The Ultimate Success of a Business is the Customer, Not the Investment
Never a truer statement had been made! One might say it is stating the obvious; whereas others, including myself, would view it as open-ended in terms of discussion.
To begin with, we have a classic chicken and egg situation. In general, a business cannot succeed without customers, although without investment, it takes so much longer to build a business and an according to suite of products. This is where it’s good to focus on the word “ultimate” in that statement, as an investment should only ever be a means to reach a given stability stage or to rapidly expand, etc. Remember, with investment comes payback after all.
That said, if you know of a philanthropist investing without the need for a return, please do send them my way!
If your business is unable to attract customers, it opens a new discussion entirely. In my experience, gaining the customer is a rewarding challenge, although an even more challenging reward is to keep them. There are many ways to look at this dependent on your product, industry, and niche; however, here are a few key factors to consider that go across the board. Be on-point with these and you’re giving yourselves every chance of ultimate success.
Things change over time and keeping abreast of industry dynamics is crucial. Whilst you may have by far exceeded sales targets in one year, come the next - will your clients want to repeat purchase on the same basis? What are your competitors offering? What are thought leaders in your space alluding to? It’s not rocket science, just more a continual reminder to be susceptible to change whilst avoiding complacency.
In addition to evolution, how frequently do you engage with your customers? Asking them about their experience so far and what could be improved. Such engagement goes a long way towards solidifying trust and strengthening belief in your product. I would also ask what processes do you have in place for when something goes wrong? We all make an error in either judgment or process occasionally, we’re only human, so how do you placate the inconvenienced customer? One thing that is for sure is that if you do not, you can wave them goodbye.
Finally, we cannot escape the biggie, price. It took me long enough to get to this point, didn’t it! If you’re not selling enough, does your pricing justify the value offered? If someone asks for a reduction, then chances are it does not. I’ll leave that can of worms here though as, whilst relevant to the topic, it can generate a whole new plethora of discussion on its own.
A sales leader I worked for many years ago told me to memorise the phrase “Invest in your customers and your customers will invest in you” and put it in to practice whenever applicable. He was so right.
What do you think?