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What Are Your Tactics For Growing Your Small Business

Time Talent and Tactics

Building a successful business takes time, talent and a few good tactics. Over the past 15 years, working in a variety of businesses and helping launch and grow businesses, services, and products, I have identified five tactics that work again and again when applied consistently. These are tried and true, and work in any business. I'm sure there are others. Read though my five, and let's try to build the Small Business Top Ten Tactics List. If you use these already, reply, comment and tell us how and why the work.

Tactic One: Survey Your Customer

By phone, in person, or by web-based tool, find out as soon as you can what you did well, how well the solution performs and, in general, the customer’s satisfaction up to this point. Do this periodically. I would recommend setting a schedule. Survey your customers immediately after the sale, at one month, three months, six months and 1 year. Surveying on a scheduled basis keeps you in tune with the overall customer’s perception and their level of satisfaction. This also gives you a reason to contact them, learn more and ultimately improve your service or product.

Tactic Two: Poll Your Customer

Surveys are great. They give you insight you need quickly. In between those periodic surveys, why not send out a simple poll question. Try something simple like: How would you rate our business? Use a multi-star poll, A, B, C, D, or F poll. Hopefully your customers will return a Five Star rating or an A+. Once again, this is another quick way to monitor your existing customers and give them the opportunity to rate how you, your team, and your product are performing. Over time you will be able to combine your ratings and use a marketing copy that says: “Customers consistently rate our product 4.5 five stars!” Even if you don’t use these responses publically, the poll is a good tool to use as a barometer of your offering.

Tactic Three: Ask For a Quote

Quotes are great if you can get them. They are better if the customer will allow you to cite them in marketing material, presentations, and/or websites. You can ask for quotes at any point in your post sales process. If you’re doing a great job servicing your customers, quotes will come more easily. If someone will not allow you to use their name and business name, there is always the option of using just a title and general business classification descriptor. In this case, no customer approval is necessary. If you want to cover your bases, you can always ask the customer to review and approve. As with the previous two tactics, getting a quote is golden, but having an opportunity to talk with your customer to continue to build the relationship is an added benefit.

Tactic Four: Create A Case Study

In a continuing relationship with your customers post sale, collecting case study information is a great way to prove your service works, your product lives up to the marketing hype, and /or your knowledge benefited the customer and now there is proof. Case studies are primarily the answers to three simple questions: What were the challenges?, What was the prescribed solution?, And finally, what were the benefits of using this service, company or product. I would highly recommend not asking for case studies right after the sale. You and your product need to prove yourself and live up to the expectations communicated in the pre-sales process. What you can do to set the expectation is let customers know at the close of deal, purchase, or agreement, that at some time in the future, once you, your product or your company has proven itself, that you would appreciate completing a case study.

Tactic Five: Ask for Referrals

This tactic should be used before, during, after and always. It never hurts to ask your customers, your friends, your family, your colleagues, and even strangers if they know of anyone who may be interested in your product, service or company. My feeling is, all they can do is say,” No”,” No, thank you”, “Not really” or” Not at this time”. But when you least expect it, someone will say,” Sure”,” Yes” or” I do know someone”!

After A While This Could Become Challenging

The challenge most business people, sales people, and business owners have executing these tactics for an extended period is lack of time. When your start your business and you only have a few customers, this is easy. After sales increase and you spend more time servicing customers, there never seems to be enough time. If you are interested in growing a business, building long-term, positive customer relationships, tactical time should be scheduled into everyday, or at least every week, to work these tactics, stay in touch with your customers, and thrive.

Build Upon My Top Five List And Let's Make It A Top Ten

I’m sure there are many more tactics we can share. Continue the discussion by commenting. Add your tactics to the list, and sending this post to your friends, family and business contacts so they can learn and contribute.

What Works For You?

What additional tactics would you recommend? What alternatives to these tactics have you tried? Comment and share with our readers your secret to growing a business.

Until next time, this is Dan. Stay connected, and stay in tune.

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