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Every once in a while, when I am traveling, I drive into frustrating and sometimes scary situations. I try to avoid them, but sometimes it is simply not possible.
Yes, I’m talking about “traffic circles.” That’s what they are called in the United States. In other countries, they might be referred to as “roundabouts.” Once you enter the circle, or roundabout, you better be ready with lightning-fast reflexes to get off where you want.
Because if you don’t, you may be stuck. Driving in circles. Looking for a way off.
From a business perspective, you might have felt you were driving in circles in 2012, trying to get your business moving forward, keeping busy and eking out profits. For part of the year, many said, it was tough going. But it seemed, at least for carpet cleaners, that many businesses gained traction as the year progressed. They were able to get moving forward instead of driving in circles, so to speak. The same sentiment wasn’t shared by most restoration companies.
Did you feel like you were driving in circles with your business?
On an airplane not too long ago, I read an article about how much is wasted by driving in circles. In one study, in a 15-square-block district in Los Angeles, drivers drove in excess of 950,000 miles searching for a parking space, producing 730 tons of carbon dioxide while doing so.
We can do that in our businesses today. We can go around and around, doing the same old thing and wondering why we aren’t getting more jobs and earning more money, and progressively building our businesses.
For 2013, why not try to think of some fresh ideas of how to put more energy into your business? If you analyze successful businesses today (and you may already have one) you will see there is a lot of positive energy, with management that is progressive and willing to change and adapt, and employees who are happy and willing to do what they can to help create a better company culture.
Here are some ideas you might implement to make 2013 a better year.
Most of us ask for feedback from our customers. We ask for testimonials, we ask for them to share concerns and suggestions… and if we make it easy for them to give us what we ask for, they generally respond.
But what are you doing with that information? If you receive a suggestion from a customer, do you analyze it and implement it, when possible? Your business will grow if it is giving your customers exactly what they want. You know what they want because you ask. Don’t ignore their suggestions.
Why not create a system where you can interact better with your potential and current customers? How often do you receive a telephone call from someone asking for a price? Instead of simply talking about price and what your company can do, ask for their e-mail address so you can send information about pricing and cleaning tips. In that e-mail, bundle some other information, such as other services you may offer. You not only provide valuable information, you now have an e-mail to use for future marketing.
How about follow-up? You may leave postcards or make telephone calls, but if you can do this electronically, such as in an e-mail, you can include links to review sites (Yelp, Google), and to your Facebook business page so they can add comments and testimonials. You have to make it easy for them to do, and just asking for a testimonial may give you limited results.
There are so many things you can do to better interact with your customers and gain traction in 2013. Choose a few that you can handle and do them well.