We know how hard you work on your small business. We know the passion that goes into it and the satisfaction that you get out of it. We also know that there are days when it can feel like a really hard slog, which is why today we want to share with you 6 top tips, suitable for any small business.
Make time to listen to your customers
You need to ensure that you are always communicating with your customers. You need to update them on what’s happening with the business, share with them any offers that you feel they will benefit from and make them feel a part of what you do. This will all serve to breed customer loyalty, but telling them things is only going to get you so far, to really deliver to them you need to make time to listen to them.
By far the most effective way to do this is by having a face to face chat with them. They will appreciate your interest and recognise your enthusiasm to deliver an improved level of service to them. It will give them a chance to air any issues with you and offers you the opportunity to address them. It really is true that receiving complaints can actually be a blessing at times, as it gives you a chance to talk things over and put things right, A complaining customer one day can actually become a customer who raves about you to friends and family the next day, if handled well.
You could also send out customer satisfaction surveys or call a few up for some more specific feedback. Let them know that you are seeking to improve your portfolio or service levels and that you would value their input. Most people will be more than happy to help.
Check in on your reputation
When was the last time that you carried out an internet search of your own business? You probably just check that your website is running smoothly and leave it at that, but it is worth scrolling further down the page and reading the other search results.
People often leave reviews of businesses on various customer feedback websites so look for entries on those and take the time to respond online to any comments, positive or otherwise. This allows you to show yourself as being responsive, friendly and professional, as well as offering you feedback to act upon.
Prioritise looking after your team
It is absolutely essential that you look after your team. They are central to your business and you need them to be giving you their best every day.
A happy and motivated team will deliver a great level of service to your customers, they will have a good attendance record, they will work effectively every day and you will enjoy being around them. They are also unlikely to start job hunting so you won’t need to worry about shortfalls in your team or hiring and training new staff.
In order to look after your team you need to ensure that they are receiving fair salary and benefits packages in the first place. You should then ensure that they are well trained so that they feel confident and empowered to do their jobs correctly. You must then support and offer direction on a day to day basis, encouraging contributions and suggestions from everyone.
Demonstrate to your team that you value and appreciate them by looking for opportunities to praise their work, thank them for their efforts and treat them from time to time. A couple of bags of donuts at the end of a tough month is always going to go down well!
Carry a notebook around
When you run your own business, your mind never really shuts off. Whether you are concentrating on a thorny issue or you have a jumble of thoughts, tasks, ideas and appointments flying around your head, you are going to need a notebook.
You will find yourself thinking about random things like direct debit vs standing order and whether you should concentrate on Pinterest or Instagram first. Work really will take over your every waking thought, so make a point of always having a pen and pad to hand to scribble down any flashes of inspiration or questions that are niggling you. This not only ensures that you capture your thoughts, it also gets them out of your head clearing space so that you can switch off from time to time.
Seek ways to improve your efficiency
You are sure to always be looking for ways to balance the books effectively, deliver a better service and make your team’s jobs easier. All of this is certainly good for business and it is all about working more efficiently.
It can be a challenge to maximise your productivity, as you are likely to have put everything into place yourself. As such it can be difficult to see it through fresh eyes and find better ways to do things. This is where your team come in so encourage them to come to you with any fresh ideas or suggestions that they have that could make things run more smoothly. They are likely to offer a new perspective which can be really helpful.
Think about things such as how to minimize distractions, making the work environment more comfortable and ergonomic and look into automated ways of getting basic tasks carried out.
Ensure that you take regular breaks
This one is difficult to do, we know. But it is also absolutely essential.
If you want to keep on working to the best of your potential and giving it your all every day, you are going to need to build in regular breaks in order to avoid burning out.
Once your business is established, do commit to taking holidays from time to time to allow yourself to fully recharge. On a normal daily basis, try to avoid working too many 7 day weeks and grab lunch away from your desk a couple of times a week to give yourself a break.