Your Business Reputation: Something to Talk About

The phrase “His name is mud” came from the story about a man named Samuel Mudd who was thought to be a co-conspirator in Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. His conviction was later overturned, but nonetheless, the phrase stuck with him and for more than a hundred years later.

How do you want to be thought of or remembered? It’s really within your control how you will create lasting impressions. The best way to secure a solid lasting business reputation is to adhere to a code of conduct of how you live your life. Take a long hard look at yourself; your ideals, values, and beliefs. These are the essential principles that dictate how you will conduct your business.

If you follow these steadfast business rules your business reputation will be at the top of its game:

• Always offer over-the-top service.
• Be on time. If not, let someone know pronto.
• Keep your promises – always. Otherwise, don’t make them.
• Pay on time. If you can’t, negotiate with your vendors. Least of all, don’t hide.
• Take care of your employees and they will take care of you.
• Admit your mistakes and move on.
• Learn to say no.
• Speak less than others. But when you do make it count.

You may say, “These rules are easy!” If they were so easy then why do so many businesses fall short of them? It’s because too many business owners reject the idea of ‘living’ a sound set of principles or standards. They fail to understand that a business reputation is more than a chart or the bottom line of your financial statement.

As business is about people so is your business reputation. People don’t care what your bottom line says as long as they feel they can trust you. They don’t care if you’re the size of Dell or McDonald’s. Your customers value you as a local business as much as the largest online company. They will listen not only to online reviews but to what their neighbor or fellow church-goer has to say about you and your business.

When you follow these simple rules they will make a difference in three areas: how you are seen by others, how your employees see you and how you feel about yourself. And believe me, how you feel about yourself and your business will dictate what others see.

It takes years to build a decent business reputation. It’s similar to building a close friendship – founded on trust, honesty and loyalty. As you grow and your business matures your may or may not be the richest woman in the neighborhood but you will be at peace with yourself. The objective in life is not only to make a pile of money but to get pleasure from the journey towards your goals.

How Can Small Business Lead Generation Help Your Business

Marketing a business is quite a task, and it’s not possible for everyone to be an expert at it. And when it comes to small business lead generation, the proposition gets even more complicated, since the organization is not known, and probably has to take head-on competition from established brands. In this regard, a majority of the organizations choose to take the assistance of specialist agencies that have proficiency in these operations.

These agencies help companies achieve their desired objective, and there are many benefits of this kind of an initiative, the first one being the fact that the organization can stay assured that experts are working on its campaign. This obviates the need for hiring specialized staff, which is more often than not, quite expensive. On the other hand, doing small business lead generation via outsourcing helps in getting an estimate cost for every lead, which is the best possible proposition for a small enterprise, as it gives an accurate figure of how much needs to be spent to achieve the desired business objective. Thus, the business does not have to go on a wild goose chase, and can instead focus on bettering its offering.

Also, the organization can sort its leads in a better manner, since specialist agencies provide accurate and detailed statistics, segregating the leads into hot, warm or cold leads. In this regard, half of the job is already done, and businesses just need to act upon the leads that are most likely to be converted. Also, small business lead generation via a specialist agency helps in finding out which kind of media is delivering better results than the next, so that the business knows where it has to pump in more investment to get better results. All in all, partnering with a reliable firm is an extremely beneficial step for all kinds of small enterprises.

However, just because qualifying the call is a very important aspect of the process does not mean that one should jump directly into it. It’s essential to understand the stage at which one should attempt the same. Ideally, the first stage of a sales call is about introducing oneself and talking about the product. Once that has been taken care of, the salesperson needs to begin probing the prospect, with regards to checking how much interest has been generated. The introduction stage during small business lead generation is essentially all about telling the other person why the call was made, and it is very important that the prospect is made to feel that he/she was handpicked from a list simply because the product or service being offered caters to his/her needs.

Lead Generation For Small Businesses In Slow Times

Lead generation is a key activity for virtually every business, no matter the size. And in times such as these, when the economy is on a downturn, it is even more important that companies apply time and attention to new business lead generation.

Here are some tips which small businesses could find useful in driving those revenues up:

1. Get creative and effective in generating more from your existing customer base. I know this has nothing to do with new business lead generation, but it is far easier to accomplish and quicker to earn payback. Current customers will be far more inclined to buy from you than brand new, un-developed contacts. You could ring up customers who’ve stopped doing business with you.

Based on their past buying profile, you could create a special offer package for them. You could invite them in for a special event. You don’t have one planned? Plan one. Reward them with a bundle of specially priced items, perhaps available only to selected customers to celebrate your xyz anniversary. (Replace the xyz with something appropriate like, years in business, since opening of new store, birth of first child, launch of major product etc.)

Think about how you can approach those old friends, and you could earn instant additional income for your business.

2. Make it a habit to ask your latest customer if they know of anyone else who would benefit from the product or service that you offer. Most business or geographic markets are small worlds’ unto themselves. Now some of your customers won’t want to give you any names, particularly if your product or service has provided them with a competitive advantage. But you will be surprised how many customers will be happy to furnish you with names of their contacts who could be in the market for what you offer. While we’re talking about this technique, don’t forget to apply it to point 1 too.

3. Review you. What do I mean by that? Well, you could start by refining your positioning. Take a close look at your company, your product, your competition and your customers. Identify and define your ideal potential customer. What problems are they experiencing which you have the means to help them solve? Why should they go for your solution instead of your competitors’. Now, communicate this competitive value message to your prospects.

4. Manufacture yourself some media coverage. How do you do this? It’s all in the story. Create a Press Release and have a story with human interest at the centre. At least some of the media will be interested in covering it, giving you free publicity along the way leading, we hope, to new business. So where’s the human interest if you sell product x, or service y?

Well, do you have anyone in your business who is well known and successful in another field, like sport or the arts? Has anyone in your business won any awards? Has your business, product or service won any awards? Have you received some great testimonials from existing customers following the special event you organised for them during point 1. If they haven’t given you their testimonial, it’s probably because you forgot to ask for them. Right?

Survival could soon be the name of the game for many small businesses. Lead generation is essential, and can be tackled in many ways. In today’s economic climate, it’s down to you to be as creative as you can.