6 reasons why your business is not patronized
Conceiving a business idea is easy, which is why startups are springing up across Nigeria. This brings a lot of positivity and in turn has made Nigeria have the largest startup ecosystem in Africa, coming ahead of Kenya, South Africa & Rwanda. But, the reality remains that 80% of these new startups and businesses fail within the initial three years of starting.
From retail to technology, trade to services, no small business owner starts a business to fail but yet many do. This is even more common with younger businesses. But why do these small companies fail and go out of business? Unfortunately, the reasons for these failures are many and all too common. But, one key failing is low patronage.
Don’t panic, there are a couple of reasons why no one is patronizing your business. We look at a few of them here:
1. Advertising and Visibility
People don’t patronize products and services they do not know about.
This can be explained from two perspectives:
- First, poor visibility could mean that your business is sited in the wrong location such that your products or services are not accessible to customers.
- Second and equally quite instructive, poor visibility could mean no advertising.
Business owners make the wrong assumption that their customers are aware of the products or services they have on offer. Hence, they expect patronage by default, but this is not the case. If you don’t tell people about your business, they’ll have no idea that such a business even exists.
In the digital age, customers now mostly buy products online or decide on the products they would buy by what they see online. This is a good avenue to gain visibility by advertising your business to create awareness. While there are a variety of channels for advertising your product, choose the one that will reach your target audience and in turn bring patronage.
Businesses have long moved from enjoying high patronage by simply offering great products and services; many businesses offer those. Branding gives your business a unique identity, edge and recognition in the face of competition. Consumers are now moved by the products and services that look good as this is the basis of attraction in a competitive market.
How well packaged is your product or service? If you are looking to improve patronage, you have to make the effort to impress your customers. This explains why even big businesses rebrand, change the packaging and improve on business identity over time.
A good product with poor packaging would not get the much-needed patronage it deserves. It is important that your packaging and offer must be exciting enough to capture the interest of the customer and durable enough to deliver the product in excellent conditions to the customer.
Packaging and business branding are one of the best ways to be innovative. With excellent packaging, you can make a statement of class, and show your customers that your product belongs to a unique grade.
Research over time, has shown that good packaging design can drive up sales.
3. Poor production quality
Successful businesses thrive on building customer loyalty, and the biggest form of advertising exists in the recommendation by customers to other people. This is largely a result of customer satisfaction, as every customer wants to get value for their money.
As a business owner, learn to accept shortcomings in your products or services. If your business is not enjoying patronage, ask questions about what you are offering. Would you patronize a business like yours?
4. Inability to tell your story
Having a top quality product on the market is not enough. Having good, motivated and well trained employees is good but never enough. Having a good digital presence is of no use if you cannot convincingly tell your story in a way that connects with your customers and appeal to their interests and emotions.
Stories are powerful tools that help the customer relate on a personal level with your product or service. In telling your story, focus on how the product will solve the customer’s problem, and not just the features of your product. A product that effectively tells its story and connects with the customer is a brand. And top brands are in a class of their own.
5. Change too many players.
Business owners often assume long-term customers love the brand. More often than not, they love your employees.
Customers don’t buy from companies. They buy from people; your people.
Relationships are the lifeblood of a small business. Avoid rotating salespeople, customer service reps, or key contacts unless you have to. Protect and foster the relationships your employees forge.
6. Poor customer experience
As an entrepreneur, your transaction with a customer should not end with the customer paying for your product.
Do you care for feedback on their experience with using your product/service, or do you simply walk off once the deal is sealed?
Do you from time to time, put yourself in the shoes of your customer, and evaluate whether the product/service you offer to them meet the standards you promise, or do you merely assume that your product/service meet the expectations of the customer?
Customer loyalty happens when the customer feels an attachment to your product, to such an extent that they become ambassadors of your product/service; such attachment is formed when the customer enjoys an experience that exceeds expectations when using your product/service.
In conclusion, while there are several reasons why customers may not patronize your products or services, there’s always room for improvement. With a few adjustments, you might be overwhelmed with patronage.
Getting patronage in business is possible. If others in your industry have customers, it’s clear that there’s a market for you.
Ebube Okechukwu is a Marketing Communication specialist with experience in Financial Services, Retail, Environmental Management, Real Estate and the Non-profit sectors.He previously worked with the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), the largest Africa-based, African funded philanthropy focused on entrepreneurship. He holds a B.sc from the University of Benin and a Masters and the University of Lagos. He is a Professional member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing UK and other certifications.