Unfortunately that famous line from Humphrey Bogart’s movie The Treasure of the Sierra Madre”, “Badges? We ain’t got not no badges. We don’t need no badges! I don’t have to show you no stinkin’badges!” is often one of the most misquoted lines in movie history, in fact, when I first started writing this, I had to correct myself when using the quote! That being said, let’s get to the point of this blog……. Planning. Our last blog discussed planning on a global, big picture scale. Let’s focus on what it means to you, as an individual running your business! The first step is to realize “WE NEED A PLAN!” How do you go about developing a plan that will be meaningful and effective for your business? There are many templates and programs that will assist you with the fundamentals, a simple Google search will provide a wealth of information. It’s what you put in the plan that counts! Following are some ideas and thoughts that you may want to consider as you develop your plan:
o What is changing in your industry?
o What is changing in technology and how does it impact your ability to connect with customers
o What is changing with your customers?
o What is changing in the economy?
We all know the traditional ways to reach out to customers….. mailings, telemarketing, mass emails and others. But what is going to grab your customer’s attention, how can you convince them to choose you over all the other alternatives in the market? Think about the following:
o Provide value, beyond the product – value in personal attention and customization
o Make yourself unique – find a way to differentiate yourself from the competition
o Build Relationships – showing the customer you really are invested in helping them make the best decisions and choices with your expertise. They will count on you to make sure their best interests are being looked after!
o Network in the community…. Join the Chamber of Commerce, sponsor a youth activity, help with a charity event, get involved in local professional groups
The key is your plan should focus on cultivating a two-way relationship with your customers. Yes, the new technology of Social Media is important, but so is an act so simple most of us have forgotten it…. Pick up the phone or stop by to say a personal “Hello”.