A friend of mine is going through a change with her business. She opted out of a franchise agreement and is now going independent.
She had a momentary bout of panic when the franchise webpage listed her store as "closed". She wasn't closed. She was open. Just doing business under a different name. How were people going to find her?
After we discussed all the steps for getting the new name out (press releases, ads, new website, owning her Google Place, contacting her networks to update her info with them, emails, Facebook, Twitter, etc), I reminded her of one simple thing:
She was the same person doing the same business in the same location with the same Core Values and the same vision and mission.
None of that had changed. And by her own estimate, 90% of her customers did business with her, not the name on the sign. All the extra advertising and on-the-pavement sales she had planned for the transition would help her pick up that other 10% in no time at all. In fact, based on what we discussed, I expect she'll be at 110% within a couple months.
People do business with people.
You can do all the advertising you want, but if your people aren't performing, your business will suffer. Likewise, if your people are outstanding, you can overcome almost anything. It is your people that get customers to come back and bring their friends.
Put your money into your people and no matter what curve balls come your way, you'll knock 'em out of the park.
PS Put more emphasis on hiring the right people to begin with. That makes the training easier. Yes, training. If your business relies on repeat and referral traffic, your training budget should far exceed your advertising budget.