It really bothers me to see an established business falling apart. Have you ever been into one of these businesses that’s been around for five, ten or twenty years… and it shows?
As a business owner, your business is your greatest asset and you have to take care of it. In today’s society, you have to not only offer the best products and services but you have to also look like the best. Here are five areas that you must reinvest in to keep your business at the head of the pack.
- Image is everything. If you have a physical location, it is imperative that your location is spotless. Even if you can’t or don’t like to deep clean, hire a cleaning company to come in weekly or monthly to scrub your business down. One of my pet peeves is going into a restaurant with dusty baseboards or dirty curtains. If the part of the business that is visible to me is not up to par, I can not imagine what is happening behind the scenes. If you are not sure about the appearance of your business, ask a few of your close friends (that you can trust to be honest) to give you an examination. Don’t be offended if they make some suggestions that you didn’t expect but commit yourself to improving your business appearance.
- Train your employees. Many business owners discount the impact that trained employees can have on their business. I have noticed that once an employee is hired, the manager may spend a couple of days training the employee then the employee is on their own to make something happen. This should never be your strategy when hiring employees. Each week you should seek to teach your employees something new about the company and/or products/services that your company offers. The more engaged your employees are, the better ambassadors they will be for your company. However, it is difficult to get people engaged about something that they know very little about. Have you noticed how enthusiastic employees can be when they first start working with an organization and then it seems like all of that excitement dies? Many times there is a direct correlation between their thirst for knowledge about their new venture and your ability to quench that thirst. Once you stop satisfying their need, they get bored and disinterested.
- Customer relationship management. You need some way to maintain your customer information and to be able to keep it up to date. Having a guest book at your register is cool but what do you do with the information? Requesting a name and phone number at check out is great but do you ever use the information? You should invest in a system that allows you to capture your customer’s information and then a system to follow-up with coupons, information or whatever is relevant to your business. People expect that if they give you their information, they are going to receive something in return. Give them what they want.
- Don’t take marketing shortcuts. There is a difference between taking short cuts and saving money. Taking short cuts is printing business cards on a home computer that you designed yourself. Yes, you can and it will save money but the finished product is rarely, if ever, competitive with a professional product that you can buy inexpensively from a company like VistaPrint. Even with brochures and flyers, you can print them yourself but people make decisions about the quality of your product/service based on what is in front of them. If you are not willing to invest in your business, then why should they give you their money?
- Networking. You must get out and tell people what you do. The first step should be to join your local Chamber of Commerce. In most cities, they are the pulse of the business community. They are the ones with the database of all businesses in the city and can connect you with the activities going on your city. You should also look for other opportunities to spread the word about your business in person and online. Submitting press releases about events happening in your company or industry may cost a little but can quickly establish you as an industry leader thus enhancing the reputation of your company.
I hope these tips help to build your small business. Whether you are just getting started or have been in business for years, you need to have a strategy to keep your business fresh in the minds of your customer. Contact me TODAY to schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss areas that you can reinvest in your business …. firstname.lastname@example.org
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