GROWING YOUR BUSINESS: Be a little better

Growing your businessby Dan Beaulieu
Business consultant

To be successful in business you have to find ways to be better. You have to get creative and find ways for your customers to prefer working with you rather than with your competition.

Finding new ways to delight your customers can be fun. Actually, being better than your competition is fun, not to mention profitable.

As a business owner you should always be thinking about your customers and yes, also about your competitors.

You need to study your customers to see what they like, what puts smiles on their faces? What keeps them coming back?

And you have to study your competitors to see what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong, and how you can be better.

Often, it’s the little things that can make you outstanding in the true sense of the word.

You can be the roofer who leaves the site spotless once the roof is complete. I was once wowed at the site of a member of the company that did my roof a few years ago, going over the driveway with some kind of magnetic rake to make sure no nails were left behind.

I once visited a restaurant, a very busy restaurant in Milwaukee that delighted people who were waiting for over an hour for a table by passing out hot buttered rolls.

Or how about that family-owned hardware store where the woman in the paint department spent a good 15 minutes with my mother talking about just the right paint to redo a lawn chair? Mom talked about that for years after.

None of these things were hard or expensive but they were valuable enough to make customers for life.

Think about your own business. What can you do to be outstanding? What can you do to be special.

Oh, here is an idea, ask your customers themselves. Go ahead ask them for their opinion?

If you own a restaurant, ask them to fill our a simple questionnaire. If you own a service business, sit down and honestly ask your customer what you could do differently and better?

When you finish that landscaping job and are showing the customer what you’ve done, ask her if there is anything else she would like. Ask her if she has any ideas of services you could offer or things you could do better.

Study your industry, always be learning about your job. You can even learn by watching the right TV shows. Just by sitting in a chair in your den with a notebook you get ideas on how to run a better restaurant, bar, diner – you know all those shows. Get ideas from watching HGTV and the Discovery channel. Always be learning and, yes, don’t be afraid to steal those ideas and use them for your own business

In the end it’s all about how dedicated you are to finding new and innovative ways to grow your business.


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