Why It Is Important To Build Effective Business Referral Network ?

 

A steady stream of customer referrals can transform any struggling business into a profitable one.

Building a strong referral network in business is one of the most effective strategies that any size of business should have.  Researches show that most of the SMEs get their biggest boosts from customer referrals, not Facebook, Linkedin or other social media sites.

People influence people.  A trusted referral influences people more than the best broadcast message.  A trusted referral is the Holy Grail of advertising.

 

                                                            Mark Zuckerberg,    Founder and CEO, Facebook 

 

Getting a business through cold calls is tough.  It is always easier when someone recommends your product/services to someone else.  The word-of-mouth marketing is most basic yet quite effective form of marketing.  It brings in new, comparatively loyal clientele for a company.

 

Fearless Referrals, by Matt Anderson, cites a study by Sandler Sales Institute regarding how different types of prospecting activities turned into business  :

5 %  from cold calls

15 % when you use a colleague’s name in the call, but your call is        not expected

50 % when you have permission to call and your call is expected

80 % when you are personally introduced to a prospect

 

 

It shows that referrals are the most powerful revenue pulling source.

In order to have a strong, active and boosting business, build and nurture a good referral network.

 

imagesResearch giant Nielsen says that people are 4 times more likely to buy when something has been referred to them by a friend.

 

 

Asking for referrals is very essential   asking for referral   to bring in valuable new customers.  Its human tendency that people would much rather do business with people recommended to them and known to them rather than with total strangers.  A referral from another customer is like a Five-Star review written.

 

Here are some reasons why referrals beat out almost any other lead generation channel :

 

1]  Exponential Business growth  —  Referrals beget referrals. exponential business growth A customer obtained through a referral is more likely to give referrals.  One referral can lead to two referrals, two to four, four to eight and so on.  This means, many clients will give you multiple referrals over time.  As a result, it does not result in linear growth…i.e. one new client at a time.  Referral process creates exponential business growth.

 

 

 

2]  Low cost  —  Referrals are the most cost-effective way to acquire new customers and regain old ones.

 

 

3]  More Trust  —  You start at a higher point of trust to proceed with your client.

low cost more trust speen more

 

4]  Faster Closing   —  The whole process of conversion of a referral into your customer becomes quicker as the trust is already established.  Sales process moves faster.  Many prospects come to you predisposed to do business with you.  Your ‘closing ratio’ is higher. Most businesses experience closing ratios of 10 to 30 percent from other lead sources. Referral-based sales usually close at 50 to 70 percent (sometimes even higher).

 

 

How To Boost Your Referrals Network

 

Established business get more than 70% of their business through word of mouth.

FE0A7F3A84FA0F6E080B6CB9C2DCED0E37F64424The heart of all businesses is relationships.  The successful business people understand the value of referrals when it comes to growing their business.  Referrals are strong leads that come through trust earned, and by developing relationships with people.

 

 

9387726fd415cb18cdae03e8dd7d73a0

Your referral strategy should emphasize more on strengthening relationships. Create your customers in such a way that they create more customers for you.  Automatically there will be constant flow of referrals in your sales pipeline.

Here are few easy ways to get more referrals for your startup  :

 

1]  Accessible and approachable contact information  —  Make sure that your contact information is easily available, accessible and approachable for the people to share or interact with you.  This means that your contact information (email, website) is mentioned in all your business materials, including your invoices, marketing materials, email signatures and social media.  Give your business cards freely even if the person may just be an acquaintance.

 

2]  Get out of your comfort zone and pitch at the right place  —

 

download Every one of your business contacts has the potential to connect you to plenty others. Don’t be sheepish.  There is nothing pushy. 92% of clients trust recommendations.  A word-of-mouth is a powerful marketing force. In fact, getting a referral is the highest compliment you can ever receive.

 

download

 

Pitch confidently.  Let the person know that you are providing excellent quality products and services.

 

 

 

 

3]  Start asking for introductions  —  Sometimes, directly asking for referrals can confuse your clients about what exactly you need. c64b5a4aee5bc936a0be21ec7b5d2ca7 A name and number or reference ?   Make it straight and ask for introductions instead.  Try asking “ Would you be willing to introduce me to few people in your network ?“  This will clear the vagueness of referrals and instead  clearly communicate your contact exactly how they can help you connect with the prospects you want to meet.

 

 

 

4]  Set aside 15 minutes each day  —  Commit yourself to ask for one introduction per day.  This will keep your sales pipeline always full. You can ask your friends, family, prospects, customers  anyone to introduce you to someone  in need of your product or services. You can get an introduction in less download (2)than 15 minutes.  Soon it will become the most important 15 minutes of your day.  By making this your habit, you will gain 5 new introductions every week, ultimately reaching to 250 introductions every year.  These 250 introductions have the potential to transform your business into a success.

 

 

76a2bdc4db6f411543c8240bf7d27bfe

 

All it takes is 15 minutes a day and you will have a dramatic increase in sales.

 

 

 

 

5] Social media exposure  —  Engage yourself on socialbrann media exposing to vast number of people.  Optimize your email marketing so that you can create customized lists of clients. Write an informative email / publish a newsletter periodically.  The content should be something of value to your readers.  If you are a gym owner, a newsletter that discusses health, nutrition and exercise would be appropriate.  A placement service provider might consider writing tips about resume writing, interviewing, etc.

This means your content should be relevant and valuable to readers and potentially enough shareable to their friends.  By providing such  information, you gain top-of-mind awareness among your network.

