As we gear up for the holidays and the New Year is in sight, it is the perfect time to reflect on what we have accomplished this
year and focus on where we’re headed in the next. Whether you’re a small business owner or a corporate professional, one thing to you should credit to your end-of-year accomplishments are the relationships you’ve formed. Critical to the success of a small business, clients, customers, staff, and partners remind us that business is about serving others rather than selling to them.
With 2014 ahead, it is important to establish a plan that really builds and honors those relationships as they are the core of any marketing effort. Today, we’re happy to share some ways to cultivate strong relationships with employees as well as your customers, sure to reflect your holiday spirit and bring a little more cheer this season.
Create a Culture of Giving: Helping others during one special time of the year is nice but creating an ongoing culture of giving within your business is good for overall productivity, reports Inc. Magazine’s Francesca Fenzi. Think about a cause or issue that is important to you. It may be mentoring, professional development, education, or leadership. Whatever it is, try creating a regular, year-round initiative to cultivate a culture of giving. Maybe it’s having a monthly mentorship luncheon with fellow employees, carpooling every quarter to serve the homeless at a soup kitchen, or hosting staff meetings where everyone takes turns running the meeting.
Find Believers: It is also important to find people who believe in your product or service who can speak eloquently and passionately about your business’ mission and help you reach your target customers. That’s where public relations and marketing professionals come into play—like us! Entrepreneur concurs, reporting “they’ll touch other people who can benefit your business,” so building loyal, authentic relationships by staying connected with them and giving them value will yield rewarding payoffs.
Come with Questions: Encourage everyone involved in your business to ask questions. It is important to know what your employees, clients, vendors and partners need so you know what to provide. Not being afraid to ask questions helps us feel comfortable with one another, which in turn, helps strength relationships.
Give Rewards: There’s nothing more valuable than repeat customers. Business experts believe in the power of word of mouth and treating those loyal customers to a nice reward once in a while. Nothing fancy, but perhaps a coupon, an invitation to a company event, or just plain ol’ advice about the service or product they’re purchasing. In fact, the Gartner Group reports that this kind of customer experience generates 60% higher profits. They also report that 5% increase in “customer retention can increase business profits by 25 to 125%!” How? Because your customers become your sales force. Now that’s a gift that gives back!
Walk the Talk: Nothing is more admirable and powerful than doing what you say. If you want to foster strong relationships, make sure you’re making efforts to get to know your employees, invite collaboration, and spend time outside work understanding the human elements of business. Show employees that you’re a role model and they will follow suit.
What do you do to foster strong relationships? What specific actions have you taken at work that are successful? Share your thoughts with us at @OrapinMarketing using #smallbiztips.
If you think your business could benefit from a little relationship building, we can help! Let us serve you by establishing relationships with media, partners, and customers to boost your visibility and brand reputation. Reach out at 303.630.9527 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Author: Angela Shugarts, PR Strategist for Orapin Marketing + Public Relations | @angelashugarts
Rhiannon Hendrickson is the founder and CEO of Orapin Marketing + Public Relations, which helps purpose-driven businesses increase visibility, expand the reach of their message, and become sought-after industry leaders. She has worked with organizations of all sizes across myriad sectors to develop memorable and effective communications programs that generate awareness, engagement, and, ultimately, support for those that are making a meaningful impact.