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You Survived 2011. Here's How to Get Through 2012.
CNBC.com | December 29, 2011 | 12:41 PM EST

For the past 36 months, businesses in America have experienced an unparalleled challenge. Many businesses have collapsed under the pressure of the weak economy, and it seems those remaining are bruised and scared.

But business owners take note: A recovery is on the horizon, and the time to prepare and improve your company for future growth and success is now.

The slowing brought on by the recession has provided not only a cleansed market — where many competitors have vanished and only the strongest companies have survived — but also an opportunity to evaluate and tweak our systems to better serve our current and future customers.

As we start a new year, looking ahead to the eventual recovery, the following initiatives will ensure that surviving small businesses are poised for success in the upswing.

1. Determine customer lifetime value. Customer lifetime value is often overlooked when organizations develop their service offerings with the reason being that many companies only consider the immediate ROI associated with potential new programs. Because lifetime value programs don’t tend make the quarterly or annual return requirements, they get tossed.

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