Look out for new opportunities

Duncan D’Ewes

Duncan D’Ewes

Chief business officer ,Horizon fitness

The last two years have been tough on business across most sectors in Oman. The austerity measures that have been implemented by the government, private sector companies as well as individuals means that we all need to work that much harder to keep growing our businesses.

The fitness industry (like many other industries) is highly focused on acquiring new customers. Our marketing efforts and sales policies are primarily focused on new business. We came to the conclusion that all our marketing and sales efforts were being directed at the same people, that is to say: people that had an interest in being fit and healthy. With the slowdown in the market it became critical for us to look for new opportunities that would we could serve. We needed to find a new segment in the market where our services would be relevant.

Our approach and policy was to actively engage with and listen to our customers’ needs and to act (or react) appropriately based on the feedback that we received.

The policy followed the following principles:

Customers have a lifetime value (LTV) i.e. the total amount they will spend with you during their lifetime as a customer. From this perspective, spending time to build trust and nurture a relationship with your customers, so they continue to supporting you, is time and money well spent. This is an ‘investment’ in your relationship, it is not a cost.

Keep adding value by listening to what your customers want and improving what you do for them. This could just be delivering an existing service with added benefits, or it could mean proactively introducing them to a new idea. If you’re not sure what this could be, look outside your industry for inspiration.

Engagement: Stay in regular touch with your customers, not just when you want to sell them something.

Regularly update your knowledge and adopt new techniques and technologies to get ahead of the game.

An example of this process in execution for Horizon has been the establishment of a dedicated B2B business unit – Horizon Integrated Solutions. Through our interaction with clients we discovered that many companies in Oman were looking for ways to provide benefits to staff without incurring costs. Staff retention has become critical in the current economic conditions.

We reacted to this by developing our Wellness programme that is executed on behalf of HR departments. The programs makes use of our existing business structures and is focused on educating and inspiring people to make healthy lifestyle choices. Using trackable data we were able to move away from being a gym vendor to a full-fledged wellness partner increasing our appeal and relevance and allowing us to find a whole new market where our products and services were relevant.

In conclusion, I believe that looking for opportunities for your business will often come by engaging with people who are not in your industry. The economic downturn has in itself created new opportunities for us to grow our business. Remain open to change and feedback and never stop looking.

Look out for new opportunities
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