Owning and operating a small business or SME is tough. Everyone knows that, especially owners and managers. A business might be in the startup phase or the growth stage. Regardless of where a business is in its life cycle, the principals involved in a small business or SME spend a significant amount of their time managing daily operations from when the business opens until it closes. There is a lot to do, including reviewing financial statements, managing inventory, marketing, supervising and mentoring employees, increasing revenue streams, reducing expenses, staying innovative, and looking for more efficient ways to operate. With all of these things to do, there is little time to even plan for the future. Day in and day out, it’s a similar pattern. No wonder it’s tough running a small business. It’s even tougher running a profitable small business that is not only successful but continues to produce annual growth.
The Easy Part
Is there anything easy about operating a small business? Oh, yes! It’s effortless to lose customers and clients. There’s really little work involved. In fact, customers can be lost without even trying by doing the following:
- Don’t treat customers with any priority or importance. What happens? The next time around, customers will switch to the competition.
- Have very little or nonexistent customer service and follow-up. What happens? The next time around, customers will switch to the competition.
- Reply to email and phone call inquiries several days later. What happens? The next time around, customers will switch to the competition.
- Put a low priority on product or service quality. What happens? The next time around, customers will switch to the competition.
- Complicate purchasing for placing an order causing frustration for customers. What happens? The next time around, customers will switch to the competition.
The above are just a few general and easy ways to lose business without even trying. Obviously, there are numerous other ways to lose to business. Regardless of the type of business, putting a low priority on taking care of customers leads them to a quick exit to the competition. And with intense competition, businesses cannot afford to push their current customers to a rival business.
Revolving Door Syndrome
Long-term, sustainable growth in a small business or SME is dependent on recurring customers. Building a strong base and continuously adding to it by selling quality products and services that provide benefits and solutions to customers’ needs will take a business from stagnation to elevation.
The revolving door syndrome of customers in and customers out creates stagnation. Sales and profits in a business cannot grow when the customer base remains the same. For many small businesses and SMEs, this is the case when little is done to acquire new customers and satisfy and retain old customers.
Build a Growing Trend
When so much effort goes into starting, building, and operating a business, owners and managers should never stop working on the very foundation that makes a business…customer satisfaction. Customers must know that they are valued, and employees must learn how to demonstrate this value to customers. Satisfied customers, both new and returning, are the main ingredient that builds a successful business and quality products and services, dedicated employees, superior service, etc.
Make the Future Yours
Since it is easy to lose business without even trying, let the competition do this easy work. You do the hard work by keeping customers satisfied all the time rather than just part of the time. Encourage customers to repeat their buying experience repeatedly by having a business philosophy that customer satisfaction is a top priority. Build a successful business by satisfying one customer at a time.