One of the value propositions small businesses have is the ability to customize their service level, going far above and beyond what most larger organizations can afford to duplicate. While they are forced to deal with the politics and shear volume, small businesses have the opportunity to develop deeper, more personal relationships with clients, vendors and their communities, uniquely positioned to meet their clients’ needs and interests quickly.
In order to provide your clients with customized services, however, still means that you must maintain a level of control to ensure that your products are still profitable. While you may lead in with a product that is not as profitable as your core solution, you must keep in mind that the goal is to get that client into that core solution at some point. In order to do so, ensure that you have some type of strategy in place.
One of our clients is a fitness repair firm. The owner of the company realizes that this time of the year is one of the better times of the year for his company, since people are preparing to get into shape for the summer months. Right now, he has two options –
- he can focus all of his time and energy on doing the work he has now, thinking only about getting as much cash as possible into the organization or
- he could lay groundwork for ongoing work by offering those he serves a benefit for referring others to him. However, this benefit must be flexible, based on the client’s specific needs, rather than something he just wants to get rid of. Additionally, he could teach his clients how to maintain their equipment so that their equipment breaks down fewer times, and the life of the equipment is extended.
He chose option two. Guess who they will call next time they will have a problem? Guess who will get the referral when the client’s friend has a problem with their fitness equipment? Guess who gets the call when new equipment is required? Guess who the fitness equipment expert is?
Choosing to focus on his clients’ needs and providing them additional, personalized benefits and education will help to keep his cash flow moving throughout the lean months while extending his client base. Making flexibility, education and the referral program the core of his operational strategy makes him a desired service provider in his industry. Providing the same level of service to other businesses and vendors has strengthened his company’s position in the marketplace and has allowed him to double his reach.
Looking at your business, how can you increase your personalized service? What strategy or strategies can you incorporate into your operational strategy to provide value for your clients, your vendors and your “competition?” How can you or your company become an asset to your community?
We welcome your thoughts, ideas and comments.
Aepiphanni Business Solutions is a Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of business leaders and executives. We specialize in helping people get into business, and stay there. We welcome clients in the personal and professional services industries, including restaurants, catering and event planning. As always, we welcome your comments, thoughts, questions and suggestions. If you are seeking a business assessment, or have further questions about creating your strategy or developing your vision, please give me, Rick Meekins, a call at 678-265-3908, or email us at [email protected].