yikesCan you hear that cry ringing in your head? Well I can because while working with clients this month I have actually heard it said to me by a small business person in my city. In fact others I have spoken with recently have said basically the same thing.

It is the cry of the entrepreneur these days. Customers are being careful with their money, cutting back on spending, and exploring their options for saving more than ever.

So what can you do to fix this for your business? My suggestion is first of to take on a mindset that you are the best option for your customer. We begin to increase our favor when we adopt the right attitude. When a small business hires help to run the show we cannot always be secure that they will always present your business to the customer in the best light. Some will and some may not.

So you as the owner have to do all that you can to keep your customer thinking of your business in glowing terms. One method for doing that goes beyond the “thanks for shopping here” message at the end of the transaction. Take it further and invite your customer to become a special part of your family. A valued customer. Invite them to join your special club/membership/insiders club/coupon club or whatever you want to name the special list they can join to become a part of your business.

Do you know that the special cards that credit card companies give out such at the “Gold” card, “Platinum” card and even the “Black” card are wildly popular with consumers? Why? Because they give them a feeling of elevated status.

You want to do the same with your customers. Extend an offer to them. Give them something of value for free if they join your list. Then continue to offer them great value in free content, deals, specials, coupons and so on. Make them feel like there is no other option when they want to shop for your products or services. If you make them connect with you and your business then you can build that relationship in a way that no print advertising can ever do. Plus you can track and measure all of it as well.

Let me help you brain storm ideas and content for connecting your customers to your business for life. And don’t forget that there is a gold mine in working with other small businesses like yours to do Joint Venture deals that make money and customers for both of you.  Can an auto repair shop and an espresso shop work together? You bet, I have seen it. You just have to get outside of the normal marketing box to find exciting new ways to grow your customer base.