We may be a long way from the economic uncertainty affecting Europe following the Brexit decision, but even on this side of the world we’re not totally immune to its ripple effect. It therefore seems like a good time to refocus on the fundamentals for every business whether large or small. And the most important fundamental is looking after your customers. Quite simply without customers, you won’t have a business. This is especially so for small businesses where the loss of even a single customer can have catastrophic consequences. Sometimes in the demanding and challenging modern workplace, we lose sight of this most important fundamental premise. So let’s take a step back and consider how we can look after our customers so that they look after our business.
- Make sure the product or service you offer is reliable and of high quality.
This may sound obvious but reliability is an under-rated attribute and it’s easy to become complacent. Make sure your quality control systems are reviewed on a regular basis so that you can be certain the customer can depend on your reliability and quality.
- Charge a fair price for your product or service.
Charge a price that is too high and it will cost you valuable sales. Charge a price that is too low and it will cost you your business. It’s a tricky balancing act and you need to review it regularly to check that you are in line with the market.
Allied to this is the need to know what your costs are. The price of your offering should be enough to cover your costs and make you a profit. So if you don’t know what your costs are it’s essential that you get a real handle on this, otherwise you won’t be in business for long!
- Manage your cash flow carefully.
Running out of cash is probably the single most common reason for business failure. Make sure you use a cash flow projection worksheet and stick to it.
- Stay focused on what you do best while keeping an eye on your competitors.
Another common reason for business failure is expanding into new areas too quickly. It’s much better, and will be more profitable in the long term, to concentrate on your core offering. Expand very carefully, as with expansion comes increased risk. Never be tempted to dilute the quality or reliability of your core offering as this is the all-important foundation on which your business is built.
- Maintain a customer focus.
What’s most important to your customers? Always try to have that issue as a central focus for everything that you do. Usually customers are concerned with getting your product or service on time, at a fair price and to the expected level of quality. Measuring every business decision against the barometer of these deliverables will make sure that you stay on track.
Retaining your most valuable asset – your customer base – in the difficult economic times that are ahead is now more important than ever. Using these tips to help you stay focused on what’s important will see you through these tough and uncertain times.