In these rough economic times, business owners are finding it harder than ever to successfully grow their small businesses. I have again reached out to my network of valued experts and entrepreneurs and I am excited to present 76 low cost (and in some cases, no cost) tips and strategies that small businesses can use to fuel their growth (in no particular order).
You may notice some similar themes, but I kept the insights separate, as something in the way it is framed may resonate differently with you.
1. PR Builds Brands
Public relations sometimes gets a bad wrap these days. But it's the foundation of any good marketing plan, and subsequently, any plans for the growth of your business. Good PR builds credibility and increases the visibility of you and your business, which ultimately results in growth. Unlike advertising, PR is free if you do it yourself and carries an aura of credibility that advertising could never hope to achieve.
2. Mega Growth
The number 1 low cost business building strategy I can recommend to entrepreneurs is to advertise on Google AdWords pay-per-click. It is the easiest and most cost effective way to reach customers who want to buy what you are selling now. I built my business from scratch using Google AdWords pay-per-click advertising and it remains my top lead generation tool. For more information, go to adwords.google.com.
3. Think Like a Mom
By nature we want to help others and this makes for the best possible scenario for our businesses too! Bake your best recipe & visit the local television or radio station you want to interview on. Contact your favorite off the wall sites online and approach them about joining your launch. Interviewing them will make you friends fast! Folks will want to connect with you after their friends talk about the value you brought them. So what's your gift? Give it away and win in 2010!
4. Blow Them Away
Deliver customer service that is over the top and so extraordinary that your customers will talk about you to every person he or she meets. I have received such service from a men's store here that I cannot say enough about their service. This might explain why it has been in business in the same location for more than one hundred years. Any department store or discount store easily beats its prices, but the service keeps me going back.
Mitch Carnell of SPWC
5. Crawl into a Niche
Whenever my business needs a growth spurt, I look around and see what niches I've neglected. A niche is different from a vertical: verticals can be too large to market to, and specificity is important in marketing, especially in my business (copywriting). But finding a new niche to market to is a sure recipe for growth!
6. Leverage Profitable Business
Understand your costs and margins. Analyze the services you offer, the clients you serve, the products you sell, and the markets you sell into. What is the most profitable? Focus more of your efforts on growing this profitable business, and leave the laggards behind. What would happen if you accepted just slightly lower margins in this high-margin business? Your business just might hit the tipping point, and at the same time your overall profit margin will increase exponentially.
7. Write, Write, Write!
This is not a low cost tip, it's a NO cost tip. Write articles, either as an expert, a reporter, or in interview format, and submit to various ezines and ultimately, they will or can go viral. In your resource box be sure to have a link to either your website or landing page, so you can capture names and emails and thus add to, or at the least, begin to create a database.
8. Do the Counter-Habitual Thing
Better than low-cost, this technique is NO-COST! If you want to experience greater growth, begin doing everything the exact opposite of your usual approach. Work long hours? Play more. Push hard? Slow down or stop. Adhere to a rigid schedule? Implement spontaneity. Although it may sound ridiculous to experience growth by doing the exact opposite of your usual habits/approach, what it gives you is a fresh, new perspective. Try it for yourself before you discount it as too easy to actually work.
9. If the Crown Fits, WEAR IT!
Everyone loves a winner, especially if the winner was an underdog. Enter a contest and try hard to win it. If you do win, you can announce it in a press release. Even if you lose, you can band together with other applicants and form new alliances. Local press loves to publicize local businesses that win national contests, so enter all that you can. When your chance to say what you'd do with the crown comes around, use your spotlight moment to talk about your business.
10. In Person Networking
Don’t forget about the power of face to face networking and partnerships. Attend chamber mixers, luncheons and join a networking group. By creating in person relationships, other businesses will market your services or products to their friends and family. Do not forget to bring business cards.
11. Look and Listen
Review your contracts. Do you frequently provide a valuable service for free, not defined in the project scope? Does your product include significant "extras"? Marketing (and selling) these separately may increase your revenue, as well as the range of services you provide. (Consider waiving new/extra fees for current clients.)
Are there services/products for which you frequently receive inquiries? Your clients have already shown an interest in buying these from you. Consider offering them.
