It’s getting to that time of the year when we are heading towards the Christmas and New Year period. If you are a retailer (online or offline) then this is probably the busiest time of the year for you. However, for many businesses things will start to slow down in about 10-14 days as people and businesses get ready for the holiday period.
As a result, for many businesses this time is used to reflect on what has happened this year, what has gone well and what they aim to achieve next year.
Some will use this time to set targets for the coming year, some will do it on the back of an envelope, some will get out the old business plan and update it, some will organise a team meeting to discuss it and some will do it in their heads.
However, most of these plans will focus on one thing: customer acquisition or where are their new customers coming from. Doing so means that they will miss out on a really important factor in planning their business growth……the retention and nurturing of their existing customer base.
As such, many annual plans will fail to meet expectations because they are focused solely on finding new customers and fail to take into account the customers they already have. The result is that many will lose customers, forget about taking care of their customers and they won’t estimate the additional value that their existing customer base could bring to their business.
So, if you want to take your business planning up a gear for this coming year, as well as thinking about how many new customers that you want to acquire and by what means, think about:
- How many customers that you will keep;
- How you will do that;
- What value they will deliver to your business;
- How many introductions or referrals that you would like to them to provide for you; and
- How will you encourage them to talk about you, share you with other people and refer others to you.
Let’s make 2011 a year where we fix the ‘holes in our bucket’ and make customer retention, word of mouth marketing and referrals central to our business growth.
If we don’t plan for it to happen then how are we going to make it happen?
Thanks to Daniel*1977 for the image.