How Start-Ups Stay Up – How I Run My Small Business
I am a bankruptcy attorney in Philadelphia. I started my law firm over 20 years ago and have helped thousands of clients get a fresh financial start over the years. I have four tips for small business owners both new and experienced. I credit these basic principles with the success of my firm.
Create Your Niche
You might be the greatest widget-maker on the planet, but if the market for widgets is saturated that will not matter – it will be a struggle, up-hill, to get noticed by potential customers. Make sure that when you start your business you have identified a service or product that is fresh to the market, whether that market is local (like a bankruptcy law firm, or a house painter) or global (products that can be exported or services that can be done remotely).
Advertise Your High-Quality Service or Product Online.
The days when a website is just an online business card are long over. An effective website will clearly show what you do or are offering and be findable by people who need you. The structure and content of the site itself should attract the viewer to stay on the site, and eventually start on their Buyer’s Journey to purchasing your service or product.
Any commercial website these days absolutely must be optimized for mobile devices. Potential customers most frequently use their smartphones or their tablets to google solutions to their problems, and they will click away from an unwieldy site that is difficult to read or navigate.
The content of your site should establish your expertise and/or relevance to the viewer’s search, and a clear and easy way to contact you or to purchase your service or product.
Maintaining a blog is a great way to inform current clients and future clients of the latest developments in your field, of new products or services you are offering, and to establish your expertise or your product’s high quality.
Convert Satisfied Clients and Customers into New Clients.
The first order of business is to make sure you are providing current customers and clients with a high-quality product or service. What you offer should do what you promise it to do and if a problem arises, a customer must be able to contact you for a remedy. Good customer service is the primary driver of repeat and referred business. So many clients are referred to me by their friends or family who used my services. That is gratifying.
But how to harness the power of satisfied clients’ goodwill? Provide them with the opportunity to leave you a positive review. I’m not suggesting you email each client or customer yourself, but rather, that you purchase one of the many available systems that automate this process for you. It’s a nominal expense for what you get in return.
Once you have clients’ email addresses, you can create a mailing list to inform list subscribers of sales or specials or a change in operating hours, etc. Make sure to ask clients first before you add them to your mailing list, and in each email sent, offer a simple way to unsubscribe. There are many good list managing companies online who will organize this for you.
Create a Network of Professionals and Peers
Word-of-mouth is valuable not just among former clients and future clients, but between professionals and your peers as well. Here are some ideas about how you can start and grow your network:
- Join your national professional associations and attend conferences
- Join your state or local professional associations and attend meetings
- Join your local rotary club or other organization to network with local businesses unrelated to your business
- Once established in your field, offer to give talks at meetings and conferences, to establish your expertise
- Invite members of your network to subscribe to your blog or email list, for the latest news, and join theirs
- Be active in your community. Volunteer your time or funds to support any quality-of-life events in your city or town, like a July 4th Town Picnic, or a Thanksgiving 5K. You can’t put a price on the goodwill that will generate for you and your business.
About the Author
Mr. David M. Offen, Esq. is a bankruptcy and foreclosure attorney in Philadelphia who attended Temple University College and Law School. Mr. Offen is licensed to practice in the States of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He is a member of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Bankruptcy Conference and the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys and maintains an active blog on all aspects of bankruptcy filing and current events.
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