David FullerThere’s a restaurant in my community that has been around for almost 40 years. It doesn’t provide fancy meals but you get plenty of good wholesome food like your mother used to make.

The food is piled high on your plate, leaving no doubt that your appetite is going to be satisfied. At the end of your meal, you’re almost always offered a small desert at no extra cost.

If you’re like me, you leave that restaurant knowing you got your money’s worth.

As a result of the economic crisis created by the lockdown of the economy to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the business environment has changed.

No longer are customers going to be satisfied with mediocre service for their hard-earned money. No longer will businesses be able to spend lavishly on perks for their owners and managers while their employees and customers look on.

If your business is going to survive the next few years of economic constraints and downturn, you’re going to have to passionately create value for your customers.

What’s value and what does it mean to our customers?

Value is defined as something of importance, worth or usefulness. Each customer base is going to respond differently to value offerings.

I know of businesses that are reaching out to customers during the lockdown just to check in. For some people, that’s valuable because nobody else is doing it and their phones haven’t been ringing for weeks.

If you search for anything besides cleaning materials and toilet paper on the Internet right now, chances are it’s on sale. Companies are desperate for cash flow with their brick-and-mortar businesses being closed for weeks. They’re offering deep discounts to entice customers.

The problem with this model is that it’s going to be a race to the bottom. Businesses are cutting their margins to sell a dollar. There’s a need for discounted prices, but more than discounts, customers are looking for something valuable.

Cutting margins to near nothing will speed up your departure from the business landscape. Businesses can’t survive without making a profit, however small it is.

We need to consider what we can do for our customers that will help them save money and reduce their anxiety, while also increasing our number of customers.

When we provide products or services that do something more than their functional purpose, we create value. When we think about what it is our customers really need, we can specifically identify how we can reach them. When we’re clear about what we do that’s really valuable for our customers, we can focus on delivering that value every day.

If you have problems identifying your company’s valuable offerings, please email me for a target market identifier worksheet.

Survival isn’t about doing more or scrambling to be busy. Survival is going to be figuring out how we can deliver value to our customers in a manner that ensures we make money while satisfying them.

When times are tough, we need to creatively ensure that every one of our customers leaves our business knowing they got their money’s worth and then some.

Dave Fuller, MBA, is an award winning business coach and a partner in the firm Pivotleader Inc. Comments on business at this time? Email [email protected]

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