I want better.
Four years ago, tucked deep inside one of my husband’s business school books was the concept that it’s a whole lot smarter to keep one customer than to find another. It might sound a little obvious now, but at the time I was so new to the small business world, I thought it was pure brilliance. At first glance, the concept seems simple. But I think if we look carefully, we can see powerful implications for our creative small businesses.
Considering mine is one-woman show, applying this concept keeps my business efficient. By focusing on the customers I have, they in turn take care of the very best type of marketing I could ask for — word of mouth. The number of people reached from a single successful sale can be a multiple of those from an expensive online ad (or fill in the blank with any other marketing tactic). This means we’re not spending gobs of money on promotions or hours on social media but instead cultivating connections with our buyers.
For me, focusing on the customers I have also guides me in how to grow my small business. I’m not interested in 5,000 mildly satisfied one-time visitors…I want 500 brand loyalists so pleased with their purchases they sing about it from the roof tops. Because these happy buyers will be back. Again and again. To build our brands this way, we look for avenues to truly connect.
Adhering to this philosophy makes problem solving a whole lot easier too. It’s like a compass for navigating the surprise twists and turns of owning a business. Sure we’re diligent and careful, but mistakes happen. When the unforeseeable does occur (like the package inexplicably waiting at Canadian customs for 2 months or a tiny fabric flaw in the very last blush pink clutch), I pose the question, “what will it take to keep this customer?” I know that whatever the cost, it is more than likely less than finding a new one.
Of course, it’s impossible to please everyone. There will be unsatisfied customers. There will be ones who feel our brand is not for them. But that’s not really the point. It’s about how we respond — how we choose to approach business. It’s about shifting our focus from always searching for more to creating better, smarter customer connections.
How are you choosing better over more? Please share in the comments!