12. Put Your Customers to Work!
Take a tip from those corporate “employee of the month” programs and feature a customer monthly – put up a photo, bio, and say why it is that you so appreciate them. Host this on your website or have a little evening get-together in your physical store. Your customer will tell friends, relatives and acquaintances expanding the recognition for your business. Each featured customer will become a sales rep for you and the only commission you pay is your appreciation!
13. Change Your Voice Message
The typical voice message tells the caller that you can't take their call right now. No kidding!
Keep your caller out of the "message-coma" by disrupting their complacency and creating a memory and customer conversation. Your callers will tell two friends to call you when you have a fun and interesting voice message. Example: "Do you hear that sizzle? Can you smell that aroma? I'm in the kitchen cooking something great and if you leave your catering order, I'll make lunch for you tomorrow!"
14. Get A Reality / Sanity Check!
Entrepreneurs tend to work into their business plans with high motivation and an abundance of energy, fueled by optimism. Sometimes, energetic optimism can deflect off of reality and send the business off into a trajectory that wasn't intended sometimes with unfortunate results.
The low-cost tip I can offer: Get reality-sanity check about your plans from an advisor or mentor who has no vested interest in the enterprise before taking flight; Reality is powered by objectivity.
15. Ask Questions
I am not a salesperson. In fact, I used to shy away from saying a single word about my products. But after learning to stop thinking of myself as someone who had something to SELL, but I had ways to HELP, I was able to talk about myself and my products... maybe too much. So, ask questions. Be genuinely interested in every person you meet and gather lots of information about them. Eventually, THEY will ask YOU! Then be ready to tell them how you can help them. Free, fun, easy, and HELPFUL.
16. Share the Buzz
The best thing to inexpensively take your business into overdrive is to promote, promote, promote. This is different than spending money on advertising. You need to find a hook...a unique service, a unique new product, something newsworthy that is fun, different, and innovative. Then throw it out there via press releases, facebook, twitter, your customer list, your website, word of mouth, etc. The key is you really do have to have something newsworthy and remember...you can't fake creativity!
17. Holding Court
In days of old, the King & Queen would sit on their thrones and observe many suitors bringing wares into the castle for their Highness's consideration. Wouldn't it be nice if you could just sit and enjoy a delectable meal while people come up to you asking for your business? That action has been our number one low cost strategy to super-charge our company's growth. You have to eat so... have lunch at a busy restaurant and bring lots of business cards. Sit, enjoy lunch, LISTEN and hand your card out.
18. Double Sales in 90 Days
Let's say your gross sales are $1 million. You want to increase sales and allocate $50,000 to advertising. For the same investment, you may be able to put a down payment on a $500,000 business with $1,000,000 in annual sales. You could effectively double the sales of your business in the term of the escrow or 90 days. Many owners will finance your purchase. By eliminating redundant facilities and personnel, your profit margin may also increase.
19. Promote, Promote, Promote!
At one time it was location, location, location for every small business! Today it is promote, promote, promote! Let everyone know your name and your business's name. Sing it from the rafters. Sing it from the highest mountain. Make sure they know YOU. The importance of who do you know isn't as important as WHO KNOWS YOU. So, get out there and sponsor local events and spread the word through newsprint, cable and social media. It doesn't cost a lot to get known -- but it does take a lot of work.
20. Cat Nap!
An unorthodox way to ramp up your company’s growth is to look to nature for a solution. Lions, for example, catch a few winks during the day and recent research confirms that humans benefit from 20 minute power naps in the following ways:
• Increased alertness and productivity
• Improved memory and learning
• Increased cognitive functioning
• Boost creativity
Out-think your competitors and jump your company’s sales by taking short naps. Best of all, it’s FREE!
21. Write Articles
To increase exposure and establish thought leadership, get out there and start writing. Talk to your clients about issues they are facing and what they read. Then write articles on the topics they mentioned and submit them to the publications/sites they read. Make sure your articles are pertinent, targeted and well-written, but you'll be surprised by how many publications are open to outside submissions. They are short-staffed like the rest of us, so it's a win-win.
