Businesses that are centered on inviting more members are slowly on the rise. These include websites or blogs that need a subscription for a visitor to gain full access, as well as brick-and-mortar businesses that require membership identification cards. The most common example of the latter are some grocery stores; for shoppers to gain entry, a membership is needed. In essence, these are mostly service-oriented businesses, whereby membership programs are needed.
Today, with more and more competitive businesses being established, membership programs provide a form of value exchange. As long as you’re able to keep delivering the wants, needs, and desires of your members or your loyal customers, they’ll keep giving value to you. This means that they’ll continually renew their memberships and subscriptions, hence the extra challenge for you to ensure that you’re effectively managing the membership subscriptions of your business.
Having said that, here are some of the best tips concerning the proper management of your business memberships:
- Master The Basic Business Skills
For your business memberships to be successful, you need to go back to the basics. Besides, you can do no wrong with mastering the necessary skills that are needed for your company to grow and prosper. With these basic skills, you’re able to focus on commitment, as a direct result.
Some of these basic business skills include the following:
- Financial management: Whatever company type it is that you’re creating, effective and proper management of the finances is always critical. After all, you don’t just start a small business for it to fail later on. There’s that natural intention to earn a stable income. All the more is this very important with business memberships. When you collect fees from your members, you would want to make them feel that being loyal to your company is a rewarding experience. With sound financial skills, your operations can run more smoothly and, in turn, become more profitable. This way, you are better assured that your financial investment won’t just go to waste.
Some aspects of financial management that are essential for you to master include the following:
- Forecasting of cash flow and sales
- Reporting of income tax to the proper authorities
- Monitoring of your profit and loss
- Delegation: A good business leader is someone who doesn’t do everything all by themselves. They know and have mastered the art of delegation. This refers to assigning various responsibilities to other people for faster completion of tasks.With proper delegation, you’re able to achieve that delicate balance of control and giving your members the leeway to perform their respective tasks more effectively.
- Marketing, sales, and customer service: Even membership businesses have to care for their customers, too. More than just caring for the customers who you’ve already effectively reached, there’s also the need to work double-time on the different marketing and sales activities in order for you to reach more customers. That way, you can bring in more sales and members to your business.
- Communication skills. This is always a vital part of any business. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most neglected. Many still feel that just because communication is basic, there’s no longer any need to master this. However, to be effective in whatever business it is that you’re running, communication skills are still important.
- Project management and planning. When you’re starting a membership business, this also inherently means that you’re going to go through various projects and activities for all of your members. These can include setting up a website, membership policies, and even physical activities.With this, you must know how to effectively manage your resources for each project, including money, time, and the members who are ought to be a part of it.
Additional resource: Best Business Blogs for Entreprenuers to Follow
- Establish The Proper Membership Fees
No business membership is ever without membership fees. With this in mind, the membership fees that you’ll set for your subscription model should be just right. It shouldn’t be excessive, such that it’d be tough to reach or achieve by some prospects who wish to become members of your program. You should be accessible to as many people as possible, so your membership will continue to soar in terms of success and profit.
Thus, establishing the right membership fee amount is very important since it would help you achieve the following:
- Enables you to endow grants, gifts, or special favors to individual members, such as loyal ones or those celebrating their birthdays
- Boosts the annual fund of your company, which serves as recurring payments for business memberships
- Helps you develop new programs for your business
- Benefits specific campaigns that you may create for your members
- Contributes to the upkeep and maintenance of your office
In establishing the fees related to your business memberships, it also helps to use a membership management software. When these tasks are automated, you’re able to efficiently keep track of the payments and other financial matters. If you search on the Internet, you’ll find many free membership management software that you can take advantage of.
- Have A Clear Structure Of Your Membership Program
The structure of your membership program is the foundation of your operation. As you go through the entire process of running your membership program, you’ll always be guided by the structure that you have. With this, the likelihood of confusion and chaos within your members will be reduced.
Generally, there are different types of membership structures that you can follow. But, for you to come up with the right structure for your business, it’s imperative to start with evaluating the goals you have for your business.
As you go about laying out your membership structure, ask yourself the following questions:
- Other than earning profit, what’s the purpose of your membership?
- What role do the members have to play in the organization?
- How can you provide the proper membership benefits?
- How can the members continue to contribute to the cause and goals of the business?
After answering these questions, you can now move forward to this reminder: whatever structure it is that you’ll pursue, always keep in mind to program it around the interests of your members. That way, you’re able to keep them loyal and satisfied.
