Is your company taking credit for a smooth business operation?

Top notch customer service is at the nexus of a smooth business operation ... photo by CC user rahulrodriguez on Flickr

Photo by CC user rahulrodriguez on Flickr

In order to run your business down the path of success and not failure, you need to make sure you are giving customers everything they want and then some.

With that being the case, what exactly are you doing to make sure consumers have all the options needed to make their browsing and buying from you as smooth as possible?

If you’re not sure, take the time now to put a winning game-plan in place to ensure smooth business operation.

Technology is a necessity for smooth business operation

Start the process by looking at what level of technology you are provider customers with.

If it is great, then you don’t need to make any major changes. On the other hand, brands with average to poor technology offerings for their customers are the companies looking for trouble.

In order to best determine what level of technology service you are providing customers, look at the following and see where you’re at:

  1. Website – Face it; your website is your company’s greatest selling point. Without a formidable website, your brand will have trouble reaching countless consumers, many of whom could be your next customers. Review your site regularly to make sure it is firing on all cylinders. If your site offers an Ecommerce store, it is imperative that it is running properly 24/7/365. With more and more shoppers doing their browsing and buying online these days, it is imperative that your Ecommerce store (if you have one) works flawlessly. This is especially true when shoppers go to the “checkout” phase of a purchase. Nothing frustrates customers more than taking the time to fill out all the needed information for a purchase, only to have the credit card processor fail. That’s why it’s important to use a reliable credit card processor. Even without an online store, always review your website, looking for any potential shortfalls that could have a negative impact on business;
  2. Customer service – Put yourself in the shoes of customers for a moment. Don’t you get frustrated when you phone or email a business over an issue, only to essentially be ignored? It happens more times than not, leaving many customers disappointed, a disappointment that can lead to them changing businesses. Make stellar customer service a priority when it comes to your brand. Whenever a customer has an issue with your brand (online shopping, in-person matter etc.), always make their problem your problem. If you stop and think about it, bad customer service will become your problem sooner rather than later if you start losing business over it. Your website once again oftentimes plays a key role in this department. If customers are emailing you and/or reaching out on social media, make sure you do not keep them waiting when it comes to response time;
  3. Consistency – Whether you have been in business for many years or just recently started up your company, consistency is something you should never overlook. How you treat your customers, how you promote your brand, even how you go about ordering supplies, all should show a degree of consistency. While there is nothing wrong with trying out some new initiatives (in fact, encourage this), most customers want to know that they can count on your business for efficiency and dependability. Unveiling some new tech initiatives, especially things such as mobile marketing (see more below), are great ways to increase the odds of landing new business;
  4. Mobility – Speaking a moment ago about mobile marketing, how much of a role does it play in your present business affairs? If the answer is little or not at all, change that moving forward. As more customers turn to their mobile devices to browse and ultimately buy goods and services, you need to have a presence there whether you want to or not.

 

In today’s world, taking credit for running a smooth business operation is something you should be doing on a regular basis.

No, you’re not tooting your horn too much to say you’re on top of your game as a business owner.

What you are doing is reassuring consumers that you are a brand they can trust.

When you do that, your business stands to reap the public relations and financial benefits for all to see.

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How to Avoid Startup Failure

Despite the growing popularity of startups, small companies and independent businesses fail each and every year. While some companies fail due to product errors, a dip in the market, or, unfortunately, a particularly bad idea, many companies actually have the skills, product (or service), and passion to build a financially stable company.

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However, there are key mistakes many startup owners make, unknowingly sealing their businesss fate. Before quitting your current job and opening the doors to your new business, make sure you have researched the venture adequately, and know to avoid these specific mistakes:

Hiring In-House for All Positions

Small businesses should avoid hiring in-house employees for all positions. When building a business, the beginning financial stages tend to fluctuate dramatically, and hiring too many employees on can lead to an unstable financial structure. Moreover, in todays economic business age, many businesses are downsizing marginally, using third party companies to outsource certain business tasks to, such as accounting, payroll, and other human resource positions.

Companies like National PEO work to provide small and large companies alike the ability to delegate tasks and work more efficiently by outsourcing. This is a smart business practice, as you are not only confident in the ability of the company, rather than relying on an employee, it also saves you a great deal of money.

Being Unprepared

Starting your own business will turn your life upside-down temporarily. First-time business owners are often not prepared for the upset running a company brings to their accustomed lifestyle, as they find themselves working more hours for less pay. This unexpected change can leave business owners feeling drained and overwhelmed, thus it is important to ensure that if you are going to start a business, you are prepared for the changes.

