Building a loyal customer base doesn’t mean just one visit to your storefront or website. You need to actively cultivate relationships with customers and provide services and products to which they respond. Especially as a small business owner, being customer-driven is important to your overall success. Offering a unique, one-of-a-kind product helps, but you still need to have loyal customers who come back to purchase your products and services and spread the word to their friends and family members. By being customer-service driven, staying up with the most current trends, having strong employees, developing a strong web presence, finding ways to stand out and creating a comfortable storefront, you can help to ensure that customers will not only return to but love your business.
In a digital world, you need to be able to stay on top of the most current trends, especially those related to your industry. Even if you specialize in a niche market, you still have to use popular tools, such as social media platforms, to reach your customers. This is especially important if you want to build loyalty with younger customer bases. Don’t feel like this is something you have to do on your own. Enlist the help of your family members, employees and customers to keep up with the current trends in your industry and in society in general.
Harness Your Creativity
To be a small business owner, you need to be able to “think outside the box.” Being innovative is important not just when you are starting your business but as you move forward. Harnessing your creativity doesn’t just involve coming up with a catchy name and product but finding new and exciting ways to engage your customers. Many businesses do this by having themed events, using social media platforms or having unique decorations or uniforms in their storefronts. Being creative is different for everyone. The important thing is that you find a way to differentiate yourself from others in your market so that customers will come back to you not just for your product but for the experience.
Develop customer service focus
This is probably something that’s already been drilled into you as a small business owner, but it can’t be overlooked. Customer service needs to be at the core of everything you do. This doesn’t just mean answering questions and ringing up customers. There are different aspects to serving your customers and making them respect you as a business owner in the process. By building a user-friendly e-commerce website, dealing with customer complaints in a timely fashion, creating an environment in which your customer feels welcomed and becoming an expert on your product or service, you can start to develop a strong small business. You may not be able to do everything overnight, but as long as you evolve, you will have a better chance of seeing your company grow in the future.
Cool It Down or Heat It Up
No matter where you live in the country, you are likely going to have to deal with warm temperatures during the summertime. If you don’t take measures to keep your shop air conditioned in the summer, you could potentially lose customers. It’s a small thing, but creating a comfortable environment for your customers can ensure that they will come back time and again. To do this, make sure that your HVAC system is working correctly or have a new air conditioner installed before your area starts to see higher temperatures.
Draw from feedback
Your customers can be your most important source of information. Don’t overlook the importance of asking them what they want and using their feedback as guidance as you move forward. While you may have more experience than they do with your specific product, they may be able to provide insight on how to make your business more customer-friendly, diverse or technology-driven. Use tools such as customer surveys, comment boxes and questionnaires to engage them. By involving your customers, you will make them feel like they are an active part of your business. Many customers find that personal connection and involvement to be important.
Delegate, delegate, delegate
As a small business owner, you likely feel a need to be involved in every decision involving your business. While you may specialize in a certain topic, having a spouse, children or employees with expertise in other areas is not only important to the growth of your business but essential. As you move forward, you will want to rely on these individuals, delegating tasks to them that fit with their skills and knowledge. You may have staff members who are strong in graphic design or accounting. Make sure to match their jobs up with their skill sets. Customers will be more likely to come back to your small business if they know you have people on your staff that can answer all of their questions, not just ones relating to certain topics. To be able to delegate properly, it is important that you know your employees and family members’ strengths and weaknesses.