Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Yaneek Page | Making your business a household name

Published:Sunday | May 14, 2017 | 5:00 AM

QUESTION: Yaneek, I would love your advice about how to make my business a household name. I recently graduated from university and came up with the idea of a cleaning and babysitting service with a difference, and that difference is great customer service and professionalism. My goal is to become a household name as soon as possible. what do I need to do? Thank you.

Marsha (from FB)

BUSINESSWISE: The first thing I want you to do is set a new goal or two. "Becoming a household name as soon as possible" is one of the least effective goals, yet, ironically, it is also one of the most common I hear from entrepreneurs and small-business owners.

By least effective I mean it is too vague, too difficult to assess, a very poor measure of success, and most important, silent on the extent to which you are satisfying the needs of your customers, growing and achieving profitability.

You could become a household name and be unprofitable or unsustainable and despised by customers and the general public as is the case for several very well-known entities today.

You should also remember that being professional and offering 'great customer service' are not strong enough value propositions to allow you to compete and even dominate that industry in the future, especially given that the barriers to entry in that field are very low, so anyone can enter and try to offer a thing at a lower price.

Best practice in business is to set goals that are SMART an acronym that means Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant to your business vision and Time-bound. Here are two examples of what a SMART short-term goal might look like for a new business like yours:

n To acquire at least eight new customers each month between June 2017 and July 2018.

n To achieve a customer-satisfaction rating of at least 80 per cent by June 2017 and 90 per cent by July 2018.

You will note that these goals are far more specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound than simply becoming a household name.

However, there are some other critical principles I want you to take away from the examples provided.

Goal 1 is focused on the actual acquisition of new customers and can be easily measured each month. As a new business, you need to be clear about how many new customers you need monthly, how many repeat customers you need monthly, and the average amount you expect them to spend in order to achieve break-even and your projected profit target.

Too often, new businesses get distracted from the actual sales and bottom line, which is a mistake you should avoid.

Goal 2 is encouraging you to make customer satisfaction a priority by setting ambitious and progressively higher targets. The more satisfied a customer, the more likely he is to be a repeat customer, spend more money over time, share positive word of mouth, and refer others to your business.

 

CUSTOMER SATISFACTION

 

Just as important as actual sales and profits is how happy your customers are with your service, and this will ultimately determine your brand value, growth potential, longevity, and success, generally.

Creating a SMART goal around customer satisfaction will push you to invest in customer service, develop a culture of service, hire people who are capable of delivering exceptional service, evaluate the customer experience, and constantly engage your customers to get their feedback.

As a start-up, you could explore online tools such as survey monkey, which has pre-populated customer-satisfaction questionnaires, to help you capture and analyse your customer feedback.

It is important to note, however, that technological solutions cannot replace the one-on-one personal engagement you need to maintain with your customers given the nature of your business and the likely needs of your customers and the culture in which you operate.

The good news is that if you focus on building a business that is focused on profitably meeting the needs of your customers and building the infrastructure, systems, people, and service that keep your customers constantly happy, you may very well become a household name, in a good way, as a consequence of the consistent exceptional value you deliver.

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- Yaneek Page is an entrepreneur and trainer, and creator/executive producer of The Innovators TV series. Email: info@yaneekpage.com Twitter: @yaneekpage Website: www.yaneekpage.com