As a small business, you’re always looking for new ways to increase your revenue stream and add to your client base. From one month to the next, you can’t always guarantee how business will go–but you can help build your business up, increase your revenue stream, and solidify your position in your industry. If 8 out of 10 businesses fail within their first 18 months, you want to be in the twenty percent–and that means that you need to constantly be on the lookout for new opportunities.

Diversify Your Product Offering

Depending on your business, there are several ways that you can accomplish this. You can seek out related products, offer “professional” and “hobby” versions of the same item, increase your online market, or adapt to advances in your chosen field. All of these are valid strategies for diversity. Consider the one that works best for you and take advantage of it. Offering more diverse products will increase your sales per client and reach a broader audience–exactly what a small business needs to stay afloat.

Reach Existing Clients on a New Level

You’ve worked hard for your clients, and you’ve gone out of your way to make sure that they’re happy with your work. Now is the time to take advantage of that. By expanding your offerings to your existing clients, you’re pitching to a group of people who are already satisfied with your work and appreciative of what you do. That means that when the time comes to choose similar services, you’ve already done half the work of marketing to them.

Make It Easy

These days, it seems as though everyone is pressed for time. Customers don’t want to be bogged down with a rewards process that takes an hour to get through or a checkout process that takes longer than choosing the item or service. The easier you can make things on your customers, the more you increase the odds that they’ll come back–or that they’ll go through with their intended purchase in the first place. It’s also important that you make it easy to contact you with complaints or concerns: email, social media, and phone contact should all be carefully monitored, and attention should be paid to detail in these areas.

Make Customer Service a Priority

It takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one negative experience. People are always more likely to talk about bad customer service than good: negative customer service experiences reach twice as many people as news about an excellent experience. In 2008, 87% of customers had stopped doing business with a company due to poor customer service–a number that keeps going up, not down. Simply put, customer service has to be a priority for your business. It starts the moment a potential customer has their first contact with your business, and it doesn’t end until they’re satisfied.

Customer service trumps everything else. High quality and competitive prices are important, but ultimately, it’s your customer service that will make or break your business. Be friendly and attentive to customers whenever they interact with you; keep lines of communication open; and handle any issues that arrive efficiently. The more important the customer feels that they are to you, the greater the likelihood that they’ll become a returning customer.

Improve Sales Team Efficiency

Teach your sales team how to get the best possible price from each customer without sacrificing that vital element of customer service. There are a number of negotiating tips to consider:

  • Listen to what the customer is offering and what they expect first
  • Negotiate with the person who will actually make the final decision
  • Remember to talk value, not just money.

All of these ideas increase your selling power and improve the odds that you’ll end up making more out of the transaction. For example, if you can add customer-perceived value to the negotiation without cutting into your sale, you’ve increased the business’s overall income while still leaving the customer feeling as though they’ve accomplished something.

Improving your small business’s revenue stream is a process, but it’s one that’s well worth the time and effort. By building a strong customer base, you’ll ensure that your business will be standing for a long time to come.