 

 

6] Host an exclusive event  —  The event can be customer appreciation event.  Choose an appropriate venue that features the exclusivity of the event. Choose convenient date and time for the event.

 images (3)

 

You may allot two hours in the evening (4:00 pm to 6:00 pm).  Generally this time doesn’t take away ‘work time’ of your invitees, otherwise it may happen that people might be less inclined to wish to attend. Invite past clients, current clients, prospects from your target market, those you think could benefit your business.  Ask them to bring along others from their networks.  At the event, address everyone and appreciate their presence.  Let your clients do the selling for you as they tell your prospects about their experiences with you.  Share your ideas and best practices you have implemented till now. This way you offer tremendous value to attendees. Finally let everyone mix and mingle with one another.  Afterwards you can individually follow up with potentially useful people.  This is the single most powerful method of getting more referrals.

 

7]  Stay connected with your current and former clients  — client-birthday-wishes-7D Referrals work because of relationships.  Strengthen your existing relationships.  Warm up your former relationships.  Catch up with them through phone calls, emails or chats. Greet them on some special occasions.

images (4)

 

 

You may coincide this with any upcoming holidays like Diwali, New Year, Xmas, etc.  as it’s an easy conversational starter to say something along with.  This method has a positive impact on them and you will always be on the top of their minds when it comes to giving an reference.  This is a great way to generate business and get more referrals.

 

 

8]  Acknowledge and appreciate  —  Always appreciatec9c2b3015e793c1dbe2a6c59c300338d--marriage-advice-happy-marriage those who give you referrals.  Treat them like VIPs.  Give them a call or write a personalized note to thank them for referring others to your business.  You can find some time to invite them for coffee or a quick meal.

 

Referral-Program

 

You can also have a referral payment system or host a party once in a while with those that played a big role in growing your business through their referrals.  This will nurture your relationships with them further and they will gladly continue to be your biggest ambassadors to their networks.

 

 

 

9]  Create a power team of complementary businesses  — Print A power team is a group of people with complementary professions.  They work with the same clientele but do not take business away from each other. When one person in the team gets business, he/she can refer the client to every other member in the team. This way everyone gets benefited. For example, in wedding industries.  A wedding planner, photographer, erer serve to the same client.   Real-estate power team consist of real estate agent, mortgage broker, building inspector, property and casualty insurance agent, attorney, handyman.  This way you can go long way towards generating more referrals for your business.

 

 

10]  Under-Promise and Over-deliver your current clients  — maxresdefault Delight your clients by your service and provide way more value than what you have promised to them.  Let the uniqueness of your brand stand out. This way your current customers will get pleased and impressed and willingly recommend you to their network.  But do remember Today’s Delighters are Tomorrow’s Must Haves.

 

11] Give and Take  — If you want to get referrals, you should generate referrals.  Also, whenever you have an opportunity to refer an associate or bring two contacts together, do so.  In a business meeting, make a point of introducing people to one another.  By creating a win-win situation, you develop trust and gratitude.  The law of reciprocity works here.  You will also get promoted to those people’s network.

 

Referrals don’t happen overnight.  It is the product of time and energy put together strengthening the relationships with those around you.  With the organized and structured referral generating strategy, you will find tremendous growth in the number of referrals and generate more profit.

How To Boost Your Referrals Network

 

Established business get more than 70% of their business through word of mouth.

FE0A7F3A84FA0F6E080B6CB9C2DCED0E37F64424The heart of all businesses is relationships.  The successful business people understand the value of referrals when it comes to growing their business.  Referrals are strong leads that come through trust earned, and by developing relationships with people.

 

 

9387726fd415cb18cdae03e8dd7d73a0

Your referral strategy should emphasize more on strengthening relationships. Create your customers in such a way that they create more customers for you.  Automatically there will be constant flow of referrals in your sales pipeline.

Here are few easy ways to get more referrals for your startup  :

 

1]  Accessible and approachable contact information  —  Make sure that your contact information is easily available, accessible and approachable for the people to share or interact with you.  This means that your contact information (email, website) is mentioned in all your business materials, including your invoices, marketing materials, email signatures and social media.  Give your business cards freely even if the person may just be an acquaintance.

 

2]  Get out of your comfort zone and pitch at the right place  —

 

download Every one of your business contacts has the potential to connect you to plenty others. Don’t be sheepish.  There is nothing pushy. 92% of clients trust recommendations.  A word-of-mouth is a powerful marketing force. In fact, getting a referral is the highest compliment you can ever receive.

 

download

 

Pitch confidently.  Let the person know that you are providing excellent quality products and services.

 

 

 

 

3]  Start asking for introductions  —  Sometimes, directly asking for referrals can confuse your clients about what exactly you need. c64b5a4aee5bc936a0be21ec7b5d2ca7 A name and number or reference ?   Make it straight and ask for introductions instead.  Try asking “ Would you be willing to introduce me to few people in your network ?“  This will clear the vagueness of referrals and instead  clearly communicate your contact exactly how they can help you connect with the prospects you want to meet.

 

 

 

4]  Set aside 15 minutes each day  —  Commit yourself to ask for one introduction per day.  This will keep your sales pipeline always full. You can ask your friends, family, prospects, customers  anyone to introduce you to someone  in need of your product or services. You can get an introduction in less download (2)than 15 minutes.  Soon it will become the most important 15 minutes of your day.  By making this your habit, you will gain 5 new introductions every week, ultimately reaching to 250 introductions every year.  These 250 introductions have the potential to transform your business into a success.

 

 

76a2bdc4db6f411543c8240bf7d27bfe

 

All it takes is 15 minutes a day and you will have a dramatic increase in sales.

 

 

 

 

5] Social media exposure  —  Engage yourself on socialbrann media exposing to vast number of people.  Optimize your email marketing so that you can create customized lists of clients. Write an informative email / publish a newsletter periodically.  The content should be something of value to your readers.  If you are a gym owner, a newsletter that discusses health, nutrition and exercise would be appropriate.  A placement service provider might consider writing tips about resume writing, interviewing, etc.

