Repeat Business: The Art of Bringing Business Back

The balance in potential business income is easy to understand, but hard to nail. If you provide a service that only requires one visit per customer or one visit every few years, you need to charge a rather high price just to keep yourself out of the unemployment line. But if you have a service or product that customers will constantly want or need, you can charge low because you know they will be back the next day or the next week.

The best franchise opportunities to get into are the ones that can possibly serve each customer every day. Fast food vendors top the lists every time. Subway, McDonalds and the like actually have repeat customers on a daily basis. Janitorial services are also rather regular repeat business transactions. An office might require your services once a week and you might have ten offices a week. My art workshops are great for regular repeat business because my students come back weekly for a workshop and they go from workshop to workshop. This provides me with the chance of getting to know them on a more personal level.

Construction and real estate top the lists for one stop customers. A big time tycoon might need more than one house a year. But, the individual home owner might average a house per every seven years. Construction and real estate are great businesses to be in when the market is good, but you will rarely work with the same customer on a monthly or even yearly basis. Tax consultation is another great business to be in, but you will only work with your customers once a year. These types of businesses can be very lucrative if you position yourself in the right place at the right time and are on top of your game.

So, when you are looking for that perfect entrepreneurial opportunity, I suggest you narrow your search down to the type of business that pulls customers back in your doors more regularly. Low overhead, minimum inventory business opportunities get you into business with little start up capital. And there are great opportunities in place that meet that criterion.

What is actually required to start an art workshop center? You need a location. I’ve seen plenty of art workshops run out of the home until enough money was generated to move the location. Actually, it helped promote and attract my students. Starting one in your home is a more welcome atmosphere to get to know your initial students. Plus, they feel more at ease about taking your workshop.

Students can easily be required to bring their own art supplies unless you actually want to add a small supply shop so that students have supplies readily available to them just in case they need something during the workshop. You can also add bonus supplies that come with signup to any of your workshops. It’s easy to cover if you just add the cost to tuition. You can get the supplies fairly cheap when you order in bulk and you can require students to pay in advance so that you are not coming out of pocket for anything.

Now, all you need are the students. My art workshop franchise has everything in place for you to get started from marketing to training. It’s a step by step process that comes with constant support. I’ve even personally walked several of my students through the process of starting their own workshop. But, we have so many more resources in place since those beginning days.

5 Tips to Get Your Ailing Business Back on Track

When you started your business, you likely had a plan.

You were eager, enthusiastic, and couldn’t wait to change the world! The business owners you met were as eager, enthusiastic and inspired as you were. You were thinking “business ownership must be amazing! Why didn’t I do this sooner?”

As time went on, you put your plan in a drawer (or another similar place that you don’t reference often enough) and continued running your business. You knew what you wanted and where you wanted to go – you had your plan in mind, and were plugging right along.

Things went along fine. The business was functioning, money was coming in and work was getting done.

Over time, you were so busy running your business that your wants, dreams and desires went on the back burner (I mean, seriously – how would you have time for yourself and to run your business?).

But that was OK, because the small business owners met were as tired, overwhelmed and disillusioned as you were. You were thinking “business ownership isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Why did I do this?”

Sound familiar? Are you nodding along as you read, identifying fully with this scenario?

I am amazed at how many business owners know things aren’t working – they know it in their head, or maybe in their gut – but they don’t do anything about it. The result? Poor team morale, low productivity, unsatisfied customers. Not to mention the affect on the business owner, which can range from poor physical health to personal relationships that are deteriorating.

Here’s the Million Dollar Question – what are you doing about it? Here are some tips:

1. Go back to your plan. Remind yourself of the passion you once had. Find that old feeling that got stuffed in the drawer with the plan.

2. Write a new plan. What parts of the original plan are still working, and what parts need to be shifted? No, I don’t mean what parts should be changed to justify your current business situation.

3. Identify where things went off track. Be honest – you know where it happened. You felt it in your gut, but passed that feeling off as too much coffee.

4. List the things in your business that aren’t working. It’s okay to admit your baby isn’t as cute as you think. If you don’t acknowledge the areas that aren’t working, you can’t fix them.

5. Find support. A mastermind group, a trusted colleague, even better would be a business coach. It should be somebody who will hold you to task and support you through the changes you know you need to make. Even the best business owners/mentors/athletes have their own coaches. How do you think they stay at the top of their game?

Don’t bury your head in the sand. Don’t be afraid of the tough questions, of seeing your business for what it is, of having the difficult conversations and doing the hard work.

Get real – get to it. I know there is nothing you can’t do. Remember, you started a business and you loved it. You can again.

Why Your Business Back Stage Is As Critical As Your Front Stage

It’s critical that you execute on your promises and deliver what customers expect. If they expect something great and receive something mediocre, their perception of you plummets.

Systems must be in place to ensure perfect delivery. If you don’t execute and keep your promises, these customers will tell everyone about it, and they have the web to spread their bad experience. In my small business marketing firm, we call this “front stage” versus “back stage.” It doesn’t matter how pretty and flashy your front stage is if your back stage doesn’t deliver.

Front stage is your high-profile executives and spokespersons, events, website, materials, and media. Back stage is your people and systems-the inner workings of your company that customers don’t see, but the results of which they experience.

I once purchased a training course from a company with an excellent front stage. The speakers were persuasive. The events were flawless. The results seemed inevitable. However, after engaging with them for about a month, it quickly became apparent that their back stage was a mess.

They wouldn’t return phone calls. They never delivered on their promises. What looked like a golden opportunity was quickly exposed as fool’s gold.

I wasn’t the only one with a bad experience. The company went out of business a couple years after opening.

My business partner Carl once had a conversation of the leader of the execution team for a major self-help author. The author had written many books and had phenomenal success. He had the ability to speak magically to the hearts of the audiences to whom he regularly spoke. He put on his own events where he offered and sold a number of in-depth solutions for personal growth and financial success.

Unfortunately, he had the bad habit of biting off more than he could chew. In other words, he over-promised on stage and his staff had no other option than under-delivering. They couldn’t create nearly as fast as he promised. In the end, customers felt slighted. His staff felt the pressure and ended up leaving.

Most marketing and advertising firms focus solely on your “front stage” messaging. But you must also build your “back stage” so that it supports and synchronizes with your front stage.