22. Just Say YES!
Identify the 1 - 3 catalysts that have the most power to transform your profits and do whatever it takes to make them happen - even if you haven't really got the money or the resources - ask for contributions; you may be surprised at what support you can receive for free. Collect customer testimonials along the way and feature them prominently on your website. Never lose sight of what's important!
23. Big Results = Joint Ventures
Growth = adding value to your existing customers and reaching new ones. What better way to super charge growth, at a fraction of what you pay for advertising, then doing a Joint Venture with a writer of a book that aligns with your message? Once a book gets into the home, your name is seen over and over. When people are at home their guards are down. They are in their sweat pants, T-shirt, barefooted, feet are up and they can relax. Your name becomes trusted, and your product becomes #1.
24. Build an Army of Influencers
The most successful mortgage broker in Manhattan gives free seminars to new real estate agents establishing him as an expert in the minds of individuals whom home buyers trust when they are seeking mortgage advice. He has developed an army of referral agents that generate a 6 figure income for him every month. Who are the influencers in the lives of your customers? What are you doing to stay in front of them? What branded item could you give them that would be a daily reminder of your business?
25. Money Saving Tip
My business depends on referrals. I have a sign near the exit to my office that says: 'You will see the finest people in our city in this office. That is because you refer your friends and family'. Below the sign is a business card holder with packets of three business cards encased in clear plastic jackets. I feel that my sign is a quiet way of saying to my existing patients that 'You are a fine person' and 'I welcome your referrals'.
26. An Offer They Can't Refuse
Just like the Godfather, you need to make an offer they can't refuse. For example, to celebrate our 10th year in business, we offered 10 free hours of technical support service. This promotion has brought in more new business than I ever thought possible.
27. Share Your Business
One tip that I like to practice is collaborating with other businesses. An agreement to advertise together cuts costs and gives you expanded coverage. For example, I offer a free night or free service at my RV Park when a customer makes a purchase at a nearby RV and sporting goods store. A local restaurant offers a free appetizer to one of my RV'ers who uses their establishment. Both businesses benefit from the advertising exposure and both have the likelihood of getting a new customer.
28. Reach Out & Touch Someone!
Your best source of quick revenue is to reach out to former clients and "almost-clients". You've already laid the groundwork - they know you and trust you. Come up with a quick product/service to address a need they have now, then give them a call and tell them about it! Your sales cycle will be much shorter than starting from scratch somewhere else.
29. Most Inexpensive Tool EVER...
YOU! Talk to people. Listen to people. Build relationships. Get away from behind your computer, website, social media sites, and business cards. Go out there and promote your business. If you believe in the value of your offerings, offer quality products or services, are confident, and passionate you will be the best and least expensive tool to ramp up growth. For the ultimate exposure to a larger audience, start public speaking. Heck, you can even EARN money that way.
30. Guerilla Marketing- No Jungle!
Marketing your business is key to getting unique visitors to your website, and getting valuable repeat traffic.
Google search the phrases "free directories", "local directories", and "business directories" and make note of every search engine available. Instead of paying a marketing company to list your business, go to every website that offers FREE search results, and list your business.
The more listings you have pointing an arrow towards your website, the better!
31. Build an Army of Evangelists!
Under-promise, over-deliver; provide outstanding customer service, give the best solution in the industry, and do whatever it takes to make your customers the happiest customers in the industry!! A happy customer is an evangelist, your best marketer, and your best salesman! If you make sure to keep each and every customer so happy that they cannot resist talking about you and your business, your job is done, because now you have an army of evangelists spreading the word and selling for you.
32. Power Your PR
If you're not working with a firm, then get cracking on targeting media to get the word out about your business. You can see some really great growth with a viral piece in an outlet like the NY Times, or big blogs like Mashable. You can also rev up your Social Media channels and get some really engaged users on Twitter and YouTube to support you.
33. Tell - A - Friend
Krispy Kreme gave away donuts. Mc Donald's gives toys with happy meals. Famous Amos gave away cookies. Costco lets you sample food while you shop. We offer sample workshops that highlight our business expertise. Super charge your growth by offering sample workshops that highlight your business expertise. Excellence will engage, excite and invite more business. Excellence produces results, results produce referrals and referrals increase business inexpensively. Tell - A - Friend.
