Writing a Newsletter for Your Business

Did you know that for every month you are NOT in contact with your clients and customers, you lose about 10% of the value of your relationship with them?

How often are you in touch with your clients and customers?

A monthly newsletter is an ideal way to stay in touch with clients and customers, it is inexpensive, and really is not that hard to do.

Remember, it is much more cost-effective to do whatever it takes to keep your current clients and customers than it is to try to woo new ones.  Your current clientele is like gold! Even if they only buy a one-time item from you, don’t forget that they are excellent sources of diversified marketing strategies or for referrals.  Referrals are not to be discounted.  Without referrals, your business influence is severely limited.

A newsletter should consist of five major components:

  1. A personal touch from you, the owner of the business.  Some people write a quick note to their readers.  Others place editorial comments throughout the newsletter with their name after the comment.
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  2. Educate your clients and customers. This is a great place to let people know how best to use your products and services.  You might even consider highlighting other clients and customers and how they are using your goods and services.  While you can’t be everything to everyone, you can certainly let them know what you do well!
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  3. Inspirational articles that give people something to think about and feel good about themselves.  The better people feel after reading your newsletter, the better the impression they will have of you and your business.  Remember, you want them to associate a “feel great” mentality to you! You might include inspirational quotations, or articles about ways to improve their performance, health, or attitude.
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  4. Testimonials that reinforce the idea that you are the best person to be doing business with. This is a huge point.  People like to be part of the “in crowd”, and testimonials further cement the idea that doing business with you is the right thing to do.
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  5. Use your newsletter as a direct response opportunity.  While your newsletter should not be filled with ads and information about you and your company, you should not be shy about asking for referrals, providing special offers to people who refer other customers to you is just good business.  Go into partnership with another small business.  Combine your efforts.  Is there a restaurant nearby?  Can you purchase discounted gift certificates from them, and give them to customers who refer paying customers to you? Get creative.  Unite with other small businesses and make it worthwhile for clients and customers to do business with all of you.

Start off with a page or two…the important thing is to just get started today! You can pretty things up later, consider it to be a “work in progress”.  The next several postings will cover newsletter creation ideas in a lot more detail.

Stay Tuned!

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Amex Supports Small Biz Saturday

This might seem like a bit of a stretch, the great big corporation, American Express, supporting Small Biz…and yet it isn’t.

Initially, Small Business Saturday was the day after Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving).  Amex was pushing ads in the middle of the summer to have small businesses apply for an opportunity to win $25,000 and grow their biz.  The deadline was in the middle of summer, so perhaps they’re really trying to spread the word about supporting small business.

What I always find interesting is this bid for attention to a single day of the year this coming November.  Now they’re promoting Small Biz Saturday all year.

I can’t argue with their effort.  Small biz needs to find their oomph.  If American Express is going to support that effort, I’m all for it.  For now, I’ll “Like’ them on Facebook, and I’ll watch to see what other tools they make available to small businesses to better market themselves.

There are free tools to use, available from them on their website at Small Business Saturday.  Most of them have to do with creating a biz page on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites.  If you aren’t doing this yet, you really need to.  I’m not going to wonder at their motives, they’re purely financial…but if it brings biz back to Main Street, America, then let’s join the march!

What Makes for a Good Entrepreneur?

There are a lot of “beliefs” about what makes for a good entrepreneur. Here’s a great article talking about the 5 Myths About Entrepreneurs that should either support or dispel most of them.

Are you an entrepreneur?  Or are you a victim of circumstance? Did you choose the biz you’re in or did it somehow choose you?

Some might say that doesn’t matter, but I think deep down, everyone knows that it does matter.  Some of us find ourselves running a business that we somehow inherited, and we’re not really even sure we like it.

The problem is, if you don’t like it, your lack of passion and interest can impact how your clients and customers see you and your business.  So you’re going to have to ask yourself a really hard question: “Do I stay in this business or not?”

If you decide to stay in the business, then you somehow have to figure out how to fall in love with it and your clients and customers. Is there a micro-niche that you could serve that would be more interesting to you than those you currently serve?

Could you put a slightly different spin on the business, making it uniquely your own? Can you educate yourself about your business, products, and clientele so that you become the expert they’re looking for?  Once people begin to come to you as the expert, helping them to solve their problems, you might change how you view yourself and your business.

If, however, you answered, “No!” to the above question…the why are you still in business?  You really should either sell the business, or get someone else to run or manage it for you, because your lack of interest and desire to run it will eventually drive it into a slow death spiral.  Without that spark of entrepreneurial enthusiasm, innovative thinking, and deep interest, the business is lifeless.  Your clients and customers know that, too.

This isn’t something you need to decide in the time it takes to read this article. But you do need to do some heavy thinking. Seek guidance from someone who is not financially or emotionally involved in the business.  A business coach is a good place to start to see if you are in the right place, or if you need to make some big changes in your life.

Scary thought, but in the long run, life’s too short to do something you hate for the rest of your life.

Every Entrepreneur is in the People Business

http://chialichien.com/cal/blog/242-a-living-lesson-in-integrity.html

When you are in business, no matter what it is, you are in the people business.

What people, you ask? Every person you interact with.  And this may seem counter-intuitive to you, but treating your employees better than your clients and customers will result in a better business all around.  Treat your employees like family and they’ll return the effort a thousand-fold.

I have a friend who works for a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and she works hard. They work very long hours both in the fields where they tend to the vegetables, planting, weeding, and harvesting. They also work very, very hard preparing the bags of produce for the end customers (people like me who like to support locally and eat delicious organic local food). The last time we spoke, I asked her why she was so willing to work so darn hard and she said it was because she and her co-workers are all treated like family. Everyone works hard, TOGETHER!

That was a telling statement. I’ve known people who seemed to have truly “cushy” jobs and yet because they weren’t treated well by their bosses or managers, they were willing to just up and leave for the next possible opportunity.

Being in biz means you are in the people business  and in order to stay competitive, you must treat your people well.