Many of us take particular note of places where we receive great customer service, and where we do not! Repeat customers and referrals are often a good way to increase your sales and customer base. Making the effort to give exceptional customer service and go the extra mile will often reward your sole trader business by producing new sales leads without too much extra work on your part.
Which leads us nicely onto learning to delegate – if you are spending a lot of time on things that run your sole trader business rather than the moneymaking areas of your business you could look at delegating out. Would it make sense to employ an accountant who takes care of all your financials without the need for software? This leaves you free to actually work on developing your sole trader business.
Likewise, all businesses produce a certain amount of admin, but many virtual office companies offer cheap alternatives allowing you to work on building your income rather than taking calls and filing paperwork.
Outsourcing admin or marketing doesn’t have to cost the earth, you could team up with another local sole trader and swap skills. Many sole traders can find a mutually rewarding relationship especially if they are in the same local area.
Be available to the media – whether it’s social media or the local media – by being available for interviews or to give knowledge in your specialist area, you will spread your sole trader business name to the wider community. It is often the case that smaller local media, the free paper through lots of local doors, are happy to run articles on local sole trading businesses.
With a regular article in your local press, you can become a known voice in your chosen industry. Why not send a quarterly article to your local paper to keep you in mind and remind them of your local expertise. Then, who are they likely to call on when they need a local adviser in your field?
Take some calculated risks. Look at areas of your sole trader business where you can increase revenue or decrease spending without compromising on your product. Remember to check your suppliers on a regular basis to make sure they are still the most competitively priced. It’s all too easy to fall into a routine and always buy from the same place rather than shopping around. Is it worth buying in bulk at a cheaper price for the materials you use often? If you buy regularly from the same place, can you do a deal as a repeat customer?
This works both ways too – if you have a repeat customer, maybe a deal can be done to ensure that they keep returning to you and don’t shop around themselves. Coming back to the start of this post, great customer service is a very cost-effective method of ensuring customer loyalty.
And finally, try keeping a log, measure what works for your sole trader business, and refine your approach as you go. When you make changes within your business keep a close eye on the results any changes may have. Time can be well spent if you check results and eliminate strategies that yield bad results, as well as concentrating your time and effort on those that work for your sole trader business. No-one knows your business like you do. Use that knowledge effectively, and there’s no limits for the success of your business.