In a typical business meeting. The boss posed a question,
‘we are losing customers. What do we do?
An employee in an attempt to provide answers replied ‘let’s increase our advertisements’.
Linda, another employee shouted out loud ‘let’s increase the promos and bonanzas.’ And the race for innovative ways to keep the business alive is on.
Businesses need to keep coming up with new ways of increasing the appeal of their products to the consumers fuelled by the rapid change in market trends. But in an attempt to chase after innovation, companies fail to go back to the basis. Understanding how they made their first sale or attract the first set of customers.
Planning for the future, and developing innovative strategies to increase consumer base might require a loop into the past. What once worked in the early stages of the business and why they worked.
Sometimes, the best innovative ideas stem from revisiting strategies that worked in the past. Think about it as your own internal best practices framework you can refer too whenever you need to.
Let me paint a picture to buttress my point. A new restaurant opens up in the city. For several months customers can’t stop raving about their excellent customer service, tasty and well-prepared meals and excellent delivery services. But six months into the business operations, their workers became rude, their meals became so shoddy and lacked taste. The delivery service deteriorated to the extent that when customers call their delivery service number to pick up that was delayed, they are met with harsh response topped with insults.
Eventually, people stopped patronising them and move on to the next promising restaurant. The mass loss of consumer base begins. They fail to look into what the problem is, and just bring many promos and bonanzas that do nothing for their restaurants.
Many other businesses, just like the restaurant in my example, lose their customers simply because they became complacent and instead of looking backwards to identify where the loopholes emanated from, decided to forge ahead with endless campaigns.
I encourage business owners to critically evaluate the possible causes of losing their consumer base by examining if they are still carrying on with what they began with. This evaluation can begin with:
- Writing down the things you did when the business was in its early stages. Many things we might consider trivial as our businesses expand might just be the pillars of the businesses. Make sure to write everything down, no matter how trivial or unimportant it may seem.
- Write down the things you currently do in your business now. This will help make a less biased evaluation.
- Check out the things you have stopped doing or might have been unintentionally crossed out as the business expanded.
- Try reviving the things that were Reviving these things may not cost as much as the new innovation strategies, but they might just be the miracle your business was waiting for. You used to wish your customers on their birthdays, but stopped along the line? revive it. Did you use to ask for feedback from your customers? Start asking again. Did you use to be nice to your customers, even under severe pressure, just to keep them? Do not stop being nice, no matter how big your consumer base has grown.
The secret to business continuity and scale can sometimes be found in the things we used to do. To go forward in business, we need to go backward.