How Small Businesses Can Attract and Keep Customers

It's hard for small, local businesses to succeed in big cities when they are surrounded by huge corporations that compete for the same markets. It takes some time for a company to make a name and a reputation for themselves, but they still have to pay the bills.

I interviewed Binu Girija, Founder of Way.com, which stands for What Amazes You. They have been connecting thousands of both local and major vendors with customers and tourists looking for more fun and less hassle in their lifestyle. Movies, concerts, culinary experiences and family activities are just a few taps away with way.com. And your lifestyle hassles to experience fun are taken care of. For example, parking near the fun made simple and easy or airport shuttling to your Hawaiian getaway at the tap of a button. They have witnessed firsthand how important it can be for small businesses to have a helping hand in getting connected with customers. Binu is going to help us understand some of the struggles small businesses face, and how they can overcome them.

What do you think is the biggest struggle for small, local businesses?

Awareness is a big struggle. Without, or with limited marketing budget, it takes time and a lot of creative thinking to build awareness of your brand. You need to standout to be noticed. You need to find what makes you unique. What best represents who you are as a business, your core identity. This is a journey for small businesses, not something that happens overnight.

What is the best way for local businesses to attract customers?

Amaze every first-time customer. When you deliver an amazing experience, you win. You get existing customers to socialize your services. To talk to their friends and family about what you did so amazingly well for them. You create word of mouth. You attract customers at no cost. This is the ideal way to attract new customers and build a sustainable business in our local community.

By connecting customers to local businesses, how do you think you are benefitting small communities?

I believe we are benefitting communities in several ways. We help small business owners gain the awareness I was talking about in my answer to your first question. We drive traffic to small businesses' doors that can turn into repeat business. We help grow our local business community. This also creates new local employment opportunities. As businesses grow, they need to increase their workforce to keep on being successful.

Why do you think it is so hard for smaller businesses to attract tourists to their businesses?

Tourists do not live locally by definition. It's hard to capture a volatile audience. Sustainable business is built over time on repeat customers, power users as we call them in the mobile world. So to capture a tourist audience, you need to be aggressive on the short term promotions you put out in the marketplace. This is a way to catch them on the fly if the image makes sense.

By offering discounts or promotions, do you think customers are more likely to support local businesses, rather than chain stores that offer lower prices?

Yes, as I mentioned it, aggressive short term promotions, such as coupons, can be a good way to get prospective customers at your door. You can actually create a strong incentive for people to engage in a first time experience with your product or service. Now, you have a chance to delight them to turn them into regular local customers. You will need to exceed their expectations, when compared to what they have experienced at chain stores, to win them over for the long run.

How can small businesses make sure that they turn first time visitors into repeat visitors?

Do something amazing for them. This is by the way what we seek to communicate in our tagline for way. We deliver What Amazes You. On tap lifestyle services to make your life simpler. More fun. Less hassle. You only have one shot at that. So don't waste it. Do one thing so exceptionally well that you will turn every first time visitor into a lifetime customer.

What do you think is the most important thing a company can do to make a good first impression on their customers?

Exceed their expectations. When you deliver the best experience, you wow your customer. You create an emotion that will persist in customers' mind for a very long time. You build your awareness from delivering exceptionally well on your brand promise. This is very important for any company to understand. A key to unlocking ongoing business growth.

Where can someone reach you at?

Please reach me at binu.girija@way.com, or visit Way.com