1. Have a clear vision. What do you want your company to be? Lasting companies have a large vision that can be true now or 100 years from now. While the vision always remains the same, these companies can adapt their products and services to fit what is profitable in the current market. That’s why these companies are more successful than their competition that focuses on a specific product or service. If your company has a clear vision, it will stand out, since very few companies have one. Good examples of successful companies with a clear vision are: Walt Disney (to make people happy) and Merck (to preserve and improve human life).
2. Make sure everyone in your company buys into that vision. Every person in your company should agree with and be able to articulate that vision. Each person should also understand his/her role in that vision.
3. Be special. Your company should have a niche that lets you stand out from the crowd. Again, everyone in your company should be able to articulate it, whether at work or in casual conversation with family and friends.
4. Treat your employees well. Great employees make a business. Offer great benefits, training, recognition and feedback. Not only do happy employees help your profits increase, but they also help you develop a great reputation as an employer, so that more great employees want to work for you.
5. Help out your community. Every employee should take part in this in some way, even if it is during work hours. Volunteering for worthy causes, getting involved in business organizations and mentoring programs are all great ways to give back to your community. At the same time, you and your employees become ambassadors for your business, developing goodwill and potential business, through word of mouth and even free publicity.
6. Become an “of course”. By being well-known and the best in your line of business, when people are in need of services that your company provides, it will always at least be on their short list. Part of that is being everywhere. When someone is in need of services that your company provides, your name should always be on their mind. The way to do that could be through local and national media, at meetings, through community service, newsletters, or word of mouth.
7. Present a positive image. Every contact with your business should be positive, from the way people dress to the cleanliness of the counters in a retail location. It also means that all of your written materials, including business cards, letterhead and brochures look professional. Finally, it means that any front line customer contact is handled professionally, especially people who answer the phone at your office or greet people at the door.
8. Build and protect your reputation. You can do this by not gossiping and not lying. Don’t forget that even one negative experience with a customer can do irrevocable damage to your business.
9. Treat your customers like you would like to be treated, and then go 100% beyond that. It makes financial sense. Did you know that it costs five times more to gain a new customer than to keep one? Consider implementing a secret shopper system to evaluate service, and reward employees for great service, too.
10. Talk with your customers. Speak with your customers regularly, through surveys, Advisory Boards, complaint hotlines. Thank them for their business, regularly. Keep them updated through regular mailings. Your current customers will help keep you in business, help you become aware of problems, and will refer business to you.
When these steps come together, your company becomes a magnet. Your customers and potential customers will know that you are special and will want to do business with you. So, get ready to pull more customers and profits your way!
Margie Fisher, President of Zable Fisher Public Relations, is the author of the Do-It-Yourself Public Relations Kit. For more information on the Kit, the Pay for Results Publicity Program, and to sign up for the complimentary PRactical P.R. newsletter, visit http://www.zfpr.com