This means your content should be relevant and valuable to readers and potentially enough shareable to their friends.  By providing such  information, you gain top-of-mind awareness among your network.

 

 

6] Host an exclusive event  —  The event can be customer appreciation event.  Choose an appropriate venue that features the exclusivity of the event. Choose convenient date and time for the event.

 images (3)

 

You may allot two hours in the evening (4:00 pm to 6:00 pm).  Generally this time doesn’t take away ‘work time’ of your invitees, otherwise it may happen that people might be less inclined to wish to attend. Invite past clients, current clients, prospects from your target market, those you think could benefit your business.  Ask them to bring along others from their networks.  At the event, address everyone and appreciate their presence.  Let your clients do the selling for you as they tell your prospects about their experiences with you.  Share your ideas and best practices you have implemented till now. This way you offer tremendous value to attendees. Finally let everyone mix and mingle with one another.  Afterwards you can individually follow up with potentially useful people.  This is the single most powerful method of getting more referrals.

 

7]  Stay connected with your current and former clients  — client-birthday-wishes-7D Referrals work because of relationships.  Strengthen your existing relationships.  Warm up your former relationships.  Catch up with them through phone calls, emails or chats. Greet them on some special occasions.

images (4)

 

 

You may coincide this with any upcoming holidays like Diwali, New Year, Xmas, etc.  as it’s an easy conversational starter to say something along with.  This method has a positive impact on them and you will always be on the top of their minds when it comes to giving an reference.  This is a great way to generate business and get more referrals.

 

 

8]  Acknowledge and appreciate  —  Always appreciatec9c2b3015e793c1dbe2a6c59c300338d--marriage-advice-happy-marriage those who give you referrals.  Treat them like VIPs.  Give them a call or write a personalized note to thank them for referring others to your business.  You can find some time to invite them for coffee or a quick meal.

 

Referral-Program

 

You can also have a referral payment system or host a party once in a while with those that played a big role in growing your business through their referrals.  This will nurture your relationships with them further and they will gladly continue to be your biggest ambassadors to their networks.

 

 

 

9]  Create a power team of complementary businesses  — Print A power team is a group of people with complementary professions.  They work with the same clientele but do not take business away from each other. When one person in the team gets business, he/she can refer the client to every other member in the team. This way everyone gets benefited. For example, in wedding industries.  A wedding planner, photographer, florist, caterer serve to the same client.   Real-estate power team consist of real estate agent, mortgage broker, building inspector, property and casualty insurance agent, attorney, handyman.  This way you can go long way towards generating more referrals for your business.

 

 

10]  Under-Promise and Over-deliver your current clients  —  Delight your clients by your service and provide way more value than what you have promised to them.  Let the uniqueness of your brand stand out. This way your current customers will get pleased and impressed and willingly recommend you to their network.

But do remember Today’s Delighters are Tomorrow’s Must Haves.

 

11] Give and Take  — If you want to get referrals, you should generate referrals.  Also, whenever you have an opportunity to refer an associate or bring two contacts together, do so.  In a business meeting, make a point of introducing people to one another.  By creating a win-win situation, you develop trust and gratitude.  The law of reciprocity works here.  You will also get promoted to those people’s network.

 

Referrals don’t happen overnight.  It is the product of time and energy put together strengthening the relationships with those around you.  With the organized and structured referral generating strategy, you will find tremendous growth in the number of referrals and generate more profit.

15 Best Practices To Increase Your Productivity at Business

Do you tend to lose control of your dailydownload (1) work agenda and create a mess of your day? Do you find your plans going haywire again and again, due to distractions, overloading and under-planning of tasks, and most often, procrastination

So how are you going to deal with it ?  What is the way to extract the maximum efficiency from the limited time in hand? Basically increase in productivity means working smarter.

So, here’re some techniques to increase productivity by managing your time skillfully :

1]   Avoid procrastination One of the major reasons of procrastination is failure or afraid Procrastinationof trying for the goals you set when you foresee all the hurdles coming in way.  The best way to avoid this procrastination is just start doing it. Instead of getting overwhelmed, plan for short goals.  It will accelerate  your work power and increase productivity.

2]  Don’t be multi-tasker  —  When you toggle back imagesand forth between tasks, you tend to commit more mistakes. Researches show that people who try to accomplish two or more activities at a time end up distracted and results in poor quality work. Your ability to get things done depends on how well you can focus on one task at a time. It impedes creativity. Multi-tasking is more harmful than helpful. People are much more efficient if they mono task.  Increase productivity by focusing on one task at a time and give it your full attention, complete it and then move on to the next one.  It will give you the best results.

3]  Delegate the work  —  When you delegate the work properly, you have more time to spend on your own work.  Assign the right task to right person and then leave them to it. Do not micro-manage.  Just guide them and they will deliver the required output.  This way you can increase the productivity of the company.

4]  Plan your schedule (To-do-list) for the next day the night before  — For an entrepreneur, no day is same. GTAWiki-Todo-Checklist Everyday you have to face new challenges. The most effective way to deal with it is, planning what you want to achieve and need to overcome. Just spend 15 minutes to create your to-do-list for the next day, before you go to bed at night. Outline the three most important tasks to complete the next day.  You will have your head start immediately as soon as you wake up the next day.  Not only will a schedule ready for next day helps keep you organized and focused, it will also give you a sense of satisfaction when you check off items that you are able to accomplish on following day.

To-do-lists help you stay on the path of getting your most important work done and ramp up your productivity.

5]  Set self-imposed deadlines  —  A manageable 14-tips-that-can-increase-your-productivity-by-90-9-638self-imposed stress is actually beneficiary to reach the goals.  Try giving yourself a deadline and then stick to it.  Hold yourself accountable for it. This way you are forced to get the deadline meet.  You will be surprised to discover just how focused and productive you can be when you are keeping track of the watch.

