It’s not just the “economy”. Small businesses are facing pressure from every side. Government reporting, healthcare, lack of credit, consumers shopping for the lowest price, internet purchasing and so on. The list is almost endless, and so is the stress that many small business owners are experiencing.

The world is changing around us and business processes, plans and structures sometimes have to adjust with these changing times. Many small businesses are facing an even greater challenge during these difficult times, and that challenge is relationships. Relationships with our customers and our employees. Many small businesses are hoping to “hold on” and make it through without losing valuable employees, employees that have deep rooted bonds with their employer and their employer’s business. Employees that would be devastated in losing their job.

With all these pressures on many small business owners, it’s easy to succomb to the stress, “batten down the hatches” and try to weather the storm. Sometimes the problem with “weathering the storm” is that the expenses continue and the business is not experiencing significant growth. This can be catastrophic to the business.

At all times, and especially in difficult times growth in most businesses means more relationships, not just more customers. While a “customer” may shop for the lowest price, the consumer that has a relationship with your business or it’s owner continues to frequent the business for many reasons other than price. It is not uncommon in many small businesses to see a significant portion of their clientele come from networking and referrals. These businesses depend almost exclusively on relationships rather than marketing. Increasing relationships through marketing can have a significant impact on the bottom line of these businesses.

Consider that hundreds of thousands of people flock to national coffee chains each day for their morning coffee. Yet, small, local coffee shops have customers as well. How many of those hundreds of thousands of people flocking to the chains
drive by their best friend’s coffee shop to go to the national chain each morning? Probably very few. What if the small coffee shop started building relationships with some of the thousands of people that drive right by the small coffee shop every day to go to the national chain? The small coffee shop would obviously flourish. Is the experience or product better at the national chain? Probably not. If all of the people that drive by the small coffee shop were to visit the small coffee shop only once and enjoy their visit, many would begin to frequent the small coffee shop and it would experience incredible growth. The small coffee shop just needs that opportunity to get them in the door and win them over.

Remember, it’s the marketing that brings them in, but it’s the experience that builds the relationship that brings them back. If you’re a small business owner, take a moment to really listen to how your current customer relationships are being
greeted and attended to at your business. Now, more than ever, each of those relationships is priceless. If you have interest in reaching out to thousands of people that live, work and spend around your business to build more relationships, give us a call and we will gladly provide you with an inexpensive program to introduce your neighbors to your business.