The following tips and strategies are intended to help you grow your business more effortlessly and easily by using the tools that you already have at hand in a more expanded way. To help you spend more time working ON your business instead of being run BY your business. Giving you more time for what’s important versus what’s urgent.

Action is key, so pick one strategy, put it into action and watch your business grow! Let us know what worked best for you. We’d love to hear your success stories.

Tip #1 :: Review the Competitive Landscape
When you can take a fresh look at your business through the lens of what your competition is doing, what do you see? What are they doing differently that sets them apart? Now, how can you set yourself apart from the competition?

The goal is to regularly and consistently find new says to serve your current customers by adding value to your offerings and attract new customers with creative “pull” strategies. The more easily you can attract your ideal clients, the more you will enjoy your work. Your clients will feel your enthusiasm and it can create an upward positive spiral for everyone involved!

Tip #2 :: Circles of Influence
Do you know the saying, “Who you hang out with is who you become”? By surrounding yourself with a circle of professionals who aspire to your levels of professionalism and success (or higher) you will naturally increase your odds for success.

Identify other professionals whose services compliment what you have to offer and create packages together or joint programs that create win-win situations for all involved. These professionals ideally will add another level of credibility to the depth and breadth of what your business has to offer. And, as you build these “Power Partnerships”, it can help further position you as the expert in your field as they refer clients to you.

Remember, the more you give, the more you’ll get in return so continually prime the pump of these relationships by passing along valuable referrals to them as well.

Tip #3 :: Focus on Your Own Back Yard
Before engaging in costly marketing or advertising campaigns, look in your own back yard for new business! You’ve already spent time and money attracting and (hopefully) keeping the clients you already have. They know and trust you, they know what to expect from you, and they know the value that you bring to the table. And, with a simple request of making a referral; they will probably go to great lengths for you.

Your number one assets are your customers, i.e. your client database. Be mindful of them, appreciate them often and continually find new ways to be of service to them to create a long list of raving fans.

Tip #4 :: Be Extraordinary
For word of mouth marketing to happen naturally, your product or service must be extraordinary, “exceptional in character, amount, extent, degree, etc.; noteworthy; remarkable; - a superior product which adds value to a person or market”.

To position your services as “Extraordinary” it begins with declaring your niche – your unique way of delivering your products or services and deliver those products and services from an authentic, real place -- every time and beyond what is expected.

In other words, let your personality, your uniqueness shine through in everything you do because that is what makes you and your business different from all the other widget makers in the world. And when you are operating from your true authentic self and going beyond what is expected of you to deliver great results, it will leave a remarkable impression on all those who work with you.

Tip #5 :: What’s Your Story Morning Glory
One of the most powerful ways to instigate word of mouth is by creating a fantastic experience for your clients to talk about - with their friends, family and colleagues. Letting them share their compelling story of how your work together made a difference in their business and in their lives.

People love to talk, so give them as many different positive reasons as you can to toot your horn for you! Think of this as priceless, positive PR! Each time you work with your clients, always have them walking away with some kind of unexpected added value - teach them something new, give them free tips to improve anything in their lives or business, or simply share a story that makes them smile.

Tip #6 :: Testimonials are Golden
Are you collecting testimonials from your raving fans? If not, start today! Find out from them how your product or service positively affected their lives or met their desired needs. These client testimonials are worth their weight in gold! You should use them in as many places as possible (without being obnoxious) and should be sprinkled throughout your marketing materials, your website and any other material detailing what you offer. This even includes your business cards.

Testimonials give your prospective clients someone else’s perspective and experience of working with you. This can greatly lower a prospective customer’s hesitation to working with an “unknown” source and thus helping them to feel safe enough to engage in working with you. And, it provides evidence that the product or service you are offering is worthy of their time and money.

So mine all the gold that is already in your backyard by asking current and former clients for a brief testimonial that you can put to good use!

Tip #7 :: Spreading the Word
Spreading the word of your business through the referrals from clients is a tried and true way to growth. Better known as Word Of Mouth marketing (WOM), you get to design this strategy into your relationship with clients up front by sharing with them, “If you’re satisfied with the work we do together, would you be willing to refer my services to your friends or colleagues?” If they agree, then your job is to provide extraordinary service to your clients and let them do some of your marketing for you!

You can plant the seed in their thinking by asking, “Do you know of someone who could benefit from my services? If so, who?”

When you set the tone up front for excellent service and ask for referrals in return, your clients will be more willing to give you those referrals with little or no prodding.
Most importantly, be sure to follow-up on their referrals with an invitation to sample what you have to offer. And, if that referral becomes a client, BE SURE to send your client a big THANK YOU for the gift they have given you.

Tip # 8 :: Having a Referral System
These days a website is a crucial part of your marketing strategy and referral system. Can your clients, colleagues, friends or family point potential clients to your website? If not, you need to consider creating one. It is an easy way to give people the vital information about who you are, what you do and how you can be of service to them – 24 hours a day (the web never sleeps!).

In other words, having this front-end system can help you give information to prospective clients as well as help you track who is interested. Beyond just a website though, you have to have a follow-up strategy in place as well. What do you do once you have a new lead? What are the steps that you take to get that person in your database, follow-up and stay in touch with them?

The more you can keep your “brand” front of mind through a variety of different connections and touch points, the more likely that person will be to call you when they finally do need your services.

Tip #9 :: Praise and Reward Often
Do you have a reward program in place for the referrals you receive? What incentives can you offer to your clients for the referrals they do give you? Everyone loves to be appreciated so think of some different ways of saying Thank You for that valuable referral. Consider giving your clients a discount for your services or a complimentary product or service that they would enjoy. This goes beyond just a “Thank You” and says that you put thought and consideration into their gift, just as they did for you.

And don’t forget, Thank You’s don’t just come at the end - be sure to thank your clients along the way too – expressing your gratitude for the opportunity to work with them and make a difference in their world in some way.

Tip # 10 :: Getting Them to Your Door
How do you lower the risk of doing business with you? You can offer potential clients a complimentary product or service, which allows them to get a sample of your work – a bite size experience if you will. Additionally, you can further lower the perceived risk by offering a guarantee of some kind.

The *key* to turning potential customers into actual customers is developing a level of relationship with them and creating trust. Once there is trust, it’s much easier to enroll them in what you have to offer. Then, once their curiosity is peaked and they are interested in what you have to offer, then it is simply a matter of delivering value above and beyond what you promise to keep them coming back for more while also telling their friends and colleagues about your fantastic services!

Author's Bio: 

Michele founded Nectar Consulting, Inc. in 2001 after leaving the dot com world to find more fulfilling and meaningful work. What she discovered was coaching and her passion. She has since been trained and certified as a Co-Active Professional Certified Coach (CPCC) to provide business coaching and consulting services to her myriad of clients across the United States and Europe.

Michele is a catalyst for change. She brings 18 years of insight and expertise to her work as a coach, trainer, speaker and writer and has touched the lives of hundreds of business owners and executives. Her 10 years as an art director & creative director for leading edge companies in multi-media and web development give her extensive management, branding, design, and marketing expertise to draw from when helping clients to grow their businesses more effectively.

She uses an engaging style and interdisciplinary approach to cut to the core of where her clients can expand their skills as leaders to more successfully grow their businesses. Michele's unique combination of coaching skills, business growth tools and strategies consistently helps her clients significantly increase their bottom-line results. Through their work with Michele, her clients have reported an increase in annual business revenues from 25%-300%.