"Hey, you - I remember you! Drew my bow and arrow right at you back in '02. Hope it worked out! For me, as you know, it's all about connecting people. It is just as important in business as it is in love. If you become someone who is always introducing people to other people they find useful, entertaining or a like-minded, they will remember you for it. Soon enough, those favours come back around. You'll find that your network has grown, and people will want to do you the favours you once did them. That's definitely not to say you should be thinking that every favour you do someone deserves something back - Smarta founder Shaa Wasmund has written a great blog today on why that definitely shouldn't be the case. But broadening your business network, and that of others, can only be a great thing for all involved.
"My top tip? Write notes about people on the back of their business cards (out of their sight!) - what they've just said they're interested in or have done recently. It'll help you remember, so you can say something personal when you add them on LinkedIn, and then further down the line connect them with someone who is interested in something similar to them."
"That's right - I bet some of you will be finding my writings useful tonight! But listen - you don't get to stay an expert in the public mind for more than 1,500 years without knowing a thing or two about how to do it. Why has my love manual lasted so darn long? Because it's genuinely useful, it's full of original ideas, and it's trusted. That's why people keep using it. If you want the same king of longevity and loyalty, you too should consider a bit of content marketing - because, heck, that's really why I knocked up the old Kama Sutra. Seth Godin agrees with me on this one - a couple of years ago he said "content marketing is the only marketing left" (and that man knows his stuff).
"Whether it's through a Twitter account, an advice-giving email newsletter, a blog or a series of whitepapers, you should position yourself as a helpful authority in your field of expertise to win customers' heart. The key is to be genuinely useful, and ideally entertaining too. DO NOT SELL. Don't even mention your products through content marketing. Just provide advice - then you get seen as an expert, which builds people's trust in you, so they'll buy from you when the time is right. Try offering your content to website, blogs and publications to get the word out further - make sure you tailor any subject to their readership and focus to keep it super-relevant."
"Me and Cindy have been settled with each other for years now, but it was one heck of a battle trying to find the perfect missus for me, I'll tell you that much! So what did I learn from it? A great business is like a great shoe - it ain't going to fit just anyone. Products and services, like glass slippers, will probably only really suit a small percentage of the population (in my case, my lovely lady). But don't think that having a small customer base is any bad thing - instead, focus all your efforts on doing all you can to win their hearts. Sure, your target demographic may be small, but if you're willing to put in the hours with them (before midnight or otherwise), they'll bring you more happiness over many years than if you try to push your offering onto a wider group of people that they doesn't really fit, because it'll never last if they're uncomfortable. In short, customer retention is much easier than acquiring new customers, so often a smarter way to do business for small businesses."
"Go St Valentine, it's my Valentine's Day, go St Valentine, it's my Valentine's Day! This is my favourite day of the year, and not just because everyone's talking about me. No - even I'm not that big-headed! What I love about the day of love is that people tell each other how much they mean to each other. It doesn't even matter if they do it anonymously - it's just about sharing the love.
"This show of affection and appreciation shouldn't be limited to February 14. Smart start-ups know that customers like to be valued just as much as all people do. They'll do random give-aways on Twitter, send a packet of sweets with every fifth mail order, send newsletters or emails to valued customers telling them they really appreciate their custom, and is there anything they could be doing better? Face to face, a big thank you and a big smile go a long way too.
"Every customer you have - like every beau you court - could go elsewhere at any moment. So make sure that every time you interact with them, you show them how much they mean to you, so they keep coming back for more."