Customer Base : How to Build

Customer Base : How to Build

Starting a new business can be terrifying. You pump time and money into your new venture with no idea of how it will turn out. All business owners start somewhere, though. And one thing every new start-up needs is a customer base.


Here are five things any new business can do to begin building that brand.


Use Social Media (and Do a Good Job of It)

Every company needs an online presence these days. Most businesses realize that, but they often neglect the details. Unless you’re selling a product directly online, you should focus more on social media than on an elaborate page.


Few customers will spend time navigating through an elaborate website. You need to go to your customers. A healthy social media presence will allow customers to incorporate your deals and ads into their own time.


And make sure your social media presence is up to date. If your page hasn’t been update in three years, no one will know how accurate your information is. Spend the time needed to get good content available online.


Hire a Few Reliable Employees

The more employees you have, the more time you’ll need to spend in human resources and management. A large staff may sound appealing, but remember that each person will need wages, paperwork, and maybe even benefits packages. And the more people you’ve got working together, the more likely it will be that people will feud and cause problems.


Find a few good people. Hire them. And keep your staff lean. Good employees—so long as your treat them well—will be loyal and hardworking. They will also attract customers. Customers like to go to a business where they know the people working. That customer-business relationship is key to growing your start-up.


Get to Know What Everyone Does

Learn the basics of what every one of your employees does on a normal day. This will help you build rapport with your staff; you’ll understand how hard their work is, and that understanding will help build the mutual respect between employee and employer that is necessary for building a strong workforce. It will also prevent your employees from thinking you don’t understand how the place actually works.


Know Your Customer

Again, customers like going to places where they know the workers. Learn your customers’ names, talk with them about their days, and slowly build that relationship. Remember to be sincere, though; nothing turns potential regulars again like a slimy conversation with the owner.


Once people know you, they will feel personally invested in your establishment. If it’s home to them, they’ll keep coming back, and will feel the importance of spending their money on you instead of the similar shop a few blocks down.



Do Good Work

This one should go without saying, but it pays to remember that customers will be happier when they get high quality service. Whatever it is you do, do it well. Solid product or content will be the best marketing tool you’ll ever have. Quality is the first thing customers consider when planning a shopping trip.   


When Brands Miss The “Social” Part of Social Media: Tips to Stay on Your Game

When Brands Miss The “Social” Part of Social Media: Tips to Stay on Your Game

In the award-winning film, “The Truman Show,” there is a moment where Jim Carrey’s character is having a revelation bordering on a breakdown. In the middle of his crisis, his wife stops him, smiles sweetly and proceeds to interrupt his authentic conversation with a plug for cocoa. If you are unfamiliar, “The Truman Show” is a film based on a man’s life that he doesn’t know is a reality TV show. Of course, the sponsors of the fictional show keep it bankrolled largely through product placement. How is this relevant to your brand’s social media presence?

Well, it’s a prime example of a brand taking the “social dialogue” out of context. Many brands push so hard to plug their products and services that they forget to appeal to simple human interaction, the primary purpose of social media. Through case studies, monitoring the evolution of trends and becoming a proxy for your demographic, any brand can maximize the opportunity not only to grow customers, but build loyal fans.

Case Study One: Interact, Don’t Blast

The top 35 brands on social media report an average of 35 posts per week, contingent on their product, service or brand persona, reports The Social Examiner. The behemoth, yet wonderful brand, iTunes posts an average of more than 60 pieces of content on their Facebook page per week, while Subway posts only around nine. iTunes then experienced a slow growth of fanship by only around 0.04 percent, while Subway boasted a growth of 0.10 percent. Those may seem like small numbers, but that’s a huge difference for brands with such a heavy international reach.

What made this staggering difference? Although there are a number of factors, the boldest difference seems to lay in Subway’s devotion to answering poster’s questions. Subway responded to 61 percent of all inquiries, while iTunes responded to zero. Instead of playing it like a numbers game and blasting fans with constant updates, Subway took a more targeted and personal approach, making social media a two way street.

