“Business is a game, played for fantastic stakes and you’re in competition with experts. If you want to win, you have to learn to be the master of the game.” – Sidney Sheldon
It would be safe to say that every company would seek business expansion – at all times. However, to ensure that the expansion is profitable it must be in the right market and through the right sources. The reason for such clarity and judiciousness for something that seems so necessary is that diverting resources towards growth would detract from the existing business, and making a company work within several restrictions. Companies need to think about their existing and potential customers when deciding on the products to be developed, marketing strategies, and the markets to target when looking at expansion. With limited resources, and a tough market, any company would benefit if it could get a ‘hand’ from any source possible. This is where using customers for business expansion becomes necessary. The company’s current happy and loyal customers would be in a great position to broadcast all that is good about the company, thereby allaying doubts of potential customers, who would then be more amenable to engage in business with a company that has the endorsement of its customers.
Before using customers for business expansion, a company must also focus on its competition. In the current market, there are several players with similar products, vying for the attention of the same customers – standing out and staying visible in such a market would be tough, making business expansion an even more onerous task. If all the companies have similar product or services, customers could choose any company at any time, with no loyalty / long-term commitment. This is clearly never good for business. However, a company that is able to do something different and unique, would find it a lot easier to gain attention and be better positioned at using customers for business expansion – happy customers translate to brand ambassadors over time.
On the other side, a company that tries to enter a niche market with only a few players may find it extremely tough to do – since the market already would be dominated by trusted brands, given the specialized products and the emotional connection customers have with the brands. In such a market, the ‘big boys’ already in existence would in fact benefit more from any advertising or promotional activities a new entrant may engage in – the reason being that the visibility and reach of such companies would be high. Any attention garnered towards the niche products, will help the established brands get even more visibility and concentration. IN such markets too, it would be prudent to leverage on the power of your existing customers, soliciting their help to promote your company and its brand – a much easier way to enlarge and expand business.
Before using customers for business expansion, it would be common sense that a business should be able to retain its customers long enough to build a connection. Yes, it is more cost effective to retain existing customers, but business expansion by way of acquiring new customers is also essential. It would benefit a company to build a customer-focused culture, develop sound marketing strategies, and display its commitment toward customer service, if it expects to retain its most valuable and profitable customers. It is worth remembering though, that customers would remain loyal to a company so long as its business benefits them, and has some crucial differences that would be unique and valuable to customers.
If using customers for business expansion is what a company is aiming at, it must remember to differentiate itself consistently from other players, add value to its existing customers in every interaction, and put in place loyalty increasing strategies that would prevent its loyal customers from ‘straying’ to competition. These tactics will ensure that a company is able to build a sound and positive relationship with the existing customers, get them to spend more, and in addition, encourage others to build a business relationship with the company. The fact is that the higher the number of happy customers a company has the greater would the possibility be of these customers helping it to expand its business.
When looking at business expansion, a company must ensure that it has the bandwidth to satisfy the needs of both its existing customers and the ones it would be targeting. Additionally, expansion for the sake of it is never a good idea. A company must be able to establish the additional resources it would need and the investment required to acquire a new market, and whether the ROI would be substantial and high enough to justify diversion of or acquiring of more resources to meet the needs of the new market. It would be a good idea to start by using customers for business expansion – that would mean getting their feedback and invaluable insights as to the best way to approach the expansion, and whether it would benefit the company in several ways. The more successful a company becomes, the greater its chances of retaining customers – however, first for the company to be successful it must afford top priority to its existing customers, making them feel important and valued. Getting suggestions and advice from existing customers for the business, makes them feel valued and in control, increasing their engagement levels and making them more amenable to contribute towards the growth and expansion of a company’s business.
The fact is that even though a company may have happy customers, not all would be willing to help with business expansion. This makes it important for a company to identify the ideal customers – the ones that the company’s business would be benefiting the most and or the ones who may have consistently provided great testimonials and referrals. By identifying what the business does to make them happy and their lives easier, it would be a lot simpler for a company to ‘use’ them for expansion and growth. The message that a company would send out to these ‘special’ customers, would be more customized and personal – leading to instant appeal and a willingness to help. Even happy customers need an additional reason and may be an incentive to help their service provider / vendor to expand its business – a company must think about the best approach to use, in order to meet with success and be set on the path of using customers for business expansion.
Whatever a company decides, it is imperative first to contribute to the success of its customers, consistently and over a long period, in order to get them thinking about helping the company in more ways than just providing business. This would help build, nurture, and sustain good relationships with them, creating over time a strong customer base that would be happy to help the company succeed and would help it in all its ventures. The stronger the relationships with its existing customers, the more likely would they be to tell everyone they know about their happy experiences. As positive word of mouth spreads, the possibilities of increased business and more customers becomes very real – and the company would be able to expand its business without the added fuss of advertising and promotional activities. Gear up – using customers for business expansion is a great idea for both the customers and the company.