Owning a small business has a lot of benefits; you are independent, agile, and can provide great individualized service. There is a common misconception that huge corporations are often more trustworthy and successful compared to their smaller counterparts. While this isn’t true, here are a few simple ways to make your business look much larger than it actually is.
Part of the exhilaration of owning a small company is the flurry of unpredictable activity needed to satisfy customers and grow the business, typically with limited human resources. Unfortunately, with an eye on the prize, you see value in these experiences, but your employees only see the stress.
Frequent changes in direction and focus are necessarily the rule in most small businesses, but change is known to be a top-stressor for most individuals. If you can't effectively ease the tension, your employees are likely to burn out, assuming that they don't flee to more relaxed positions at other companies.
In a world where we seem to constantly interact with faceless corporations and cold, glaring screens, your customers are hungry for the personal touch. Personalized customer service is key to differentiating your business from the crowd, attracting customers and turning them into loyal buyers. But providing personal service in today's busy world isn’t easy. A new book by Peter Psichogios, The Seven Personalization Principles: Learn the Principles to Thrive in These Disruptive Times, can help.
At your company, when a “new” problem or challenge comes up, do your employees know where to look in case a similar issue has already been successfully solved, earlier, by somebody else? Or, to consider this from the other direction, when someone at your company thinks up a solution to a thorny problem, what happens next? Does anyone else in your organization ever hear about it? That’s what should happen. And here’s how to make sure that it does: Build a system.
You may have the best small business ideas in the world, but succeeding in business requires you to understand the business of running a business. Operating a business of any size is not like mixing together the right ingredients for a casserole and then letting it cook in the oven. It's a continual, evolving process, and you have to develop and tweak your processes and systems to make it work. One of the best ways to learn to run your business better is to pull together a board of advisors.
Here are five areas where you may need to shift your perspective – and perhaps your daily routine – in order to serve your customers better.
1. Although serving customers – fulfilling their stated needs – is absolutely crucial, it’s not enough to ensure loyalty. There needs to be another element, something emotional that involves the customer, that makes a connection with them. Think of the way a movie engages an audience. Build a movie for your customers and use it to draw them in to create customer engagement.
How often do you hear “our employees are our competitive advantage” from companies? Probably more times than you can count. Over and over again, companies reiterate this phrase to highlight the importance of their workers.
Acquiring top talent, and the associated new-hire training, is a major expense for businesses. This is why many companies believe their competitive advantage lies within their team. So how do you separate companies who think their employees are their competitive advantage and companies whose employees actually are?