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Ask For Help and Grow Your Business With This Simple Strategy

AUTHOR: Maika Endo
DATE: 3 December 2023

In this blog, I will share some of my entrepreneurial journey, how reaching out for help in a crisis saved my business, and how it was pivotal in making Kocoon Spa in Beijing successful. We will examine why bespoke support is vital for growth in your business because when this support is tailored to you and your specific needs, it really can be the missing piece of the puzzle. I'll then give an overview of how customer acquisition strategies can grow your business, and I'll share how the straightforward method of 'risk reversal 'saved my spa and how you can apply it to grow your business, too. 

1. Customer Acquisition Strategies in Business 

To run a successful business of any kind, you need a constant flow of new customers or clients while simultaneously retaining your existing ones. Today, the market landscape is oversaturated and competitive, so it's no easy feat to master both simultaneously. You need an effective customer acquisition strategy to help keep the revolving door of repeat customers turning. But with so many customer acquisition strategies out there, where should you start? 

When I launched the Kocoon Spa in 2006, within eight months, I found myself facing the possibility of bankruptcy. With only enough cash flow to last us a couple more months at most, we needed a solution and fast.

2. The Right Support and Strategy Saved my Business 

Before I became a business coach, I was no stranger to long days and nights burning the candle at both ends to work on and inside my business (in those days, I was the receptionist, cleaner, and coffee maker- such is solotrepreneurship.)

I used to think that as an entrepreneur, I always had to go it alone. It never occurred to me to ask for help, let alone invest in bespoke support to help me move forward.

But at that moment, staring at that Excel sheet, at the numbers that weren't adding up, I was forced to get help. I called my friend Ji Meng, a finance expert, and with his specific skills and vast experience, he helped me develop a strategy.

If I hadn't phoned Ji that day, Kocoon Spa wouldn't exist today. 

So hear me when I say: you don't need to wait to face a business crisis before you ask for help- the proper guidance tailored to you is out there; there's no need to struggle alone.

3. Three Ways to Grow your Business According to Jay Abraham

Jay Abraham helps struggling and underperforming businesses by figuring out their problems and finding effective solutions. He's impacted over 10.000 companies across 1000 industries, and by approaching situations with a lateral perspective, he helps his clients by uncovering different assets and hidden opportunities to boost revenue and income. 

Jay Abraham says there are only three ways to grow your business. (Yes, you heard me right, only three):

1. Increase the number of clients

By increasing your exposure to your target audience, you can get more traffic to your business. An example would be leveraging a referral strategy and asking current clients to bring a friend or recommend your business to their network. One marketing strategy many companies use to reach new clients is risk reversal, where you offer people a risk-free opportunity within a limited time (and this is the strategy I used to turn things around for Kocoon Spa successfully.)

2. Increase the average size of the sale per client

Leverage cross-sale opportunities so each client is spending more. This could mean increasing your prices or adding an extra product or service for which you can boost the price. When I ran Kocoon Spa, one way we would do this was by recommending specific retail products to our spa customers so they could invest in the products to enjoy at home and maintain the results of their treatment longer. 

3. Increase the number of times clients return and buy again.

Of course, it's necessary to attract new customers, but retaining them so they turn into repeat clients is the tipping point to significantly boosting your business. Did you know it's more expensive to attract a new customer than to retain a current one? (Gallo, Harvard Business Review) Focusing on keeping your existing customers makes sense because once they've 'tasted the goods' and had a satisfactory experience working with you, they're far more likely to try new products or services. 

You can read about customer acquisition strategies here in my blog, Where You Should Focus Your Marketing Efforts. In upcoming posts, I will also expand on these three different strategies in more detail, so keep your eyes peeled.

The strategy that gave me my breakthrough for Kocoon Spa was no.1: Risk Reversal to increase the number of clients, so let's dive in.

4. The Risk Reversal Strategy

Risk reversal is a strategy where you reduce or remove the risk of a transaction for a client. This directly addresses their fear about investing and increases their confidence in you, making them more likely to buy from you at a later point.
For a start, Kocoon Spa already offers a full satisfaction guarantee to all clients. We wanted to be known for our commitment to excellence, so if a customer wasn't delighted with their spa treatment experience, we promised they could have the treatment again at no extra cost.

So, let's go back to my friend Ji and me sitting in front of our Excel spreadsheets, looking at numbers that weren't adding up that day. 

We realized two things.

#1: More than 90% of clients returned within three months after their first visit. They liked the spa! Customer dissatisfaction wasn't an issue.
#2: The percentage of new clients needed to be higher and more regular. We concluded that we needed to increase the frequency of this conversion more rapidly for the business to survive.

