Building a business in New York

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Just a bit of a backgrounder before I jump straight in here. 7 years ago I co-founded Genroe and for the most part we focused our work on Australia and Asia. However, at the start of 2009 we were invited to present at an Australian Government Tradeshow called “G’Day Australia” in New York. Our focus was the Business Efficiency Forum, so we didn’t get to hang out with Russell Crowe and the other Australian celebs.

Well one thing lead to another and now we are entering the US market. I’m traveling there quite a lot at the moment with a view to moving permanently in January 2010. I’ll drop by for the occasional Blog posting about the process of setting up a business in a new country.

Here we go.

Well, I’ve just returned from another business trip to the US where I went to see potential prospects in Los Angeles, Washington DC , Boston and New York. As we are expanding Genroe to incorporate US operations, based in New York, I have been many times to the US this year to get things underway.

This trip it really hit me that, from a business perspective, the stark reality of the GCC impact has been a sobering experience. From my frequent visits, I have seen a shift in business mindset from a marketing and sales focus on acquiring new customers, to a complete turnaround where the critical focus in boardrooms is on retaining existing customers and extracting more value from them.

In the good old days (pre-GFC times), customer retention was all about understanding customer data in-depth and having the best CRM systems to implement direct marketing campaigns to cross sell more and retain the right customers. The difference now is a much greater focus on practical customer retention that achieves outcomes using existing resources, that can be implemented in a realistic time frame, that combines quick wins and long term building blocks to achieving long term customer retention.

For example, in the US banking sector, customers are being hit with more and more fees and charges to support bank profits lost to other areas. While at first it seems attractive, this is a short term fix that just exacerbates customer attrition in the long term. We’ve seen that in Australia where the banks are already moving away from penalties and monthly fees for existing customers to a loyalty approach by dropping or reducing everyday banking fees and charges to support customer retention.

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