The blank canvas of a New Year can be daunting and exciting at the same time, especially for business owners.
Customers are the bedrock of any business, without them our businesses cannot exist. With 2017 on our doorstep we will all be subject to events that we have no control over in coming months. Those uncertainties will bring opportunities and risks and to give your business the best chance of survival you need to have a good plan to ride the waves of risk and be adaptable to opportunity.
There is that age old saying – it is cheaper to promote to your existing customers than it is to find new ones. Indeed all businesses are reliant on new enquiries and new sales – that's how our businesses grow. It is easy to think that it is pointless to advertise when the going gets tough, but it is during tough times that you need to up your game. If you do not have a website, get one. If you don't regularly connect with your existing customers, create a newsletter and send regularly. If you are not making the most of social media, start it. If you know people are referring, recommending you, compensate them. If you are not using a mix of online and offline advertising, take action. More and more networking for business groups are springing up. Get out there and talk to other businesses, nurture and build new relationships with others who will be happy to talk about you. If you have reviewed your business and marketing plans, budget should be made available. No doubt there will be activities that have proved to be successful continue with them or better them. There will be activities that have served no purpose, eliminate them.
Equally 2017 is going to be a year that may affect your customers too? Are they going to be here in 2017? Will they be seeking to vacate France? How can you help them? What do they need to be able to achieve what they need to achieve?
Make sure your dealings with customers from beginning to end are the best that they can be given. Even when things go awry, we are all human. It is how it is dealt with that can make the biggest difference in their perception of you.
"Be thankful for customers who complain. You still have the opportunity to make them happy."
Whatever the landscape may look like 6 months or this time next year, your business and your own longevity in this country depends on the planning that you put in now, how you can develop your business and how new customers can find you and how your existing customers can rely on you.