Most entrepreneurs presented with a small business opportunity want to take full advantage of it and see their business grow. It is important, however, to make sure that the company can grow without losing sight of where it came from and what made it successful in the first place. Writing for American Express' OPEN Forum, author Rohit Bhargava recently discussed five ways to grow "without losing the soul of your business."

First, he writes, it is important to create company traditions and keep them as the business expands. If there are no specific traditions, he says, create some. Remembering the company's backstory is also key. "The backstory is the reason that someone believes in your company and wants to do business with you," Bhargava writes.

A focus on employee retention will keep the "soul" of the business intact and create continuity, and Bhargava believes that keeping a sense of humor will make people want to interact with members of a company.

Finally, it is important for a small business to listen to its longest-held customers. "They remember what your business used to be like and experience it today as well," Bhargava writes.

The topic of customer retention was recently addressed by PC World as well. The magazine offered best practices for keeping customers, including making the consumer process active, including good customer service in the marketing message and using a word-of-mouth marketing strategy.




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