Making money is kind of what business is all about, isn't it?
Every company started out with the goal of making a profit.
Whether the company sold hot dogs, hardware, or hats for poodles, the single intention of that company was to earn money.
Easier said than done, though!Even if you have an amazing product to sell, the truth is that it's tough to make it in today's business climate.
Your competition is always fierce, you're up against giant corporations who are more than happy to undercut your prices, and marketing is a challenge like never before.
So how can you make money? Even harder, how can you make money while still delivering a quality product or service at a quality price?
Hint: it's all about the customers…
Henry Ford said, "It’s not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It’s the customer who pays the wages."
What does this mean? Simple: to make money, you have to have customers. It's all about serving people while making money.
Customers are the ones who buy your stuff or pay for your services. Without them, you'll have an awesome product sitting on a shelf, or an awesome service with no one to provide said service to. Customers are the lifeblood of any company--of every company. Your single goal should be to bring in more customers.
So how can you get customers? Better still, how can you keep customers and turn them into regular clients?
It's all about your mindset! If you have the right mindset, the mindset of serving people, you'll find that the customers will flock to you.
The Freebie Wins: Google vs. AOL
Think back a decade or so, back when email was first becoming popular.
Everyone had their own work email account, but the popularity of home computers made it possible for people to open their own account at home.
I remember my first email account. I was so happy when I received my first emails, and I began to send out a half-dozen new messages every day just because I could.
Then came the day that I discovered Yahoo!. Yahoo! offered free email accounts. Within a week, everyone I knew had opened their first Yahoo! account. Pictures and videos and links and messages flew back and
Google was next, offering Gmail to a very select few people. You had to receive an invitation to open a Gmail account, but boy was it worth it. They were offering unlimited mail space, or at least it seemed that way compared to the other companies.
Now, let's fast forward a few years. Yahoo! Mail is kind of a thing of the past, and AOL is lumped into the era of dial-up modems with that horrible squeaking sound. Gmail is ranked 2nd for email accounts (oddly enough, Apple iPhone has surged to 1st), while AOL is ranked way down at the bottom. While 16% of the world uses Gmail, less than 1% uses AOL.
And how did it all start? By Google offering their mail service for free!
If you want to build a customer base, you have to offer value. Gmail's massive inbox (a whole GB of email storage way back when was a lot!) definitely trumped the 10 MB offered by Yahoo! Mail and AOL, which is why so many people made the shift.
But Google didn't rest on its laurels when it came to capturing clients. They were already getting lots of people to come over to Team Google with their awesome email, so they continued adding value--all totally for free.
We now have Google Maps, Docs, Translate, Search, Images, Videos, News, and so many more services, all totally free of charge.
It may sound counterintuitive to have a service offered for free, but the truth is that Google makes a TON of money from other sources.
So you can use Google's approach to
The more value you offer for free, the more likely you will be to get your products or services in people's hands. If your product or service is top-quality, just getting in into hands will be enough to attract customers to you.
Your mindset of serving people and giving them what they want at a low (or no) cost is the way to get people thinking positively about your brand. Once they have that positive association with your brand and product, that's when they're most likely to become your loyal customers for life!
It's an investment that might take a lot out of you--both in terms of time and money. But you know you've got to "spend money to make money", and this is one of the best investments you can make.
The more you can offer your customers and the more you give them, the greater the perceived value of what you have to offer. Discounts,
Customer Service Always Matters
Why does everyone hate Time Warner Cable so much? It's not that their product is poor quality--the internet is fairly reliable, and they offer a lot of channels.
No, it's the quality of the service that makes enemies for Time Warner.
Technicians showing up late for installations, customer service reps unreachable by phone, complaints taking forever to handle--these are all things that give people a bad impression of TWC. If they could fix these things, they might be able to repair the damage done to their image. As it stands, the minute there is a competing company that offers the same product at a similar price, most people tend to jump ship.
In the highly competitive business world of today, customer service ties with "quality product" for the spot of "The Key to Success".
If you have the greatest product in the world but your customer service is crap, you'd better be ready to either fix the problem or take a huge hit!
The customer may not always be right, but it's important that they think they are.
Customer service is not necessarily about giving your customer the VIP treatment. No one is expecting to be ushered into a penthouse suite, have their shoes shined, and given a massage when they come in to replace a broken
However, there are a few things that
- Being happy
- Listening to their problems
- Providing the service that they came in for
- Being friendly and polite
- Solving the problem in a timely manner
- Ensuring the customer is satisfied with the service
- Meeting expectations
If you can do these things, the customer will walk out the door happy and with a positive association to your company, product, or service. In today's business world, that is the key to success.
But How Can I Make Money?
So far, we've talked exclusively about how you can have a customer service mindset and offer value to your customers. We haven't mentioned anything to help you find out "what's in it for you".
The truth is that making money boils down to three things:
This is probably the most important aspect of your
Going back to the example of Google, why did they succeed? They were offering a service similar to that offered by Yahoo!, AOL, and many others.
They succeeded because their product was the highest quality on the market. The other companies just couldn't match the Gmail service, so they failed to keep up. Google transformed the market by offering a product of higher quality than the rest.
It's all about the value that you offer customers. Give them something better than they currently are getting, or at a better price, and you've got the competitive edge!
Even if the market you are entering is close to saturated, a
2. Happy Customers
Without happy customers, you've got nothing! With happy customers, you're well on your way to success.
If your customers have a positive association with your brand, product, or service in their mind, they will want to avail themselves of what you have to offer. If it's a negative association, you're totally boned!
Having a quality product is the first step toward happy customers. With something that offers real value, your clients are guaranteed to be pleased with their decision to buy your product or hire your services.
But after that comes customer service. No matter how amazing your product or service is, there's going to be problems down the line. Whether it's some component breaking, a flaw in the architecture, or a
That is a horrible negative mental
How are customers going to have any idea what you have to offer without first coming across your product or service?
This is where marketing comes into play! Your marketing strategies will help you inform the general public that you have an amazing product or service, giving them the chance to consider making that purchase. Without solid marketing, the awesome product and amazing customer service won't be worth a damn.
Having that mindset of serving people is the key to success in business. It may seem difficult to keep up in the short term, but in the long run, it will pay off many, many times over! Do your utmost to make your customers happy, and the money will follow…