When times get complicated, it helps to go back to the basics. Many companies are exploring how to motivate and engage staff as well as attract customers and maintain their satisfaction with limited resources. What can a business do during a slow time that makes work lives meaningful and increases customer satisfaction while not upsetting the budget?
It’s remarkably simple, does not cost much money, and pays off in many ways: strengthen relationships. Here are some ideas on how to do just that:
Focus on the clients you do have.
When business is slow, it’s easy to become obsessed about gaining new clients. Reach out to your current clients by giving them a call or a face-to-face meeting. You’ll be amazed at how often your clients can share with you any unmet needs or opportunities for themselves and in the community.
Review your systems and processes in place.
Create consistent systems that will maintain the trust and connection in your client relationships and commit to using them.
Rethink how you are offering your products or services. There are a number of time-tested promotions that you can try to attract new business. Create a great deal on 2 services, so your clients can experience more of what you offer.
Genuine, positive word-of-mouth referrals are a privilege. Show your company’s gratitude when someone refers you to someone they know.
Build your company’s capabilities
Offer the very best to your company’s capability, but do not over-promise and always deliver on your word. This alone may be a way to outdo your competitor!
Network and broaden your inner circle.
Get out of your office and meet people! See the Chamber website for networking events and local newspapers for community events. Develop a social media strategy, learn how to market using these channels and how to nurture the relationships you’ve created in social networks.
Explore how your company and another can build a mutually-beneficial relationship. Reach out to complementary businesses to see possible opportunities for building strategic alliances — even your competitors.
Increase your presence in the community.
Volunteer your time and services to others in the community. Be a mentor.
Invest in your greatest asset
Your greatest assets are yourself and your staff. Now is a great time for training programs, business coaching, and workshops. Start an in-house mentoring program to benefit from the wisdom and experience already present in your company.
Connect with your team.
Discover their strengths and be sure they are being utilized. Ask them what motivates them (surprisingly, it’s not always money) and adapt the leadership style that taps into this.
Start a no-tolerance policy for negativity.
Now more than ever, a good attitude is essential across the board.
Have some fun!
Schedule an Open House, organize a potluck lunch for the office, or invite a speaker who can present a fresh perspective.
Long-term, quality relationships are the future of business. With a little effort and some creativity, your company can have what it takes to thrive beyond the current economic situation. Be proactive by using downtime constructively and resourcefully. Get back to the basics and focus on what matters most: relationships. It doesn’t cost much and it always pays off exponentially.
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