Control Costs, Win And Keep Customers

More than 40% of small firms want more support to survive the recession, according to research by Lloyds TSB Commercial.

  • Two thirds of firms put advice on controlling cost top of the agenda
  • 60% want advice on attracting customers
  • 44% want help on how to keep them

So we had a quick look around the guides on website and watched the customer video.
And it’s the Lloyds TSB customer (business owner) input that’s really down to earth:

  • Keep your name out there
  • Bring the customers in
  • Look at your sales figures weekly not monthly or quarterly
  • Keep in close contact with everyone to avoid nasty surprises: Bank Manager, Accountant, Suppliers, Customers
  • Provide value for money: Maintain quality and standards
  • Don’t be too inward looking
  • Keep a keen eye on budgeting, planning and cash flow
  • Tighten credit management – it’s often not necessarily bad debt but too slow payers
  • When you get your customers look after them: Understand their problems

We’ve picked up on the final point we’ve listed from the video and the fact that many small firms want help on how to keep customers.

Lloyds TSB has a Guide on Market Research. They’re right to have it up there yet we believe they’re wrong not to put it into perspective as, in our experience, small firms tend to see this is as questionable expenditure in good times, let alone in a recession.

Focus groups need an experienced facilitator and should probably be outsourced to a company that knows its stuff – once you’ve decided on what the purpose is and that focus groups are the best way to achieve it.

On the other hand, telephone market research is something many small businesses can do themselves with a little thought and preparation. And the good news is, if you provide good products or services, you should find that your customers are happy to help you.

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