Archive for the ‘Business Development’ Category

5 Critical Elements of Successfully Managing Your Online Presence

Tuesday, October 17th, 2017

When businesses think of branding and marketing, they often think in terms of the company as a whole. This is certainly important; however, personal branding can also be a big boon to your company. For sole proprietors and professional organizations (doctors, lawyers, accountants, consultants, etc.), showing off the personal expertise of the owners or management team is a great way to promote the company as a whole. Even larger organizations can benefit from showing the personal side of key executives—or touting their credentials to help boost business. (more…)

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Taking a Long View of B2B Customer Relationship Management

Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

Customer relations is a crucial aspect of any business strategy. And for good reason. Amy Gallo of Harvard Business Review writes, “Depending on which study you believe, and what industry you’re in, acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one.” The importance of customer relations is especially true in the B2B context. Typically, B2B companies are working with a smaller pool of customers than B2C companies, and each customer, therefore, makes up a larger share of revenue.

McDonald’s doesn’t want to lose customers, but it’s a lot less painful for McDonald’s to lose a customer than for Boeing to lose one. Similarly, many businesses serve both consumers and businesses. Consider a rental car or hotel company. They obviously have many individual consumer customers, but they also serve large organizations, such as corporations with staff who travel regularly.

So how do you maintain those crucial strong relationships with B2B customers? Here are some tips. (more…)

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How Well Are You Realistically Managing Customer Expectations?

Tuesday, August 8th, 2017

Copyright: <a href='https://www.123rf.com/profile_georgerudy'>georgerudy / 123RF Stock Photo</a>A frequently quoted “formula” in the field of customer relations tells us: “expectations – reality = disappointment.” While this may seem simplistic, don’t relegate it to the ranks of witty sayings or bumper sticker slogans. There is a great deal of truth in this straightforward equation. Most business owners, managers and customer-facing employees have dealt with unhappy customers. It’s part of the job. But all too often, that customer frustration or disappointment can be avoided by properly managing expectations. (more…)

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They Might Come Back: Why It Pays to Treat Exiting Customers Well   

Thursday, July 20th, 2017

38309393 - group of different families together of all racesNo company retains every customer they do business with. There is a natural ebb and flow of customers over time, whether your company provides a product or a service. Understanding that ebb and flow is important. Calculating the lifetime value of your customers, anticipating potential losses and determining how much time and effort to spend on prospecting for new customers are all very important elements of running any business. (more…)

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Retailers on Red Alert: Are They Doomed?

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017

Sears. Kmart. JCPenney. Macy’s. These are just a few of the growing list of retailers announcing store closures.  

And yet, at the same time as many stores are shutting down, Amazon is opening brick and mortar stores and recently purchased 431 Whole Foods stores.

It’s an interesting dichotomy and one I considered recently as I was writing a column for the summer issue of Chippewa Valley Business Report. (more…)

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Competing with the Big Guys: Leveraging a Narrow Niche, the Personal Touch and Agility

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

Whether you’re a startup looking to break into an existing market, or an existing business looking to branch into a new product or service line, it can be intimidating to survey the competitive environment and find yourself potentially face-to-face with behemoth multinational corporations and Fortune 500 companies. While a mega-competitor could, theoretically, direct its massive resources into forcing out an upstart competitor, there are some ways to compete by exploiting the advantages small can have over large. (more…)

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Do You Know When—And Why—Your Customers Have Left You?

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

Every business will gain and lose customers over the course of the business’s lifetime. Of course the hope is that there will be more gains than losses; however, sometimes businesses find themselves in the opposite situation and struggle to understand why their customers are leaving. While creative companies could come up with a myriad of creative and complex metrics and measurement techniques to try to gain some insights, one of the best ways to determine why customers are lost is to ask them! (more…)

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Best Practices in Handling the Loss of a Customer

Friday, April 14th, 2017

No business enjoys losing customers. But for some businesses, it’s a lot more damaging than for others. A grocery store, for example, can withstand a single customer going over to a competitor, possibly without noticing any business impact. But a food distributor serving eight grocery stores is going to feel some real pain if one of those stores takes its business elsewhere. For some industries comprised of small markets of large consumers, there may be a limited pool of candidates to replace a lost customer, and often the question is, “can we get them back?” Well, it’s certainly not easy. Leaving a B2B relationship is costly for both companies because the customer has to spend time and money finding a replacement vendor as well as a lot of effort adjusting its business processes to work with a new partner. Consequently, they won’t be eager to switch back just like that. But in the long run, it is possible to win back a lost customer. (more…)

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Competitive Rivalry: What’s the Situation for Your Business?

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

Michael Porter developed his Five Forces framework as an associate professor at the Harvard School of Business in 1979 as a way to help evaluate the attractiveness of different industries based on the primary five forces he saw driving the competitive environment of those industries. We’ve covered the framework generally, and now we’re looking at each individual force. Today we look at competitive rivalry. (more…)

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