Quick! What’s the key to running a successful business? Most people hesitate before answering this question correctly.
After all, is there really one single key to success? While there may not be one particular driving factor, some aspects are clearly more important than others.
Think of it like a building. While you couldn’t have a building without a roof, it doesn’t necessarily follow that the roof is the most crucial facet of the structure.
More likely, you’d say that the building’s foundation is its most important feature. Keep this analogy in mind when you think about what your company needs to be a success.
Customer acquisition: your company’s foundation
If we stick with the building analogy, it’s certainly valid to assert that new customer acquisition is a major component of the foundation of your company. Other elements go along with it, certainly, but without customers, you don’t make any money.
How is your customer acquisition strategy going? Do you have one?
Customer acquisition — and retention for that matter — requires careful research, planning, and execution. The process starts with gathering intelligence and data to find out what customers want, where they come from, and how they might be influenced.
After making those discoveries, it’s up to your management team to develop a strategic plan of attack to satisfy pain points and demonstrate the efficacy of your products and services. If you do that part right, customers will buy into your value proposition and make a purchase.
Sounds pretty simple, right? Well, not so fast. Doesn’t this sound pretty similar to what you’re already doing? Most businesses follow this model to some degree, yet their levels of success vary wildly.
Why is that? To answer that question, it’s necessary to shift the focus from your customers to your employees.
Keeping employees happy
In some families, you might hear the children or father say something along the lines of “nobody is happy unless mom’s happy.” In business, that would translate to “nobody is happy unless your employees are happy.”
Do you want to acquire and keep customers? Keep your employees satisfied. Their satisfaction will play a big role in their interactions with customers.
Here are a few practical ways to make that happen.
Ask for input. Think back on your career and remember a time when you were extremely low on the proverbial totem pole. Although you weren’t in a place of authority, you still had opinions and suggestions. How good did it make you feel when you were actually asked for your input? A simple way to keep your employees happy — and make them feel important — is to ask for input from anyone and everyone on a regular basis.
Automate tasks. Everyone hates doing mundane tasks — especially when they can easily be automated. Consider automating payroll tasks to keep your accountants happy, using CRM software to aid your customer service reps, and investing in project management software to ease the complexities of working in teams. You’ll be surprised by how much more appreciated employees feel when you pay attention to their challenges and struggles, and make an effort to ease them.
Be open. B. J. Shannon, manager of customer happiness at TINYpulse, says “Our 2013 employee engagement survey found that the number one contributor to employee happiness is transparency.” Thankfully, this is one of the easiest things you can do. Simply develop a strategy for being open with employees and they will automatically feel trusted and valued.
Acquiring customers is challenging, complex, and time-consuming. While there’s probably no single key to running a successful business or acquiring long-term clients, some functions are more important than others.
By keeping your employees happy and satisfied, you can almost guarantee that their satisfaction will have a multiplier effect on their interactions with potential customers.