34. Giving it Away...
Charity Sports Events allow me to showcase skills as a Shiatsu practitioner, on the spot, at the required time to the right people. At a recent 24 hour Relay Walk event for Cancer Research, I gave shiatsu massage to offset fatigue and cramps for a donation to charity, no cash returns but a write up in local newspapers and business cards given to qualified potential clients. In the business of personal well-being this is invaluable and personal kudos are increased.
35. All PR is Good PR
I spend most of my marketing energy on obtaining media mentions (PR). It's free and it carries more clout than running an ad. To this end, I belong to a couple of media PR lists such as Reporter Connection. Using this approach I've been interviewed for Redbook, Women's World and many other major magazines, which gave me wider exposure for no money than any other marketing effort.
36. Brand New Idea
Everyone is looking for money-saving ways to grow their business, but they often overlook the very best moneymaking idea. Branding is easily the most powerful tool in the marketing arsenal. And yet, entrepreneurs often ignore it, thinking it’s for the national players. Instead they look for the short-term fix – discounts and sales to drive more business. Branding costs virtually nothing, and is the long-term strategy that surpasses the competition. Brand your company, and be more profitable.
37. Do You Have a Business Manual?
No business can grow to its full potential without a well documented set of policies and procedures. Once you've gone past the start-up phase, it's time to get a policies and procedures document so that all your employees have a clear set of rules, regulations and procedures to follow, so that you get the exact same result every single time.
This will free up your time so that you can focus on networking, building partnerships & other more important tasks rather than on day-to-day operations.
38. Goals, MapQuest for Business
Zig Ziglar reports that only three percent of people set business goals, and they are among the wealthiest people in the nation! The ability to set revenue goals and committing to a set of action steps for their accomplishment is the master skill of any professional. Successful entrepreneurs also realize the revenue goal takes priority. Why? It’s the one goal that if you don’t achieve it, you just might not be around to talk about all the others you did hit.
39. Work ON more than IN...
“Are you spending enough time working ON your business?” We’re either working IN our business or ON it; there’s no overlap. Working IN the business, we operate it; we’re very busy, "saving the day," but nothing grows. Working ON the business, we feed, build and transform it. Look at your calendar. Are you working IN or ON your business? If you don’t work ON your business, neither will anyone else!
40. YouTube is a Must for Business
I am using YouTube in every way possible for all my clients. I truly see opportunities for every type of client I represent including, authors, doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs and even charities. In the history of marketing, the hottest marketing spots are the locations where the most people can be found, whether it's the town square, bazaar, train station, airport, MySpace or Twitter. YouTube is now the world's bazaar. One of the big benefits of using video is how it improves search engine ranking.
41. Thanks a Million
Thank you notes, thank you notes, thank you notes. Hand write them every night...the pay off will be HUGE. You are grateful for their business right...and you can bet you'll be the only business they'll get one from.
42. OutSource Your Work
If your time is worth $10 or $20 an hour, for example, why waste time on simple tasks that can be outsourced for $5 or even less. From bookkeeping to customer service, you can hire someone else to manage simple tasks so you can focus on growing your business.
43. Strategies Require a Plan
Make a solid strategic plan. A good plan will help leaders stay focused and employees stay engaged. It contains the leader's vision, the organization's mission, values the organization will live by, a review of potential impediments to mission accomplishment, and realistic, reasonable, and measurable goals. Most importantly, make sure everyone in the business understands how they contribute to the plan's success. The ROI of a good plan is huge and the best ROI comes from the engaged employees.
44. Secret to Supercharging Growth
Every market has a hole. Every competitor has a weakness. Every buyer has an unmet desire. Find and exploit these and you will dominate your niche and be rewarded handsomely. This involves a lot of "good ole fashioned hard work". That's the bad news. The good news is that if you're not afraid of hard work, you can find these using free resources. The BEST news is that your competition is too darn lazy to do this. The BEST way to get results is doing what others aren't willing to do.
