Three things corporations should learn from small businesses
A comprehensive study of 1,700 small business owners in the U.S. shows that the smartest money management tactics that clearly illustrate financial habits of highly effective small businesses. Get equipped with the new perspective on money management with the best practices.
69% of small business owners regularly perform financial reviews. Every business has a pattern of income and expenses. Sometimes it’s bound to the season or the duration of projects and even the contract terms. No matter the reason, weekly and monthly financial reviews are an important exercise. It allows owners to understand the scale and velocity of your business operations.
47% of small business owners maintain a budget. Any budget is a way to measure expectations for results. Budgeting allows making more informed decisions. It also clearly shows the weak spots in any operation even before the problem has occurred.
52% of small business owners have a “tax reserve”. Saving an appropriate amount of money for taxes is allowing you not to consider it available for any other transactions. To be safe, set aside at least 90% of your prior year’s taxes, or 30 cents on every dollar you earn.
50% of small business owners actively reduce debt. Debt in short-term can be a good idea for a long-term business growth. However, long-term debt obligations become a drain on your budget and planning. So, once you have any debt, it’s vital to make consistent payments, reducing it.
65% of small business owners maximize tax write-offs and deductions. Take advantage of every tax benefit available. Write-offs and deductions reduce the amount of taxes you pay.
Clients: Service, loyalty, and reciprocity
Micah Solomon, a consultant, keynote speaker and trainer in customer service and experience have shared the list of exercises that can help eliminate useless customer retention practices. Use these tips to lift your customer contact to the level of art.
Train your employees to handle capricious and unhappy customers. “Negative reduction” can win the customers back. Any accident or incompetent mishap is equally uncomfortable for both the clients and the employee. Successful small business owners anticipate such situations and train employees in advance. Having a “negative reduction” system in place. Micah Solomon calls such scenarios “customer service recovery”. Becoming good at customer recovery guarantees customer engagement and loyalty levels you’ve never seen before.
Develop a corporate “dictionary”. Customers can be easily turned off by the use of the wrong language. Compiling a specific list of phrases for employees to avoid using, as well as a list of suitable alternatives helps. Create a dictionary for everyone in your company to use for customer service phone calls, chats, messaging, and emails.
Create a “perfect circle” – make the customer experience perfect from the beginning to the end. Same as with the fairy tales – the human memory selects “snapshots” to store. One of “mental shortcuts” is the brain’s assumption that the beginning and the ending are particularly important.
Getting back to customers immediately is important. The “customer timeframe” have shortened dramatically since 2005 when it was ok to take 24 hours to respond. Not anymore. In 2018 a whole day of waiting feels like years. The speed of reaction of any of your employees (via email or telephone or text) to the customer’s query is essential. The half of the same day or sooner, even if you don’t have a complete answer to the customer’s inquiry, is the best. Though it is better to start the communication right away and let the customer know a time frame for a complete answer.
Enable a self-service toolkit for customers. Let them find what they’re looking for themselves. Customers prefer to be in touch with a manager only when they choose to. If you force the customer to talk to you, because of lazy systems implementation or bad operation designs they’ll choose a different vendor. Check, is your FAQ page complete and searchable? Are your business hours stated clearly? Ultimately you should do a complete review of your self-service options.
Marketing: Keep it simple and close to home
Small business owners have successfully always used inbound marketing to meet their business goals. Some of them have done it so spectacularly, that they can share their insights for the benefit of the Small Business Community.
IDR Solutions was founded in 1999 as a company that produced extraction software for newspapers. By implementing an inbound marketing strategy, IDR Solutions could increase visits to their website to the overall of 125% in the past three years.
Goodbye Crutches, the nation’s largest distributor of crutch alternatives adopted blogging as a main tool. Consequently turning three team members into content artists.
Unger & Kowitt is a law firm in South Florida that helps people fight their traffic tickets. By using social media, they’ve raised the number of visits to their website by 100% in the past year.
And here’s how you can do the same
Inbound marketing is based on the creation of free useful content for clients and users, often without direct advertising of the company’s products. The main task of this kind of marketing is to generate loyalty from a potential buyer, to earn their trust.
First of all, get a company’s blog. A company that has a blog and publishes interesting materials has a much larger influx of customers than a company with one official website. The first reason is the impact of the weekly publications (unique content, regular updates, the long-term activity of users on the blog) on the position of the blog in search results. The second reason is purely psychological. When the site visitors see a lively communication, useful tips, and most importantly – no one is trying to “sell” to them on a corporate page, it builds trust. Users stay, read, subscribe, recommend and share your content and your page. Ultimately, even without selling, the public image of your company is gradually improving in the eyes of a potential buyer, along with the image of your products.
Second of all, get down to social networks. When the content is interesting, the users gladly share it with friends. Corporate pages and groups in social media grow organically. Social media should not be limited to Facebook and Twitter. Today’s important channels for communication with potential clients and existing users are Youtube, LinkedIn, and Slideshare. What is particularly popular in inbound marketing? All kinds of research, reports, instructions, recommendations, electronic journals, and books are the number one choice. Also, all kinds of webinars, audio podcasts, video seminars, presentations and expert advice are very popular. As well as infographics and useful data or documents.
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