At the heart of a successful business are satisfied customers. Growing that customer base is a challenge. But it can be done. Here are some tips that you can adopt to help your business grow.

1. Focus on the right customers and do everything you can not only to keep them but keep them delighted. They can be great endorsements for your business.

2. Stay connected with these customers. Offer extra value – go beyond the boundaries of your own products or services.

3. Ask for referrals and testimonials. Graciously accept their appreciation but also ask if they can recommend you to someone they know. In most cases, they would be happy to.

4. Understand your customer’s key frustrations and address them. They will remember you for

5. Keep communication going. Send them e-newsletters, e-mails. Tell them about offers they would be interested in. Give them information of value.

6. Build a relationship. Get to know your customers at the personal level. Remember to call them on their birthdays and make note of their special interests and hobbies. If you know of any events that would be of interest to them, inform them.

7. Improve your customer service skills. Your customer service may be good but it can still do with improvement. What can you do to take your service to a higher level so your customers will stay loyal to you?

8. Innovate. Develop and promote new uses for your products and services so you can get your existing customers to buy more and also attract new customers. For example, imagine how restricted the sales of petroleum jelly and duct tape would be if someone hadn’t thought of new uses for them.

9. Diversify. Focus on related needs for your product if you already have an established market.

10. Find a new pool of customers in a new location. Or sell virtually on your website. This will open up a whole new group of customers.

11. Be the best in a niche market. Concentrate on meeting the unmet needs of customers with special or unique requirements.

12. Ask what you can do better. Don’t be satisfied with what you are offering. Get a feedback from your customers and set about doing the things they recommend to take your service to a higher level.

13. Create forums where your customers can share information and ideas. Take the initiative to hold meetings where people can meet others in their line of business.

14. Participate in trade shows. This offers a great opportunity to attract people already in your line of business.

15. Expand into international markets. Exports will grow your data base exponentially.

16. Explore franchising. Partner with others who can duplicate your success.

Shortlist a few steps from this list and then pull out all the stops. You’ll find your customer base growing beyond your expectations.

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