The tough trading conditions of the past three years have highlighted how important it is to keep existing customers happy, while being constantly aware of new opportunities. According to the latest MYOB Business Monitor, businesses are planning to focus on customer satisfaction and growth in new markets in 2012.
The most popular strategy for businesses is customer retention. This speaks volumes about the way business owners are structuring their business, and gearing them to be more service focused and proactive in keeping their existing customer base.
More than one-third (35%) of business owners surveyed expected customer retention activity to increase in 2012. Business owners who expected to put most effort into this strategy were much more likely to be a medium (73%) or small (56%) business; to have an annual revenue of $1-5m (57%); and to have a business website (53%, compared with 26% without a website).
During the recession, business owners became all too aware of how hard won every new customer was. This new focus will actually make businesses more responsive and more competitive as an economy.
The second most popular strategy for 2012 is new market growth. One-third (33%) of business owners expected to increase the activities of their business in new markets. The trend towards diversifying into new markets shows Kiwi business owners are looking at opportunities beyond the current, constrained performance of the local economy. Again, this trend towards a broader mix of products and new markets will position the whole country well for the future.
New Zealanders are also recognising the importance of the digital economy and finding ways to use the internet to engage both local and international markets. In the survey, one quarter (25%) of business owners hope to increase online sales. Two-fifths (41%) of all businesses say they are likely to use their website to drive offline sales.
Top 10 priorities for Kiwi businesses in 2012 | MYOB Business Monitor
- Focus on customer retention strategies – 35% of businesses
- Increasing business activity in new markets – 33%
- Focus on customer acquisition strategies – 31%
- Increasing the number of products or services offered by the business – 27%
- Sales of products / services offline – 27%
- Sale of products / services online – 25%
- Increasing spending on online marketing & advertising – 23%
- More sales promotions – 22%
- More investment in IT systems and processes – 22%
- Increasing salaries and wages – 20%
The MYOB Business Monitor surveyed over 1000 business owners around New Zealand on their approach to business in 2012.