UMKC Innovation Center partners with the university and the community to spark and sustain entrepreneurial efforts within our region and across the country.

KCSourceLink connects KC entrepreneurs to the right resource at the right time.

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Whiteboard2Boardroom connects entrepreneurs and businesses to technologies available for licensing.

Digital Sandbox KC provides early-stage proof-of-concept support for digital products.

Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Center provides technical assistance to startup and existing businesses.

ScaleUP! Kansas City helps businesses with revenues around $200K scale toward their first $1 million.

Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Centers helps local businesses obtain government contracts.

KCInvestED helps investors learn more about investing in KC startups.

SourceLink® helps communities nationwide build vibrant and vital entrepreneurial ecosystems.
UMKC Innovation Center
UMKC Innovation Center
Customer Acquistion

How to Turn a One-Time Consumer into a Life-Long Customer

selling your brand
1WeekKC is fast approaching (May 20 through May 27, to be precise). This signature week of entrepreneurship is your invitation to connect with business-building resources in Kansas City, network with other entrepreneurs and learn from some of the best in KC business.

One of those experts is Jason Grill. Jason is an entrepreneur who wears many hats, including senior advisor at Parris Communications, founder of JGrill Media, co-founder of Sock 101 and host of the Grill Nation Show on 980AM.

Jason will be moderating a customer acquisition panel on marketing, branding and selling at Start + Scale Business Day, a full day of connections, knowledge and networking that’s perfect for anyone looking to start or grow a business in Kansas City.

Below, Jason shares what he’s learned about how to attract and keep the right customer for your business.

How does a business stand out to its customers amongst a crowded sea of competitors?

First and foremost, listen to your customers. You can spend endless meetings and brainstorming sessions guessing what your customers want, or you can go out and actually ask them. Nothing beats in-person feedback when you can get it. And social media provides tons of different ways for you to pose questions to your customers through surveys and conversations.

How does a small business in Kansas City begin to break into other markets?

Remember, relationships are key. Whenever I meet with someone I do my best to make them feel like they’re the only thing on my schedule that day. This mindfulness is priceless when it comes to building solid relationships.

Building great relationships in Kansas City are key to success no matter what your vertical. KC is perfect market for you to grow in and test new products. The KC consumer is very loyal, and we are very proud of our community and our brands.

For business to succeed, you have to translate the same sort of relationships you have in KC into other markets and the first step is to listen to the needs of the people in other places.

How does a business show a customer that they care about more than just their pocketbook?

Be loyal to your customers. It’s pretty straightforward, without customers you don’t have a business. The first thing to come to mind when I think about being loyal to your customers is clear and open communication—let them know when you release a new product and make quick and pain free customer service a priority.

Also, consider rewarding a customer’s loyalty with incentives like rebates and special offers. Like a relationship in real life, a business relationship includes a certain amount of give and take.

How do you balance all of the priorities of running a small business?

Figure out how to manage your time. Not only is this important for maintaining healthy relationships with clients, it’s also key for being successful as an entrepreneur.

It’s worthwhile sometimes to be very particular about what leads you decide to follow and who you decide to do business with. Time management is very valuable; always consider this when building your business and acquiring new customers.  

It’s important to focus on the actions of your business that you enjoy the most and those clients and projects that generate revenue. It’s good to ask yourself, how can I make my business and myself more efficient?

How has Kansas City helped you as an entrepreneur?

I’ve already mentioned my appreciation for the Kansas City consumer, now I have to show some love for the Kansas City business community. The camaraderie in this town is unparalleled. No matter who I talk to they always feel very supported when they begin a new venture.

We need to keep this momentum going and be sure to celebrate the community and fellow entrepreneurs every time there’s a win for KC. Follow the golden rule and remember—we are stronger together. I think Kansas City realizes this more and more each and everyday.

Any parting advice for ambitious entrepreneurs in Kansas City?

Have patience. All of this intentionality takes time. And sometimes, it takes a lot of time.

Your business will run smoother, and there will be much less hassle, when you’re able to forecast what’s coming instead of drinking from the fire hose in the “get it done right now” mentality.

Having patience will also lead to stronger relationships with your customers.

In conclusion, this is a great time to live and work in Kansas City, wouldn’t you agree? There are a lot of great things going on right now, right here. I am incredibly excited about all of the great businesses growing in our town and wish you all the best in your entrepreneurial endeavors.

To learn more from Jason Grill, follow him on Twitter @JasonGrill and  join us at Start + Scale Business Day during 1WeekKC. And visit our Learning Center for more on starting your own business.

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