Strong Businesses Are Not Built on Bells and Whistles
It’s just the beginning of the year and I am hearing so many people talk about being overwhelmed – already?? At first that scared me a little bit. The state of the nation and the business arena are in such a time of uncertainty that having people feel off-center doesn’t sound like a productive way to move forward.
After pondering this dilemma for a few days, I’ve decided that it may be time to think about just getting back to basics and down to business.
There are so many people saying, “Do this! Do that! Try this! Go here! Go there!” And I know when I talk with my Mastermind group members and coaching clients that that sometimes makes them feel like they are behind and always playing catch-up with their peers AND competitors.
What small business owners sometimes forget is that the basics have to be in place and S-T-R-O-N-G before anyone can start going after all the bells and whistles. Yes, it’s nice to have the blogs, podcasts, videos and social media, but if you don’t have a solid service or product, good customer service and delivery, and a consistent relationship-building process, it just won’t matter – because you won’t be able keep the promises you make to customers.
So, if you are feeling like a fish on a pier, struggling to breathe, take a step back and take a big breath. It’s time to review where you stand and refine and polish what you have already built. Spending time on the following three elements of your business will benefit you more than any bell and whistle, no matter how pretty and exciting it is.
- Review your products and services. Are your offerings still meeting client needs? Are there some that need to be eliminated or others that need to be added. This should be your No. 1 starting point. After you determine what needs to go, stay, and be developed, take action and do it. But don’t forget that your website and sales materials need to be updated, too. If you have a social media program, include the announcements of changes in your posts. In other words, be sure that everything that touches a customer is up to date and accurate.
- Review your operations. Are people getting services fulfilled or products delivered on time and in an exemplary manner? It’s been proven that businesses that “go the extra mile” for clients grow bigger and faster. If there are hiccups in delivery, identify the problems and correct them. Maybe you need some extra quality control, a new hire, or a change in the process. Whatever it is, fix it.
- Review your customer retention process. Do you feel good that your clients feel loved and valued? If not, take time to determine how you can make them feel that way. Do you acknowledge special dates and achievements they make? A birthday card or a note congratulating them on a recent expansion, big client, or presentation will go a long way. Some business owners offer customer appreciation tokens or lunches. Even a stop in to say hello and check in with how they are doing makes a huge difference. Remember, business is about relationships – make sure you are building strong ones.
Get back to basics and make certain the foundation of your business is sound and strong. You will feel strong and confident once you do. Then you can select one bell or whistle to pursue – at your rate and in your own time. There is always going to be enough work and an abundance of customers so it is not a race. You don’t have to put yourself under constant pressure to do more, faster.
Instead, do your best to provide the best you can and deliver on time – with a smile and kind word.
To your success!