Archive for the ‘Business Development’ Category

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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Tips for Marketing Your “Boring” Business

Monday, March 27th, 2017

Let’s face it. Not all businesses are as flashy and exciting as manufacturing high-end sports cars, groundbreaking technology or exquisite luxury items. The marketing for some products is as simple as letting people know the product exists. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for most companies, and this means they may need to work extra hard or be extra creative in making sales. As Ryan Holiday writes for The Huffington Post, (more…)

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Cultivating Customer References in a B2B Environment

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

Most of us understand the value of positive customer reviews. Especially in the world of online retail, a positive product rating on Amazon can represent a big boost to sales. Data suggests that roughly 90 percent of Amazon users believe positive reviews influence their purchase decisions, while 86 percent say the same of negative reviews. (more…)

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