Lisa

    Author Archives: Lisa

    Lisa Sicard has been running Inspire To Thrive for over 8 years. She helps companies manage their social media as well as providing training and consultations. She has over 25 years in digital marketing experience.

    7 Ways to Retain Your Amazing Customers Once and For All and Never Lose Them Again

    7 Ways to Retain Your Amazing Customers

    You spend so much time getting a new customer to purchase your products or services, why not try to keep them once and or all?

    It will save you a lot of time and money over time by keeping your amazing customers now.

    Here are 7 ways to retain your amazing customers today!

    1. Interact With Your Amazing Customers Often

    You may not have to meet with your customer weekly but interact either by phone, email or social media. Get to know your customers preferred method of contact.

    Reach out to offer advice, go over details or at the very least to check in.

    7 Ways to Retain Your Amazing Customers

    Next, learn how often they liked to be reached. Some people love weekly chats, others prefer monthly as they are very busy running their own businesses as well.

    Following up with your customers is crucial to keeping them loyal to you over the years. Don’t let more than 30 days go by without any communication.

    2. Help Your Customers Solve Their Problems

    The best way to retain your amazing customers today is to help them solve their problems. It’s not about you or your problems! It is all about them and their problems. What can you do for them?

    Therefore, learn what keeps them up at night. What is it that they cannot do alone or without you? Then go ahead and help them. Show them what you can do for them.

    "The best way to retain your amazing customers today is to help them solve their problems." #customerservice Click To Tweet

    3. Respect Customers Time

    Most businesses owners today and regular people are really short on time. People seem to be so busy today than ever before, that they don’t have time to chit-chat for hours.

    Take cues from their body language. Know when to leave! Or, know when to stay and chat.

    body language

    If you promise a product or service by a certain time, be sure to deliver that promise or overdeliver to them if you can.

    4. Do What You Say – Not Say What You Do

    Most people are leary of salespeople. But if you do what you say you will do, prospects will come to like and respect you. Never give an expectation that you cannot fulfill. That is the quickest way to lose an amazing customer!

    If I tell someone I will be there at 2 pm, I most certainly will show up by 2 pm or call them if I’m stuck in traffic. It’s about being respectful of others time and space.

    "But if you do what you say you will do, prospects will come to like and respect you." #customerservice Click To Tweet

    5. Getting Personal is One of the 7 Ways to Retain Your Amazing Customers

    Most people like to do business with other people. People that they get to know and feel comfortable with.

    Get to know a little about your clients. Do they have children? What is their favorite leisure activities? Maybe you can offer them special tickets, etc in time.

    Don’t try to over compensate in the beginning. They will feel like you are selling to them!

    "Most people like to do business with other people. People that they get to know and feel comfortable with." #biztips Click To Tweet

    6. Apologize if Necessary to Retain Customers

    There is nothing wrong with saying you are sorry if you make a mistake. Many people will appreciate your honesty alone over an apology. If you can make it up to them with something better, by all means do it! Learn to let go of your ego to retail your customers.

    Customers love when they get more in return for an error. Think about it from their standpoint and view. Put yourself in their shoes.

    7. Don’t Burn Your Bridges When Down

    If the relationship must end do not burn your bridges over a disagreement. You never know who they know or who may take over their business one day. Never say never!

    What are you doing to retain your amazing customers once and for all? Let’s discuss in the comments below.

    The Business of Business Part 2

    Types of Business to Make a Profit

    If you’re reading this, chances are you did all your research and homework that was suggested in Part 1. You have determined that your business can make a profit. Next, you evaluated your market. Then, you have identified your competition. Wow! And you are STILL HERE.. GREAT!  

    business of business

    Then, Let’s move onto Part 2.

    Which Entity is right for you?

    This will be the gravest and foremost question you need answered before taking that first step into the business world. What type of structure will meet your needs?

    Let’s ponder and analyze the most popular types of businesses. These top entities are merely open-ended suggestions to consider. And, by no means, the only options available to you. 

    This information is presented here for your general knowledge of the various ways you can structure your business. Therefore, this information addresses the financial and legal portion of your business.

    The savvy entrepreneur will follow up by seeking a professional accountant and legal counsel. A counsel’s expertise which parallels with their chosen structure.