6]  Take short breaks  — Break Working continuously at a task without taking any break can result in decline in performance.  Taking short breaks during long tasks whenever you feel mentally fatigued, refreshes you and recharges your energy level and thus actually increases your productivity.

7]  Avoid heavy lunches  —  Large and heavy lunches at work place make you dozing and fatigued.  Instead have the food high in protein, fiber and antioxidants throughout the day.  It will keep you full and focused.

8]  Leave your work place for lunch  —  It looks a funny idea but actually getting out of your work environment for lunch can reduce stress levels, refresh your creativity at work and bring you back to re-focus your work with fresh mood.

9]  Take exercise breaks  —  If possible, take exercisedownload (3) break at scheduled time at your work place.  Physical activities enhance brain function. Sometimes getting your blood pumped is what is needed to clear your head and get your focus back. Exercise break can improve your concentration and creativity.

10]  Eliminate distractions — Distraction is everywhere. Eliminateno-distractions that to the best of your ability. Have self-control. Actively resist the urge to surf internet, check social media notifications, etc.  during your work hours. Dedicate your time only to what matters the most. Abstain yourself by checking unrelated social media notifications or the best way is to put it off during your work to avoid temptation.  Be proactive, not reactive.

11]  Minimize interruptions  —  Interruptions during the workdownload (4) hours are inevitable.  It leads to change in work pattern and drop in productivity.  Try minimizing it by setting office hours, keeping your door closed or working from home to avoid disturbance.

12]  Keep your workplace clean and clear  —  A cluttered desk is a symptom of a cluttered mind.  So keep it neat and clean.  An organized desk saves your extra time searching the paper/file you require to complete the task.

images (2)

13]  Keep your surroundings interesting  —  Researches show that decorating your work place/office aesthetically pleasant by keeping stuff like plants, pictures, candles, flowers, etc. are refreshing. A stroll around your office can uplift your mood and help you refocus, thus increase productivity.

14]  Have a healthy lifestyle    Set aside your morningbigstock-148895999 time to focus on yourself. Start your day right by getting a good healthy breakfast, reading newspaper, meditating or exercising. This way when you invest in your health, your productivity at your work place increases.  Ignore your emails, whtsapp messages during morning time and spend some time with your loved ones.  It is a necessary fuel for a productive day.

Get rid of your bad habits, whether they are smoking or hanging out with toxic people. Get enough sleep. Less or lack of sleep has negative effect on our performance. Good and sound sleep increases concentration, working memory and wonderful logical reasoning capacity.  It all results in higher productivity.

15]  Keep your goals in the sight all the time  — images Keep your goals that you want to accomplish, in sight at all times.  When you keep them in a place where you end up seeing them many times through-out  a day, your motivational levels, to get things done, goes high.  Start visualizing fed429feec0fe7ab53e9460979375914yourself as the most productive person in your field.  Be in competition with yourself and try to beat the person you were the day before.  Keep track of your results and work every single day to be highly productive.

These are the few ways by which you can increase your productivity as an entrepreneur.  After all, it’s not about how much you can accomplish but about how much you can enjoy your entrepreneurship.

More productive you are,  happier you stay.

How To Convert Your Customers Into Brand Ambassadors

The average business loses around 24 percent of its customers annually simply by failing to attend to customer relationships. Irony is that the company invests a huge amount of time, efforts and expenses in building that initial customer relationship.  Then this relationship goes unattended.  Sometimes immediately after the sale has been made, sales-person loses interest in those clients.  Eventually then those clients tend to forget your company and opt the other options open in market.  This drops down company’s growth rate drastically.

Most companies don’t realize that the fastest, cheapest and lowest risk way of protecting their business is not only finding new customers, but nurturing existing customers as well.  This is Customer Retention.

For startups, the customer retention is crucial in order to build the strong customer base to pull profit from.

Customer Retention begins with the first contact a customer has with a company and continues throughout the entire lifetime of the relationship, earning and maintaining their loyalty continuously.

0_i2G-ETzmP5hXtxIlCustomer Retention is the measure of customer loyalty and the capacity of the business to keep its existing customers satisfied by good quality and good services offered after the product is sold.  It is influenced by how many new customers are acquired and how many existing customers churn by canceling their subscription or closing their contract or not returning back.

 

Why Customer Retention is Important

Retaining customers are the most significant drivers of the company’s revenue growth and for the long-term business success.

1] Affordability  —  The most companies spend more time and money on customer acquisition as they feel it is a quick and effective way of increasing revenue.  But, the research shows that keeping an existing customer is often faster and costs five to ten times less than that of acquiring a new one.  Selling your product/services to customers with whom you already have developed a trust and relationship is naturally easier, cheaper and affordable, as it minimizes the time and energy to attract, educate and convert new ones.

2] Loyalty  —  customer-loyaltyThe returning customers are the best customers for any business.  It proves that the customers are happy and satisfied both with the product and the services given to them by the company.  Happy customers are more loyal and buy more often and keep coming again and again.

3] Referrals  — Satisfied, loyal customers tend to refer their friends and families, bringing in other potential customers, free of cost. Then it becomes the best positive word-of-mouth advertisement of your product.

4] Profitability  —images (1) Customer retention has a direct impact on profitability. According to the Harvard Business School, an increase in customer retention by just 5 percent, can lead to an increase in profits by 25 percent to 95 percent.  Hence Customer Retention plays a vital role in hiking growth rate.

5) DiversificationIt is always easier to introduce new products in an existing market. Since the trust has already been established with your customers with regards to your services and products it is easier to diversify and introduce new products or services to them.

The easiest way to grow your customers is not to lose them.

When companies dedicate time, resources and creativity to improve customer retention, not only does it make customers happy, it brings the companies more success.

