Small Businesses are especially vulnerable in an economy that is increasingly volatile. They need to be sure that they have the basics right – the right financial training, the right support staff and the right systems in place to ensure they continue to succeed.
First and foremost, they need to look after their customer base. Do you know it costs much less to keep an existing customer than it does to entice a new one to do business with you. The reason is an existing customer already has a proven track record with you. You've already taken the risk out of the equation. Most existing customers leave for no specific reason simply a businesses lack of contact with the customer and they will choose someone else with a better offer or in a better location. But with that offer comes a risk because they haven't dealth with them before. The essence of this is, keep in contact with them, make them offers that suit them and you are more likely to keep them. And in this environment of rising costs if you can keep your advertising and marketing costs down isn't that something that should be a high priority? Set aside some time with your senior staff so you can establish processes so that your customers are continually followed up. This applies not just to leads (although that is a very important part of it) but to customers who have already purchased. Don't send them generic information either. You need a way of segregating your database so that customers get the information that is important to them. This has an effect of making them feel valued and unique thus increasing customer loyalty and increasing the likelihood of repurchase. By keeping a customer you can build up a valued, loyal, customer base that you can rely upon to serve your business now and into the future.
Finally, get to work making sure your customer database is up to date. Databases tend to get out of control if not regularly maintained. If necessary, allocate a staff member to this full time until it is up to date and usable. Record as many details as you can so you can target your marketing better. Make it easy to segregate and use so you can get the best use out of it. Remember, you don't have a business without a customer so it's very important to look after them to ensure the longevity of your business.