    This information is presented here for your general knowledge of the various ways you can structure your business. They address the financial and legal portion of your business. #biztips Click To Tweet

    4 BASIC and MOST COMMON types of businesses:

    Sole Proprietorship:

    A business owned by a single person. There is no legal or financial difference between the business and the owner. 

    sole proprietorship

    Pros…

    • Owner keeps ALL the profits.
    • Quick decision making.
    • Easy to manage.
    • No consultation needed.
    • Owner answers to no one.
    • Flexibility with changes in products, financial decisions etc.
    • Easy to start. Little paperwork to establish business.

    Cons…

    • Owner is responsible for ALL LOSSES.
    • Unlimited Liability. ALL of the owner’s personal assets can be sold to payoff business debt.
    • An owner can be sued.
    • Owner pays personal income taxes on ALL profits.
    • Bad business debt affects owner’s personal credit rating.

    General Partnership:

    A business owned by two or more people who share responsibilities. General partner(s) run the business. They contribute money to raise capital to launch the business. All partners are decision makers. 

    Some partners may contribute different percentages into the partnership. And then, some partners may serve in different capacities. 

    general partnership

    Pros…

    • Easy to start. Does NOT involve as many legal procedures as other entities.
    • Requires less capital than a sole proprietor. Partners invest equally or proportionately. The investment ratio determines the percentage of profits.
    • Consultation opportunity between partners provides different opinions on issues.
    • Quick decision making without long meeting discussions.  A phone call, text or email can solve issues quickly.

    Cons…

    • Unlimited Liability. ALL partners’ personal assets can be sold to payoff business debt.
    • Bad business debt can affect ALL partners’ credit rating.
    • Internal conflict. Partners may fail to agree on the practices, ethics and vision of the entity, thus causing issues.
    • EACH partner shares in the burden of paying personal income taxes on the profits.

    Corporation:

    A fully independent business with shareholders who elect a board of directors to oversee the day-to-day operation of the entity.

    corporation

    Pros…

    • Owner has limited liability whereby their assets are safe. Which means they are untouchable by creditors in the event of failure.
    • Lower taxes because the owner and business share the profits.
    • (Sometimes) Benefits may be deducted as business expenses.
    • Corporate ownership is transferable. In the event of foreseeing bad times, the owner can sell the corporation and avoid losing their capital investment.

    Cons…

    • Expensive to set up.
    • Multitude of legal paperwork.
    • Must file ownership with Secretary of State.
    • Corporation operates as a separate legal entity, hence it pays taxes.
    • Slow decision making. Need to consult the directors before making changes and decisions.

    Limited Liability Company (LLC):

    An LLC is structured in such a way as to protect your personal assets. (Generally speaking) the officers are not libel for the debts of the corporation. 

    Consider this a hybrid entity. It is a mixture of a sole proprietorship or a partnership AND a corporation. It is designed to make it easier to start small businesses. (Note: a limited partnership would be commonly referred to as an LLP, in lieu of an LLC).

    Additionally, an LLC has exclusive rights to own company assets, to sue or to be sued. The taxation formula is like a corporation. But its members have a single taxation process like a partnership.

    Therefore, it has no stocks. The owners are members and NOT stockholders. Members work under an “operating agreement” requiring members to meet at least once or twice a year. 

    Pros…

    • It’s a single taxation system. The LLC does NOT pay taxes. They are “passed through” to the members who pay the taxes under their personal income.
    • Liability PROTECTION. Members have limited liability. Members assets CANNOT be taken away to payoff business debt.

    Cons…

    • More capital investment is required.
    • There is more paperwork required.
    • More legal procedures are required.

    Making the Decision for the Business of Business

    These are merely the 4 basic examples of the most popular types of biz structures. Within these basic forms of businesses are numerous “spinoff” entities.  

    Consulting an accountant and/or attorney can provide additional details and advice. They can guide you on others that are more pertinent to your type of biz. Also check tips to help you deal successful with the IRS. After all, if you want profits you must know how much you will owe in taxes.

    Consider this information as a simple guideline to help lead you in the right direction. Keep in mind that the entity you select today may not be finite. 

    You can begin your company as one type of structure. Then, once established, you can transfer it into another structure. As your venture changes and grows things change. However, you must start somewhere.