Customer Retention Strategy

There are plenty of customer retention strategies you can implement to ensure that your customers stay with you. Some of those are mentioned below :

1] Superior products and service quality  —  By providing superior quality products and services, you minimize the problems encountered by customers and create goodwill towards the company.  This is most likely to bind the customers to your company.

Jio scores highest on customer loyalty and customer service with its convenience, data coverage, data speeds, and handset choice. They also outscored Vodafone and Idea in voice quality and voice coverage.

2]  Set customer expectations early and often  —  Earlier the better.  Give your customers something to look forward.  Set their expectations early and little lower than you can provide to eliminate uncertainty about the level of your service and to ensure your always deliver on your promises.

3]  Build trust through relationships  — RatanTata Building relationships with clients garner their trust.  As trust increases, commitment tends to grow. Build trust through shared values.  Take interest in your clients and their business.  Find the way to assist them through the services you provide.  Give them a follow-up call and let them know what you come up with.  This shows you have a shared value.

4]  Be the best advisor  —  You need to be the expert in your field so that you can educate your customers and be their best advisor.  This gains customers’ trust and build customers’ loyalty.

5]  Proactive approach to customer services  –  is an approach to customer support in which the companies make the first move to help customers.  They go out of their way to first find potential problems and then resolve them before customers need to ask for help.  Proactive customer services begins even before customer walks in the door. Instead of waiting for problems to occur, implement anticipatory service to eliminate the problems.  For eg.. Air France-KLM implemented Pega, (a proactive customer service) to help their passengers facing irregularities. It offers customers the new intuitive self-service solutions.

6] Go above and beyond  –  cartoon-Rudolph-service.jpgYou need to go above and beyond your regular duties to provide customer service that truly stands out.  With a little know-how and effort, you can show customers that they are important to you at any time.  Try to accommodate emergency orders and last-minute changes when possible, especially for important occasions such as weddings or a big trade shows. Customers remember your prompt response to their needs.

6] Give a courtesy call  —  Give the customers a quick courtesy call to make sure that everything regarding product delivered, is proper and you are there to take care in case of any short-comings.  For eg.. Dell computers  does this very well. Roughly two to three weeks after expected delivery of a Dell product, a customer service representative gives the customer a courtesy call to make sure the product has arrived and the customer is happy with it. This approach bolster customer loyalty and render their retention.

6]   Go the extra mile  —  Write a letter to thank each of your customers for making their first purchase.  Leverage Customer Loyalty program.  Starbucks executed ‘My Starbucks Rewards’ and loyalty mobile apps which helped them acquire the dominating position in the coffee house market.

7] Give loyal customers special perks  — pareto-principle-80-20They say that 80 percent of your business comes from 20 percent of your customers. This is known as the Pareto Principle.   Entrepreneurs can use this principle to determine the top-performing customers and create rewards programs.  By rewarding your top-performing customers, you can enhance customer loyalty and secure continued business from them.  Offer them special perks like specific job titles, special invites etc.

Go out of way to thank those customers who have helped you in revenue generation either by a purchase or word-of-mouth marketing publicity or by mentioning on social media.  Thank them personally in unique way.  Show that you care for them and want to make sure everything is taken care. Personalized services strengthen their bone with your brand.

10]  Premiums and gifts  —  Keep your customers happy.  Reciprocate good gestures.  Offer membership cards or frequent buyer programs as direct incentives for customer retention.  Surprising offers make your customers feel like they’re part of images something bigger.  Offer them free gifts and occasional discounts when they aren’t expecting it. This will definitely change the lens through which they see your business.

 

11]  Use blogs to educate the customers and keep them engaged  —  It builds trust and shows that you are an expert on the topic. It forms a point of differentiation over your competitors.  It also gives more touch points to communicate with customers, leading to a stronger and more loyal business relationship.

7]  Follow your customers on social media —  Use social media to build relationships – Use LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, emails to connect and communicate with customers and give them a space for sharing experiences with your company, so they can become brand ambassadors.

8] Extraordinary Customer Service  —  imagesKeep your customers satisfied so that they tell others how well they were treated when doing business with you. Key facets are  customer satisfaction by every employee,  providing immediate response,  no buck passing, consistent on-time delivery, a zero-defects and error-free-delivery process. Poor service will drive your customers to your competition.  Hence provide extraordinary customer service to build fortune in repeat customers.

9]  Rolling calendars  —  Develop the frequently communicating calendars system.  This should include phone calls, sequences of letters, events, thank you’s, special offers, follow-ups, magic moments, cards, personal notes, etc.   at the specific intervals constantly and automatically during pre-sales, sales and post-sales processes.  This way the customers feel valued and acknowledged.  It reinforce the reason of their next purchases from you.

11]  Every complaint is a gift  — image15-1

Consider every complaint as a gift.  Understand that the customer has given you another chance to impress them. Follow-up with all complaints religiously.  This way you  build their trust and can retain them.

 

12]  Use content marketing  —  By ramping up your content marketing you not only reach a wider audience of potential customers but you will also remain at the top of mind of your existing customers who are then more likely to be retained.

11]  Use live webinars to educate and inspire customers  —  Engaging your customers in a webinar gives them the avwebinar-marketing-101enue to learn more about your product/services.  Customers are also allowed to ask their queries during webinars.  Also they can give suggestions that will get definitely considered.  This builds trust with customers.

 

13] Share testimonials with the worldTestimonials speak for you since they aren’t your words, but customers.  This is the more effective way of retaining existing customers and also absorbing new ones.  Set up a dedicated testimonial and case studies on your social sites.

14]  Implement customer feedback surveys  — images (4)

Asking for feedback make customers feel valued, and you might receive some useful recommendations in the process.  Give them an opportunity to fill out a survey form where they can express what they like about your services/product and can write suggestions thereon.  If they feel that their ideas are being heard and implemented, they will form a lasting relationship with your brand that can’t be easily replaced.

