‘Stick to your knitting’

Published 8:13 pm Saturday, April 9, 2016

“Sticking to your knitting” is continuing to do what you know best.  This is an efficient strategy and noble goal for all businesses. It is the recipe for success. Understanding you can’t be all things to all people and knowing / focusing on serving your market well is the key to longevity in business. This doesn’t mean you don’t try new things, but it means you are consistent in your approach and very aware of changes in your market.

Leveraging customer relationships is the greatest opportunity you have. It is always easier to sell additional services to a current customer/client than to develop new customers. Cross selling is an important part of each employee’s job. Every interaction with a customer is an opportunity to introduce a new product or service to that customer. It increases the dollar volume of sales as well as enhancing customer retention.

Next new product acquisition costs can be large. Take a look at your product line to ensure you have what the customer wants and this will set you up to enhance customer retention. Figure out how to improve your product line profitably. There are many factors to be considered and good management is at the top of the list. Included in this responsibility is hiring and retaining engaged employees.

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Stan King, owner of Stan King GM Superstore in Brookhaven states, “ People who want to do well and are aggressive in sales can be very successful.” He seeks out employees who are “honorable, dedicated to their job, respectful of customers and respects his/her management. Being loyal to the employer and customers are important traits.” He further stated that employees are, “More valuable with longer tenure. Eighty-five percent off my staff have been here a long time.” He agrees with many other business owners that training staff and development of employees pays off. Satisfying customer needs and wants is important for service, sales and office staffs, and it pays off in customer satisfaction and retention in all these areas. Stan further said, “The best thing I can do is to keep good morale and employees motivated by pulling in the right direction together.  One bad egg can pull everybody down. It is a team business .”

Using your current platform and core competencies to offer the best service, hire the best employees, and make your product offerings attractive and profitable will ensure your long-term success.  This is a long-term strategy that produces long-term positive results and increases your franchise value. Strong management will respond to changes in the market place and learn how to make lemonade out of lemons.


Becky Vaughn-Furlow retired from Trustmark Bank as executive vice president and human resources director. She can be contacted by emailing bvaughnfurlow@gmail.com.