As a fellow small business, Network Depot has always found it useful to give and receive useful feedback on some of the key elements for business success. In this blog post, we will share some useful business lessons and knowledge that we and the small business community have gained over the years for the benefit of small companies of all types.
Focus on Customer Service
No matter what type of business your company is involved in the old mantra “The customer is king,” remains the same. Your company’s focus should always center on how to serve your customers most effectively and efficiently and on how you can maintain their loyalty.
A recent study by NewVoiceMedia found that 51% of customers will not repeat or will end business with a company after just one bad service experience. Related studies have found that it takes several positive customer experiences to make up for just one negative occurrence. It is important to strive to provide superior customer service for your clients or you will ultimately lose them to your competitors.
Your company should routinely review your customer service efforts to assess where you are falling short and to proactively find ways to improve the customer experience with your business. Some efforts that will help include:
- Regular investment in staff training at all levels including customer service
- Improvements in return policies and other customer assurance methods
- A concerted effort to respond to all types of customer communications and requests promptly and courteously
Work With a Trusted IT Managed Service Partner (MSP)
In general, an IT MSP provides outsourced IT services for companies in an effort to make their IT more effective and efficient, so that companies can focus their efforts on their core operations. MSPs also serve as important partners to their clients as they enable them to reap the benefits of the latest technology without researching it and purchasing it themselves. In addition, companies can utilize the expertise of their MSP to better strategize the most effective use of IT to meet their business objectives.
Critical benefits that come through working with an IT MSP include:
- More efficient, reliable, and scalable IT operations
- IT cost savings and improved IT inventory management/budgeting
- Freeing up of dedicated resources for utilization in other areas
- Assistance with planning and implementing a more effective IT strategy
- Attention to high-level cybersecurity
This wide range of valuable benefits makes working with a reliable IT MSP an important key to small business success.
Expand Your Marketing Efforts
In this ever more competitive small business world, making the right prospective customers aware of your company and your products and services has become even more important. Even companies with limited financial resources can use some of the following methods to reach potential customers:
- Create a promotional brochure featuring your products/services and customer testimonials and send them out to targeted prospects
- Ask for testimonials and referrals from satisfied clients
- Give occasional free workshops or classes such as “lunch and learns” to introduce prospects to your products and services
- Join relevant professional and community organizations
- Execute targeted low-pressure email and calling campaigns featuring business specials or invitations to workshops
- Keep local press, organizations, and forums aware of significant business events with press releases, articles, and blog posts
- Utilize relevant social media platforms that resonate with your targeted prospects
Value Your Employees
Your employees are your organization’s most important resource. The importance of attracting and retaining highly skilled quality employees can not be understated for the long-term success of your company. Every small business should expend considerable effort to find high-level talent and to provide solid compensation, benefits, and a comfortable work environment where they can thrive. Employees with a focused sense of purpose and self-worth will be more productive and will also reflect well on your organization to clients and prospective customers.
Another powerful benefit that too many small businesses ignore is the wisdom that comes from their employees. Nobody knows the company as well as the people who work within it, and they will often be well aware of the areas of the organization that need some assistance or a complete overhaul. Your organization should seek out suggestions from individual employees as well as from working groups and recognize their beneficial input to the success of your company.
Seek Guidance From Outside Sources
It is also often useful to get an outside perspective on what your company seems to be doing well versus where it needs improvement. This is especially beneficial when considering new marketing techniques and advertising tools as well as the development of new products and services. Trusted and talented outside voices will often provide valuable insight that your company can use to improve your products and operations and will help you more effectively reach the right prospects.
Stay Focused on Your Niche
A common refrain one hears from successful small business owners is that they started to find success when they discovered who exactly they wanted their company to be and focused their attention on being the best in that narrow area. In short, your company should not try to be all things to all people.
Your organization will most often find quality customers when they are seeking the limited range of products or services that you provide at a high level. In addition, when your company excels at what you do and provides superior customer service, you will more effectively retain your current clients and also find new business through the referrals of satisfied customers.
Stay Positive And Flexible
Nobody likes to be around negative or rigid people in business or in life. Your company leadership should always take care to project an aura of realistic confidence in every situation in order to reassure employees, clients, and prospective customers. Some useful suggestions on how to project and achieve a mindset of success are:
- Have well-thought-out timelines and plans that project consistent business growth
- Celebrate company and employee milestones
- Use any unavoidable setbacks as learning opportunities
- Make sure your employees feel that they are valued contributors to a winning team
- Ensure that your organization stands for integrity in all situations
In order to maintain flexibility, your company should also take the time to brainstorm alternatives to overcome difficult situations. These exercises will help leadership and your employees feel confident and prepared to deal with the inevitable challenging situations that every small business will face. The ability to adapt to overcome challenges is crucial for any small company’s success.
These valuable recommendations will help your small business move toward your optimal performance level. We at Network Depot look forward to working with you as your trusted IT Partner to successfully achieve your organization’s unique objectives.