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SWOT's the deal?

I am a mum-at-home but used to work in public relations and so have started a home-based business but I would love some tips on how to build a customer base and then service them professionally. I have already got some customers from my old days as an employee but it is attracting new customers and I am finding it a bit tough.

I would read every publication on starting and growing a small business — my website has a lot of stuff, as does Yahoo’s — but don’t just read the stuff; you have to take action!

I recommend businesses do a SWOT analysis looking at the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats for the business to create a strategy for growth and success. But as you’re a one-person band, I suggest you do the same SWOT on yourself as the leader of your business. Then promise yourself that you will take action because if nothing changes, nothing changes. If you’re hopeless at managing your finances but great at marketing and customer service, then get a bookkeeper and a great accountant to ensure you strengthen up your weakness.

Now you say you need to build customers, well read everything you can on finding leads — potential customers — and then how to convert these leads to customers. You might need to do a course, hire an expert or copy others. As you’re in PR, you need PR yourself for your own business and this might start by asking existing customers for testimonials. Then create a great note and target decision-makers in lots of businesses and pitch, pitch, pitch. Your note should have a great USP or unique selling proposition, which tells potential customers why they should buy from you. It might be — “I’ll expose you or your money back!”

Or it could be something better but it has to make your business stand out from the crowd. The likes of Richard Branson and Aussie Home Loans’ John Symond have taught me that you have to live and breathe your business and be always wondering how to build customer relationships and loyalty. Passion is critical but so are great processes to show that you might be small but you’re a true professional.

As Rachel Hunter once said about Pantene, but could also be applied to business success: “It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen.” Passion, processes and professionalism help make a successful formula to make your business grow and glow.

For advice you can trust book a complimentary first appointment with Switzer Financial Services today.

Important information: This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. For this reason, any individual should, before acting, consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to the individual’s objectives, financial situation and needs and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.

Published on: Wednesday, May 19, 2010

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