Throughout my career, I’ve been lucky enough to witness almost everything that could happen to a business throughout my careers.
I worked as a chef. I worked as a marketing director. And I’ve been a CEO and co-founder too. Let me tell you one thing — no matter the industry, at the end of the day, you’re fighting for the customer. You want them to come back again and again and again. That’s how you build a successful business.
But it’s much easier said than done. You know that. I do too. So, when it comes to marketing, getting customers, and growing a business, I believe that I have a few tricks up my sleeve from exploring all types of careers over the past 20+ years.
Let’s dive deeper, shall we?
I truly believe that word of mouth is the most important marketing channel for any business.
Think about it. If you have 10 customers tell five of their friends about how good your services are, you have 50 new potential customers. Now do that same thing with 50, 100, 1000 customers.
At Fantastic Services, we service 50,000 people a month. If we do our job well, there’s a potential for a quarter-million new customers!
But here’s the catch — it’s impossible to always do the job to a level that makes people want to talk about you. Especially if you’re working with people, there’s a lot of room for error, which is completely normal.
Yet, you need processes in place to ensure that you make even unhappy customers at the very least satisfied. I’ve worked hard not to build a “sorry” company.
“Sorry, we couldn’t turn up on time.” “Sorry, we’re not available at that time.” You get the point. The market doesn’t care. They’ll simply go to someone who can get the job done.
Make it a conscious decision to minimise the number of mess-ups that happen and make sure everyone working in your company preaches the same values.
People want convenience and speed.
Companies that can do both are the ones that thrive. It’s a fact of business.
Take a quick look at Uber and Revolut. Both companies disrupted two very stagnant industries — taxies and banking. And there’s only one reason for their success. Both were more convenient and faster than traditional means.
They just made things quicker.
I’ve implemented the same methods in all the companies I’ve built. For example, we made booking services for the home as easy as possible at my most successful venture.
Whenever you feel like your company doesn’t help move the industry forward, think about what you can change in terms of speed and convenience.
Questions that can help you are:
- What do customers hate about the industry?
- What cliché about your industry do you hate?
- How can you make it better?
It’s really easy to be disruptive in business.
Well, not easy-easy, but it doesn’t take much effort to come up with a disruptive idea. Realise what people truly dislike about the industry you operate in and work towards solving that issue.
It’s easier to find that problem than people think.
When you’re doing anything marketing-related, focus on how you help your customers.
Ask any marketer in a tech startup what makes or breaks a product, and they’ll tell you how important messaging is. Messaging, essentially, is how you communicate your services or products.
It’s the words you use.
See, words are the most powerful tool a founder or a manager, or a brand can possess. Words can inspire and motivate. When used in the wrong way, words can be disheartening too. That’s why you have to be careful.
When you work on your next marketing campaign (be it a digital one, or you distribute leaflets), focus on how your services or products help the customer solve a “pain”.
Simply put, the brand that makes Nurofen doesn’t sell pills, they sell hangover-free Saturday mornings. If you have a farm and grow fruits, you don’t sell fruits. You sell the healthy lifestyle associated with fruits.
You get the point. Your marketing needs to solve customer pains.
Don’t be afraid to admit your failures.
I have a special relationship with failure. Any successful person out there does—even those outside of business.
Michael Jordan has missed more than 12,000 shots throughout his career.
Embracing failures is important for one big reason. To welcome your flops is to admit to yourself you can do better next time. So many founders and companies hide their failures and create these stagnant cultures within their ventures that eventually end up hurting business.
When you mess up, admit it. Then go above and beyond in making it better. Read my first point in this article again. Admitting failure welcomes experimentation and improvement within a business.
Make repeat customers.
There’s this famous talk by Gary Vaynerchuk and Jon Taffer that’s going around the internet where they talk about making customers come back to your restaurant.
When I was a chef back in the early 2000’s we used to do that exact same trick — first-time customers get a red napkin. You go above and beyond in serving them. This increases your chance by 40% of that customer coming back to your restaurant. Do that three times, and now there’s a 90% chance for that customer to come back a fourth time.
That’s how you make repeat customers and increase brand loyalty. Back in 2014, we built a custom CMS that allows us to do that. This was crucial for expanding our customer base and onboarding new franchisees.
Now, that’s no excuse to slack off on your returning customers. Quite the opposite, this is a framework for constant improvement. You’ve already set the expectations quite high. You need to deliver.
To wrap everything up…
Business is a persistence game. Wake up, show up, go above and beyond for your customers, repeat.
Do that every day for two years in a row, and you’ll see business start to grow. That’s what we teach our franchisees as well. Although it doesn’t take them that long to start getting business, two years is a realistic and healthy timeframe for most new companies to start growing and seeing success.