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Seek, find and keep progressive business owners as clients

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Progressive business owners are doing the hard work needed to succeed, identifying weak areas of their business and finding real professionals to fix those weak areas.

Progressive owners see value in focusing on their strengths in business and seeking help in the weaker areas.

Regressive business owners, meanwhile, have taken a step backward from their level of operations and are looking to skip the hard work and instead use shortcuts to try to build their business.

They only look at costs, not benefits or results, and seek only bargains and shortcuts. They are the least loyal of all your clients, and will leave you for a penny.

Intentionally or not, they often try to suck the profit right out of any transaction. If you encounter this type of customer, explain that you don't think that you can satisfy them and move on.

The world of business is always changing. How do we as business owners search for, find and keep progressive business owners and customers?

We are always in flux and are challenged to create meaningful customer-centric marketing messages.

The relationship between customers and business owners seems to be going in two different directions. The trend, based on observation, seems to indicate regression, while their customers are progressing.

The law of nature that states you attract what you project is painfully evident in today's business climate.

In the world of technology, these trends are more common and cause more damage to business simply because of the ease and reach of technology. Poor decisions on how to use technology cause more damage than, say, the kind of flowers in the entryway to the office.

Using technology is complicated and confusing, especially for “fake Internet professionals.” Yes, there are wannabes in most industries that make it harder for everyone else.

An important precaution for a business owner is to find a reputable professional with at least five years' experience on the Internet. FIPs, it seems, attempt to cross over and are most commonly graphic designers, photographers and computer repair people.

Most people can only be an expert in one field, but for some reason that philosophy is often not applied to the Internet.

During an introduction meeting with new customers, it is important to ask why they are changing providers.

The answers are becoming more troublesome, as FIPs are causing real damage to businesses' reputations, realistic expectations of results and bottom lines.

The most common story is that the owner hired a graphic designer, photographer or computer repair person, none of which has a website, and uses an Internet service provider email address for his or her business email.

Many times, the business owner is lured in with very low costs and greatly exaggerated projected results and sales.

FIPs are very good at painting the picture by describing the outcomes, such as gaining more clients, streamlining operations and cutting costs.

There is no magic bullet or single solution. FIPs are there to sell you what they are selling. So they are website designers today and search engine optimization gurus tomorrow.

The problem is they do not have the solutions in their toolboxes, and only talk a good game. Some don't even know how to buy or transfer a domain name.

Bottom line, building a successful business is hard and requires a plan for consistent management. It takes a person who has full understanding and awareness.

If it sounds like an FIP, talks like an FIP and acts like an FIP, it is an FIP.

Consultant, speaker and author Pamela S. Gockley is president, CEO and chairman of Vigilant Corp. of Reading, a 19-year-old company that offers marketing, customer service and reputation management and other services. She can be reached at 610-916-2652 or pam@gockleyassociates.com.

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