And so the ‘real’ business year begins. Easter is over and so are all those other holiday breaks that interrupt ‘regular business programming’. Finally we can all get down to getting on with business.
For we accountants, it’s the season for sitting down with clients and reviewing their business financials to ensure they’re making the most of tax breaks and write-downs/offs available to them (but more on that next time).
However, for many business owners, this time of year means focusing on their new business development so they can get the 2013-14 financial year off to a good start.
When you were first starting your business, you were probably strongly tempted to chase any client that moved. But as your business matures, you learn, sometimes the hard way, that some clients are a better fit for your business than others.
But how do you find those better fit customers sooner rather than later – when you’re looking to kick off a growth phase, launching a new product/service or division or rebuilding after a set back.
- Decide who your ‘right’ customer is. Have a look at the customers you currently have that are close to your ‘ultimate’ customer. What do they have in common? It could be industry, age, gender, titles, personal or professional outlook, a postcode, or a love of poetry. Whatever their shared traits are, your job is to find it.
- Discover why the right customers like doing business with you. Hint: it’s probably not the reason you’re thinking. And the only way to really check your customer’s ‘why’ is to ask them. Consider calling a couple to ask – and really listen to what is said. Or if you’ve got more than 100 clients, you might consider sending out a well-written survey. You may recall Mason Lloyd did that a year or so ago and the information we got back was priceless.
- Ask for referrals. You may have heard that you are supposedly the aggregate of the five people that you spend most time with. Well, the same can be said for your business contacts. Your ‘perfect’ clients probably know other people who would also be a good fit for your business. But if you don’t ask for the referral, they’ll probably forget to make the connection between you.
- Offer what appeals – to them. Make sure that every brochure, sales call, website or social media post or any other promotional tools you use are couched in terms of What’s in it for me (WIFM) – but from your customer’s perspective. It’s not that you’re faster, easier, better, cheaper – because that’s about you. It’s that you’re saving them time, money, sanity, marriage, business, etc.
- Get out and about. It’s pretty safe to say that the right customers aren’t just going to lob into your office and beg you to work with them. You have to go where the clients are. That might be the chamber of commerce, the school P&C, networking events, your local church or various fundraising events. Remember you’re not there to blatantly flog your wares – rather you’re there to meet new people. Why? Because people like to do business with people they know, like and trust. And the only way to get to know new people is by taking the time to get to know them.
If we can help you focus on what matters in your business or review your financials prior to the end of financial year – so you keep more of what you’ve earned, please give a call Kerry on 6023 1700, drop us a note or connect with Kerry on LinkedIn.