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Small Firms Urged to Get Fresh

Posted On : May-30-2009 | seen (1095) times | Article Word Count : 418 |

As cash-strapped consumers rethink their spending, small businesses should freshen up their products and services in order to keep their existing customers and attract new business.
Small businesses trying to keep their heads above water in the recession should be prepared to refresh their offer to pull in more customers, according to marketing expert Fiona Blades, CEO of market research company, MESH Planning.

“It's definitely a good time for firms to freshen up their offer,” says Blades, who is an expert contributor to Marketing Donut, the advice website for small businesses. “The world is changing. People’s attitudes towards the products and services they buy are changing, so it’s important to keep on top of what potential customers are looking for.”

Blades’ key message is that as consumers’ habits change, businesses need to adapt accordingly. “The current economic situation is making people re-appraise what they do,” says Blades. “If they see a new offering that is more in tune with their thinking, they are likely to want to find out more. This means that firms need to look after their existing customers’ needs carefully, but it also presents an opportunity to attract new customers, too.”

Market research can help SMEs identify new opportunities, she says. “A garden centre may find that people want to receive email alerts on when to plant, prune, fertilise the plants they’ve bought, leading to complementary sales,” says Blades. Or a hairdresser could survey its customers to find out how many would appreciate the chance to get a manicure while they are having a hair cut.

When it comes to change, it is often price that needs reappraisal. Research can show whether a business should match the prices of its competitors or undercut them. Research can also help SMEs to avoid unneccessary risk and keep costs down. The hairdressers, for instance, “may be able to save costs by working out the days that most people will be wanting manicures and avoiding having staff sitting around without work,” suggests Blades.

However, it is vital that small firms do their homework before they roll out new concepts, says Blades. “Many new ideas fail and good research can help ensure that new ideas have the best possible chance of success.”

Regular evaluation can also help businesses to improve their core offering. “By monitoring what they are doing at regular intervals, small firms can see where they are improving and what areas require more attention,” says Blades.

Small firms that do simple research and act on the results can improve and freshen their offering. And that means they could come through the recession stronger as a result.

Article Source : Firms Urged to Get Fresh_895.aspx

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The Marketing Donut expert by visiting the BHP Information Solutions website. Register for Marketing Donut here. Find out more about Mesh Planning here.

Keywords : freshen up, market research, new products, research, new business, new offering, new opportunities,

Category : Business : Business

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