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Small businesses owners today are aware of the importance of carving an image in the minds of their prospective clients. They realize the effect of a catchy business name, a distinctive logo and the perfect slogan as well as the effective execution of their brand through appropriate marketing material and advertising.
For a small business to stand out in the minds of their prospective clients, it is not enough to just look the part, they have to be the part. Thanks to developments in technology and the propagation of information, prospects today are just as savvy as business owners. Put yourself in the shoes of your clients; would you rather go with a firm that looks the part and makes huge promises or one with a record of keeping their promises? Far greater than a good image is a good reputation, for an image is who you say you are but your reputation is who others say you are based on their encounter with you or that of another.
It is essential that your reputation lines up with your image; your reputation is mostly influenced by the customer experience you provide. Here are a few tips to help you build a solid reputation and reinforce your image:
Keep your promises. Don’t promise your clients the moon and the stars if you cannot deliver. Breaking a promise affects you integrity and the disappointment your client experiences may result in the severance of the relationship depending on the severity of the situation. Offer what you are capable of delivering.
Be original. Trying hard to fit in, or mimic the image of other more successful companies may be to your detriment; be you. As an example I chose the name The SoHo Cheerleader for my business because it represents what I want to accomplish, which is providing motivation and support to solopreneurs, it also represents my fun and witty streak. Like you, your business is unique so dare to be original. Ensure that your image truly represents you.
Provide excellent customer service. Create a positive customer experience for each client from the time they contact you right until the completion of their project.
Exceed their expectations. Every time you deliver service above what is required you are adding value and giving client cause to remember you.
Become an expert in your field by:
- Staying on top of developments in your field.
- Investing in training opportunities.
- Writing articles and/or books.
- Taking on speaking opportunities.
- Educating your clients.
Focus on a niche. It is difficult to stand out when you lack focus. Stop being a Jack of all trades and get recognition amongst the group you have decided to target. You’ll gain popularity quicker and get more referrals.
Survey your clients. Find out how you can be of better service to them and what other business needs you might be able to meet within your specialty.
Research your competition. Learn from their mistakes and triumphs.
Begin with the end in mind. What do you want people to tell others about your company? Once you have made up your list, integrate it into your mission statement and look for opportunities to accomplish the things on your list with every single client that comes your way.
write by Annabella