15]  Focus on employees retention and satisfaction  — A company with a high turnover rate may not be able to maintain strong personal relationships with its customers. Even if relationships are established, the problem occurs when the contact person leaves the job.   The customer may decide to take its business to a new company.   Thus the high turnover creates a negative environment and reduces the quality of service provided to customers. In order to reduce turnover, it is important to encourage the employees with career development opportunities.

 

Thus Customer Retention strategies don’t have to be expensive or time-consuming.  They just need to focus on empowering customers by letting them know that they are important to the company and company do care about them.

 

 

Startup Challenges

Salute to the  SPIRIT OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP  !!!!!

Entrepreneurs create Jobs. Entrepreneurs bring Innovation. Entrepreneurs contribute to National Economy. Entrepreneurs generate Investments.

As CEO of Meduyojak which is a Business Networking Platform, I keep on meeting entrepreneurs every day. Some of them are well established while some are startups with dreams to make it BIG. I also meet or speak to people who are working in corporates and are contemplating about starting their own business. They always enquire about the challenges a startup faces. I am writing this article to just highlight some of the typical challenges faced by startups. However I believe that all these challenges can be overcome if they work smart during their foundation days.

first time

Starting up your own business is quite complicated. Startups have to face lot of initial challenges till they establish themselves as successful business owners.  An old saying goes ‘A smooth sea never makes good sailors’, similarly an entrepreneur’s journey towards success is never straight or smooth.  He has to face and withstand plenty challenges to become a successful businessman.

Nearly 90% of startups fail before end of three years.

There are many reasons why startups fail.  Here are few major difficulties faced by budding entrepreneurs while starting up their new ventures:

Entrepreneur Training

Most entrepreneurs start business in an area in which they are technically competent. But knowing a subject technically well is different from doing a business in that area. Hence it is very important to get trained in various facets of entrepreneurship.

Insufficient early stage capital — The majority startups failless capital because of the lack or inadequate cash.  In order to function, businesses need a good share of money. Startups usually have trouble finding the resources to start. There aren’t enough channels which open up capital to new startups.  Getting a bank loan is not easy. Trying to convince investors that your business is worth their money is a herculean task. Besides, in most of the cases, entrepreneurs borrow money based on their ideas of business, instead of borrowing for a worst-case scenario.  Without adequate cash flow, a business can end before it gets chance to gain its momentum.

Weak Execution of ideas. — Entrepreneurs have lot of innovative ideas. But to execute them in planned manner is very important. Bhavish Aggarwal, weak ideasFounder of OLA cabs, says. “It’s not about ideas; it’s about making ideas happen”.  Often entrepreneurs are too optimistic about how easy their ideas will bring them the flow of customers. Initially the customers get attracted by their ideas but later it becomes difficult or expensive to acquire customers.  Most of the startups fail due to weak execution of ideas which leads to internal changes, conflicts, disappointments and finally shutting down of the business.

Many startups falter due to lack of proper business plan that include the key areas like sales, development, shortage of supplies, funding, etc.

Manpower — Finding the right people is also very difficult. Startups require the right kind of people to less manpowercome together for the business to withstand challenges and grow. It is crucial to search people with great balance of ability and attitude that your business requires.  It takes a huge amount of time to sift through people who don’t meet the bar. Delays in finding the right employees will result in delay in rollout of new products/services. This hampers the productivity and capacity utilization. Employee retention is also another challenge for startups.

 

Family Pressure—   An entrepreneur has to face the family pressure. Most often no one in the family is willing to let you be an entrepreneur.family pressure It is mindset of most Indian Families that everyone wants you to be in good service and not take any risk. It is even more difficult if you are starting the business by resigning from a senior position in industry. Even family gets used to salary being credited beginning of every month. They are also used to going on family vacations.

 

Do all alone  —  Initially an entrepreneur has to all the things alone.  Most of the time it starts by lifting shutter of his office and also closing the office. They are not aware about team development and delegation. This results in their business being constrained by their owdoallalonen capacity. Their business halts if they don’t work themselves. This results in them doing a job in their own business.

 

 

 

Competition  —  One of the biggest challenges that startups face is competition. competitionAlthough your product/services being great, you have to keep a constant eye on what your business rivals are contributing in this crowded marketplace.  Having the right strategy and adapting to the new reality will decide your survival in this world of business.

Less marketing/sales  —  Many startups fail after the launch of their product/services . One of the most important areas every entrepreneur should concentrate is Marketing and Sales. It is observed most of the time entrepreneurs are involved in technical work as they are passionate about it. Marketing and sales which is the fuel for the company is ignored many a times.

 

Marketing a startup—  It is quite different than marketing annow what established business.  As an entrepreneur, you do not have any brand recognition, your budget is often limited and most importantly, you are dealing with your potential customers in an intensely competitive atmosphere.

Managing Cash Flow – For a startup, everything is to be organized.  Locating and developing new office, hiring new staff, product roll-out, etc. everything require proper working capital management. Startups generally do not get credit from their vendors but end up giving credit to their customers. This brings stress in their working capital management.

 

There is a huge amount of hard work, sacrifice, patience, emotional and financial stress that comes during the journey of an entrepreneur.  By knowing and anticipating the obstacles during your journey of entrepreneurship, it is comparatively easier to encounter them by preparing beforehand.

I am sure that with proper planning, training and strategy all the above challenges can be overcome.

Goals setting – A must for an Entrepreneur

Incepted in 1952 by Mr.G.K.Pendharkar, Chairman, Vicco Laboratories (Vicco Ayurvedic products) company had the major goal to make the boons of Ayurveda available to every home within India and also in outside world. Today they are the makers of the best products of Ayurveda all over the world conquering Asia, Europe, America, Africa and Australia.

GoalsThe successful businesses are based on goals, as it define the purpose of the business and help analyze necessary action plans.

