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Monday, August 29, 2011

The Fortune is in the Follow Up

by Melinda Emerson
The choice to succeed as your own business is an exhilarating concept, and it comes with a price tag. There are endless responsibilities and tasks that must be taken care of and all of the pressure is on you. To choose to succeed as your own boss, it is absolutely vital you prime your network for awareness of your business and referrals for your services. The fortune is in the follow up.

The focus must be on sharing your experience, casting your vision, listening to others, getting out and networking. Connecting and interacting as frequently as possible with prospects is important and learning how to ask for referrals. You must focus always on casting the vision of your growing business while being present in the moment of relationships as well. Not only do you want to do this while the small business is up and running, but you want to plan and engage in this at least 12 months before launching the business. Communication and engagement are two powerful tools, learn to use them online and off.

The big mistake a lot of entrepreneurs make is only talking with customers or prospects when they are looking for more business. Clients referrals are important, but they are best obtained by excellent service or product offerings. If you as the business owner cross the line of too frequent requests for referrals, clients will quickly tire of being asked. The fact is your current customers and clients are who helping you keep your business on track, the relationship you share with them is essential to your continued success. Clients and customers are always willing to share their experience…whether its a good one or a difficult one. Make their experience with you count.

Competition for every service or business is at a ridiculous level online. Scarily, you are not the only person online offering the product your small business has to offer. You may not be the lowest price, your products may not be the biggest or the best, however, if you know your audience, and their needs, your business will stand out and shine. Your relationships, your delivery of service, your accessibility on line and off are the keys to your future. Smart phones make the management of presence accessible for individuals, even when you are the only staff in your organization, it is an important skill to learn.

People buy from people they trust and respect. We are far more likely to buy from a friend than a stranger. The same holds true for your customers and prospects. They want to know the person they are buying from cares about them, their needs and their wants.

Start networking and interacting online and off each day through your words, your tweets, your posts and your conversations. You are choosing to succeed as your own boss, you will choose to build from the ground up starting with the interaction process. Jump into forums whether on Linked In, online communities or local conversations on a daily basis. Friend request as many prospects as possible on Facebook. Share your two cents of sense on blogs, use services that link those comments back to your business and let people know who you are.

Engaging with people online and off in business means intentional presence. Be present on blogs, on Facebook, on Linked In. Be interested in prospects needs, study their processes, encourage their success. The highest form of prospecting involves truly engaging in their space and sharing your own space with them. From there, make it a point to send emails frequently even if it is simply to say hi or have a good weekend. People care about those who care about them. It sounds like an incredibly simple strategy, but you would be surprised how much of an impact nurturing your network in the pre-stages, during your first year and throughout the life of your success as your own boss.

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