We get this question a lot. It’s from people that have forgotten why they went into business in the first place, and have run out of ideas of how to move on to the next level. In fact, they have reverted to the person they were when they were an ‘employee’, working for someone else, taking guidance from someone and not being sure why they are doing things. Let’s take a step back.
At some point, you wanted to go into business for yourself. Whatever the motive that finally made you do it, you took on more responsibility. The most important part of this new responsibility, however, is making sure you continuously have a stream of new customers coming to your business, and returning customers that continue to purchase from you.
Do you remember how ‘juiced’ you were to have that responsibility at first? It didn’t appear to be terrifying then, did it? There were masses of reasons why you wanted to do this, and thought that you could. There was a new challenge every day, and a new way of looking at things, and something that you had just discovered that you had to pass along. If you are wondering what to do next, the chances are that you lost this enthusiasm =- and it happens to everyone.
The most common reason is a dangerous one to happen: You believe that there is nothing more you can tell your customers and prospects that hasn’t been said already. The moment you believe that (instead of simply recognizing it.), you begin moving along a path where this is normal behaviour. Where it becomes the everyday to look at the process of marketing campaigns, sales figures and developmental issues, rather than what sparked them in the first place. Look at Johnson & Johnson: One of the globe’s largest companies that are responsible for everyday brands that haven’t changed for over 60 years, in most cases. Yet, they never seem to run out of advertising ideas, and we all still know they are “A Family Company.”
When you look at your first few attempts at Marketing, what worked and what didn’t? What fired you up, and excited you? How did it work? Usually, this problem is that you have become bogged down in the everyday, and have stopped ‘peering over the crowd, to see what is coming.’ – The trick you used to use to get people in to your business. There is a simple remedy for this: What can you say about your business today that you haven’t said before?
Being your own boss is just as exciting now as it always was, it’s just that you were forced to ‘hunker down’ and concentrate on the books for a while. This is a chore that everyone has to do at some point, if they are Johnson & Johnson,….. or …… Make sure, though, that you leave the majority of your time to think in the larger picture of the future, structural change, and how you are going to get more customers in order to grow, because this is no-one’s job but yours. Take input from others, as well as your marketplace, and find out what you are missing. Get back to those huge unknowns that rocked your world at the outset of your business life, and you will find that our motivation will return. If you can off-load some of the day-to-day business management concerns, then do so. Anything to leave your mind open, your view on the horizon, and your motivation barely held back.
|I made my usual pit-stop for coffee and a smoke before reaching the office, today. It struck me for the first time, what a joy that ten minutes really is, and it’s the coffee shop that makes it so. I had a chance to analyze what makes it so much of a pleasure, and it comes down to this:
They know me. They know my name, my order, are always pleasant, always ask a question about work, are fast enough in service to look efficient, and interested in me as a consumer, yet never look rushed or frazzled. This is not a little, local Mom and Pop exercise, either, it’s the ubiquitous international brand, and there are three of these café’s on the same two block reach.
For the first time today, I actually luxuriated in the opportunity of both no line up, and a chance to interact with the serving staff. It was this moment that stuck in my mind.
They always appear to have the same staff, so I don’t mind my first name being known and remembered – something that I am generally wary of. They appear genuinely interested in what I’m thinking and feeling, they don’t know my order because they are clever, they ask it as a question to ensure that I haven’t suddenly changed my mind for a reason they are not aware of. They also, somehow, know how long I like to take in receiving my order. This may be because I have appeared rushed in the past, or short-tempered with the line ups that inevitably happen most days. In short – They appear to like me for me, not just my custom.
We are helping clients look more inviting to prospects, but how about their existing clientele? Will re-designing your website to reflect how to talk to your clientele, look better to others?
“Good Morning, Steve!”
How are you saying Hi? My coffee shop uses my name. You can’t personalize the experience, but if you use your analytic results to see where people go, how they find your site, and what they are interested in, you can greet them in a way that is warm, familiar, friendly and respectful.
“Is it the Usual this Morning?”
Try to not force prospects and customer to what you do, find out what they want information on, and check that they are getting the information they need.
“Yes, I would love some change.”
I like to get rid of change, and recognise that businesses my want it. My cost is usually paid for down to the last penny, or at least enough ‘shrapnel’ to earn me a single coin or note in return. Even if they don’t need it, I am asked if that is what I want, rather what they need. It makes me feel as if I am helping out.
“Have a great day, today.”
This isn’t thrown at me, but comes out as if they really do care about the 23 hours and 57 minutes we spend a part from each other. Make sure that your farewell to prospects and customers isn’t a rehearsed one, but one that sounds genuine. It will stay in people’s mind and they will return.
My coffee stop has a way of dealing with customers that isn’t a cookie-cutter of every other of their stores, it is an organic way of doing business to their clientele at the speed the patrons require. This is a great lesson for your business, too.