Case Study Two: It Doesn’t Matter Who You are or What You Do, There’s a Niche Waiting for You

Social Media today has written about the importance of befriending and embracing local communities before, and the importance of this extends to any brand, no matter the size or industry. Embracing local communities and interacting with them positively is a wonderful way to build brand loyalty and demonstrate attentiveness. However, this can quickly backfire with insensitivity.

For example, the culinary powerhouse, Epicurious, embarked on an unintentionally offensive social media campaign to show local support for the tragedy of the Boston marathon bombing. However, instead of appearing as empathic and sincere, their tweets backfired because they used them to promote their own products. One tweet read “In honor of Boston and New England: may we suggest whole-grain cranberry scones (with a link to their page)?” Instead of generating traffic to their scone section, all they did was create an uproar of offended former-fans eager to point out how self-serving the tweet was.

Meanwhile, even law firms can create local engagement through looping in both local and national trends. Take Neblett, Beard & Arsenault, based in Louisiana for example. Their ability to make their Facebook page relevant and informative has helped expand their reach and secure their reputation as more than a group of stuffy lawyers, but people who are interactive and keep their finger on the pulse of pertinent happenings.


Whether or not your brand is a Law Firm, a sandwich company, or you just want to peddle some cocoa on the big screen, the impact of tailoring your social media to speak with your demographic, instead of “at” them, can make a world of difference.

Technology That Will Make Running a Small Business and/or Startup Easier

Technology That Will Make Running a Small Business and/or Startup Easier

537489489Running a small business or startup enterprise takes initiative, creativity, and drive. For intrepid individuals courageous enough to undertake it, time and resources are often scarce. That’s why it makes good sense to take full advantage of new available technology to enhance and streamline your business.

The Small Business section of the New York Times offers articles of interest about technology to small business owners, including topics such as:

  • Using Twitter to market small businesses: Micro blogging is the sole method of advertising for many businesses with no marketing budget.
  • Text message marketing: This article claims that text messaging can increase sales and establish customer relationships for a reasonable cost.
  • Managing your online reputation: This includes interacting with customers and monitoring web conversations.

A February 13, 2015 article on Tech Cocktail entitled New Business Technology for the New Year has several technology suggestions for small business owners. The author claims that by working smarter instead of harder with new affordable technology options, small businesses can streamline operations and maximize returns. According to the article, business owners may consider any or all of the following:

  • Social Media: Although social media is a valuable marketing tool, managing it can be time-consuming. For that reason, it is recommended that you choose one or two social platforms that suit your business audience instead of branching out to multiple platforms. The author recommends Twitter for promoting deals or specials, Instagram for visuals, and Facebook for dialogs with customers.
  • Cloud Document Storage: This makes shared documents accessible from home or mobile devices, but controls are still available as to who can edit or access them. The article recommends affordable cloud storage friendly to small business, such as Box, Google Drive, Drop Box, or One Drive.
  • Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Phone and Fax: This technology has features that can enable small businesses to present a polished image at very low cost. Switching to VoIP phone and fax could help you improve service and image while reducing costs.
  • Mobile Apps: Apps can replace certain traditional business services and can be particularly useful for hands-on business owners and employees who are seldom if ever in an office. Accounting, travel management, point-of-sale, and a number of other useful business apps are available.

In a December 2013 article on Entrepreneur, author Michael Garrity claims that technology is a vital tool that is leveling the playing field for small businesses. In terms of small business technology, the article recommends the following:

  • Move your business to the cloud.
  • Replace expensive POS solutions with an app on your tablet or smart phone.
  • Offer loyalty and rewards programs to your customers using FiveStars, Belly, or Perka at affordable prices.
  • Take advantage of inexpensive tools such as cloud apps for accounting, HR, and other backend productivity.
  • Use marketing and sales plug-in apps to track customers, active leads, sales pipelines, and more.

As covered in this article, with a tablet and a few essential apps, a small business owner can run a customer’s credit card, promote the daily specials on Twitter, manage payroll, and much more.