Running your own business comes hand in hand with a whole lot of perks. You get to create your own company that specialises in selling exactly what you want it to sell, that is branded in a way that you feel is effective, that collaborates with companies you want to collaborate with and that can potentially bring in a whole lot of profit. Rather than working nine to five in an office building someone else’s fortune on their behalf, you’ll work hours that you determine, in a space you see fit, working towards building your own fortune. This is all great! But it’s also extremely important to remember that creating a business from scratch is actually a whole lot of hard work. You’ll have to focus on so many different areas at once to bring everything together and get the cogs turning that it would be nigh on impossible to highlight them all in just one article. But for now, we can focus on a few of the absolute basics!
Every business needs a strategy. This is something that should be worked on and outlined from the very start. Put simply, a business strategy is a combination of all of the different decisions that need to be taken by a company to achieve a set goal. A good business strategy will allow you to secure a comfortable and prominent place in the market and will, consequently, secure you some impressive profits! It’s all good and well knowing where you want your business to go and what you want to achieve. But without a proper strategy in place, you’ll really struggle to get there. Every business should have a clear strategy set out so that staff, outsourced workers and anyone else working together to progress your brand know exactly what is expected of them and what they all need to do to hit targets and goals. You can find out what is corporate level strategy here.
Market research is something that pretty much every single viable business carries out. It’s pretty much any research that you conduct into consumers and their behaviour. By communicating and carrying out market research on your target demographic, you can learn a whole lot about what exactly it is that they want, what they are willing to pay for it and other information, such as how they’d like it packaged, what branding works for them, where print marketing can best target them and much much more. All in all, it’s a strong way to feel confident enough in a product to invest the money into its production. Generally speaking, market research takes the form of surveys, questionnaires, focus groups and seminars or various other popular market research tasks. It’s important that you get full consent from any participants and that you safely and responsibly record any data that you collect. This is important to conform with data protection guidelines. There are two main approaches to market research and what best suits your company will depend on your own company’s size, budget and needs.
For most small business owners, the best option when it comes to market research is to outsource projects with specialist market research agencies. These agencies have the details of numerous participants listed and organised in regards to various different factors, such as age, income, location and more. They’ll have plenty of experience in conducting market research and can complete all research jobs required quickly, easily and effectively. Shop around to find an agency that charges a reasonable amount.
A second option, if you’re a larger or expanding business and have the budget for recruitment, is to hire an in-house market research specialist or even create an in-house market research team. They’ll do the same role as an agency, but they will be in-house and consequently more affordable in the long run.
You’ve probably heard the phrase that the “customer is always right”. This is a key customer service motto. Sure, it might not be entirely true in a factual sense of the phrase. Customers are often wrong and many will manipulate providers of good customer service to benefit from refunds, exchanges, goodwill gestures and more. But generally speaking, this phrase is used to highlight that you need to keep your customers happy, as these are the people generating your profits and income. In short, without happy customers, your business will not stay afloat. Now, there are various different ways that you can provide good customer service and they can vary depending on whether your business operates on a brick and mortar basis, or whether your business operates online. Here are some pieces of advice that cover both.
Train Your Staff
The first and most important thing that you need to do is to train any staff that you may have in how to provide good customer service. They’ll need various pieces of information from you, as well as guidelines to follow to ensure that their communication with customers is up to standard. Some areas to focus on could include how you expect them to greet customers, how to answer FAQS and other common queries, how they should be processing refunds and returns and how they should effectively deal with any customer complaints or incidents.
Open Up Means of Communication
This tip is largely applicable to online businesses. When you operate through a website rather than on a face to face basis, it’s important that you remember to make sure that there are plenty of means of communication between you and your customers and that these platforms are monitored regularly so that customers get fast and appropriate responses. It’s always a good idea to still have a business phone number available for those who want to talk to someone. It’s also a good idea to have a business email address that people can write to. On top of this, extra options can prove extremely useful. Consider a contact form on your website, social media messaging options and more!
Your employees are also extremely important when it comes to your business’ success. These people form the backbone of your company and without their work you wouldn’t be able to function or make profits at all. So, you really need to keep them as happy as possible. Happier employees perform to higher standards, are more productive and are generally more positive. On top of this, the recruitment process is often costly, so you don’t want to have to repeat it over and over, rehiring for positions that recruits keep leaving. There are various ways to achieve employee satisfaction – and they’re often simple. Recognise hard work and achievements. Reward hard work and achievements. Offer opportunities for progression. Offer training. Conduct anonymous satisfaction surveys. Take feedback on board. Team building activities are often also effective in creating stronger bonds between your team members and creating a better workplace environment. This will all serve to create a happy and hardworking team!
These are just a few different areas that you might want to focus on when it comes to running your small business as successfully as possible. Each can make a profound difference and they can all work together to boost your reputation and profits! Sure, they may take a little time and investment. But all in all, it will prove more than worth it!