Business Introspection

My business has stopped growing.  I’m not doing anything different than I’ve done in the past, yet some of my regular customers have quit coming in and the few new ones  stop by simply out of curiosity. Without actually visiting your place of business and spending some time observing customer and employee interactions, seeing your product and customer care policies in action, I can only answer your question by asking you questions you must answer with brutal honesty. First, if you are doing the same marketing (or no marketing) and delivering the same product and service you did initially, is it possible that market demand has surpassed what you provide? Second, if you have a successful competitor in the vicinity, observe and/or have a trusted friend or employee become their customer. What is it about their product sales and customer care policies that differ from you? Third, is your operation appealing to the eye? Is your space clean and organized? Do you have friends or family - not working in the business - hanging out during business hours? In most cases this practice distracts from a professional atmosphere. Are you and your employees friendly, helpful and available to walk in traffic without putting undue pressure on potential customers to buy? Fourth: It is important to stay in touch with your customer base. Whether you do an informal survey by  telephone, Internet  or mail, make an effort to ask open-ended  questions that can reveal if and why they are either patronizing your competitor or have lost interest completely in your product or services. You may want to hire someone who is not connected directly to your business to do this. Most people don’t want to offend – but you need to know where your shortcomings are in order to turn the business around quickly. One final suggestion – perhaps hiring a reputable consultant who would spend a few days in your business observing what is or isn’t working could be beneficial. Since this suggestion can be expensive, I recommend hiring someone that you respect and trust.  It will not serve you to uncover areas that need improving to build the business back up if you are unwilling to make the changes recommended.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *