Sometimes it is hard to ignore the distractions that threaten to take you off course and scuttle your business success. One such distraction happens when we give in to temptation and reach for more customers or new customers without regard for the fact that these customers are not a good fit for our products, our services, our team or our phase of growth.
If we overextend our resources, our staff or our focus, we risk losing our core business and our loyal customers as well as the targets we SHOULD focus on. There are a lot of things that can go wrong when you try to expand your customer base at the expense of stability and focus.
- You might assign staff or expand locations to target these new customers and in so doing, deplete the resources and funds you need to retain existing customers or target customers that better fit your product or service profile.
- You might target a risky customer base that will not pay bills on time because they don’t have the funds or because they are not dependable.
- You might close a deal that requires you to provide a different product or service or expand in a way that will challenge you to meet your obligations and this could affect your reputation, and your ability to stay in business.
- You might deviate from your core business and competency and be seen as a company that does a bit of everything but doesn’t do any one thing well!
- You might stretch the boundaries of your products, services or staff and provide ‘good enough’ rather than ‘excellence’ so that your customer satisfaction decreases.
- You might substantially change the role, or success of a sales person, a team member, or a manager and, by doing so, you might lose good employees.
- You might find yourself dealing with a customer account or market segment that will cause you to deviate from your product road map…..
Any or all of these things can happen when you overreach and try for customers that are not a good fit, or attempt to expand a market to include a customer base that doesn’t satisfy your target market. When temptation looms, you have to turn back to your bedrock mission, vision and core competencies and carefully assess the advisability of taking this leap.
I have seen it happen many times with large and small companies and it is never pretty! It happens when a large enterprise acquires another company to expand its customer base by offering new products and services it cannot support and doesn’t understand. It happens when a small company tries to reach into a competitor’s market share and steal customers who do not want the features or products they offer. It happens when a business sees a market segment and a group of customers they think they can target and ignores the fact that these customers do not fit their company profile. This is a common misstep and it happens when an organization decides that winning a particular customer will influence other customer decisions. The thought process goes something like this, ‘Customer X is influential in the market and if I can get them on board, other customers will follow suit.’
In order to get these customers on board, you will have to use precious resources, and you might have to deviate from your product roadmap, you will incur expenses, and you just might change your fortune with existing customers and market reputation.
Do what you do well, focus on the core, and find and retain the customers that are most likely to buy your products or services – those who want and need what you have to offer and are willing to pay for what you provide.
When we give in to temptation, it is usually because we are greedy. We want more but more isn’t always better.
Be prudent and logical and look at new customers as you would any new relationship. Is this person going to like what you have to offer? Are they going to make you happy? Can you make THEM happy?
Don’t give in to greed or set impractical expectations. Stay the course, and expand and grow organically.
Don’t force success!