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24When you think of business growth, most people immediately focus on growth through the acquisition of new customers. This is a good way of growing any business and every business needs to focus on how to continuously gain new customers. But imagine if in addition to consistently getting new customers, you never lost a customer. Imagine if your old clients were still current. I know that sounds like a tall order so let's be more realistic and imagine that you were able to increase your customer retention by 10%, 20% or even 50%. What would your business look like then? What if you managed to get half your old customers to make a new purchase? When you work to keep your current customers, you begin to get the true value of each customer that you've worked so hard to attract. Most professionals act like the banks and financial institutions we so love to hate at the moment. We offer our new customers better deals than our existing customers. The banks can afford to do this because they have a huge customer base and the barriers to switching banks can be quite prohibitive. Their customers (myself included) know they can get better service elsewhere but cannot be bothered to go through the hassle of switching. Unfortunately, the cost of switching most professional service providers is not as prohibitive. So failing to take care of your current customers can be fatal. Let's take one of my customers, who we will call Lisa. Lisa dumped her current coach and switched to me within a week of making up her mind. It was so easy and quick. Although I was happy with her decision and impressed by her decisive action, it also made me realise how quickly customers could move on if we didn't continuously deliver value and exceed their expectations. Lisa was unhappy with her current coach because, he didn't seem as keen as when she first started working with him. He didn't return her calls quickly enough and she felt that she initiated most of their communication. That sounds extreme but that may just have been her perception of the situation. So, if you are really serious about growing your service business, then: 1. You need to work hard to keep your current customers happy by acting with speed and meeting them at their point of need.2. You need to reactivate old clients by getting back in touch and offering them something truly irresistible. The goal is to be fully engaged with your customers, communicate regularly with them, seek them out and be their partners. Make sure they get the results they signed up for. Be transparent and authentic so that they build enough trust to bring you more business and referrals. This is how you can leverage your time and to grow your business in a cost effective way.Griselda Kumordzie Togobo is a business growth consultant, coach, speaker and writer who is dedicated to helping professional business owners increase their profitability, cash flow and productivity. You can find her at www.awovi.com. Go for GROWTHBusiness consultant Griselda Kumordzie Togobo tells how to make the most of your existing clients to boost your businessFailing to take care of your current customers can be fatal.

www.networkshe.com25A PROFESSIONAL SERVICE... tailored to your needsDo you need professional help with.... Audit. Accounts preparation. Self assessment. Tax planning (including Capital Gains Tax and Inheritance Tax). Computerisation of Accounting Records. Book keeping. Value Added Tax. Payroll Administration. Setting up in business or incorporationAre you looking for a proactive accountant who will help you protect and improve your business and personal wealth?Whether you are an established, new or business startup, looking to develop and grow or if you are interested in obtaining a professional service tailored to your specific needs for a sensible fee, we can help.J V Banks is a well established, independent firm of Chartered Accountants based in North Wales.We have many years experience dealing with individuals, businesses and charities. The friendly and personal service that we provide is the key to our success and work of the highest quality ensures that we maintain the excellent reputation that we enjoy in the local community.If you are interested in a free, no obligation, initial consultation please contact Elaine Davies quoting Network She on 01745 343825 or email elaine@jvbanks.co.ukThere are three common types of business structure:Sole trader - This is the simplest form of business since it can be established without legal formality. However, the business of a sole trader is not distinguished from the proprietor's personal affairs. Partnership - A partnership is similar in nature to a sole trader but because more people are involved it is advisable to draw up a written agreement and for all partners to be aware of the terms of the partnership. Again the business and personal affairs of the partners are not legally separate. A further possibility is to use what is known as a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP). Company - The business affairs are separate from the personal affairs of the owners, but there are legal regulations to comply with. The appropriate structure will depend on a number of factors, including consideration of taxation implications, the legal entity, ownership and liability.Key self assessment dates - September 2012 to March 20135 Oct 12 Deadline for notifying HMRC of new sources of taxable income or gains for 2011/12 if no tax return has been issued. 31 Oct 12 Deadline for submitting 'paper' 2011/12 self assessment returns. 31 Jan 13 Deadline for submitting your 2011/12 self assessment return (£100 automatic penalty if your return is late even if there is no outstanding tax liability or your return shows you are due a tax refund); balance of your 2011/12 tax due, plus first payment on account for 2012/13. 1 Mar 13 5% late payment penalty on any 2011/12 outstanding tax due on 31 January 2013 still remaining unpaid.Starting up in business - Which business structure should you use?Elaine Davies gives you more information on PAYE , Audits and VAT at www.networkshe.co.ukNETWORK SHE PROMOTION