I like to define entrepreneurs into one of two categories, they are either a hunter or gatherer.

A hunter is someone who’s business requires them to go out every day and find new customers. Whereas a gatherer is much like a farmer who continuously harvests business from an established base of existing customers. The best businesses do both.

Of course, all entrepreneurs start out as hunters. They must, because they don’t have an existing customer base from which to harvest. Survival in the early days requires hunting every day, otherwise they won’t be in business very long.

Neglected Opportunities

Unfortunately, far too many entrepreneurs neglect the opportunities that exist to become a gatherer. They are so accustomed to the thrill of getting a new customer, they completely miss out on or don’t realize the potential that exist from generating incremental business from their previous customer base.

Long vs Short Purchase Cycles

To be fair, some businesses have incredibly long customer purchase cycles. An example of this is roofing sales as most people only replace their roofs every 15-20 years. Another example is new car sales, whereby people are keeping their vehicles an average of 7+ years. So, trying sell these people any sooner is very difficult.

In these situations, there still exists the opportunity to harvest from these relationships through referrals to friends and families. Easy to do, but seldom tried and wastes all the goodwill generated. Even hunter type businesses can become gatherers, if they stay in business long enough.

Many other businesses with shorter purchase cycles, think months not years, still don’t try to increase the purchase frequency. They are in such a habit of hunting that they overlook or fail to identify the many opportunities to promote complimentary or supplementary purchases. They just wait and hope that the customers return or calls them.

Look for Opportunities

Entrepreneurs that act as gatherers look for opportunities to be constantly in front of their customers, reminding them of the products and services they have to offer. With the all tools available today, such as, social media or email, staying visible is far easier than ever before.

Hunting everyday is far more difficult than gathering. Finding a balance between hunting and gathering can reduce the pressure to find a new customer every single day. Understanding whether you’re a hunter or gatherer business allows you to design the most effective strategy that will allow you to maximize your potential from all the goodwill you’ve already generated.

I’m Greg Weatherdon and this has been your Small Business Minute.

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Copyright © Greg Weatherdon 2017

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