Build Your Creative Business to Weather the Storm of Sudden Change
It has become increasingly obvious that any creative business that relies on social media traffic or walk-in traffic has a certain level of vulnerability, NO MATTER HOW SUCCESSFUL THEY ARE!
Why? Because if something sudden changes, like the town decides to take a year to replace all the sewage pipes on your street and detours all traffic away from your doors for the year; or Facebook changes their mysterious algorithms and your fan base loses contact; or a hurricane or flood or extreme storm sweeps through and causes such chaos that it takes a month to recover — your income is likely to be dramatically impacted immediately. In some instances, these impacts can make it impossible to recover.
So How Can You Bullet-Proof Your Creative Business From Feeling the Pain of These Sudden Changes?
Recognizing your one and only true asset — your customers.
As creative business owners, our customers are our bread and butter and being able to communicate with them, no matter what, is critical to recovering after sudden changes. However, if the traditional mode of communication is what gets interrupted, then you are sunk. And that is exactly what just happened to thousands of successful entrepreneurs who relied on their huge “friends list” or “followers” when Facebook shifted gears.
So, what to do?
From the beginning of e-commerce to today, there is only one totally reliable way to connect with your customer and that is by email. Your email lists are an asset that should be guarded and nurtured as gold was in 1929.
Which Creative Business Owners should be building email lists? Hairdressers; dentists; doctors; lawyers; builders; landscapers; store owners; stylists; designers; aestheticians; restaurant owners; coaches; teachers; therapists; grocery stores; literally every creative business owner. Why?
During normal times, to nurture your loyal customers. During breakdowns caused by sudden change, to provide support and/or access to support.
If your contacts are heavily weighted in social media you should seriously consider mobilizing an effort to gain email addresses.
3 Easy Ways to Reach Out to Loyal Customers
3. Create a free event to acknowledge them –
Depending on your business, you can offer them something free to Thank Them for their business, support, and loyalty. Every day customers have more and more choices for where the shop, especially on-line. Free gifts and fun events, especially ones where they can bring others (who maybe don’t know your business yet!!)
2. Create a Loyalty Program for all customers, loyal or new —
Most of us are familiar with Frequent Flyer Programs that have become normal business for many businesses Movie theaters, restaurants, book stores, bagel places, coffee stands, even inside of larger companies there are departments that offer programs now, such as soup cards for the deli in a large grocery store. To design an effective program be sure to look first at what kinds of real value you can offer. These programs can also produce resentment if they are only for data gathering so please be conscious and transparent, if this is your choice.
1. Create an Educational event or gift for Loyal Customers —
Almost all businesses can add some kind of educational aspect to their existing business and creative businesses are no exception. Adding and educational aspect can/will build enormous customer retention and appreciation.
Create a monthly newsletter that goes into depth about some aspect of your creative business that your customers would appreciate. It will create a bond with your customers beyond their purchases and even allows them to share your business with their friends and colleagues. Providing Tips, Professional Knowledge, Crazy Secrets that Work — bring an entirely new reason to do business with you and a way for new customers to find you.
It is also possible to just ask them. With certain businesses, especially creative businesses which generally have a more personal self expression designed in, small local co-operatives, pre-schools, etc, it is very possible to just let your customers know that you are wanting to provide continuity of service and convenience to their customer experience.
For more reading on Building a Creative Business
I started my first Creative Business when I was a single mom with four tiny children. That was 25 years ago and I started Business 101 for Creative Entrepreneurs to give back. I am so grateful for all who supported my while I was started, but more than anything I wished I had some business support, some mentoring or guidance. I want you to know that I get how hard, confusing, and challenging it can be to be alone and have real questions with no one to ask.
Please take this FREE 30 Minute Creative Business Consult as my way of saying “You Can Do It!”
What you can use the call for:
- Ask anything you need to know!
- Get important, reliable resources for whatever you need
- You can design a Next Actions plan for building the life of your dreams!
- Create Learning Plan so you can begin powerfully
- Feel supported