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6 basic principles for success

Do you remember watching Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett in Open All Hours? Did it remind you of the old-fashioned corner shop that sold everything you needed and was always open when you needed it? How old fashioned. And yet, how sensible. 6 basic principles for success

Even in these challenging times, we don’t have to look far to see plenty of people making a success of business opportunities. But the secret ingredient is not the business itself, but the qualities that the owner of the business brings to it. There is much we can learn by looking back at Open All Hours and applying it to the present.

So what was it that the corner shop could get right that we so often struggle with?

Clarity of offering

Walk past a corner shop and you are in no doubt as to what is on sale. It is stacked up outside, there are special offers in the window and price tags are on everything. It could not be clearer. How many cleverly designed websites do you visit where it is difficult to understand what is on offer and how much things cost? The basics so often get sacrificed for the sake of ‘good design’. Make it obvious.

Being in the right place

Corner shops worked because they were positioned where their customers were. These days those same customers are now online, so is your website on the main street or up a back alley? A general store will never feature in a specific search. Microsites can significantly raise your profile.

Selling the right products

Because a corner shop knew its customers and spoke to them every day, it knew exactly what they wanted to buy. How well do you engage with your customers, or prospective customers, to understand their needs and find out what it is they really want? Is your communication with your customers a monologue or a dialogue?

Personal service

Amazingly it was 40 years ago that Are You Being Served? was first aired on the BBC. But as the title demonstrates, personal service was what it was all about at Grace Brothers. How personal is the service you offer to your customers? Does your website greet them by name when they return? Do your email newsletters use their first name in the greeting? Making it personal is the key.

The extra mile

Look for ways of demonstrating that the needs of your customers are important to you. An investment of time, by going that extra mile to give exceptional service, will always pay off on those occasions where you are not the cheapest or most convenient, but still remain the supplier of choice.

Saying thank you

So few people ever say thank you and seem to accept everything as a right. Look for ways of demonstrating to your customers that you appreciate their business. It does make a difference. Read more like this

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