How to survive in business

I’ve just finished drafting a press release for a client who, next week, will be celebrating 21 years in the highly tricky restaurant business. It has got me thinking about what leads to business success.

A quality product is just one of the factors leading to success.

Now I’m not talking here about the type of success that can be measured in millions. No, this is more the kind of success that keeps you in profit serving a defined market which keeps coming back for more. This is a measure of success that most small business owners aspire to and may the precursor to higher growth.

So what conclusions have I come to?

  1. There is no escape from hard work. My clients usually work in the restaurant six days a week, 50 weeks of the year. He is the chef, if he’s not there the restaurant can’t open!  Even on their days off they are often to be found working on business development, new menus etc.
  2. Customer loyalty is vital and that comes from understanding what they want and making them feel important and special. That includes remembering their likes and dislikes and what is important to them.
  3. A clear vision of what your business is and who it serves and then making sure all activity is consistent with that vision helps to develop customer loyalty. My clients wanted to develop a neighbourhood restaurant with consistently good food and excellent value ; that is what they are known for and what brings in high volumes of repeat business
  4. A quality product which represents consistent value for money will keep people coming back for more.
  5. Monitoring the key numbers is crucial. What is happening to your costs? What is the impact on your margins? How do this week’s/ this year’s takings compare to last year? What trends are emerging? Are the signs good or is it time for some action e.g. changing the offer, running a marketing campaign etc?
  6. Spend wisely. Don’t spend money on things that are not important. Equipment needs to work and be reliable but that does not mean it has to be the latest version at ‘skimming’ prices. Clients need to feel safe and comfortable but if you re-decorate and re-brand too often they are quite clear about who is paying for that and they would rather not pick up the bill.
  7. Understand your industry. The business world is constantly changing and we need to keep up. 21 years ago the Internet was in its infancy now most of us can’t live without it. We all need to be aware of the environment in which we trade. Who are the new kids on the block? What are they offering and how might this affect us? How is customer behaviour changing and how will that impact our businesses?
  8. Life isn’t always straightforward. Every business faces its challenges but your customers don’t need to know them. Your competitors would be keen to twist the knife if they found out so keep your problems to yourself or find a trusted adviser who can help you resolve them.

So these are just a few ways in which businesses survive in an increasingly competitive world. These are just some of the topics covered in my new Going for Gold online training programme which will be launched shortly. Why not email me for more details?

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