We talk a lot here in the Home Business Blog about how to identify and attract new markets, understanding our customer base and demographics, and how to grow and expand our businesses–but sometimes, it becomes necessary to make a major switch or change and actually abandon an existing market that we have been working in or courting.
Things change. You may find that you are eliminating a specific product or service, or that you have discovered a more lucrative market and do not have the time or resources to continue servicing an existing market. This is not uncommon in a small, one or two-person micro-business. We can only do so much and we need to maximize our efforts for the greatest return. So, how do we abandon a market with grace and professionalism?
The first thing is to let your customers know that you will be making a change. It helps if you have thought through a plan that includes: a)offering a comparable product or service b) offering referrals to another company or company who is providing the same product or service c) offering a refund or a credit if an order has already been placed. This way, when you contact your existing customers in the market you are leaving, you can present them with solutions instead of just leaving them hanging. You don’t have to offer much of an explanation, you can just say that it is no longer in the best interest of the business to carry XYZ product or provide a certain service.
Of course, your first goal will be to retain as many of your customers as possible even if you are leaving a specific market. This takes care and tact. However, if you absolutely have to let them go, make sure that you are leaving them with a positive opinion and experience regarding your business–you’d rather have them saying good things about your business than bad.
See Also: How Well Can You Adjust to Changes?