We took a big chance with the risk reversal technique to get more new clients in the door of Kocoon Spa by approaching local gourmet international supermarkets and asking them to offer 300 RMB (45$) spa vouchers to all of their customers and 500 RMB (75$) vouchers to their best customers. We donated at least a thousand vouchers! It cost us a lot, but I was ready to try anything. And because customers could get a selection of treatments for free (such as a 30-minute one), some chose to pay more money and extend the treatment to a longer one, which helped a little to support our costs.

We renegotiated new payment terms with our landlord and tested the free voucher strategy for a month. And it worked!

It was hugely successful- so many people had heard of Kocoon Spa, and the voucher with a limited-time offer was the final push they needed to go and give it a try. 
Today, I one hundred percent believe that this strategy reversed the story of Kocoon Spa and even saved us from bankruptcy. 

Acquiring clients at a break-even or a slight loss and making substantial profits on back-end repurchasing is one of the most overlooked and underutilized methods of client growth and generation available to you. (Jay Abraham)

Risk reversal strategies are effective across different industries. For example, a life coach might offer a free initial consultation or trial session. (I know some coaches may disagree with this idea, but hey, you design your business on your terms.).  I only give free calls after clients' applications, so it's a very selective process that doesn't take all my time and energy.)

Potential clients can then experience the coach's style and approach before committing to working together on a paid basis. If they choose not to work with the coach, they haven't lost anything. This process builds trust between the coach and client and ideally eliminates any hesitation clients might have about the effectiveness of the coaching service.

5. Tips for Implementing Risk Reversal

You can implement a risk reversal strategy in several ways, and here are some tips to help:

Communicate the guarantee and set clear terms and conditions to prevent misuse. I learned this the hard way when I gave out the free vouchers for Kocoon Spa: An event organizer came to use ALL the vouchers I donated for her charity event, and we had to stay open way past our opening hours to honor them (I’ll never forget that day. We closed at almost midnight and I was outraged and shocked by such behavior). So, to make sure that no one could get hold of more than one voucher and exploit them in this way again, we made it clear on the back of the voucher that it was for one-time use and first-time customers only. We also stipulated that the vouchers were only valid mid-week to protect our busy weekend periods.

Set a limited time on offers. You don't want clients to come and use the voucher years after this promotional phase. The point of the 'come and try' invitation is to encourage people to use the promotion at the time of the campaign.

Monitor the effectiveness of your strategy. We carefully recorded every voucher used to track which partner they came from. This way, we could harness these partnerships with more intention (by giving our partner unique offers and rewards, for example). We then recorded every new client in our system so we could send them marketing campaigns and encourage them to come back. We also asked for feedback from these customers for improvement. These little actions will help gently usher in the right clients for your business after your promotional offer ends.

Set up robust infrastructure and systems: Imagine that your risk reversal strategy is very effective and brings you a lot of new clients - do you have the infrastructure in place ready for this influx? Ensuring you're prepared to onboard and serve your new loyal crowd is vital. If you have a team, they need to serve the new clients with as much outstanding care and attention as if they were full-paying ones, so they come back and tell their friends and family about you!

Get the help you need to fast-track you to success before you hit a crisis in your business. A business coach has the skills and expertise to identify the underlying problem in your business and prescribe an effective customer acquisition strategy to transform your future. 

When my Kocoon Spa was on the brink of closure, I contacted a finance friend who helped me deploy a risk reversal strategy. Even though giving out free spa treatments felt counterproductive at the time, it worked! We carefully recorded the new clients and were able to keep in touch with them via our marketing email list. It saved my business!

You can consider using a risk reversal strategy to grow your business in many different ways, from offering a money-back guarantee, a warranty, or a free trial. 
The keys to a successful risk reversal strategy are always to include clear and reasonable terms so people feel comfortable and ready to make the leap and try out your product or service- and, of course, make sure they have the very best experience so they want to invest again.

Make sure you design your risk strategy in a way that aligns with your values and fits into your current business and life ecosystem.  For example, right now, I have less time as a mom, and choose a manageable schedule, but others may have more financial pressures. Do what works for you.

The right targeted guidance showed me that there was another way to do business, and I did not need to continue to struggle alone. It saved my business, and transformed my whole life. As a result, I've dedicated myself to helping luminary entrepreneurs go beyond even their biggest goals. 

What insights have come up for you? Will you use the risk reversal strategy to grow your business?



About Maika Endo 

Hi, I’m Maika, host of the Business Clarity Podcast, author of Focus & Flow, award-winning wellness entrepreneur, Evernote expert, and tech enthusiast. With my unique holistic coaching approach, I come alongside health and wellness entrepreneurs, coaches, mentors, educators, and creatives to help them build legacy-leaving businesses. By focusing on developing the right mindset systems and strategy, I help them attain what, deep down, I believe we all want:
  • Peace of mind
  • A life of meaning and impact
  • A reliable and abundant income
Follow my blog where I share best practices and my latest pondering on digital organizing and digital wellbeing, holistic productivity, and timeless marketing strategies.