Be aware of the potential business enemies that may derail your success.
1. Unsuccessfully Navigating Customer Relations
A primary concern for a small business owner is finding, developing and maintaining a customer base. How do you do it?
Start by identifying which demographic your product or service is valuable to and communicate these values as much as possible.
Get your fundamentals right before looking to expand your customer base. After you’ve nailed that, then you can identify and communicate how your services can add value to more people. Voila! You’ve grown your business in the right way.
Let’s also polish your customer relations to maintain a great reputation.
As a new small business owner, you’ll be faced with diverse people and problems. People skills are an invaluable asset when dealing with potential and existing customers (even partners and suppliers).
According to small business expert Lisa McQuerrey, good people skills consist of qualities such as:
• Strong communication skills
• Conflict resolution skills
Treat people in the way you’d expect to be treated. Sometimes it’s tough but your profits will benefit from it.
2. Failing to Plan Ahead
Many new small business owners forgo the creation of a business plan. Unfortunately the plethora of online advice misleads new entrepreneurs into thinking that they don’t need a business plan. This is not accurate.
While you do not necessarily need to create a traditional business plan that includes all of the typical elements, it is essential that you sit down and plan what you want and need for your business, no matter what products and services you provide. You should consider key areas such as:
• How you will market yourself and your product or service
• How your business compares to other businesses in your industry
• The ideal future for your business - and what steps will get you there
• Any legal issues that might arise as your business grows
• How you would manage unexpectedly fast business growth
• How you will sustain your business through hard times
The Australian Department of Innovation, Industry and Science provides business planning resources that can help you to develop the best possible plan for your new small business.
3. Not Accepting Others' Thoughts and Ideas
There are three key sources of external feedback that you should habitually consider.
The first source is your customers. Your customers will provide you with a wealth of information about what your business does well and where it has room for improvement.
Look for creative ways to ask your customers for their opinions on your product or service - and then consider how to implement that feedback into your sales process.
Secondly, as a business owner, you probably will not know how to perform every function within your business. In some cases, it may be better for you to contract certain tasks to someone else. Some examples of outside experts who might be an asset to your business include:
• Website designers
• Content writers
• Graphic designers
In some cases, a simple consultation to get you on the right track might be all you need. It may be wise to hire someone, attend events or find a mentor. The Australian Department of Innovation, Industry and Science offers a great resource for locating different business experts who can help you to keep your business going in the right direction.
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