GROWING YOUR BUSINESS: So, you’re busy: not a time to lose customers

Growing your businessby Dan Beaulieu
Business consultant

As most of you reading this know, it is more difficult than ever to find people, companies, contractors to work on your house or facility. Even my friends at libraries and churches are having a difficult time finding people to work on their projects.

We get it…your busy, you have a full slate of jobs until the rest of the year. But remember that things are going to slow down after a while, they always do. And then you’re going to start looking for projects again. This means you’d better treat the people trying to hire you right now with kid gloves. Sure, you cannot handle their work today but let them know when you will be able to, or at least refer them to someone who can handle their needs sooner than you can.

To just worry about the business at hand right now and not worry about your future is very short-sighted and frankly, bad for business.

Here are some things you can do to make sure that you stay in good graces with the people/customers that you cannot help at this time.

  • Answer your phone and your emails. I have on three occasion reached out to companies who did work at my house a number of times. They are not even returning my phone calls. In two cases I reached out to them on e-mail and they did answer their e-mails. Really? At least let me know that you are still in business, still alive. I thought we had a good relationship, and in most cases, we pay the minute the work is done. Why are you leaving me stranded out here? At least let me know if you are no longer in business, I’ll understand. The past two years have been hard on everyone.
  • Don’t be arrogant. You know what I mean. Con­tractors are in such demand these days, that when you do get a hold of one, they tend to be smug and inform you how long it is going to be before they get to you. Don’t use expressions like, “Yeah, you and everybody else.” or “Get in line, or “take a number.” You are going to need our business some day soon so don’t be a smart ass about how busy you are right now. Don’t, for heaven’s sake, burn my bridge.
  • Be helpful. It is understandable that your are busy. And I am happy for you. I want you to succeed. But please try to figure out how you can help me solve my problem. At least help me by suggesting someone who might be able to help me sooner than you can.

In the end, it is good business to preserve your good customers. It is also good business to gain new customers. You’ve been through the hard times. You remember what it’s like not to have enough business. What it’s like to have to send some of your precious crew home after only a three-day work week.

Try to remember that. Remember how precious customers are to the success of your business and treat them as such, find a way to at least politely placate them so they will be there when you need them. That’s the very best way to grow your business.


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