Retaining your Customers – A Different Approach

Customer and client retention should be an active focus of an Entrepreneur’s marketing strategy. Is it?

When asked as to why companies lose clients, the most common answer is “poor customer service.” Other issues are product/service quality and price. Are you aware as to why your company lost  a customer? Did you reach out to such customer/client or did they even contact you?

Do you have an active program monitoring your level of customer service and a business process of continually finding ways to enhance it? There are numerous programs that help to improve  customer service in all areas of your business.

Here is something different suggested Douglas Kolker (Summit Selling Systems, Inc.). How about sitting down with your key customers and clients and posing a question to them – what would they do if a competitor offered them a better price or an alternative product or service. Or, ask them if they would contact you if they were dissatisfied with your customer service or just leave.

If you have solid, open relationships with your key clients, you would want them to approach you with any dissatisfaction with your services or if competitors approach them. Give yourself an opportunity to retain these customers by a proactive approach rather than reacting to adverse situations. It might be too late to salvage relationships in the latter case.

Do the Right Things!

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

Looking for Money

All Entrepreneurs, especially start-ups, are in need of money. What are the key things you need to do first when looking for money?

1.   Ask for a specific amount. Don’t state ranges or be vague. If you do not know the specific amount, it does not speak well of you understanding the financial needs of your business. It is okay to ask for slightly more than you need to provide for contingencies, but still look for a specific amount.

2.   Outline exactly how you are going to use the money. If you do not have a well-defined idea of how you plan to spend the money, it does not provide a high level of confidence to potential investors/lenders. However, resist going overboard and itemizing each and every item. You should have that for your own use, but do not need it when looking for money especially in the initial meeting.

3.   Present a realistic argument of how using this money will build a business that will generate positive cash flows. This will be the main selling point. Investors or lenders are not only interested in knowing how they will be repaid (with upside), but also whether the business can become a self-sustaining cash generator. Again, the idea is not present a thick business plan with fluff, but rather a well-defined and articulated strategy backed by realistic projections.

Spend some time in working on the above three requirements before you start looking for money.

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

It is Not About You!

Effective leadership is never about you. Unlike dictatorship, it is about others and a common cause.

Although Entrepreneurs start companies and should take pride in that, they should not focus the growing of the company all about them. Instead, the emphasis should be on the Mission of the company.

It is far easier to lead people around a common cause or good than for someone’s personal victory. A true leader strives to make it about others and constantly reinforces the message that achieving a particular Mission serves ALL the stakeholders rather than only the leader.

Entrepreneurs can become great leaders if they can ensure that it is not always about them, but others!

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

Published in: on June 12, 2012 at 5:37 am  Leave a Comment  
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Being Decisive

A decisive person shows the ability to make decisions quickly but effectively. An Entrepreneur needs to be decisive to be a good leader.

Uncertainty in any organization is a killer. When an Entrepreneur takes too long to make a decision – either due to lack of knowledge or fear of making the wrong one, it creates a period of anxiety in the employees.

It is often better to learn to say “yes” or “no” more often than “maybe.” Your employees will respect you for making quick decisions even though you might be wrong sometimes. Procrastination is not an admirable virtue for great leaders.

Being decisive does not mean being impulsive or basing decisions on your gut feel. You need to consider all pertinent facts in arriving at the decision, but don’t over-analyze and delay unnecessarily.

Entrepreneurs need to lead by example. Being decisive themselves will instill the same level of rapid response in the rest of the organization.

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com