For my business purpose, I visit entrepreneurs every day. My observation is that most of these entrepreneurs do not have clear goals. Unless you have clear goals about what and when to achieve, it is very difficult to reach there.

A goal can be defined as an expected state that a company endeavors to achieve.

There are objectives to be set, to reach a goal. An objective is a short-term target to accomplish, with a deadline.

If you are going for a business meeting, unless you fix the time and venue of the meeting, you will not be able to conduct the meeting.     In your business, where you spend your 60 percentt. time, it is critical to set goals, i.e. where and when you want to reach. Goals provide a sort of blueprint that can plot a course of action to be taken.

So, if you really want to be a successful, first set your business goals.

Goals Setting is the process of establishing short or long term, time-bound business objectives which result in smart achievements within stipulated time.

smart-goals-ss

Do remember the SMART points when you set your business goal. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound.

specificSpecific – First identify the resources and funds that you’ll need to invest in the business, then plan concise and concrete goals. Rather than saying “I want to earn more through my business this year”, specify the definite amount and say “I want to increase my revenues by ‘x’ percent by the end of this year”. If the goal is specific, there are better chances of achieving it.

measurableMeasurable -It should be quantified. Measure your goals in terms of specific numbers. Instead of saying “I want to make the whole India as my target market”, specify the exact cities you want to cover. Also, “By the end of two years, the total number of employees’ strength should be 2000” Or “Company revenue generation should be Rs.5 crores by year ending 2020”. These can be your measurable goals. So frame your goals in systematic way measuring it with exact numbers.

achievableAchievable – Lets take an example of how we can set Achievable goals.
If your company has a turnover of Rs. 10 crores and the growth rate is 30 percent per year, then, if all factors remain same, we can assume the minimum turnover of the company would be 30 percent more, that is Rs.13 crores.Lets say your desirable or dream goal isRs.20 crores for next year which is 100 percent more. If the desirable target goal for a short period is very aggressive, then most of the time, it is given up.An ideal way would be, to find a stretched target which is between the minimum and desirable. You can set it at Rs.16 crores which is 60 percent more. So Rs. 16 crores is the Achievable target.

relevant

Relevant – Keep your focus on your vision as to why you have formed the company. Your goal setting should be relevant to your company’s vision.

timelyTime-bound – Keep your goals time-bound. Give reasonable deadlines to your goals. Divide the goal part by part into smaller timely achievements. Means the goals can be broken down into quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily objectives. It can be then measured over time.
Follow a particular timetable. Your timetable influences your actions remarkably, focusing only on the activities which contribute to achieve the goals without wasting time.

Infosys Ltd., under the management, in the year 2015, asked its employees, their ideas and goals for the company, which ultimately aims to improve customer satisfaction and automatically the increase in revenue. To achieve that, a lot of transformation took place like change from old mainframe-based economy to a new era of cloud computing and cyber security. As a result of this, the company’s revenue has increased by 12 % per employee.

So by setting individuals performance goals, ideas can be built. Goals promote planning to achieve them. Plan strategically. Once your plans are ready, you will have an elaborated agenda to work upon. Then the company can delegate its work to its employees systematically. It definitely helps you take your business to the next level. Hence goals can be motivational.
It is also important to review your goals periodically. This will keep you on track to reach your goal.

Key Performance Indicator :

KPIThere is one more method which can be used to measure how effectively a company is achieving its business objectives. It is Key Performance Indicator (KPI). A KPI can be a number or a ratio. When aligned systematically with goals, a KPI can demonstrate how well the company is performing. Many companies use KPIs at various levels to evaluate their success at reaching goals. High-level KPIs focus on the overall performance of the company, while low-level KPIs focus on processes in various departments such as sales, marketing or production, etc. It should also meet the SMART principles as well.

So this year make resolution to plan your goals with SMART points and move towards success.

What is Meudyojak? 

 

Total number of chapters13              

Total number of members- 235

Total business shared by members- 42Cr since 2013

Mumbai-12 chapters

  1. Samruddhi- Andheri
  2. Aishwarya- Matunga
  3. Vaibhav- Andheri
  4. Utkarsha-Kalyan
  5. Yash- Borivali
  6. Unnati- Mulund
  7. Uttunga- Dombivali
  8. Ashwamedh- Thane
  9. Urja- Vashi
  10. Jhep- Borivali
  11. Chaitanya- Goregaon
  12. Chimaji Warriors- Vasai

Pune -1 chapter

  1. Nideesh

We are planning for Upcoming chapters in following places

  1. Malad
  2. Nashik

Would you like to visit any of the above chapter , invite yourself by filling some basic details below:

 

 

Why is consistent FOLLOW UP important for exponential growth

Many times it happens that you have been followed up for umpteen number of times and finally you ended up buying that product/service ?  Yes, that’s the power of consistent folfollw up strategylow up.

On a daily basis an entrepreneur meets many people around. Obviously he has  huge business cards collection with him. But not everyone is converted into leads.  This is due to lack of  proper follow up.  Your business  is your asset.  When you set your target audience,  you need to have follow ups with them to reach your ultimate goals of selling your product/services.

An entrepreneur may feel Follow up as a weak task to complete and sometimes quite demotivating.  But remember that it’s an art to convince people with your constant perseverance, positive attitude, and with right approach.

Research shows  that only 20% of sales leads are ever followed up and 80% of potential opportunities are lost merely due to lack of follow-up after the first meet.followupp

Some observed statistics on this are :

  • 44% of sales people give up after one “NO”;
  • 22% give up after two “NOs”;
  • 14% give up after three “NOs”;
  • 12% give up after four “NOs”.

