July 18, 2008

Know Your Customer, Increase Your Business

Your business may be making you a profit, but are there things you can do to make it better? Do you offer your customer the best possible transactions? Taking the time to get to know your customers can increase your business. That doesn't necessarily mean getting to know each of them on a personal basis, rather knowing their needs, their wants, predicting the goods or services they will purchase, and being prepared to keep up with changes in the market.

Figuring out the needs of your customers can be tricky. Not only are the needs of the market continually changing, but different demographic classes of the market will want different things at the same time. To find out what your customers need, pay attention to overall business trends. This will help you keep up with what is going on it the business world. It is also important to keep an eye on the competition.

It is very important to know what your customer wants. This varies significantly from knowing what they need. The needs are the things they can't live without including a quality product or service. Wants are added perks that the consumer is looking for. Often, it is the want that is offered that will help a consumer choose between your business and another.

Survey your customers
To find out what customers want, ask them. Customer surveys are a great source of information. You will find out exactly what your customers like and don't like. It is better to offer a short survey with open questions that allows them to express their opinion than pre-formatted boxes that they check off. A want just about every customer out there wants is quality customer service. Nothing is more frustrating to a customer than making a purchase, then not getting any support when it doesn't work properly or you have questions about the product or service.

Forecast customer habits
Often, it is quite easy to predict the products or services an ongoing customer will make. For example, they may increase their order close to the Holidays or reduce their order in the summer time. Regardless of the pattern, it will provide you great information to forecast sales with. You will also be ready to meet the needs of these customers better if you are aware of them, leading you to be able to plan ahead for them.

Demands change
Finally, your business has to be willing to keep up with the changing demands of the market. If you decide to stay where you are, be prepared to lose the majority of your customers who the competition who is staying on top of the changing market needs.

Taking the time to really get to know your customers and what they need, want, expect, and plan for changes will allow you to be a better provider of goods or services to consumers. This in turn will earn you the continued loyalty of the customers you have as well as make your business appealing to the rest of the consumers out there.
As we discussed in part one, having a great work history and ethic does not guarantee that you will retain your job. There are many culprits to blame, such as changing economic times, technology replacing humans works, and outsourcing work to foreign companies. The only real way that you ca retain your job is not put yourself in the position to be fired. This may seem impossible, but is really quite simple. You have to become your own boss.

Perhaps you are not worried about loosing your job, but you realize that you will never have the chance to advance any further in the company you are working for. Your monetary resources are capped out, and you will not be able to provide any better of a lifestyle for you and your family unless your pay increases. Again, the only way you will be in total control of your finances is to become your own boss.

The only way to be the boss is to start your own business. "But I do not have very much money, if any at all." you say. Well in today's culture there are quite a few businesses that can be started for little or no money at all. This is not a get rich quick scheme, I am not saying that you will be making five grand a month from the very beginning, but I am telling you, that no matter the amount of money that you have, you should still be able to start a business without much fuss.

Here are some more examples of businesses that require little or no money up front:


Are you good with numbers and organization? If you are, you may want to think about starting a book keeping business. This business is pretty easy to market since every type of person, and business may need someone to update their business books.

The only thing you may need for this type of job is a program(if you are using a computer) and the necessary paperwork. If you have to supply the paperwork, you can charge additionally for this.

You will want to advertise residually at local tax places or office stores. If you want to target businesses you may want to look into local business directories. If nothing else, you can put an ad in your local newspaper and go from there.

Home Organization

If you good are at organization, then you may want to consider starting a business organization business.

You may want to consider supplying the materials needed for organization such as boxes, labels, shelves, etc. If you provide the materials, then you will be able to charge for it. You may also require your clients to buy the materials themselves. Whatever you decide will work.

Home organization is best advertised at home stores and in your local paper.

Language Translation

You will help break through barriers caused by language difference and improved communication. Businesses will call you when they know they will be dealing with clientele that speak a different language, typically in advance. Every once and awhile, you may be called in an emergency situation. The pay depends on the amount of people you will have to translate for, and if you are notified ahead of time or not.

If English is your second language, or you just have a liking for foreign languages, you services will come in handy for local businesses that deal with multi-cultures.

If you do not know a foreign language, but you are still interested in language translation as a career or business, then translation books and programs number in the thousands, even for the newest user. It just takes a little time and energy to learn a new language.

Contact local business, doctor's offices, and government agencies and ask if they are in need of translation services.