Are you selling your business? Daydreaming about your new life after the sale? Thinking about life on a beach with a drink in your hand? Thinking about the future can be a great distraction, but if you own a small business in the retail or service sectors – you need to be careful about letting your focus slip.
We’ve all had that bad customer service experience. We’ve all skimmed past the 2 and 3 star businesses when reading reviews – preferring to give our business to someone with a 4 or 5.
We all know that one bad experience and one angry customer can create 10, 20, 100 more – particularly in the age of online reviews.
We also live in the age of retail giants, and the threat they pose is real – particularly for smaller main-street businesses. There’s also a new trend of huge service-based companies moving into smaller markets. While these monsters swallow up huge chunks of what was previously small business territory you only have a few things those enormous companies don’t. The most important of those few things is local, loyal customers.
Your local, loyal customer base is your bread and butter – and they are loyal because you are reliably good at serving their needs. They’ve never had a bad experience at your business. They tell their friends and coworkers to try you out. Then you decide to sell and take your foot off that all-important customer service pedal.
Losing your focus is never a good thing, but it can have potentially devastating consequences if your are in the midst of trying to sell. Buyers want to see all of your numbers, and if your numbers show a dramatic slide once the business went up for sale – it’s a sign of a huge problem. Buyers are also going to immediately look your business up online and read reviews. If your customer service has taken a turn for the worse you’d better believe those local and loyal regulars are going to be speaking out on review sites. No one want to take over a business that has been neglected to the point of faltering or a business that is hemorrhaging regular clientele.
How do you keep this from happening? Stay the course you always have and focus on those regulars. Selling your business can take 9 to 12 months (or more) in most cases, so you need to act like you aren’t selling for that period. A year of neglect can do insurmountable damage to a business and to it’s reputation – so stay on the ball.
Are you thinking about selling and hadn’t considered how online reviews may impact your sale? Do you have advice for other business owners about how to stay the course through a sale? Would you like to know what businesses like yours are currently selling for? Leave any questions or comments here. We would be happy to help.
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