand – Identify with your customer’s position. It
will strengthen your relationship.
E Effort – When you make the effort to be truthful, listen,
understand and adjust you bring immeasurable value.
I got 20 of my friends to buy from you and told 20 more about your company…
Every small business owner would love to hear words like this. A key element to increasing brand awareness is through word of mouth (WOM). An excellent way to perpetuate word of mouth from a ground-up effort is through brand ambassadors or brand advocates.
What is that, you ask? A brand ambassador is a person is very knowledgeable about the brand, promotes it regularly and publicly in a positive way. Many large corporations hire brand ambassadors to promote their products or brand. This however is not what I am talking about. Small business owners are not going to hire brand ambassadors, nor should they.
You have brand ambassadors among your customers, clients and staff. Whether your company sells consumer products or services (B2C) or to other companies (B2B) you may already have natural brand ambassadors. You are looking for people who are already passionate about your product.
Where do I look? Potential brand ambassadors could be:
- The person who buys from you every week
- That person who can’t stop talking about how good your customer service is
- That person who has sent you three clients in the last month
- That person who was significantly impacted by your product or service
These are your brand ambassadors. They are already loyal to your brand. The challenge is finding ways to help them use their voice to convey their passion for your brand.
Here are some ideas of how to motivate them to talk about their passion for your brand. Obviously not every tactic will work for your company but hopefully this will get the creative juices flowing.
- Give them free product for themselves
- Give them free product to share with their friends
- Send them several branded t-shirts or other promotional items
- Create a customer input panel on a specific topic
- This will allow your most loyal customers to be part of the company
- Print them brand advocate business cards they can hand out to their friends – inlcude a special discount available only through your ambassadors
- Allow a select few to be guest bloggers on your corporate blog
Successful small business owners recognize win/win relationships. Creating a formal or informal brand ambassador program can help to significantly increase brand awareness. As always if you need help in creating a brand ambassador program contact your marketing coach for help.
If projects are not managed well, clients and employees alike may not be happy or productive.
A key element to solid project management is communication. Goals and expectations must be clearly communicated. If the information people need to be effective in their roles is not provided then frustration, lack of commitment and missed deadlines are sure to occur.
As a small business owner it is important to make sure that those managing your projects have a well thought out approach. There is more than one approach out there. He is my basic approach to managing projects.
- Obtain overview of the project
- Identify all stakeholders
- Interview key stakeholders (if necessary before kickoff)
- Create the project plan including timeline and applicable milestones
- Facilitate project kickoff meeting
- Communicate expected deliverables from each stakeholder
- Call team meetings only when critically necessary
- Establish regular communication intervals
- Maintain regular communication with all stakeholders
- Regular communication with specific groups on the project as necessary
- Maintain accountability of project stakeholders to insure on-time, successful project launch
Being someone who typically has 47 things going on at once it is important for me to have an organized approach to projects. I hope sharing my process with you can help you get your projects better organized.
Sometimes we need to stop and take inventory.
If appropriate for our business we don’t seem to forget to take a physical inventory at specified times. How often do we take inventory of our effectiveness? This should be at regular intervals as well. I asked an executive last week what he thought were the weak spots within his 21 year old organization. He was surprised by the question.
- Do you know how your customers feel about you?
- How about your employees?
- How effective is your communication?
- How effective is your marketing strategy?
This is a key element. How does your effectiveness inventory look?