1. Stay relevant – your business must provide the goods and services that are needed by your customers. Your focus should be to meet the needs of the customer. Are you staying current with their mission, objectives, strategies, buying process. How do you incorporate the current trends into your business model? Are you aware of the current trends?
2. Traditional marketing methods are now enhanced by the use of new online communication technologies. Are you in the mix? Are you sharing your expertise through email marketing or informing prospects and customers/clients about your firm’s new initiatives, services, products or even sales? Perhaps blogging is a better solution for your type of business. Do you have a Facebook Fan page; are you using your brand on your fan page? There are small businesses that don’t have a web page; however, they are maximizing the use of fan pages on Facebook. Are you tweeting – a great way to expose your knowledge and expertise to the public.
3. Have a listening campaign – find out what your competitors are doing; find them online. Not only can you check their websites but now you can look them up on LinkedIn; check to see what others are saying about them on Yelp; watch their tweets on Twitter or see if they have a YouTube site. There are a vast amount of social websites today; to narrow it down; check the competitor’s websites to see where they are posting.
4. Follow your clients and prospects - Are your clients/prospects using social media? If so, be sure to follow them; it’s a great way to keep current with their new initiatives and direction; they’re priorities; any changes taking place. Get to know more about the companies you are selling to and those you wish to sell to. Learn how they want you to do business with them. The federal government has a heavy online presence; be sure to follow them; oh by the way, their websites are chock full of information on how to do business with them, what they are buying and their contracting process.
5. Take advantage of the various preference contracting programs that corporations and the federal government sector have in place; e.g. 8A Business Development; HUB Zone; MBE/WBE/DBE/SBE programs; WOSB; EDWOSB and more. Okay what does all of that mean – need help; that’s where I come in. There’s plenty of help available to you – look up your local Small Business Development Centers - go to http://www.asbdc-us.org/index.html ; or contact economic development corporation in your state. Reach out the local Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC):
6. Networking - Be sure to join your trade associations; become certified by Minority Supplier Development Council in your state; join the Chamber of Commerce. Do the homework first to be sure it is a good fit for you; and once you’ve joined – be active. Learn how to effectively network; create, build, maintain and sustain relationships; it is the crux to sustainable businesses. Remember networking is about what you give; the receiving will come from when and where you least expect it.
“Your Business Begins in Spirit” so stay connected to it. Stephanie D. Burroughs | StephanieSpeaking LLC| http://stephaniespeaking.com/ | https://profiles.google.com/StephanieSpeakingLLC#StephanieSpeakingLLC/about
Hear the interview with Stephanie Burroughs on Diverse Business Show:
"How to Deliver Value Create Sustainability and Exp..." hosted by Diverse Business on #BlogTalkRadio http://tobtr.com/s/1619643