Growing your business in a competitive world takes imagination, effort, creativity and more than a little tenacity.
Your best tool will be your open mind and an unwavering belief that there are opportunities everywhere if you seize them.
Remember that so much of expanding your client base comes from making quiet, thoughtful connections, building a bridge of trust, and doing follow-up. It is never about the hard sell.
Here are 11 ways to grow your business that aren’t always obvious but really work.
Become a source for the news media
There is no faster way to be seen as an authority than to be quoted in the news media as one.
It is absolutely the best advertising that you can’t buy.
When you establish a reputation as an expert in your field and news reporters call on you to analyze situations, to give an expert opinion, and to explain complicated situations in ways their readers and listeners will understand, that is another way of people getting the message that you are one of the best in your field.
There are a couple of ways you can do this. You can start small by occasionally offering an op-ed page column to your community newspaper on a local issue that touches on your area of expertise. You can send a news release to your local radio station or television station or newspaper after a significant local event that shows how your company is responding in an unusual way. If the reporters are doing an overall response story, and they usually are, they will include it or call you for a quote.
If you want to up the stakes, however, you can sign up for Help A Reporter Out. HARO, as it is referred to in the industry, is used by some of North America’s most prestigious news organizations such as The Globe & Mail, TIME, The New York Times, Fox News, ABC, Mashable, Reuters, and the Wall Street Journal, among many others.
It is quite possibly the fastest and most effective way to build your image as an authority in your field.
However, it is also time consuming and if you are going to make the most of it, you will have to make a significant commitment of time and energy. You are asked to check your inbox three times a day (at 5:35 a.m., 12:35 a.m. and 5:35 p.m. Monday through Friday and look for source request relevant to your industry, expertise or personal experience.
When you see one that fits, answer that journalist’s questions, and include a biography of your information. If the journalist is interested, they will reach out to you.
You can see how you might invest some time without getting a response, but generally speaking, if you offer responses regularly, you will get picked up and used as a source regularly. Once a reporter finds you a good source, they will keep coming back to you.
Make sure if you are doing this that your LinkedIn profile is up to date since people hearing who believe you could help them in their business will want to reach out to you. Another trick when you are answering the reporters’ question is to ask if they will reference your website if they use your response.
Find avenues to illustrate your expertise
Another way to establish your authority is to become a source for Quora – a question-and-answer site where questions are asked, answered, edited, and organized by its community of users. Simply join Quora, find a question that fits your area of expertise, and submit your answer.
If you wonder whether this really works to grow your business, consider the case of prolific Quora contributor Jason Lemkin, ceo and co-founder of EchoSign (acquired by Adobe).
If you have considered answering Quora questions but are concerned about the time commitment and what you might assume was little to show for it, Lemkin’s case proves there is much to be gained from it, including a massive reputation growth.
Speak at events and conferences
Building up your reputation as an authority and generating new clients spontaneously also results when you speak at events. If you have built up your skill as a professional speaker, and you make it known that you will deliver keynote addresses or motivational speeches, you will often find that new clients approach you afterwards to arrange follow-up meetings.
To make this strategy most effective, you have to create a talk that is full of valuable information for your listeners and wraps up with a call to action.
If you have a gift for oratory, you may also want to use this as a marketing tool to sell your services or other products after your presentation.
For some great tips on pursuing this strategy and landing the speaking gigs, checking out this link from Speaking Lifestyle.
Run a workshop
Event organizers are always looking for programs, and if you have a good workshop packaged and ready to go, this too can heighten your image as an authority in your field and generate spontaneous clients after the presentation has concluded.
Take your knowledge and package it into an attractive offering. For bookkeepers, this can range from “Tax Tips for Small Businesses,” to “Bookkeeping Basics for Your Small Business” or perhaps a creative presentation on “Why Shoebox Accounting Will Hurt Your Success.”
Contact trade show organizers in your area, small business organizations and Chambers of Commerce.
Here’s a great cheat sheet to help you organize your workshop so it will be effective in generating new clients.
Pick a niche
Bookkeeping may be your profession, but you can refine that further to a specific niche. You may specialize in doing books for health professionals, for example, or for the hospitality industry. Pick a market and grow your expertise and reputation in that one area. I can tell you from personal experience that the more you narrow your focus the faster your growth – it may sound counter intuitive, but it is true. One further comment I would like to make on choosing your niche – we have all heard the phrase “the riches are in the niches”, but an even better one is “the fortune is in the follow-up”, so don’t forget to follow up with those leads regardless of your niche. ☺
Make sure your website helps draw in new clients
If your website does not have one single call to action, you are missing an opportunity to let it work for you to draw clients in. Make it a live chat, or a book an appoint now, or a call today for a few 15 minute consultation. It doesn’t matter what your hook is, just make sure that you have one so that people don’t have to be confused about what to do to reach you. Your website can be, and should be, your best sales tool…if you let it.
In concluding, here are five more surefire ways to help grow your business:
- Practice until you have a great, attention-getting elevator speech. You would be amazed how many people I speak with cannot tell me what they do in 20 seconds or less.
- Join LinkedIn groups that are not just about your industry, but the ones where your potential clients hang out. Think niche – where are their areas of interest.
- Join Facebook groups and then invest the time to be genuinely helpful to people.
- Get listed in Google My Business. Everyone should be here. It gives you a free listing of your business even if you don’t have a website. What are you waiting for?
- Gather information about what your clients want by listening. Knowing the pain points of your clients and listening to the needs of potential clients is still the fastest road to figuring out how to refine your marketing message and meet those needs.
That’s it for now. I hope you found one or more of these ideas helpful.
As always, this blog is for you so if you would like to see a post on a specific topic please let me know.
Until next time, take good care of yourself.
p.s. – If you would like to add a smile to your day check out this video of me getting a pie in the face here on our on YouTube. Enjoy. ☺
Copyright : Burmakin Andrey | 123rf