We have spent article 1 and article 2 in this series delving into time-tested strategic planning tips from Brian Tracy's The Way to Wealth Workbook, Part III: Blueprints for Success. In this final article, we'll explore the final set of tips, straight from the book.
12. Look for unconventional ways to reach your customers.
Once you know who your customer segments are, you should leap at every cost-effective opportunity to reach more of them. Plan a party at your house, and show off your products to friends of friends. Book yourself a speaking gig at a local business group. Hit the sidewalk and knock on doors. Get the word out in every way you can to everyone your competitors aren't reaching.
13. Keep caring for your customers after the sale.
Follow up with every customer in person or over the phone. Ask them what they liked and didn't like, and how likely they would recommend you to a friend. Mention that referrals are very important to your business, then thank them and back off. Treat every customer with this level of personal care, and your positive reputation will grow.
14. Respect the power of word-of-mouth.
Paid advertising can bring in customers but there's nothing as powerful as positive word-of-mouth. Most people ask their friends for recommendations before they make a major purchase, or when they're dissatisfied with the brand they've been using. Those recommendations carry a lot more weight than advertisements. Treat your customers with care, and fix problems as soon as they happen, and you will build a reputation that brings in sales.
15. Be active in your industry.
Become a recognizable “face” in your industry. Buy booths at trade shows, and become a regular presence there. Get yourself on discussion panels and share your expertise. Read up on major issues in your industry, and publicly take a stance on those issues at every industry event you can attend. This isn't about immediate return; it's P.R. Show your industry that you're serious about your business, and you will solidify your public image as a major player in the market.
16. Aim to become the quality leader in your market.
In every industry, the top 20 percent of companies earn 80 percent of the profits, while the lower 80 percent of companies compete over the remaining scraps. A PIMS study by researchers at Harvard, covering 620 companies over a 20-year period, found that the number-one distinguishing factor in a company's long-term profitability was the quality of its products or services. Your goal isn't necessarily to be number one in your market, but to get into the top 10 percent of quality leaders, and stay there.
17. Build your company's culture around respect.
Your company's culture is much more than just mission statements; it's how you talk to your employees when you greet them in the hall; how you make decisions at the end of a long stressful day; how you respond to the customers who treat you terribly. It's all those things, and the million other momentary choices that distinguish a great company from a merely good one. Treat your employees and customers with genuine respect, and you will build a reputation for respectability.
Follow these tips in your strategy, and you will be well on your way to choosing tactics that work. For more tips on the strategy and tactics of launching a business, check out The Way to Wealth Workbook, Part III: Blueprints for Success, by Brian Tracy.
A FocalPoint Business Coach can provide you with tips like these, along with others which you will find throughout the FocalPoint Business Coaching and Training website. Our professional global Business Coaches will assist with making your customers and employees into passionate supporters of your business. All it takes is a little kindness, and a lot of attention to detail. Contact a FocalPoint Business Coach today.