There are two qualities that separate those who succeed from those who do not. One is the ability to assess self-performance and to identify challenges and areas for improvement. The other skill is to actually make the changes that have been identified, in other words “Take Action.”
This may sound easy, but most people don’t do it. Why? It is difficult to change habits and styles that have been in place for a long time. After changes have been made, it can be difficult to keep in place. After all, how many people actually retain their New Years resolutions for more than a few weeks?
These skills are essential in the realm of business success. Survival of the fittest dictates that those who can best adapt to the current local environment are the ones who will survive.
This is still true for humans, although modern society offers us a comfortable enough lifestyle that we do not have to worry about competing for essentials like food. In the business world, however, survival of the fittest does mean a struggle for the life of your business.
Effective change happens slowly. Gradual change works because it is easier to get started and more likely to last. Effective change also needs to be well planned. Take some time out from your normal routine to sit down and take a long, honest look at the way things are running. Make a thorough business plan and then stick to it!
There are several strategies that you can keep in mind while you make your plan.
First of all, maintain a mutual respect between your business and your customers. There should be a *loving* relationship between you and your clientele. After all, they sustain your enterprise. You give them products they need. If you feel anything short of love for your customers, then look at them in a different light. Think of them as the lifeblood of your business, and focus on how essential they are. Your customers should be people you enjoy seeing and doing business with. They should not be an annoyance to you.
Now keep in mind that your customers should be deserving of this love, respect and care that you will offer them. This will best be accomplished if your business plan includes a way to effectively choose your target audience. You need to figure out who is in need of your product and who has the resources to purchase it. Do not forget to target people who have a lot in common with you. This is a good start to establishing a healthy, trusting relationship between you and your customers.
Understand your customers. Focus on what they need. If you can not fulfill their needs they will not stay around. And there is an easy way to find out what they need: ask! They will tell if there is something particular you can help them with. Sometimes, you may need to do a little soul-searching along with them, as they may not even be sure of what their needs are. Ask focused, directed questions to help them figure out exactly what it is they want, then focus on how you can provide this.
A good way to meet your customers needs and establish a respectful relationship is to help them with issues that do not revolve around your store or business. Fix and help them with products that they purchased somewhere else. Offer recommendations on other non-competing businesses around town. Help them with personal troubles by listening to their frustrations about their families. Often it is not even necessary to provide them with solutions; they might just want somebody to listen to them.
All of this helps you establish a healthy, trusting, and loving relationship with your client base. By listening to their needs and giving them what they want, you will impress them enough that they will return again and again. The end result? You have a successful, profitable business, and a healthy and happy community of customers and friends!