Building a strong business takes more than a great product or service idea. You also need dedicated employees, a customer base that believes in your product, and good process to help you build a thriving business.
Every service provider and manufacturer is going to struggle with a particular product. How you manage failure and still serve your customers can do a lot to increase your chance of maintaining a loyal customer base. Tools such as effective customer service, a strong warranty and replacement program, and excellent follow-up can mean the difference between a customer that tries again and a customer that walks away.
As a company leader, it's critical that your values be visible to your employees and your customers. Your customer base can grow as a result of your values made visible. If you believe strongly in education, sponsor a local Math Bowl or Spelling Bee. If team sports made a difference for you as a child, find a local Little League coach and make sure your company name is tied to a team or a tournament. It's entirely possible for shoppers to buy everything they need on-line.
If your business has a physical presence and you want to draw in customers, your values can create community. As many as 64% of customers say shared values are important to their relationship with companies. Taking your gross receipts and subtracting 64% of your yearly earnings would be a hard hit to your bottom line. Make your values visible with community involvement and promote your charitable giving goals to demonstrate your dedication to the community beyond your business.
Skilled, knowledgeable and dedicated employees are one of the best assets your business can choose to invest in. The days of employees who sign on with a company and stay until they retire is rare. Just as goods and services have gotten more portable, so have jobs. Monitor the satisfaction level of your employees. Consider tools to increase motivation and happiness at work, including appreciation programs, continuing education, and idea-sharing meetings. Finding and keeping the right people will go a long way toward building a successful business.
Your demonstrated involvement in the community and commitment to both your employees and customers can go a long way to building a strong customer base that can weather economic storms.