Every meeting I have attended this year; whether formal or informal, I have felt the attendees’ excitement. They are often brimming with enthusiasm and armed with lists of what they hope to achieve in 2020.

I like resolutions alright, but I worry that as soon as people get their January salaries, all the plans to save more, work out or perhaps invest will go out the window and everything will remain as it was. That can be put down to being ‘human’.

Knowing when to make changes and actually making them is the key to success. And this couldn’t be truer in the business world where knowing when to invest is like striking the jackpot.

When setting up a business, there are many factors that one needs to put into consideration. This week we will touch on one - the customer.

The customer is a crucial aspect of a business as they determine if your business will grow or die. Many businesses have failed and when you ask the owners what happened, they will mostly tell you that the customer was the issue.

Attracting and retaining customers

So how do you ‘trap’ the customer? Your first action should be profiling and studying your customer, then applying a theory that has worked for me for years. I call it “From the Answer to the Question” theory. What this theory stipulates is that you need to figure out the answer then the question.

Once you know the answer, then chances of you failing are minimal. Simply put, come up with the product and perfect it, then customise your product according to consumers’ profiles and wants.

I have worked with numerous organisations and businesses, interacted with professionals, and with that know-how, my steps have become smoother. Of course I slipped a couple of times along the way but I learnt to gladly accept the falls because those were the lessons that have helped grow my business.

Find out what kind of customers patronise your business.

Four kinds of customers

The first are the affluent customers. They buy based on how they are feeling. If they can afford it, they will buy it. They do not want deals. Something is wrong with the product if you offer them a deal. A deal cheapens it to them. It makes them think the quality is not good enough.

I remember one time I was doing a tour in USA and I went for a high-end gig. I had my merchandise with me. After the gig I made the MC announce that my merchandise was on sale. One of the first fans who came to take a photo with me, and buy something, told me I needed to up my price or the majority would not buy. He said that if it’s too cheap, it makes people suspicious about quality.

My fear then was how to sell a hoodie originally priced at $50 at $100. To my surprise, I sold out all my stock. This is a lesson I learnt only because I was in that space.  

The second are the difficult customers. They are generally negative. The third category are the sophisticated customers. They are educated, know what they want and have the money. They sometimes need more time and education on what they are buying and when they make a decision, they stick to it. The beauty about this lot is that they might help in improving your product so pay attention when they speak, just don’t implement everything you hear.

The final category are the cheap customers. They are demanding and buy purely based on price.

We are all these types of customers too depending on the product or service that is being sold. Most entrepreneurs subconsciously set up their business to attract cheap and difficult customers because this is what they know.

Find out who your customer is, that way you will customise your product to suit them perfectly.  Next week we will focus on products and fast moving goods.

The writer is an award-winning artiste and entrepreneur.  

By James Wanzala 33 mins ago
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