45. Trade Away Your Business Blues
The simplest, most proven thing ANY business owner can implement is BARTER. In one fell swoop it will save you money, introduce you to new customers, and grow your business. On top of that, it will stop you from becoming lazy, you will improve your selling skills, your negotiating skills, and you'll realize how much or how little you actually know about business.
46. Invest in Resources You Own
I would invest in a website that will communicate your products and services seamlessly to your audience within 30 seconds of their visit. I would spend time expressing my expertise on my website because who knows your business better than you? To wrap this up, get a simple well designed website with great content that is fresh, timely and provides value to your audience. Remember to place a call to action on your site- call, click, subscribe!
47. Community Kritters
Since I'm a trainer, I take dogs with me whenever I think it's possible. They’re well-behaved so it’s a good advertisement for my business. My dogs and foster dogs have been to many businesses in our area. I try to apply something from my business that will better my community whenever I can.
For example, one of my dogs went with me when I was a bell ringer for the Salvation Army. People stopped by to pet my well-behaved dog and then dropped money in the kettle.
48. Click Less to Connect More
It's tempting to spend time online, diving into the mountain of information we can access through our BlackBerries and iPhones. But when our time is spent clicking, we miss truly connecting with our customers, clients, and colleagues. Start small--get out of the office once more a week, and see customers face-to-face. Pick up the phone an extra time--your voice communicates so much. Finally, try a handwritten note when you want to say thanks. Notes get saved, and remembered--and so will you.
49. Warm Letters for New Business
Craft a "warm letter" of introduction that you send to colleagues, family members or friends, anyone that you currently have a relationship with who would be eager to "talk" about you to others in their Rolodex. The letter can be sent by email, but for better results, I suggest it be printed and mailed on high quality branded stationary, which I believe will have a greater impact on the recipient. This marketing strategy offers a low-cost high impact way to attract more clients quickly.
50. Say it With a Postcard
In our fast paced, get-it-done, high tech world, postcards are an inexpensive way for your business to stand above the rest. Postcards are kept, hung on desk walls, and mailed for 28c! Some uses:
• Announce a new product, service, class, coupon, free offer, special sale, or gift certificate.
• Remind folks of events that might be of interest to them including meetings with you.
• Send clients business tips, a thank you, birthday, congratulatory, or just saying “hi” postcards.
51. Total Recall
I always give my clients a gift with my logo on it, something specific to how they conduct business or go about their day. Every time they use it, they're reminded of me. Each gift HAS to be bulls eye-targeted to their way of doing business and how they move through their day. If it's not essential to their day, it misses the mark and doesn't get the desired effect. It's the MOST cost effective, lowest cost-per-impression advertising on the planet!
52. Google Places a Business Place
My strategy is to let users find your business website by adding a business listing to Google Places. Google Places is free and you can list your location and particulars about your business. In addition, Google tracks the number of visitors to your website and what they came there for. Some come for directions, while others may come for more info on products/services.
Thanks to: Gary E. Haffer.
53. Go Where The Eyes Are!
The average text message is read within 5 minutes and over 95% are opened. Text message marketing is IMMEDIATE advertising; mobile media slashes marketing costs of a business and increases its revenue. Plain and simple, text message marketing is the fastest, cheapest, easiest and MOST EFFECTIVE marketing on the planet. It is the silver bullet that businesses are looking for in today's economy! Mobile messaging is the best platform to INSTANTLY communicate.
54. Use Creative Marketing to Grow
Sometimes, when you really need a creative marketing idea, you just can't get it to the surface. Use mind-mapping software or word association software to help you get a great idea! My favorite is ThoughtOffice. Get a 15 day trial version that you can use to develop your idea. It melds pictures, poetry, song lyrics, and a thesaurus to bring your idea to the surface.
55. Uncover the "Damn!" Moment
Walk through your entire day. Identify all the times you say "Damn!" I wish this thing would do... had this (feature), was easier to open/use etc.
Then, ask customers to “walk you through their day” as it relates to your product. Ask them to identify every "Damn!" moment to uncover 4 growth opportunities:
New products or line extensions
Services to do what they don't want to
Save them time/money to increase margins
Use these to attract new customers
Damn! That was easy!
