I tough financial times, many businesses scale back. This is understandable since resources, money in particular, are scarce. Also in tough times, small and independent business owners have an advantage. The technology we need to successfully lead our businesses costs next to nothing in dollars and cents. This boils profitability down to something everyone can afford.
While you may have to temporarily go without a virtual assistant or delay a planned move to a larger facility, you can use technology to make a welcome and consistent online appearance on your customers's lives, wherever they may be. This is risky. Putting yourself yourself out there always is. But there are no rewards without risks.
It's also time consuming, and that's one of the chief complaints I hear. That's a lame excuse for anyone who calls herself an entrepreneur. Time is limited for everyone, but everyone also has priorities.
The fact that it takes more focused effort to manage those priorities is what is holding so many people back. Maybe I can help with that.
Turn off the television. Cut back on leisure activities. Let someone else fix dinner a few times a week. Stop making products that don't sell well. Get at least three supremely important things done each day. Limit your time on FaceBook. The time you could save each week by doing these types of things can be used to be where your customers are, which in turn will increase sales.
I'm not just preaching here. I know first-hand what it's like to have to do more with less. But my business is thriving in part because I have beefed up my customer outreach. I blog almost daily. I work social media diligently and consistently. I have channeled my FaceBook engagement so every minute I invest (not “spend”) there is maximized.
It's about making yourself available to your customers.
Be visible. Be ubiquitous. Unashamedly, consistently, relentlessly ubiquitous.
Take the risk, put yourself out there. Open yourself up to criticism. Invite people to disagree, oppose or poke fun. Business leaders become good at handling all three over time. It's scary, but what's the worse thing that could happen? Whatever it is, it's not worse than what will happen if you don't lead the way for your customers.
Your customers are everywhere. You can't be everywhere, but you can be everywhere your customers are.
Let me repeat that, because it's worth repeating so it sinks in. (And you should Tweet it, for extra reinforcement …)
Donna Maria Coles Johnson, Indie Business Network
How? With technology. Technology allows you to do things all by yourself in your living room that only large companies with massive numbers of people and dollars could do just a few years ago. It lets you quickly marry your offerings with the ideas and needs of your customers.
Be with your customers. Dwell with them. Ask them what they want and then, give it to them.
Be everywhere your customers are.
Question: How do you use technology to lead your business?