People starting a business plan on being successful.
Achieving success, though, is much easier said than done. When starting, one of the first tasks facing the business owner is letting people know you exist. Your story can be one good element to use in this phase.
Stories are engaging. People can relate to stories. Stories help develop the “who” part of your reputation and your brand. When networking, stories can open doors and are easy ways to begin a conversation.
So developing your story is an important step on the road to success.
Yet storytelling is only one part of developing a successful business. It gets the customers in your door for the first time or two, but successful businesses require more.
Typically, the “more” is developing a base of customers who return over and over. Rarely has a business succeeded when selling to a customer just one time. Research finds that returning customers are the ones who generate the greatest return for the business.
What makes customers return? They return when you provide good products and services. Remember that in the customers’ perception, “good” includes price and your customer service, as well as the product doing what it should.
This does not mean you can drop your marketing program. Consumers have short memories in terms of where they will go to spend their money. You need to remind them constantly that you are in business. Even customers who have been with you for decades will move on if you fail to continue marketing to them. The marketing method may change, but it does need to continue.
Achieving success is hard for small businesses. It requires a solid customer base. Telling your story gets people in the door, and offering a good product keeps them coming back.
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Glenn Muske is an independent expert on rural small business, working as GM Consulting – Your partner in achieving small business success. He provides consulting, and writes articles for county extension agents and newspapers across North Dakota. Previously, he was the Rural and Agribusiness Enterprise Development Specialist at the North Dakota State University Extension Service – Center for Community Vitality.