    Consider this information as a simple guideline to help lead you in the right direction. Keep in mind that the business entity you select today may not be finite.  #biztips Click To Tweet

    Things to Ponder 🤔

    • How much working capital will you need to get this entity off the ground?
    • Do you know how much liability are you willing to risk in the event of failure?
    • How much time, effort and energy are you willing to contribute to make this legal entity successful?

    It is now time to begin making important strategic decisions. Hence, ponder these three questions carefully. Jot down the answers. Read them back to yourself.  

    Finally, does it make sense? Seeing it on paper, steering back at you, will help put things into perspective. It will make it easier when making your company structure selection.

    Now, It’s time to spread your wings and fly.

    How to Obtain Customers For Your Small Biz

    How to obtain new customers for a small biz may be daunting to you. But if you have a few customers ready to begin with you, it will ease your way into your business.

    This is how many businesses begin. By doing one thing for someone, and then for someone else, and then another person until it snowballs.

    how to obtain customers

    How do you begin to generate new customers? You could do so by doing a side hustle before launching the new biz. Freelance with your new service or sell products part-time while still at your day job.

    Once you do this for a year or so you will know if you are ready to obtain new customers and dive into your business full time.

    This is how many businesses begin. By doing one thing for someone, and then for someone else, and then another person until it snowballs. #smallbiztips Click To Tweet

    Spread the Word About Your Service or Products

    First, tell everyone you know about your products or services. You never know who they know. Even running errands at the grocery store or dry cleaners, mention to those you talk to about your new biz.

    Have a business card that you can hand out to others in your travels. And don’t forget to have them with you at all times. I can’t tell you how many times I haven’t had mine on me. Not good!

    Have a business card that you can hand out to others in your travels. #biztips Click To Tweet

    Go To Networking Events To Obtain Customers

    Second, join different networking groups that you can attend and meet with other business people. Oftentimes, they will refer to someone who may need your product or service.

    Sometimes, the business will come months later after meeting with a person at an event. Try to stay in touch with the people you meet these events.

    You could exchange emails or phone numbers. Furthermore, you could invite them to connect with you on LinkedIn. Be sure to stay in touch with them after making that initial contact. This can be an excellent way to grow your business locally.

    Join a Local Chamber of Commerce

    Thirdly, your local Chamber of Commerce is a great place to meet new people and others that may need you! A chamber is a local organization of businesses whose goal is to further the interests of businesses.

    Of course, they often have special events and charity events that you can contribute to.

    Next, you could be a sponsor and or advertiser in their promotional events. Comparitively these type of sponsorships or advertisements are not too expensive for a small business to particpate in.

    How to Obtain Customers Through Building a Presence on Social Media

    Fourth, be social on social media. Fill out your profiles completely on the social entworks you are on. Let your friends know about your business through your social media networks. This can quickly spread the word about what you are offering.

    Use LinkedIn with your networking events. Once you meet people there that you make a connection with, add them to your LinkedIn connections.

    use LinkedIn to obtain new customers

    Lastly, showcase yourself in video to obtain new customers. There is nothing like a video today that can send a message. People can see who you are and see your products or services you provide first hand.

    Just be sure not to always talk about your business on social media. Stay personal often on social media as that’s what it’s main function is. (Except in the case of LinkedIn.)

    Lastly, showcase yourself in video to obtain new customers. There is nothing like a video today that can send a message. #smallbiztips Click To Tweet

    Advertise to Obtain New Customers

    Good old fashion advertising never goes out of style! You could purchase Google ads to drive them to your website. Or you could run an ad in the local newspaper if you are providing a local service. Facebook advertising is also a non expensive way to get your message out if you understand how to use them effectively.

    “Trying to do business without advertising is like winking at a pretty girl through a pair of green goggles. You may know what you are doing, but no one else does.” Cyrus McCormick

    Generate Referrals and Recommendations

    Furthermore, once you have some customers ask for referrals and recommendations. One way to do this is to include a review button on your email signature. Another ways is to just ask for it. I like to ask for it after a client compliments my work.

    These recommendations can be put on your Google My Business page or your Facebook page or LinkedIn profile. You may also take it a step further and add them to your website.

    How to obtain customers is one of the ways to ensure your business will survive in a year from today. I’d love to know how you are obtaining new customers today in this challenging environment.

    Next, I will give you insights on how to maintain and keep your customers!