56. Expand Business Exponentially!
Take your product or service already in place and expand it into 10 additional venues. The audience cross-over yields exponential results. For example, if you are a health care practitioner: sell supplements, write a report "100 most asked questions", create a blog, mp3, video, host a radio show online, be an interview guest, write articles for a magazine, be a guest blogger, and become a speaker. When you have 10 services, the exponential factor is 3,628,800!
57. Drop the F Bomb!
No, not that F! I mean F as in Facebook. We know FB is all that in social media, but here's how you can use it as a no-cost way to boost your biz: Facebook is the bomb for attracting & engaging new clients. Not only does FB make it easy to reach peeps you could never get on the phone, FB provides many creative ways to connect with them. I send b-day greetings via video, for example, and I also put prospects in my “Follow Friday” vids on FB. This makes them the star and creates connections!
58. Go Beyond the Obvious!!!
Good marketing is the life-blood of every business. You can be the best at what you do and have the greatest company in the world, but if no one knows about it, your company may as well not exist. Don’t make the mistake of focusing only on the start up and running of your business while overlooking the “all-important” marketing aspect. So in addition to the obvious marketing tools (flyers, brochures, etc.), consider holding a social event to introduce yourself to potential clients.
59. Create a Master Mind Group
I'm sure most of you have heard of Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich. He & other business people formed a Master Mind Group to create ideas. I am part of one myself & I am seeing how all entrepreneurs could benefit from being part of a collective in which people are able to share ideas together. A group of minds is better than a single one!
60. Speak & Grow Rich
Learn to be a good public speaker, take a course or even better, join a local Toastmaster Club and practice weekly. Then go out and speak at places like Lion's clubs, Elks, Rotary, Chambers of Commerce, etc... They're always looking for speakers. Don't make it a sales pitch; be fun, informative and interesting while highlighting your product/service. Being on the platform conveys you as expert and prospects will seek you out. It's better than advertising, so have fun and speak & grow rich!
61. This Generates Interest in You
Let's face it "Free Reports" have been done to death. No decision maker wants to read yet another report from a consultant. But here's what they are interested in- the perspective of their peers.
Consider putting together an "Interview Free Report" to attract attention. Simply interview 3-5 of your most prestigious clients. Use the same questions, record the calls and transcribe them. With just a bit of editing, you'll have a round table discussion that your prospects will be eager to read.
62. Spend Less, Earn More!
In today's tough times, one of the most difficult things to do is to realize a profit and grow your business at the same time. In light of these challenges, however, many business are beginning to look within at their existing contractual agreements and monthly expenditures to see how they can trim the fat and, in return, add more money to the bottom line. Start by renegotiating existing agreements with vendors, trimming expenses and reigning in reckless spending to increase your bottom line.
63. Connect With A Charity!
Connecting with a not-for profit group or local charity that targets a similar demographic to your target is key! Why? 1.) Not for profits with name recognition give your business instant credibility. 2.) You have access to donors, sponsors, patrons and past event guest lists 3.) Doing something for a charity instantly puts you on the "good business" list and people like to do business with socially or eco-conscious businesses.
The opportunities are endless!
64. Stop Hiding and Start Bragging
Rev up your confidence, be proud of your skills, and come out of hiding. Start talking yourself up, let others know what you do, and ask for the business! Not in a pushy way but in a caring way. When you truly believe that you can help others, then share what you do and how you can benefit them. Be genuinely helpful and friendly, and include what makes you unique or stand out from your competitors. You’ll come across as confident and be remembered when they have a need for what you’ve got!
65. Use Google Analytics!
95% of businesses leak money from their websites and social media presence - either not making the revenue that they should, or spending resources to little or no avail (SEO and PPC advertising without effective strategy and evaluation are big offenders here).
Google Analytics is both a much better product than it used to be, and free, so there's really no excuse. Implement it, and learn how to use the reports effectively to track and grow your Web and social media return on investment.
66. Harvest Your Clients for More
Call every client with whom you ever did business.
Announce that you are conducting a four question survey.
The questions are:
1. Are you still happy with your purchase?
2. May I quote your testimonial of our product?
3. Are you ready for another/update/refresher?
4. Who do you know that I should call that would take my call if I gave your name as a reference?
Send the client a thank you note and perhaps small gift.
