Building a business requires many activities from marketing and promotion to bookkeeping and customer service. Unfortunately, many business owners get bogged down in the busyness of business and don’t’ pay enough attention to the activities that generate income. If you feel your business is stagnated or aren’t sure what tasks to focus on, here are 10 activities you can do right now that will push your business forward.
1. Pick up the phone – The phone is an underutilized tool for many business owners. Many people don’t want to appear pushy, but the phone is the best way to have direct, immediate contact with people. Call a current client or customer and see if they have any questions about the service or products bought from you. Call past clients to see if there is something you can do to help them. Call prospects to offer a special deal. Calling is one of the best ways to generate new business, as well as to get repeat and referral business.
2. Write a note – The handwritten note is so rare, that it’s even more special now when one is received. Imagine how surprised and impressed a client will feel getting a personal note from you. It will make them feel extra special and good feelings leads to wanting to do business with you. Write a note thanking clients and customers for their business. Send cards for your clients’ or customers’ annual anniversary in working with you. You can send birthday cards. If you’re local, you can send clippings and congratulations to clients, customers and prospects that are in your local news media.
3. Comment on a blog post – Many business owners wait for clients and customers to find them, but a better approach is to go where they hand out and interact with them. Blog commenting is a great way to get in front of people you might not otherwise, share your expertise, and begin to build rapport and trust. The key to commenting isn’t to post promotional material. Instead, respond to the blog post with an opinion or alternative idea. Many bloggers ask for comments, so take advantage of that!
4. Share a blog post in social media – If you find a blog post that will resonate with or help your target market, share it on social media. Not only does this help your market, but it shows you’re an expert and are keyed into current news and trends.
5. Comment on Social Media – It doesn’t matter how many posts you make on social media, if you don’t engage with others, you’ll be perceived as egotistical and annoying. It would be like being at a party and telling everyone about you, but not taking an interest in what other people have to say. You’d be shunned quickly. Like blog commenting, social media commenting creates a dialogue and engagement to build trust and rapport.
6. Share someone’s comment on social media – Similar to sharing a blog post, sharing other people social media posts shows engagement and goodwill. And if you’re sharing things your market wants or needs, you’re building your credibility and expertise.
7. Make a new connection on social media – If you’re not following someone who has posted a blog article or social media comment that you like, while you’re sharing it, also follow them. One of the best ways to get followers is to follow others. But even beyond click the “Follow” or “Friend” button, reach out with a message about why you want to follow the person, such as you enjoyed their blog post and shared it with your network. Being a good friend is a good way to have your friends be too good to you.
8. Participate in a forum discussion – Many social media networks and websites have discussion forums or groups. These are great opportunities to reach out to your target market, help them, and build rapport. Forums are not for blatant promotion. You’ll attract potential customers and clients by helping them.
9. Do something nice for someone – Many people are asking for help online. Some are influences or have large networks. If someone needs an expert to interview, volunteer. If they’re asking for a resource and you know of one, tell them about it. Good will towards others will lead to good will towards you.
10. Go out for coffee – Sometimes the best way to jump start your business is to get out in public. Java joints in particular are filled with other entrepreneurs, who can be great sources for networking. Or go where your target market hangs out so you can mingle with them. I’m not saying to stalk or to use the ‘three-foot-rule’ to annoy people. But don’t be afraid to engage with them either.
Feeling stuck and unsure where you’re going to make your next buck is a frustrating feeling. But you can use one or all of the above techniques to reach out to find new customers, remind existing customers to come back and get referrals. While these techniques may not have immediate results, if you do them regularly and with authenticity, you’ll gather momentum and become flush with new business.