Do you remember the planning of a road trip? The excitement of the road trip and what was at the end of the road trip? I remember as a child travelling from Perth, Western Australia, across the Nullabor, through South Australia, Victoria, NSW and finally to Queensland, before heading back again across back to WA. The places we stopped, the people we met and the experience were priceless. Over 40 years later and I have vivid memories of seeing snow for the first time, climbing the "Big Banana" and the "Big Pineapple" eating McDonalds for the first time and seeing "The Cross". As a child my brother and I were along for the ride, my parents of course had set the trip up, planned the stops and anticipated any emergency. Taking a young family across Australia in a camper van, takes some planning. Back in those days there was no GPS but there was a map at hand and a keen eye on the destination.
We as business owners need to have our eye on the destination and set ourselves up with a business GPS. The fun and the journey of being a business owner is all in the people we meet, the experiences we gather and the opportunities that are bestowed upon us. Sometimes, it can be easy to divert for a bright shiny object, follow another person's vision, get lost in overwhelm and all other matters of misdirection. Having a good business GPS, helps us to stay on track and not divert to a dead end road or a cul-de-sac, it helps us to maintain a clear vision of what we ant our future business to look like at the destination.
A business plan can act as a GPS and also using some clear guiding questions around your business to formulate what your destination looks like at the end.
Why do I want this business?
When do I want this business to be at it's peak
What do I want it to look like in XX years?
How will I develop this business?
Who is my target market?
Where will I promote my business?
Guiding and open ended questions are a great way to plan your journey so you know exactly what to put in your business GPS.
WHAT is the value of appreciation? Lee Cummins believes a simple “Thinking About You” or “Thank you for Your Business” could lead to anything from a smile to increased profitability.
Cummins, is a local Snr Manager, representing the US based online greeting card company, SendOutCards
Unlike other online card companies, which allows users to send an internet link to a personalised card on the internet, SendOutCards users get to personalise one of the 17,000 card options or even create their own cards using their personal photos, which is then mailed to the recipient, anywhere in the world.
Once a user logs on to SendOutCards subscribes to the service, they can create their own secured account where they can store information like names, addresses, birthdays, anniversary dates or reminders along with photos to send appreciation messages.
Users receive emails to get their cards out in time for these occasions. There is also an option to send gifts or gift cards, which can be selected from options on the website, along with the card.
The card is printed within 24 hours after the user completes their order. Cards of the highest quality standards and printed on recycled paper. Mailing time differs according to the postal service within the country in which the recipient lives.
Receiving an emailed link to an on-line e-card does not compare to going to the mailbox and seeing a card among all the bills and windowed envelopes or whatever else is mailed. Another benefit of SendOutCards, is it is more convenient than heading to a store to purchase cards, lining up at the post office or worse, not remembering to post the card.
SendOutCards makes it hassle free. You can access it at any time from a computer with internet access, no matter where you are. You could choose from the wide selection of cards or make your own. The cost of the card is cheaper than most of the options available at card shops.
The service is utilised in the United States, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada, UK and Singapore by businessmen, businesswomen and companies, including real estate agents, dentists, doctors, mortgage companies and other businesses which rely on customer- based earnings.
People feel underappreciated. 68% of customers move away from a business due to percieved indifference.
This is a simple tool to show appreciation. It is inexpensive and time saving. A lot of companies take business from people and do not say thank you. The experience is not personalised. This little tool could help many expand their business.
SendOutCards has also been used to teach school aged children appreciation and can be used as a fund raising initiative.
To raise funds, organisations such as schools or churches, can become distributors themselves and encourage parents or members to take out subscriptions to the service.
Therefore every time they send a cards or gifts from the website, the organisation will receive the profits from these sales and raise much needed funds.
Relationship marketing has been around for centuries. Marketing for your business has changes so much in last 5 to 10 years through the prevalent use of social media, the internet and technology. However, relying on social media and technology to build relationships with your clients, customers and potential clients and customers can see relationship marketing take somewhat of a back seat. Relationship marketing is people to people, not computer to computer. Yes, you can engage through social media and some great business is done using social media as a tool; however the relationships that you build and create using these tools cannot be under-estimated.
When we nurture on-line relationships to carry over in off-line relationships this is where the magic begins. When we engage people, nature relationships and build both on and off-line relationships this is where you can have a client for life. Considering engaging with your on-line friend’s ones you find a connection with and then slowly bring this to an off-line connection you will find a higher level of engagement.
Relationship marketing is also about the follow up, connections and support you encounter with the people you meet. Entertain the idea of becoming the connector within your circle of influence. Connecting business to business, people to people and being the 'go to' person will help to nurture your relationships. In time you will start to see referrals build, connections flourish and business multiply just through the process of relationship marketing.
Is it new, certainly not! Relationship Marketing has been around for centuries, sometimes we just lose site of the value of the relationship and get caught up in fast paced technology.
When was the last time you went to a networking event? Picked up the phone, sent a card or arranged a coffee meeting? On a scale of 1 to 10 where does your relationship marketing fit within your personal life and business?