Do you roll your eyes when your parents and grandparents reflect on the good old days? The next time they say you would be better off doing things the “old-fashioned way,” take heed. When it comes to growing your small business, they may be on to something. Entrepreneurs and small business owners are encouraged to use social media and all the latest technology to reach potential customers, but going back to the old-fashioned way of doing business may be your best marketing strategy.
What Does the Old-Fashioned Way Mean?
Your website is a valuable tool for those in your target market to read about your services and products. But this is a passive approach in which you rely on new customers reaching out to you. As opposed to relying solely on your cyberspace presence, the old-fashioned way of doing business means putting yourself and your team ‘out there’ and making personal connections.
The first step to going old-fashioned is to grow your business organically. It is nothing fancy, and no technology is required – organic means using your existing resources to increase sales and revenue. Your employees are your best resources, so spend the time getting to know them and assessing their skills to understand what they bring to the table. Train them and ensure they are appropriately rewarded and compensated for their unique abilities. Happy, satisfied employees have a sense of ownership and will naturally drive new business. Imagine your phone ringing Monday morning with new business from customers who met your lawn technician at their daughter’s Saturday morning soccer league. Building personal relationships can become the best part of your business plan.
Here are suggestions for old-fashioned ways of doing business that can help grow relationships and take your business to the next level.
Post on Bulletin Board
Coffee shops, fitness clubs, and grocery stores often maintain community bulletin boards where startups and small businesses can get visibility. Create a poster listing your services with tear-off strips containing your name and number, or leave a stack of business cards. Either way, make it easy for potential customers to contact you.
Attend Networking Events
Networking events can help you meet potential customers, and are beneficial for helping you meet and connect with other professionals in your industry. Start with conferences, trade shows, and other events relevant to your industry. Join your local chamber of commerce and attend the monthly networking events. Business chambers aim to grow local businesses, match businesses to customers’ needs, and offer mentors and other resources that can be a wealth of information for you. Additional networking opportunities include church socials and school functions.
Meet and Greet
Pounding the pavement is one tried-and-true way of drumming up business. Whether you go door to door or set up a booth at a local event, shaking hands and chatting gives people a chance to get to know your team. Meet-and-greets take a lot of time and hard work, but the results can be substantial. Imagine meeting a homeowner whose yard is overgrown and finding that they no longer have the time for proper yard care. A lawn care business, babysitting service, or housekeeping business could all potentially gain a new customer.
Take a flyer to hand out or tape it to their mailbox in case no one is home.
Set Up Yard Signs
Get more visibility by placing signs along heavily traveled roads and busy intersections in your area. Much like the ubiquitous political ads or open house signs, put your name, phone number, and an eye-catching logo or motto on signs and stick them in the ground. Help another small business owner by giving your print business to a local print shop.
The Two-Pronged Approach to Business Growth
Whatever your business title – owner, CEO, vice president, marketing director – you know that there is no one best way to drive business. While getting back to the basics the old-fashioned way is critical, you should also leverage technology to grow your customer base.
- Create a simple website so you are found on Google.
- Maintain a LinkedIn profile to help establish your own business as a professional and reputable company.
- Send high-quality monthly emails or e-newsletters using Constant Contact or MailChimp to highlight your new products and drive new business.
If you are a lawn care or landscaping business owner, turn to Green Group. We partner with lawn care businesses to invest in their people and processes. Check out our Learning Center for more business tips and tricks.