It’s really frustrating as a consumer to constantly be let down and disappointed by every place I spend my money. It has gotten to the point where I rarely go out anymore because I just don’t want to waste my money on terrible food, service, products, and people.
As a small business owner and someone who has worked with small businesses most of my life, I have decided to share some tips to hopefully improve small businesses everywhere.
6 Tips to Improve Your Small Business
Hire People that Want to Work There- Every business that fails seems to have one thing in common, the owners complain that they just can not find good help. I have heard that from almost every business owner I know from restaurants to roofing businesses. It is hard to find good help but it seems a lot of the blame goes to the business owner as well. When you do find good help, you have to take care of them and the same goes for when you have lazy employees, you need to let them go.
It’s important to reward the hard workers that care about helping your business grow. They are worth the extras and you can only keep them if they feel like they are appreciated. If they see their co-workers slacking off and getting paid the same, there is no incentive for them to work harder each day. In a lot of cases, it seems one employee is usually carrying the workload of the entire staff anyway so evaluate each staff members worth and drop the dead weight when you see it. This opens up the budget and allows you to pay the hard working employees what they are worth, be diligent and let your employees express their feedback on the other staff regularly to get an inside look at how things are going when you aren’t around.
Offer an incentive to work hard and help your business to grow, if your employees can grow with your business they are more likely to help your business grow. Plus if your employees are happy, it shows and the same goes for the opposite. When I receive poor customer service from a disgruntled employee I never return because it’s not worth the restraint it takes to keep the crazy inside of me that they work so hard to summon with their negativity.
Make Things Right When You Fall Short- Mistakes are bound to happen but that doesn’t mean everytime you make a mistake your customers won’t return. If you right your wrong and take care of your customers when you fall short, your customers will take notice. This will not only create a better relationship with the customer but it will give you a better reputation with new customers as they will know they have nothing to lose.
This is especially true with restaurants, when a meal is prepared wrong or not to the typical establishments standard, offer a free meal to make up for it. Yes, you are losing money on that particular dish because you are making it twice while only being paid once but keep in mind that the customer will be back to collect their free meal, most likely not by themselves. This gives you an opportunity to make things right with your customer, serve the other guests again at full price, and let your customers know that you appreciate their business. This one tip will pay off big time in the long run.
I am more likely to return to a business that has wronged a right than a restaurant that clearly fell short of my expectations. That makes me think that they will most likely do that again which tells me it’s a waste of my money!
Don’t Be Nasty- Keep your establishment clean! Nothing will burn an unpleasant image of your business into potential customers head faster than a dirty storefront. This is once again especially true for a restaurant but it goes for all business, nobody wants to visit a lobby with a stained carpet, peeling paint, or dirty seats. Hire a cleaning lady to come in or make daily cleaning part of your employee’s responsibilities and get a handyman to keep up with maintenance on your space.
I can not count how many times I walked into a business only to exit as fast as possible heading for the nearest sink because I felt like I was catching a disease upon entry.
Stop Robbing People- Know your services worth and keep your prices within reason. If you can’t keep up with the overhead costs of your business without robbing your customers, you may be in the wrong business. Repeat customers are an important part of any business and if your customers feel that they are being robbed, you can guarantee that will not be back.
Offer incentives like buy X amount of product and get X product for free. This is a great method to get repeat business. You can create upsells in order to profit off of the free one like after ten purchases you get a free sandwich with the purchase of a drink, etc.
Every time I clean out my purse I find several reward type cards and am reminded to head to a local business. If it weren’t for these cards I don’t know that I would ever return to some of them, it truly is the only thing that stands out in my mind about a couple places nearby.
Advertise the Right Way- Advertising has changed quite a bit over the years and in my opinion, it is for the better. The internet has allowed the consumer as well as the business owner a way to send or receive information about businesses fast. Get a website, start a facebook page, twitter, Instagram, and any other platform that may help your business create buzz. People are used to getting information quickly these days and if they google your establishment only to not find any images, reviews, or information about what to expect there, they are more likely to keep scrolling to one that has any or all of these things.
Hire bloggers to visit your business and talk about it on their website. Even if you have not yet dove into the social media channels, a blogger can get your business on Google so when your potential customers Google you, they can find information about your business.
I am not just saying that because I am a blogger, I can deliver results to local businesses as well as big brands outside of the Cedar Rapids area. Email me to find out what I can do for you, check out the Contact Me tab for more information about how we can work together.
Word of Mouth Matters- Word of mouth is a little different these days but it still matters greatly to your business’s reputation. It is actually more powerful than ever, because of social media people can spread the good or bad news about your business within seconds across the internet.
Keep your customers happy with all of these business tips and keep in mind that the customer is not ALWAYS right. There will always be that one customer who is impossible to please so don’t sweat their bad review or posts on social media. All of their friends most likely know that they are impossible to please and their word probably doesn’t carry much weight.
Everyone has had a bad experience somewhere as well as an extraordinarily positive one somewhere else. Tell me about a memorable experience you have had at a business in your area.