Small Business Strategies for Growing Your Database


Photography Business Institute
Photography Business Institute

The most important thing you can do as a small business owner is to build and nurture a database of people you have a relationship with who love you, rave about you, and come back over and over. Before cell phones took over, almost everyone had a little black book with people’s contact info. Well you should have a little black book with your database with personal information about our clients.

This is one thing that discounters cannot do. Yes, they can collect their customers’ demographic information, addresses, genders, and ages. But they can’t drill down their lifestyle and buying behavior. They don’t know their clients’ kids’ names and their favorite place to vacation to.

This is one of your biggest advantages as a small business owner, but only if you take advantage of it. You must keep detailed records of where your clients live, what they like to do, how often they come to you, how they first heard about you, where they work, and even the ages and names of their children and pets. The types of details you know about your friends are the types of details you want to know about your clients, it’s a deeper relationship.

Your database is more than just a spreadsheet of names and contact information. It should paint the perfect picture of who your client is, what they like, and what they don’t. It also helps you understand what you can do to earn to get repeat business.

Your focus should be on continuously looking for different places to add people to your database. It truly is like a little black book—it holds current relationships, past relationships, and potential relationships.

Here are 7 small business strategies that can help you build up your database:

1. Network – Find the right places to network, and work with others who are trying to reach the same networks as you.

2. Volunteer – Look at volunteering in your community, this is your opportunity to gain exposure for your personal brand and build relationships with people you can add to your database.

3. Offer a “freemium” on your website – Because you’re an expert at what you do, you have knowledge to share with others and offer something free on your website. This is a great way to get leads and grow your database.

4. Incorporate charitable marketing in your business – People who make donations to charities are generally prequalified because they are non-price-sensitive buyers. This is a perfect opportunity to expose your brand.

5. Initiate co-marketing partnerships – Regardless of what you sell, there are other businesses reaching out to the same clients are you. They aren’t your competitors; they are the macaroni to your cheese.

6. Host an event – Hosting or co-hosting an event is a fabulous way to attract new clients. If you don’t want to do this alone, team up with a partner and rock the event together.

7. Speak – Public speaking establishes you as an expert and it’s an amazing database-builder. I know many of you cringe at the thought of public speaking, but give it a shot and start small.

To get more tips on pricing, marketing and branding a small business that can charge what you’re worth download a free chapter of my New York Times Best Selling book, Worth Every Penny: Build a Business that Thrills Your Clients and Still Charge What You’re Worth at

How to Discover and Develop Your Photography Style

Think about one of your favorite photographers, artists, or filmmakers. You likely could recognize their work without being told who created it. The certainty you feel is a result of every great artist having their own unique style. No two photographers will take the...