As the owner of a small business, you no doubt receive a lot of advice on how to run your brand from friends, business associates, management books and leadership TED Talks, and blogs, but a lot of that ‘conventional wisdom’ is not worth taking. Here are 7 pieces of small business advice that you should NOT listen to.
1.) “There’s No Additional Room for Your Product (or Service) in This Market.”
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, nor do you always have to go to a completely empty area to start or enhance your small business. Starbucks wasn’t the first company to sell coffee at retail, but they were able to win the market by not just selling coffee. They sold an “experience” along with a wide array of coffee products as well as pastries. And despite the dominance of Starbucks, there are many other boutique coffee retailers across the country, even though there may be a Starbucks on the next corner.
You don’t have to come up with a completely novel idea. Just look to fill a niche that has a large potential market.
Not everybody is attracted by prospect of jobs with fat pay packages, especially if they have a desire to live life on own terms. There are numerous examples of people starting small sized ventures at home which blossomed into large companies in long run. PC giant HP’s founders started operating from a garage in Palo Alto and it grew into one of the world’s leading IT giants. If you have an entrepreneur’s spirit and teamwork and customer service skills, starting up your own business may be the best option.
However, you may want to try venturing into lesser known niche areas to make a mark for yourself and the company. Rather than joining an industry laden with cutthroat competition, changing taste of consumers and other hiccups, you may tread into uncharted territories and tap the potential.
We’ve all heard the mantra, “the customer is always right.” You and your business are constantly geared toward making customers happy and keeping them coming back. Like many other mantras, however, that mentality can go too far.
In most circumstances, it makes sense to focus on customer satisfaction. Still, there are times when this attitude may cost you more than you expect. In situations like the ones below, “the customer is always right” doesn’t apply. In order to keep your business running smoothly, you need to take steps to keep problem customers in check. Here’s some examples of a few times when the customer is wrong:
When They Abuse Employees
People are generally kind and polite, but they can get hostile when they feel like their needs aren’t being met. Putting a thorough customer service process in place prepares your reps to address issues before they become problems. It can also help them in handling angry callers. It is extremely important to stay positive throughout the interaction. Every now and then, however, the rudeness, abuse or even threats toward employees go too far.
By Lionel Bryant
No matter where you are, now more than ever people are using smartphones and other devices to connect to the internet on the go. If you want to further provide excellence in customer satisfaction, offering potential customers the opportunity to connect for free to Wi-Fi provided in your store location is a no-brainer. Offering free Wi-Fi not only encourages people to sit and stay awhile at your business, but there are plenty of extra benefits that the company itself receives too.
Drop shipping is one of the many strategies that you can use to fulfill orders for an online store. It is a relatively simple strategy, but it has some real benefits to it. One of the biggest benefits is that you don’t have to keep nearly as much material in inventory which is extremely helpful as many online storefronts are run by one or two people out of their home. Their garage or a shed probably serves as their inventory space. This means that they may not have enough room to hold many items in stock, but drop shipping can eliminate that hindrance and make keeping inventory stocked much easier as well as provide the additional benefits to the home-based business.
Get to Market Fast
As Practical Ecommerce points out, having a drop shipping arrangement is a great way to make certain that you can get products to market faster. This is because you don’t have to wait for the items to come in and, even more importantly, you don’t have to gamble on how many of those items you need to hold in stock to keep customers satisfied. You simply send the order to the manufacturer or a different warehouse and they’ll send the article out for you, with no risk involved.
It’s an insanely busy day in the office with everyone called in to work extra hours just so you and your company can keep up with customer demands and all of a sudden… total server shutdown.
It’s a nightmare! Not only can you not get any work done, which means you’ll be behind and possibly lose clients, you’re paying extra for people to just sit around. If only you had a server maintenance plan, you might have been able to avoid this problem.
What is a server maintenance plan? At their most basic, these plans are kind of like warranties or insurance plans, but describing them that way doesn’t really do them justice. With a server maintenance plan, you can make sure that your network is always running optimally, that data won’t be lost, and that you won’t have to suffer through downtime and outages that aren’t scheduled. Continue reading
If you want your out-of-state customers to be most confident that they are getting your lowest price so their shopping is easiest, you should call it a Minimum Resale Price (MRP). That’s because the law calls the lowest price that most often so using any other name makes you less responsible. Small businesses and entrepreneurs, therefore, can create a legal policy using this term saying that the prices they are selling at are their lowest. Businesses benefit from the fact that many customers are attracted to getting the lowest price and many others will buy sooner when offered it. The Minimum Resale Price was originally used by manufacturers to control the prices of their resellers but any offer can have an MRP. The U.S. Supreme Court re-calls it as that in the Leegin vs. PSKS case, using that term more than any other. The case opinion describes historic doubts about vertical price-fixing and more “innovative” methods of commerce that now make it possible, referring to the internet where profits can be lower and more competitive. Continue reading
How painful is it as a business owner to watch a customer pick up an item and put it right back down? You always wonder what their thought process is, especially when they’re so excited to grab it in the first place.
When you sell online, you don’t even have the luxury of watching them pick it up in the first place. You’re simply left to wonder why you haven’t sold as much this month as you did the previous. However, there are several reasons why you’re actively chasing customers away and not even be aware of it. Here are five things your customers are saying about your website right now.
1. “Where do I go?”
As small business owners become increasingly uneasy about the removal of tax breaks, increased taxes and potential new costs for employee health care benefits, there are a plethora of articles cropping up everywhere on how to tighten the belt on the budget. Cutting costs on your insurance policies, voice and data plans, and credit card processing are always advised on the “to do” list and companies are often told to avoid cutting costs on customer service, marketing and employee perks.
These are all viable ideas, but they all miss the target. Instead of only concentrating on reducing expenses, why not focus on what you can do to shift your mindset over to increasing revenue? Continue reading
We have A LOT to be thankful here over at MyCorp – it has been an awesome year, and it has been an absolute blast helping small business owners turn their dreams into an actual business. While we could go on and on and on listing all the people and groups we want to say thank you to, that wouldn’t make a very interesting blog post. Instead, we’ve narrowed the list down to our top five. Continue reading