When there’s so much doom, gloom and uncertainty in the news, it can feel difficult to stay focused on the right things in business. Those of us who’ve been in business for a while have seen companies come and go. Some of those who didn’t survive will have blamed a downturn or recession for their fate, but there’s often more to it than that.
Whatever things look like outside your window, there are certain activities that help keep the show on the road. Can those activities save every business? No. We all know of businesses that folded in the last two years and there’s perhaps very little they could have done to save themselves.
But what’s coming next is a different challenge, and given the industry we work in, we know very well that strong foundations are needed to keep things on a sound footing.
It’s always good to get a reminder of what we could and should be doing, so here are three things that are working at Super Structures Associates and will almost certainly work for you too:
1. Ask for testimonials
You might have heard me talk about this before, but it bears repeating. A couple of years ago now I set myself the goal of getting 20 five-star Google reviews for Super Structures Associates. We have a system that means we remember to ask for them, and to follow-up if people don’t give a review. And then ask again because our clients are busy people!
At the time of writing, we have 39 five-star reviews, so almost double the original goal, and we know this has a significant impact on us winning work, because people tell us over the phone, “I had to call you when I saw how many and how good your reviews were”.
This is something that’s quite straightforward to do – to ask for reviews – but it’s not always easy to do. For some reason it can feel difficult to ask, and that’s why it’s helpful to have a system you use, so you always ask and always follow-up with every happy customer.
2. Re-engage with old clients
Do you have a system for keeping in touch with previous clients? If you don’t, then it’s time to set one up. Start re-engaging with your old clients now and create a system for staying in touch with every new client that comes on board. You can use a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, but it’s not essential. A spreadsheet or contacts list plus regular time in your diary devoted to staying in touch can work well too.
The good thing about previous clients is that they know, like and trust you already, so there’s not a lot of work to do to win them over. Re-igniting those relationships is much more cost-effective than spending money on a campaign to find new clients.
And it doesn’t matter if they don’t have a need for your services right now. You can always ask them if they know anyone else who might need your help. It’s always easier to win over a potential new customer if they’ve been recommended to you.
3. Consider sending a regular email to your contacts
I’m sure there are lots of business owners who have a neglected list of contacts in Mailchimp, or vague plans to start sending emails, but then life and work gets in the way. It’s tempting to put client work first, and not make time to market your business. But an email list is a valuable asset, and one that will pay you back several times over.
It makes sense to be on social media, but it can be very time consuming and it’s not always in your control. You’re at the mercy of algorithms and AI bots that can cut off your profile without notice. Whereas an email list is your own. Send a regular email that’s relevant to your audience and delivers them something useful or entertaining (or both) and it will slowly build its own momentum. Eventually you’ll wonder why you didn’t start emailing sooner.
Those are three business-building activities you can act upon straight away. If you need help or advice when it comes to putting them into action, feel free to send me a quick reply.
And, of course, if you need assistance with the structural elements of an upcoming project, please do get in touch.