10 Tips To Grow your Business-Business Advice For Entrepreneurs
Business Performance Ideas to Get You Started In Business
- In this economy when nothing is certain, EVERYTHING is (indeed) possible! Having owned a bookkeeping business since 1999, I have had the privilege of "operating" over 100 businesses. When the Small Business Association reports that, “two-thirds of new employer establishments survive two years, and 44% survive at least four years,” I can tell you honestly that they are not kidding! Less than half of the people who start a new business will last longer than five years.
- Although longevity in a business is no guarantee of success, it certainly does come with some assurance that there is a somewhat savvy business owner involved at some level. We ALL need help once in awhile, so I have gathered ten tips from my personal experience that seem to be die-hard winners when it comes to your business growth.
1 - Figure out what your customer/s buys.
Put in place measuring devices that help you determine what they like, where you can improve what they like and whether or not you can add services or products to their purchases. Give your customers surveys and provide postage so they are guaranteed anonymity if they respond. Are you in a single product business - Add a service. For instance, I learned how to do payroll and added it to my list of services. It guaranteed me a nice chunk of change every quarter and my clients were thrilled to have a bookkeeper who understood how to do payroll filings. Once I had that mastered I added the services of IRS payroll intervention - Whenever there was a problem with a payroll issue I stepped in and handled it. Two services added - Double bonus for ME AND my clients . For new clients I offered a file system analysis and update-Free consultation (new service - see where I'm going with this?).
2 - Realize How you can cross sell/up sell/ down sell and be an influence in your customers buying decisions.
If your customers are motivated by saving money, offer them a coupon or a discount or a free consultation. Ask them what they want and/or are interested in most. The answers will surprise you! At the beginning of every quarter I offered a tax checklist service for my clients to help them prepare for the end of year ahead of time, evaluate where they could save money and identify any potential problems along the way. Train their staff (or them) to take over some of your duties with them - Become their coach.
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3 - Understand that there is a difference between motivating a customer and influencing a customer.
Identify those things that you have control over and use them to your advantage in identifying new products and/or services that you can bring into your business - Can you become an affiliate of a product that would help your customers - then become one and offer that product to them - you'll get commissions from the sales.
4 - Identify clearly what you can control
If you are better at some things in your business than others then let other people do those things. If you can't afford to do that right now then see if you can get a high school or college student to come in for a career opportunity and give them an end of month stipend plus a commission based on the extra sales they earn you every month. If you still think that's too expensive then spend the next five minutes calculating how much time you WASTE doing that thing that you hate and really don't do well anyway and compare it to what you could be earning if you were doing those other things that you can control and do well. Do you think it might be worth getting some help? Now add the reduction in stress and frustration and do you think you might be doing better with - or without - that helper? Do you think you'd do better? Wouldn't it feel good to at least give it a try?
5 - When it comes to offering your customers a new product or service - Do your research
Are you paying attention to what they are saying? Do you hear their concerns? Or are you only tuned into your personal bank account? Not paying attention to the details will hurt you. Are you offering your customers things they will use or did you spend your time creating products they don't need or want? Telephone surveys are easy and can be done quickly by a third party who will report back to you with unbiased information.
6 - Have limits with your customers - Set some boundaries
If your customer is always right then you are on the right track. There is no substitute for excellent customer service. Are your telephone helpers trained well or do they lack some basic information that would take your sales from HO-HUM to WOO-HOO! For instance, call your own telephone support and ask some questions. Find out what they know about your products and what they are telling your customers (or NOT telling them), then take that information and use it to improve your service. Do your customer service people sound bored and uninspired? Fire them or get a trainer to train them, offer employees incentives for improved customer service ratings. If you have a product or service that does have limits then are you using that opportunity to find out what other things your customers want once they reach those limits - one on one coaching (for example)?
Is Your Business Running YOU?
Are you Running Your business or Is It Running YOU?
I am borrowing this quote from the book, The E-myth Revisited by Michael Gerber who defines and discusses the "Franchise Prototype." "Gerber says that, . . . "It's (the Franchise Prototype) a way of thinking about your business as one complete thing, a whole, you might say, that looks, acts and feels in a clearly definable way, apart from you. Independent of you. That if you run your business correctly, your business could be designed, engineered, and manufactured just like any product is: to operate predictably in such a way that causes everyone to want to buy from it, and because it's so predictably responsive to the customer needs, they would keep on coming back for more. And it's your job to design, engineer, and manufacture your business until it works perfectly without you having to be there all the time."
If you haven't read this book then you are shooting yourself in the foot. My book is full of hi-lights and underlining and exclamation marks and if I hadn't fired myself years ago I would not still be in business. I made myself nuts by believing that I was the only one who could do it all and that's what I did - Everything! Well, that's why more businesses fail than any other reason on the planet. You can't do it all - you're not that good. Nobody can if they want to succeed.
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7 - Decide what it is you want from your business
Define your goals. Are you in business to succeed or are you sabotaging yourself with unclear directions, motives and goals? Do your customers understand your mission statement? Do you have one? Get one if you don't and update it or review it regularly. Ask your customers how they feel you are living up to your goals. You'll get back what you give times ten - It's the law of compounding. If you increase your business 2-5% a month, you could earn a significant additional amount of income every single month. And the best part is that you can BANK on that income if you take yourself seriously. Do you want to do that?
8 - Match your business goals with your choices
Do you need time off at your busiest time of year and although your customers are counting on you, you take the time off anyway. It's like going to work drunk from lunch. Nothing you do after that point will matter. That is because you chose to lose your customers trust and goodwill. They will vote with their feet and will not come back. One dissatisfied customer will tell 20 people about the service they received from you, and you will lose them plus the 20 they told, plus any others down that line, but make one person happy and you gain 5 loyal customers more. Would you like to have five more loyal customers?
9 - Make a plan
Don't just guess. Write it down and commit to a plan of action so that you hold yourself accountable for any success (or failure) along the way. Plan for success. It doesn't have to be elaborate - plan for a week at a time and measure your results monthly. Imagine how good you are going to feel, knowing that you are going to get results from your efforts where before you were getting none from your lack of a simple plan of action.
10 - Invest in your business
You need good tools in any business, but to be considered an knowledgeable expert in your field with an honest reputation, you need to gather the best tools on the market. That means knowledge and experience, not just education and software. New computers and software are expensive, but as a bookkeeper I had to have to the most compatible and best and most current. Do you think I stopped for a second to question whether or not my customers would notice if I just got by on an old machine with outdated software. Or, do you believe that they might be looking at not just my qualifications, but my equipment, the software I used, and my personal mode of dress and care with my appearance? You bet they notice! They ALL noticed. Your customers notice everything - including your shoes!
- Business Plan Writing - Simple Business Plan Strategy
Writing a business plan is not a simple task, but if you follow these general and simple guidelines you can accomplish your goals fairly simply. Just remember that it is the most BORING and the most necessary part of your business.
- Small Business Startup Checklist
Starting your Own business is work. Money doesn't fall from heaven-Not at first, anyway! So you want to start your own business. Bravo! So, for those self motivated, entrepreneurial types, let's go!
- SBA: Small Business Administration Office
Looking for more information on business - Check out the small business administration!
Lead Generation Means Business Success
Ok - the gun just went off, get out there and get moving!
Unless expressly stated otherwise, you are not permitted to copy or republish this copyrighted article without my permission.
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© 2010 mwatkins
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