Means that 92% of sales people give up after four “NOs”, and only 8 % of sales people go for the fifth follow-up.  So now when you consider that 80% of prospects say “NO” four times before they say “YES”,  the ultimate conclusion is that 8% of sales people are getting 80% of the sales.

So Follow-up is absolutely important to get the potential leads. Perform this art of following) quite consistently without losing hope and become one of those 8% sales people.

At the end of your first meeting with prospect, set up the next meeting on a specific time.  Ideally, get back to the prospects at the earliest, preferably within  a few days, while idea is still fresh on their minds.  Following up is really just another exposure.  Your frequent exposures with the prospect will lessen the probability of  him approaching your competitors.  Your job is to educate them about your product. Remember that Out of sight is out of mind.  So fix up the next follow up and the next, until the prospect comes to a decision.

follow up steps

Once you meet your prospect, start asking appropriate questions to him to understand his needs/ expectations. Then steer the conversation in right direction so as to focus his attention on what is important.

Also, email followupfollow up by sending emails.  Don’t forget to ask for the permission from prospects to send them an email.  You can set up auto-responders.

Be-Their-Friend-750x750Sometimes you may find that the prospect is disinterested in talking.  Try to develop the friendship by sincerely taking interest in their needs, their daily life.   A successful entrepreneur knows that it is important to cultivate relationship with prospects before converting them into customers.  Then,  you can gradually highlight the need and the benefits of your product or services in their life.

Have faith in yourself and your abilities. For follow up, call the prospect at scheduled time, if not answered, leave a message and re-call.  Don’t get discouraged if he does not pick your call. Not to follow up is more of a psychological,  due to lack of confidence.  Don’t just sit around cooking your possibilities of him not taking your call.  Be positive that he must be busy. Cat_Webinar-Follow-Up And you can then call him after some time.  But never look desperate and creepy.  Instead, if they don’t pick your call, show your concern by leaving a message or a voicemail that “ Hope everything is fine “ or “ Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you”.  It definitely results in positive comeback.

Follow up with every prospect is a learning.  Some are open to the new experiences and challenges to new opportunities.  Then it makes easier to sell the product.  But sometimes,  prospects have quite narrow focus.  Try not to get perplexed by such rigid people. Be patient. Win them by your placidity and help them reach their decision by your persistency.  Follow up is a commitment.  Do it virtuously.

quality-assuranceLastly, don’t get stuck to the wrong prospects.  Move on. There are billions trillions people on this planet.   Optimize your energies to the right ones.  Be confident.  You can always set next prospects.

 

How can MSMEs use marketing?

Established in 2006 as a start-up ayurvedic company, Patanjali Ayurved Ltd. (PAL), today, is sweeping away everything.  It has become fastest growing FMCG company in India.  From local store to Amazon, wide range of Patanjali products is spreading everywhere.  How did they achieve this sharp jump in short span of time ?  Fact that the Indian market still have an affinity towards naturally and culturally based products, is very well used by PAL for marketing.  Patanjali products are marketed as historically and culturally INDIAN, under Swadeshi campaign.  It advertises its products as being all-natural and void of any synthetic and artificial components.  With such marketing strategies, PAL has agitated the whole FMCG sector and bagged a high growth in sales.

So what exactly is Marketing ?  Let’s explore that now …

Marketing solutions pinned to a whiteboard

Marketing is a set of practices or actions undertaken to sell your products and services.  It basically involves innovative strategies applied to advertise and sell your product in order to make MONEY  !!!

It is the process of explaining consumers why they should choose your product/service over your competitors.

You may ask me ‘why would I want to spend money on marketing though ? I have a quality product.  It should sell on its own.  Now tell me ‘what is the probability of your walking into a store and simply buying some random item ?‘  It’s as low as finding a waterfall in the Sahara desert. So it’s as simple as that.

marketing image2However, marketing differs from sales as it begins with the basic product development stage.  A smart entrepreneur will study the market first and then invent his product, so as to feed the demand of his customers.

Thus, Marketing takes into account the customers’ needs and their satisfaction.  Primarily, it is based on 4Ps  viz. (1)Product  (2)Price  (3)Place  (4)Promotion.

(1)Product  :  Marketing strategies begin with understanding the needs and desires of your target audience.  This requires tons of market research and demographic survey.  If your product isn’t needed, yet, create a need, make your audience desire it.  Make your product better than your competitors.  Design it to attract the maxim.

(2)Price  :  It is derived by understanding the optimal price to sell the product to achieve maximum return.  Either it is set at the similar level that of the competitors, once it is understood that all product expenses can be well recovered and still there is a profit.  But if the company is launching a new product, it must determine how much the consumer is willing to pay for it. Higher price can result in less sales.

(3)Place  :  It requires the ample amount of demographic studies. It includes the identification of the areas where your target market roams around.  Means you need to plan where you must advertise your product so as to spend less and reap more.

(4)Promotion  :  Finally comes in promotion of the product by strategic advertising.  It involves promotion via hoardings,  social media, TV advertisements,  even expensive ways like celebrity endorsements, etc.

Thus, understand that marketing is everything that the  consumer encounters,  when it comes to your business, from advertising, to what they want and understand, to the customer service that they receive,  to the follow-up care that you provide.

One must study the important topics in the society and accordingly innovate, design the product, like Reliance Jio…which banked on Digital India Movement and offered a cheaper and better product verses its competitors almost completely capturing the internet consumer base. Finally to sum up, marketing involves ideas, innovation, interest development and investments, to earn income.

How does Me Udyojak help MSMEs in marketing?

It is seen that for any entrepreneur more than 70% business comes through Word Of Mouth or References. But no entrepreneur has a system to generate references which are of high quality. At Meudyojak members share strong references with each other resulting in lot of business. Me Udyojak members have shared more than 25000 references resulting in more than Rs 42 crores business.

Would you like to visit Me Udyojak chapter near you . Please fill in the details as per below:

 

 

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