Thursday, February 11, 2016

Expanding your customer base

          Free daily tips, information, advice and ideas
          to help you better manage your small business

     Your customers determine your business future. It's not your brilliant idea. It's not that new mousetrap. It's not how many certifications you have. It's the customers.

     All those paintings you labored over will still be hanging on your wall--unless someone buys them. That outrageously complex computer game you devised will not turn into a business--if no one buys it. And that new beer you brewed and bottled will remain on the shelves--if no one buys it.

     Example: Mary got trained and then certified in Reiki. She rented a small space where she could see clients. And she waited--and waited. Some clients came, but they were few and far between. To increase awareness and interest, Mary held a free open house where she demonstrated the benefits of Reiki and answered questions from the people who showed up. A few people became clients. To spread the word even more, Mary began posting on Facebook. More people called for appointments. To grow even more, Mary began holding classes to teach others the ins and outs of Reiki. She is still expanding. The next idea she wants to tackle is Reiki for animals. 

     Example: Bill serves breakfast and lunch in his small cafe. He noticed a trend in his area--people were increasingly interested in farm-to-table foods. He began promoting farm-fresh additions to his menus--organically raised greens and eggs laid by free range hens. All this attracted more people to his cafe--including younger people. His former standbys were tradespeople (electricians, plumbers, construction types), and they also took an interest in the new items on Bill's menu. His customer market had changed, and now he stays on top of trends. He even offers gluten-free waffles and pancakes that are eagerly snapped up by people. 

     Don't neglect what's happening in the marketplace. You can expand your customer base if you stay on top of marketplace trends. The market is continually moving, changing, and offering new possibilities. Catch the wave and the market will reward you with growth possibilities. 

     Doing the same things, day after day and year after year, can be a good thing. You are building your brand in the minds of customers and clients. But don't get stuck in your ways. Keep a keen eye on the market. 

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