(Plus, 8 entrepreneurs answer 2 growth questions)
Strategy is a daunting word. It strikes fear in the greatest of companies. Why is that?
I think it boils down to the unknown. Will you be able to find a good strategy? Will people inside your company adopt it? Will customers understand it? Will you be able to keep it going?
These are all valid questions. So here are 5 potential reasons why you might need to rethink your company strategy…because no one wants to stink!
You don’t have a strategy.
Not having a strategy is like a boat without a rudder and a broken compass. Not only will you not be able to steer your business, but you won’t be able to determine when you’re off course and how to get back on course.
You don’t communicate your strategy.
You can’t be the only one excited about your strategy. Get buy-in from other partners, managers and employees. Everyone needs to be on the same page so you can all create value in a like-minded manner. Customers need to be able to understand the direction you are going, too.
You have a “tail light” strategy.
If your strategy fades as soon as the tail lights are out of view, you’ve lost. Strategy needs to be a marathon, not a sprint. Build structure that will allow and support a long-standing strategy.
Your strategy doesn’t work.
In business, there is no “uniform strategy” for the masses. Strategy is not right or wrong. Because what is right for me might not be right for you. It’s all about what works and what doesn’t. Find what works for your company.
You don’t review your strategy.
Times change. Businesses change. Customers change. If you are not reviewing your strategy on a consistent basis, you could be aiming at the wrong target. If something is not working (ahem) CHANGE IT! But you can’t change it if you don’t check up on it.
Since most of us need customers (if you don’t, congrats…you have a hobby) I asked 8 veteran entrepreneurs to answer 2 questions regarding their strategy for new and existing customers. Check them out…
Q: What is something you do on a regular basis to add new customers to your business?
I find products or media sites for things that interest me, then I interact with those companies via social media under our company profile. People like what we say, take a look at our brand, then work with us in an engaging manner. Social media is called “Social,” not “Broadcast,” for a reason. – Matt Griffin
Speaking and attending regional and national events. While our online efforts position us as, nothing has the impact of meeting people in person. And it’s typically not the immediate connection that drives opportunity, it’s often someone we meet who identifies someone that needs our assistance. – Doug Karr
Include valuable CTAs (calls to action) within our existing content. These all require readers to opt-in so we can learn more about them, develop a relationship and help deliver against the outcomes more important to them. Presumably, this is why they came to us in the first place. – Kevin Kermes
I publish articles on LinkedIn, which then get disseminated throughout Facebook, our Corporate blog, and Twitter. This keeps our message in front of our audience as helpful, trustworthy experts providing information and mass counseling. – Eric Wright
While I’m familiar with many marketing and selling opportunities, and as many business professional do, I create a marketing mix. On a regular basis, there are two primary activities that I use to generate new business opportunities for my business. I attend various networking events and meetings as a way to meet new people and I also jump on LinkedIn for at least 17 minutes a day. – Ron Sukenick
No matter which industry I’m focused on, one of the most effective approaches that has helped grow my business is finding “greatness” in all people. Discovering a person’s “influence” and giving them an opportunity to make a positive impact in other people is empowering. By developing these types of intimate relationships, people will know who you are, where your heart is, what you do, and how they can help you.
So, “customers” who may be seeking a product or service that I provide will often be referred to me as a natural byproduct of my dedication to empowering others. – Andy Nguyen
Searching, identifying and cultivated clients on LinkedIn is one of the popular website’s most powerful features. You can search by job title and zip code and then contact people directly. – Derek Distenfield
Q: What is one proactive activity that you do to maintain existing customers?
I share with them job announcements and professional development advice through a closed LinkedIn group. This helps them stay abreast of industry activity and provides them with career flexibility. – Eric Wright
This is something that I can improve on. Sometimes I overcommit myself because I want to help everyone out. I’ve had success when I strive and continue to deliver value to the client in traditional (to applicable industry) and nontraditional ways. By having a diverse portfolio of clients and network, many times I am able to make connections and form synergies among them. – Andy Nguyen
I keep my finger on the pulse of what’s most important to them through surveys. In my experience, you’re most value customers not only want to be heard, but will gladly share their .02 with you when asked. But you have to make sure the questions you ask will REALLY get you the data you need (Ryan Levesque’s “Ask” is a phenomenal resource for doing just this). – Kevin Kermes
Support from headquarters is key. We have a team of talented and experienced former military and military family members that work with our franchisees on a daily basis. We hired a VP of Operations and a VP of Quality Assurance which are responsible for driving additional sales and customers to our franchisees. Having a strong focus on open communication ensures that their success is our success. – Jerry Flanagan
Every day we look to expand our online network, write articles, and share valuable content to customers who are seeking advice. My focus is to ensure that our customers are met every morning with an email that educates or provides insight for them to be successful. On a monthly basis we also review our relationship with each client to see if there’s an opportunity for a value added service we can provide. Customers don’t always remember what they paid for, but they often remember what they received that they didn’t pay for. – Doug Karr.
Lots of good info here. What strategy can you design, build and sustain in your business (that will work)? For additional information on growing your business, click here. To get coaching to build or define your strategy, click here.