Folks seem to think that there is some magic or secret code to building a business that works. I find that its much simpler than discovering a code. The ingredients haven’t changed in decades, (no, despite the rumor I haven’t been around for centuries) so let’s remember what makes businesses or projects work:
- In person or online the reception of a new client or prospect is friendly. Can’t tell you how many places and people we have been to lately that upon entering their website or entry door the mood was less than friendly and the staff was preoccupied with their phones, conversations, or both. It’s also a good rule of thumb, that if there is a designated greeter, he/she should be trained to seek eye contact and to use a tone that is personal in greeting, not a random, flat, welcome to such and such.
- The aisles in a store and or pages on a site are clearly findable, that the purpose or products can be found.
- That prices are listed on the items for sale or at least a general idea of what costs are for the services/products offered. Only online do we expect people to go into our websites and wonder how much we cost. Proposals are often needed, but you can define the level of product/services you range in. Many folks want your services but will not risk humiliation if you are above what they can afford. Not having some barometer of price would be akin to going to Target and having to checkout without knowing any prices.
- Be willing and able to call, email, and follow up on business. When someone hires, buys, or engages your business, be sure to ask how it went. Surveys are useful, but before a survey is ever sent, someone…a human…should engage in the simple art of saying “Thank you for your business.” A short personal note, a phone call, a short conversation while delivering or upon pickup. Take time to appreciate clients and buyers and they will buy you a ticket to more clients. Word of mouth advertising matters.
- Follow up and follow through. Regardless of the experience when you thank the client, be ready to follow up and follow through. If the client had a difficulty, you want to solve it. If the client had a glorious experience with you, you want to follow through to ask for a recommendation, a referral, a comment for your newsletter or Linked In, or to quote them in your website. Yes, link back to their space. Building relationships is a two way street and strategic partnerships, referrals, and community building online and off matter.
- Be mindful of what will truly help/grow/build your clients…know the next step. Whether or not you provide or perform that service, be mindful to know what the next step for your client should be. Help others grow. Be willing to share what you know. Take time to tender the fires of success for others. It is our goal at BasicsMatter.com to help our small businesses outgrow the level of education we will offer here at BasicsMatter.com. We are focused on helping folks put first things first, we don’t pretend to be the end answer, but we’ll be a great place to begin, return to basics, and to encourage businesses to thrive.
- Be Who You are. If you’re a plumbing company, then be one, if you create banners, then focus on that. Too often businesses try to do areas of contact that they are truly not prepared to support. When that happens consistently, you have a choice, either retool your offerings or recognize that you need a supporting branch or business to handle the reoccuring need. Be bold enough to say “We don’t offer that, but so and so is a great resource.” Honesty, integrity, truthfulness….well, basics matter.
- Love what you do and get excited about others success. It’s very simple to know who does and doesn’t enjoy working their job. Hire folks who love what they do and do the jobs you love. If you own your own business and dislike immensely one part of it, work towards hiring that part done by someone who is a raving fan of that skill. Folks each have their own gifts. I have a staff worker who LOVES doing detailed editing. It’s not my cup of tea, so she gets those contracts. I love working to solve strategy and growth plans, to work with new start ups and to problem solve business roadblocks.
Our jobs require so much of our lives, be sure to do what you love, it is your life you are spending on these jobs….spend them well! Be willing to realize your own attitude, your service to others in fact puts the secret sauce in your business. Your clients, your customers, will love you for helping them succeed!