Also remember these following tips:
- Understand the unique facets of your organization
- Be clear on what you’ve got to offer to your members and stakeholders
- Align the vision, mission, and goals of your organization with that of your stakeholders
- Weigh the good and bad points of your membership structure
- Consider return on investment (ROI) in setting the price levels of your membership structure
- Stay on top of your marketing plan
- Regularly Clean Up Your Member Data
From time to time, you must clean up your member data. Generally, this should be done at least once a year or once in two years. That way, you’re always updated with your list, making it easier for you to determine the most active members. Take note that there’s no need for you to maintain a massive database with members who are no longer active or haven’t purchased anything at least in the past year.
In doing so, you can better focus your resources and marketing strategies on the members that are actively purchasing and have stayed loyal. By regularly cleaning up your member data, you’re also able to capture new information about your members. As a result, the likelihood of errors is also aptly reduced.
When cleaning up your member data, you may start by removing those with memberships that are already expired and haven’t been renewed for a long time.
- Always Have Everything In Writing
Whenever you meet with your management team or even your members, always have a written plan for everything, especially when it comes to changes in membership plans, fees, or anything that concerns your members. At all times, your members should always be informed in writing.
Doing so could help avoid any confusion as to the rules that need to be applied since every member is on the same page. Also, in case of any dispute, it would be easier to solve matters when every single detail is presented in writing.
Here are other matters regarding your business membership that must always be in writing:
- Specific objectives of your organization
- Strategies that you’ll employ to achieve your goals
- Financing matters
- Sales and marketing plan
As you have your plan in writing, do go back to it during each of your regular meetings. Whenever there’s anything that needs to be adjusted, be flexible enough to be open to this idea. Remember that the willingness to adapt is also key to success.
- Have Regular Reporting Meetings
Reporting refers to the process of compiling and reviewing certain information about your business health, which includes areas such as finance, operations, and sales.
Don’t underestimate the power of reporting. For you to track how well or how bad you’re doing, reporting is necessary. From time to time, allow yourself to review reports that are related to the finances and your current membership activity. Doing this will also give you a more unobstructed view of the success of your organization. If there are problem areas that need to be addressed immediately, these have to be catered to as well.
Here are other compelling reasons why reporting is always crucial in businesses:
- It provides a critical analysis of financial reports, performance reports, and areas that concern whether or not the company is doing well or not.
- It guides the entire decision-making process so that business owners and senior managers alike can investigate and solve any issues that may have been left unidentified or unanswered.
- It sets the benchmark for goal setting.
Once all the necessary information has been gathered, the proper recommendations can also be made. As problem areas can be solved and identified, the appropriate courses of action can also be done.
- Listen To Suggestions From Your Members
When you’re running a business membership, it’s imperative to highlight the very fact that you’re not in this alone. A good boss is one who’s also a leader. By this, it means that your ego should always be in check. Your bosses are your members, and, as a good leader, you should still be open to listening to the suggestions made by your members. If this isn’t the case, then you’re merely failing. Your members won’t be happy staying with you, and chances are they won’t renew their memberships anymore.
In managing your members, it’s also imperative that you’ve got a steady group of advisors on your side as these people can help keep you balanced.
Here are some of the reasons why advisors are essential in your membership:
- They inspect what you’re doing and see if these are still in line with what the members of your business are looking for.
- They push and motivate you to achieve even more for your business and the individual members.
- They help you stay accountable for all that you do in the membership business, both good and bad.
Remember that the difference with your company is never about you, the manager, or the owner; it’s more centered on your memberships. Yes, the desire to earn a steady profit will always be there; after all, that’s what business is all about. But, on top of the hierarchy lies the members from whom you should learn and to whom you should listen.
- Regularly Track The Engagement Of Your Members
Another reason why customers get excited to sign up for memberships is that they also expect to be acknowledged for all the efforts that they put in. You don’t just turn a blind eye to customers who have the highest forms of engagement. Especially those who are regularly buying from you, you must give them incentives or rewards from time to time. That way, they would feel that signing up for your business’s membership is a good idea.
The best way you can reward the efforts of your loyal members is through regularly tracking the engagement of your members.
In managing the members of your business, the most critical skills you need to have are pretty much the same as what other forms of companies require. For starters, you’ll need to possess the essential skills, as aptly described above. You also can do no wrong with being a risk-taker, possessing tenacity, and having the utmost commitment. With these tips, you’re guaranteed a higher possibility of your membership growing, instead of your operation staying stagnant or, worse, meeting a decline in subscriptions.