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Edition 252 – From Spring Farm to Spain

How close our world is these days?

Recently I spent part of my day in a business meeting with a client in Spring Farm, near Camden in the morning. In the afternoon, I caught up with a colleague and friend of mine based in Barcelona in Spain. Both meetings were via Zoom and both were productive, enjoyable and not much different to the way it would be if we were meeting in person.

I have a number of clients that work outside their geographic location and, at times, don’t visit the client site themselves. These are businesses that, even before COVID, were national businesses even though they were locally based. The question is, how do you perceive your business and what opportunities aren’t you chasing as a result of how you limit yourself and your mindset?

Here’s some examples of what I’ve seen work with businesses that have reached beyond their local boundary to acquire new business.

  1. An optometry practice that brought in new clients from more than 100km away simply by performing a great job with their existing clients, who passionately referred their friends and acquaintances in.
  2. An electrical contracting business that has placed an individual on retainer, interstate, with a view to them scouting the local scene for work. When new opportunities present themselves and are won, they’ll already have people on the ground ready to go.
  3. A winery on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula actively contacting their client base by telephone, checking in with their customers and offering lockdown specials.
  4. A commercial cleaning business that said “Yes” to an opportunity presented by one of their key clients to chase work in Far Western New South Wales and, in the process, put themselves in the running to permanently replace the current contractor who lives more locally, but is proving inflexible to deal with.

In each of these businesses, there are one or two key things that stick out for me:

  1. None of these businesses limited their mindset to calling themselves a “local” business. They believe in casting the net far and wide.
  2. Sometimes you’ve just got to say “Yes” and figure it out on the run.
  3. Your database is far more valuable to you than you think.
  4. Developing a network of contacts in other locations creates the image that you’re a bigger business than what you really are – meaning you’ll be noticed more by larger customers.
  5. The attitude of the business owner must be “we’re here to help”.
  6. By solving a problem, rather than selling something, you’re creating higher value in the client’s mind.
  7. Some of you have customers that are big advocates for your business. It’s just that you don’t realise it simply because you’re not asking anyone new that walks in the door “how did you come to find us?”

The reason why a number of businesses are busy right now and others aren’t can, in most cases, be placed right at the feet of the owners and what their mindset is. As Henry Ford once said, whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right!

This week, take a moment to reflect where your clients and major sources of work are based and how you could further maximise the opportunities inside your family business.