67. Building the Brand
Generating free publicity through a methodical press release campaign can be an extremely powerful marketing tool to build awareness and credibility. Whether you are a large business targeting specific markets or a small company trying to obtain media exposure, press release marketing is an effective method to distribute content to select audiences. A well prepared press release can help to increase sales, expose the business to new markets, and assist in shaping the image of the company.
68. Grow by Improving SEO
One of the best ways to improve your google rankings is TubeMogul. Create short videos that best highlight your business. Show people using your product or service. Be creative - you can make professional looking videos with a flip camera and simple editing software. Then get a free account on tubemogul and get accounts on the sites that accept video. Use tags that people will type in to google to search for your service/product. Used judiciously this strategy will help you dominate google and attract more customers to grow.
69. Grow by Being Remembered!
Every time you meet a potential client or a connection to one, give them a reason to remember you. Send them a contact card with a hand-written note. Even hand write the envelope so it stands out. The contact card can be 1/3 of an ordinary sheet of heavy stock paper. Include your business name and logo, your photo, contact details, website address and your note. I always get positive comments when I follow up and often get phone calls to thank me for the note.
70. It's Free, Easy and Profitable
My best tip low cost tip that will definitely boost your business growth is to refresh your thinking by checking in with your body and mind and rate your stress level. I check in several times a day and actually rate my stress level from 1-5. If it’s a 3 I’ll take a couple of minutes to clear my mind by closing my eyes & concentrating on my breathing. This refreshes my mind, allows me to relax, think better and be more creative. This creates low cost increased productivity, as well as profits.
71. More Sales on a Tiny Budget
Want to ramp up sales fast with low up-front costs? The fastest way to sell a large amount of your goods or services is to joint venture with another company who serves the same target market. It works like this: Your joint venture partner sends your offer to his customers. If you don't get more sales, you don't pay. If you do make more sales, you split the profits with your partner company. Why pay for ads and hope to get sales, when you can pay for actual sales?
72. Make It Christmas Every Day
We all like gifts. So give something, from samples–especially effective if you sell food products, body care items- lotions, soaps, etc, or pet products–treats make great samples. If you sell higher ticket items or services, then “thank you” gifts work. They can be something from your product line or gift cards. Giving a thank you gift for referrals is also a great and inexpensive way to bring in new clients and customers. Let people know you value them and they will reciprocate.
73. Growing with Productivity
Say “no.” People constantly ask for favors. You oblige. If you always give, when do you have time, energy or clarity to focus on your business? We should not morph into selfish business people, but find balance. De-clutter your workload. Take an inventory of your tasks, compare actions with results and get rid of the unnecessary. Determine the tasks that you can automate. Do you send an email just to acknowledge receipt? Set up an auto-reply instead. Now, you have time to grow your business.
74. Super-Charge Growth
Don't wait to be invited to speak. Create a Meet Up Group through meetup.com focusing on your specialty. Post articles, start discussions and then host free monthly events. Starting the group positions you as an authority. Speaking in front of an audience which has been self selected as your ideal clients gives you expert status, creating warm leads. Capture email addresses to have them opt-in to your list. Offer one of your services at the end of the talk for interested prospects.
75. Stop the "Blah"!
Don't offer the same “Blah, Blah, Blah” as the competition. Give a Mafia Offer! An offer customers can't refuse and competition can't or won't match. Deliver a solution to a constraint your industry creates for your customer. This requires a change in approach to cost and how to make money, commitment to rule-breaking operational improvements and a totally different mindset. The Mafia result? A dramatic increase in sales, opportunity and prospects while the customer's profits increase too.
76. Achieve Growth with TLC
By TLC, I do not mean showering your customers with tender loving care, though that of course will never hurt.
To achieve sustainable business growth you need to Think Like Customers.
You must be able to put yourself in the position of a customer or prospect and learn how your products or services SOLVE THEIR PROBLEMS.
You have to understand their needs and appreciate their wants, desires, likes and dislikes -- by Thinking Like Customers.
Do you have another suggestion or strategy that wasn’t included? If so, please share it below.
As always, many thanks to everyone who contributed to this article!