Business Startup Questions


Starting a successful business requires much more than a great idea. Can you define your innovation in the market?

Most people start with a predefined idea in their head about what they want to sell.  The reality is the world may not be waiting for your product or service. Can you define what you will you do, what value will you create that makes you different from similar businesses?  Identify exactly what benefits you are delivering:  better service, more convenient location, innovative design, hands on training? Then validate your hypothesis with customer discovery. Figure out who are your target customers. Never assume you know what your customer wants, unless you have asked.  Invest time upfront asking questions and gathering critical feedback.  Data driven decisions will beat guesswork every time.

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Networking Karma

Networking is an essential skill in growing your business.  It starts with building a relationship based on an honest connection.  To be an asset versus a one time conversation, start giving before you get.   Figure out how to collaborate with the other person before thinking about what’s it in for you.  Determine what value you can add and dish it out freely.  Maybe your help is in the form of good advice, or in the form of  simple, honest appreciation.   Are you a relationship connector?  Facilitate that connection for someone else.  Access to a key resource is priceless.  Embrace the premise that you will help them move forward.  Then deliver on your promise to connect.  Your success correlates to your network.  Connected people understand the power of relationships to engage and enlarge their network.

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5 Tips to Build Customer Loyalty

If you want to build loyalty (and sales) be prepared to put your customer first.  Customer loyalty is critical for a thriving business.  And it’s no secret the acquisition cost of a new customers is exponentially higher than keeping a current one. Adopt these tips and learn to value the relationship as much as the sale!

Start with a meaningful product or service.  Showcase what your product or service is doing for your customers on a regular basis. Craft that blog with their needs and expectations in mind.  It is impossible to build loyalty with something no one wants or is willing to pay for.  If you cannot figure out what problem you are solving or why I should care, consider reevaluating the value proposition.

It’s all about the delivery experience.  Fast and reliable is the new norm. Go the extra mile on shipping and service. Enhance your packaging to elicit a WOW response.  Deliver your product beyond expectations, every time.

Cultivate a dialogue with your new customers, each and every one.  Acknowledge each new customer, no matter how small. Continue the practice for your most loyal customers. A personalized email and a hand written thank you note demonstrate how much you care about their purchase.  Each transaction is an opportunity to nurture a relationship with a new customer.  Show authentic appreciation and plant a seed of loyalty.

Ask for feedback after your product or service has been in their hands for a week or two. As soon as a customer actually uses a product, there are immediate likes and dislikes. When a customer is delighted, sharing meaningful feedback as a testimonial is valuable content.  If there is a problem, show a sense of urgency. Contact your customer immediately, listen and demonstrate good faith by finding a solution.

Adapt and improve the customer experience.  If a customer cares enough to provide insight, honor the feedback.  This may seem like a risk, but maybe there is a tweak or two or three that you may have not considered important when you launched.  That feedback is critical as you improve your product or service further down the line.  Passionate customers usually have a lot to share.  Start by asking what would make it better.  Listen, learn and adapt.

Engage with your customers.  Make it a habit.  It’s the path to brand loyalty.


Time to Upgrade Your Website

Small business owners should take stock of the most basic digital asset: your website

If it has been 2 years or more since you last breathed any life into your website, it is time for an upgrade.   Consider these elements a “must-have” for your business website:

  • Up to date contact information so you can be found quickly .
  • A  customer comment feature, and/or  call to action  that encourages  a dialogue between you and your customers.
  • A mobile optimized site – 61% of local searches on a mobile phone result in a phone call according to Google.

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