By Natalie K. Gould, The Week

If money is the fuel that keep a profitable business running, then customers are its fuel source. If a company’s fuel source ceases to exist, the company runs out of fuel and comes halting to a stop in the middle of the road. One of the best and most cost-effective ways to maintain a profitable business is to retain a loyal customer base.

Attaining new customers can be more costly and often more difficult than building and maintaining a relationship with an existing customer. Repeat customers can not only consistently refuel a business, they can also drive new business through powerful, cost-free, word-of-mouth marketing. In order to build your brand, you must build a loyal customer base.

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