Thinking Your Product Is Your Business

Many people have a brilliant idea for a product or service, but they have absolutely no idea how to run a business. More often than not, they attempt to build their business around the product, but, unfortunately, that often leads to quick success but longterm failure.

While a product does solve a problem, providing customers with an answer to a need, it is not a stable foundation for a business, as it does not bring customers back to a business. There needs to be something deeper within the business than a product.

Ignoring the Market Research

Many people who believe they have a great idea often ignore the market research, especially if the research is telling them they need to change their business plan. Most first-time entrepreneurs are guilty of holding onto their idea and being resistant to change, as they are adamant that their idea will work.

There is nothing wrong with hanging onto an idea that you believe in, as it is critical to be passionate about your business if you want to be successful; however, when the market and experts are educating you on tweaking your idea, it is a wise idea to heed their advice. The results are usually astounding, as their expertise can provide you with the link you were missing before.

Expecting Overnight Success

Unfortunately, all businesses take a great deal of time to pick up momentum. Many new owners underestimate the amount of time it will actually take to sell a product, find clients, or, generally speaking, turn a profit. It can be easy to attribute the competition you are facing to getting lucky or having overnight success, but building a solid business takes time and dedication. Most overnight success stories are filled with financial woes, sleepless nights, and plenty of almost-failures, but they managed to overcome the problems and build a stable business. Thus, when starting a company, do not be surprised at the amount of time it takes for you to grow. Keep your head down, work hard, and visualize the future success.

Believing Money Solves All Problems

Many business owners are guilty of thinking that if they could just turn a profit, find financing, or make another sale, all their problems would be solved. While all of those thoughts might be helpful to the business, it will not solve all of the businesses problems. Throwing money at problems will never solve them, thus you need to fix the holes in your business model first.

These tips can help you avoid devastating mistakes that could lead to ultimate failure.

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Come Home to Assisting Others in the Community

Running a home business keeps many men and women busy for more hours than they might like at times.

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That said having your own business out of your residence doesn’t mean you can’t reach out to help others as many small and larger companies do on a regular basis. While the latter oftentimes have more resources to help individuals and families both locally and nationally, those working out of their homes with a business can do many good things for people in need.

While you may think that you don’t have enough resources in place to assist others, there are myriad of ways you can do just that. It oftentimes just comes down to a little time and effort on your part.

So, are you ready to reach out to your community as a business leader and give a helping hand to others?

Put Your Business to Good Use

In order to do good things for those in your community, try these ideas as a home business owner:

  1. Community – There are likely many fund-raising type events going on in your local community on a regular basis, so get active in them if you are not already. You can work with other business owners, the local chamber of commerce and so on to make good things happen for others. It is not uncommon for home business owners in communities to network with one another, so this is another avenue of outreach. Get together with other home business owners and do some brainstorming as to how you and others can assist individuals and families locally. If there are local fairs and other such events going on, make sure you register to attend. Not only are you showing others in the community that you are there to help, it is also good public relations for your home business;
  2. Nationally – Many of the bigger-named brands are regularly active in doing good things for others on both a local and national level. Las Vegas Sands Corporation is a good example of a business that has done a number of outreach efforts for those in the communities it is present in and elsewhere for that matter. From a Las Vegas reading week – that is going into some local elementary schools to read to children and provide books for the kids – to embracing International Mentoring Day through a UNLV Partnership – the company has been an active player. While you likely do not have the resources of a brand like this or others that are active both nationally and worldwide, you can learn from their activities. Take a look and see how you can do likewise on a smaller and more local level;
  3. Socializing – If you’re not already using social media to promote your home business brand, what are you waiting for? Social media is a great tool to use for your home business, one that can certainly be used when you want to do good things for others in your community. Look to blog posts or create your own that discuss fund-raisers, reading events, special runs and walks etc. on a local level. You can also turn to forums on local websites and even in your area newspaper/s or magazine/s that discuss events to help raise funds for others. Social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram etc. are also good avenues to travel down. If you have a business Facebook page, put a post on there about a fund-raising event that your home business would like to sponsor and/or participate in. Share the post with as many people locally as possible. In a short amount of time, that post will hopefully circulate among others in your area, allowing it to get maximum exposure. Also look for similar posts that others running businesses in your community have posted, providing them with ideas and your participation in if you so choose.

While it will of course take up some of your time, helping others in need is a very rewarding thing that one can do in life.

In the end, it may also help drive some business your way, something every home business owner is sure to appreciate.

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