By Chelsea Duggan

Currently, I’m embarrassingly pregnant. You know, the “beep-when-you-back-up” pregnant. It’s definitely slowed me down as I balance chasing kids, growing a baby, and nurturing my business. The ninja in my belly reminds me that I need to focus on growing one baby at a time. For business, this means focusing my attention on the customer experience in the same way I’ve focused on my pregnancy.

Just like in your first trimester, it’s important to feed customers the right information. Is your website clear and concise? Do your newsletters inspire action steps? Is your contact information readily available? Making connections with busy customers means you have to keep things moving and make things as easy on your customers and yourself as possible. To accomplish this, make a list of all of the ways you connect with your customers and figure out if there are ways to make it easier, faster, and more fun.

In your second trimester, you’re letting the weight of your relationship build towards a greater level of trust. Allow your customer insights into your company by offering that little bit extra. Customers keep coming back when they know they are getting new and relevant information and services. There is no right way, rather, you’re continually evolving and sharing with your customers. Your customers want to be heard and they want to know their voice matters. Why not offer a Twitter question hour to get to the heart of what is important to your customers and your business. Don’t be afraid to share the journey.

In your third trimester, you’re in the final stretch of nurturing your relationship. How do you ensure that you’ve taken care of your customers after the point of sale? Continue to sing sweetly to your customers through your channels such as newsletters, blog posts, and twitter so that everyone can continue to grow together. You might also look at your products and see how they might evolve and grow with your customers. How can you continue to offer value and hopefully repeat the sale cycle together? Just like you would pack a hospital bag you need to have an essentials checklist for your customers to see where you’re meeting needs and where you may have forgotten.

Growing a business is not so different from growing a child. You need to love and nurture it, work on small steps so great leaps can occur, and remember that it’s a journey worth taking. Now, onto the next baby!

Chelsea Duggan:: An entrepreneur, parent and advocate for early childhood development through creative education, Chelsea Duggan is the Founder and Director of Milestar Babies. This innovative online resource enables busy parents to have an influential impact on newborn children, up to three years in age. Chelsea’s background in education – a passion she shares with her two children, so they themselves can enjoy a lifelong interest in learning – is at the center of Milestar Babies. That commitment to excellence starts with shared moments and teacher-designed lessons, which parents can further customize, so children can discover, synthesize and pursue their own discoveries. Chelsea believes that every child is an amazing individual, who deserves to learn at his or her own pace. This kid-tested, parent-approved philosophy is Chelsea’s distinctive concept, complemented by the convenience of the Internet and her dynamic site. A graduate of Northwestern and a member of the Chicago Women Entrepreneurs Network, Chelsea welcomes the opportunity to interact with parents and children throughout the nation and the world.