My business has everything I thought would make it flourish, but the figures remain the same year in year out because it does not grow anymore.” These were the words of a friend who has been running a cybercafe in town for more than a decade now. A flat growth curve is a bad sign for any business, and it could only be a matter of time before we wind up our businesses and go home. So, what is it that could be causing our companies to be on a plateau? We find out this in the next section.
Customer flow drives our businesses, and unless we have a stable client base, they will always struggle to survive. But our customer base may stall in terms of growth if we stop marketing our business. Marketing has to be an ongoing process. The secret is for our company’s appropriate department to be active throughout, as long as the business still exists. Sitting and relaxing just because our businesses are doing well is something we should not do. Remember, as we boast of being on top of the chart, our competitors could be burning their midnight oil, studying our strategies, and trying to get ahead of the competition. If they come up with better deals, we are likely to lose some of our customers, and that could cause our businesses to stall.
Any product, however excellent or popular it is, needs constant improvement if we have to keep up with the competition. New players are emerging in the market every day. It would be absurd to imagine that our products or services will remain the best if we do not make any improvements to them. One of the best ways to know if our products need improvement is to collect customers’ views. We can either do this by asking the customers directly or getting them to complete a survey questionnaire. The good thing with customers is that most of them will give honest opinions, and we can use this data as a basis for improvement.
The way we handle customers will determine if there will be repeat business or not. We must be cautious when recruiting our customer care agents. We should not bring people on board just because they have the academic and professional qualifications or because we know them. These agents need to have something extra, which may not necessarily be found in a classroom. With customers wanting to be handled delicately, being patient and polite are must-haves for anyone who is addressing their concerns directly. Some customers are arrogant, and we have to accept them the way they are because they bring business. It calls for wisdom and patience to deal with them.
We don’t need to invest in more technology and human resources than we need. That will not be economically viable. For instance, there is no need to have 50 workers if 40 can still do the job without compromising productivity. For example, if I have a printing business, there is no need to have three printing machines when I need only two. That would mean that one machine will be lying idle in my business premises.
What is it that we want to do after two years, for instance? We must jot down our goals and work towards achieving them. Of course, it is almost impossible to grow without goals. When we have plans in place, they are the ball on which we have to keep our eyes.