What do you want to achieve for your small business? There are lots of ambitions that business owners have, whether they run a one or two man operation or a global corporation, and in order to reach these goals they'll need a coherent, well-thought out strategy that everyone does their part to work towards. The digital age has made things such as communications easier, but can also give you more obstacles to overcome. Therefore here are some of the most common strategies that modern businesses need to focus on in order to succeed.
Today's consumers seem to be so much more demanding of new products and services, and this is why it's so important to stay ahead of the competition. You can do this by investing in diversification, which happens by either developing new products, or moving into new markets that are relevant to your sector.
This can include strategies such as:
- Concentric diversification – Using your existing resources but marketing to a new sector. For example, selling products via retail outlets as well as to trade customers.
- Horizontal diversification – Using your distribution network to broaden your range of products. For example; many supermarkets also sell clothing and home wares through their websites and stores in addition to traditional products such as groceries.
- Conglomerate diversification – This can involve merging with another company in order to add a broad range of products or services, and therefore take on different demographics. By joining together it can also make them a bigger threat to the competition, so this risky strategy can sometimes pay off in the long term.
2. Customer service
Whether you are dealing with customers in a face to face environment, or are selling products over the internet, customer service remains a huge priority for any modern business who want to improve or uphold their reputation.
Your customer service strategy needs to be something that can be implemented simply, yet will be used in the long term. It also needs to be regularly reviewed, and so it can't be too rigid or inflexible otherwise staff will find it difficult to implement. With regular training and by using a mystery shopping service you can give employees the best chance of keeping standards high, and identify any gaps where things might need to be reviewed.
When developing a customer service strategy you should consider areas such as:
- Service procedures – How your staff do their job and how this benefits customers
- Workflow – How can you make products and delivery easily available when needed?
- Complaint handling and dealing with difficult events
- What will keep your customers happy and content?
This will allow you to create a strategy that builds the best possible reputation for your brand.
3. Social media
In the days before everyone had the internet and smart phones a bad customer service story might just be shared between a few friends over coffee. However, a large number of people complain via social media, and the way you respond can make a big difference to your business and the reputation that it builds. Therefore you need to have a solid social media strategy in place for any modern business, whether you're exclusively online or just a small, local company.
A good way to build a strategy in this area is to see what your competitors are doing and think of ways that you can improve upon it. You'll need to think about your existing demographic, as well as other markets you might be trying to reach, and find the sort of things they enjoy. Whether it's competitions, articles, or promotions, there are lots of ways to engage and get your message shared.
It can be tough to create a business strategy in the modern market, but there are lots of techniques available to help you succeed. Whether you measure success by your short term profits, brand awareness, or longer term growth there are different ways to implement your new strategies whether it's in your corporate department or every day on the shop floor. Working on a new strategy is truly a team effort and requires co-operation at all levels, and therefore you need to ensure that these targets are properly communicated from the top down and that everyone is on board.
About the Author:
Christine Baker is writing for a company that provides the best in class customer experience information. Market Force is one of the top providers of mystery shopping and other customer intelligence solutions.
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