Wealth Management

Voted #6 on Top 100 Family Business influencer on Wealth, Legacy, Finance and Investments: Jacoline Loewen My Amazon Authors' page Twitter:@ jacolineloewen Linkedin: Jacoline Loewen Profile
Showing posts with label customers selling value market webcasts Loewen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label customers selling value market webcasts Loewen. Show all posts

May 27, 2009

Three Ways Private Equity Helps Grow Your Business

In these economic times, your private equity partners will advise you to forget the fads and get back to basics. With all of the latest and greatest concepts webcasts, podcasts and blogs vying for your attention, you would think that growing your business was as complicated as building the space shuttle. The fact is, there are only three ways to expand business...
Option #1 – Increase the number of customers
You increase the number of customers you have by reaching new customers with your existing offering or developing a new offering. Ideally you will leverage the offering you have to enter a new market or expand the reach in your exisiting market. Three key questions to answer to increase the number of customers are:
Who has a real need for the product/service I’m selling? Does my product meet that need in a manner that either saves money or provides additional value?
How much, if anything, are they spending to address that need today?
How many of those potential customers are there? How do I reach them?
Answering these questions meaningfully necessitates market research. Market research is like eating your broccoli – the idea is not appealing but it does the right job in keeping you healthy. Research teaches you a great deal about what you will need to know to effectively reach these new customers such as what to say, how to say it and to whom.
For example, in my industry which is finance and involves investing in companies, many of the big players have had a brick smashed to their heads. Private equity and venture capital funds are in bad shape. The market research done by the top funds and consulting firms like McKinsey and Company show that funds invested in smaller companies are faring better and enjoying higher returns. With this information, many or the funds are now looking for smaller companies. Reducing their size of company as a potential client opens up the customer pool.
Could you reduce one of your criteria to include a whole new category of client?
Option #2 – Increase the frequency of purchase
The shampoo companies used the wash, rinse, repeat mantra. This ordered their customers to use double the shampoo that is actually required. How many times have you washed your hair twice?
The quickest path to increasing the frequency of purchases is by making it as easy as possible for your existing customers to do business with you repeatedly. Another way to look at this is providing additional customer value – and ultimately building customer loyalty. If you make it easier for customers to buy from you, relative to your competition, then you will continue to win their business. This, of course, assumes your products or services are comparable or superior to your competitors.
Outside of customer loyalty programs, here are a few areas to consider improving:
- Responsiveness to requests, phone calls, emails
- Accessibility to the customer’s primary contact
- Consistency in offering
- Simple contract and pricing
- Bite-sized projects
- Follow-up and follow-through on meetings
- Accurate and timely billing.
While these may seem like common sense, consider how many vendors you no longer use because they were too difficult to do business with. Don’t become one of them to your customers. Option #3 – Increase the number of units sold
By default you will increase the number of units sold when you increase the number of clients and frequency of purchase. But you can also increase the number of units sold by understanding how to add value. If you want to sell more products or bill more hours, providing a value-add benefit or solution will begin to strengthen your customer relationship. If you are to consistently add-value to the customer relationship, you need to fully understand how your customers interpret, define, and quantify the value they receive from your products and services.
Here is a consumer example: A restaurateur offered existing customers 20 percent off for parties of 4 during lunch and early dinner. The idea was to add value to her existing clients by providing them with a benefit they could share. Result: Her lunch business went up by 88% in one month and by 53% over the campaign. On the frequency side, she experienced 71% retention of her customers when she dropped the campaign after 3 months.
Finally, don’t forget, to see real results, private equity will remind you to start with what you already know about your customers. It is the market research, customer knowledge you already have, that is literally a hidden goldmine of profit that can grow your business and increase your company's top line. It is this customer-focused information that will provide the foundation for generating more sales, retaining and cross-selling customers, and acquiring new customer business. Armed with customer-focused information, you will know which is the best way to grow your business.

Jacoline Loewen assists companies in raising capital and can be reached at www.loewenpartners.com. She is the author of Money Magnet:How to attract investors to your business (http://www.moneymagentbook.ca).