There have been a number of instances over the past few years, and even decades, when small and large businesses change for unknown reasons, or they try changing their clientele. J.C. Penney comes to mind as they turned a regular clothing outlet into something similar to an Apple Store, and still to this day they’re reaping what they have sown. There are some places that the “Jean Bar” and other small details of the major change J.C. Penney made haven’t been removed, as if being relics to show customers what complete change can do to a franchise. Small businesses make this mistake as well, and for some, they never recover.
Some business owners forget who the customers are, changing how they run their company after it’s already been successful. If customers are buying into what you’re selling, why adjust to running a company your way, even though that’s not what your clientele want. For example, if your favorite gym down the street decides one day to take away all the elliptical machines or reduce the weight room, you’re probably going to look for a new club immediately after this sudden change. Listen to your customers. As the saying goes, “The customer is always right”, and that quote is an understatement.
Another example, Ford’s Taurus was the number one selling car in America during the years of 1992-1995. In the 1996 model year, Ford completely redesigned the exterior of the Ford Taurus, and if it wasn’t for the car rental companies who made up 51% of the sales, it wouldn’t have retained the title of best seller.
No matter what business you have or industry you’re a part of, change might not be received well unless that’s what the customer wants. You could spend thousands of dollars on marketing and advertising, but you’ll never get the customers back. As in the case of J.C. Penney, those people aren’t walking through those doors. Always take major business changes into consideration and think both in the short and long term. What are the ramifications of these actions, and will I regret them? Those questions need to be asked, but very rarely do business owners mull over decisions that big.
Remember, it might be your business, but the clientele are the ones who are making you money and your company successful. Without them, you don’t have a business, and being a good listener to what they want keeps them coming in your front doors, website, or online store. This also coincides with how your business is managed and perceived. If you’re working with distributors, other owners, or contractors, the way you do business also plays a factor, not only in image, but how your business is looked at from a management point of view. If customers feel the management is poor, that’s exactly the same as making a change to your company.
No matter what it is you do, whether you run a website or business, take the consequences into consideration before making a change that could one day be compared to J.C Penney and Ford’s Taurus.