How to Grow Your Local Barbecue BusinessJune 1st, 2012
All of true meaning in life revolves around relationships. There are many types of relationships, but in this blog post, I am thinking of relationships in business. People love to do business with real people, not “faceless” corporations. Your market is waiting to lavish loyalty on you and your brand if you will only earn it.
Market loyalty is one of the keys to growing a small business on a low budget. It’s how you can attract more customers, get your customers to buy more often, and make your customers spend more when they buy from you.
There are plenty of advertising and lead generation strategies that hardly give you any return on your investment, or at least require careful tracking. You can easily lose your shirt if you’re not careful. But when you sincerely invest in building relationships with your market through free gifts, events, or coaching, it’s just hard to go wrong.
So how do you earn loyalty and build relationships in a small local business? One way is to be social and friendly. Help your market have a good time and solve their problems.
One of the best ways to do this is to host an open house. Not just once, but every year. This is when you invest money in your customers, out of your own pocket. Events like this attract a crowd to your local business and show your market you are helpful, friendly, and honest—if in fact you really are.
Open houses are where you go all out and give away delicious food, drinks, and maybe even donuts. Instead of going with the average menu, do something unexpected. Homemade donuts and over-the-top barbecue will get your people talking. Not just for days, but even a year later they will be looking forward to your event.
Whether you run a restaurant, catering business, rental service, or supply store, there are creative ways to pull off events like I am talking about.
If serving food is your business, you may not want to give away an entire meal, but you could offer free drinks and/or side dishes, introduce special menus you only offer at the event, sponsor door prizes for gift certificates, give away balloons for the children, and so on. Brainstorm and make your event as social as you can.
If you have a restaurant, a great way to earn loyalty is to give all your customers a free meal on their birthdays. This will not only create a lot of wow, but will also help grow your business because who wants a birthday party without your family and friends?
Also consider this: People are more apt to do business with brands their friends trust. Your loyal fans will tell their friends about you and those friends will show up to give you business. Make a great first impression and you just may have them for life. And the advantage in selling barbecue is that you could start seeing repeat customers as quickly as tomorrow.
At the garden center, open houses have helped us generate buzz and grow our business. Once people are there, they see the quality and service we stand for. It’s a win win situation. Our customers look forward to the event and we are earning loyalty with our customers.
So if you are looking for ways to build your local barbecue business, think relationships and loyalty. Invest in it wisely and you should see prospects turn into customers. Your customers will turn into loyal fans. And your fans won’t stay quiet about you.
Do all you can to earn loyalty from those just joining your brand and rewarding it in your customers. Newspaper ads can work, but what I am talking about will help you build a solid, sustainable business to the benefit of you and your followers.
Thanks for reading,
PS. In an upcoming blog post, I plan to share more tips on cooking for crowds. One of the secrets in cooking for hundreds is to use decent equipment. Check out our offset smokers, pig roasters, and grills with flippin’ grates.