Tips on Surviving your First Year of Business

Measure your actual progress by Reviewing Your Business Plan.

Use your Business Plan. It is your compass only if it is reviewed on a regular basis. Review your
Financial Forecast. Have your monthly expenses increased or decreased? Things are going to
change; so continually update your business plan and especially your forecast with those
changes. The key to your success is tracking your numbers.

Focus on your Customers.

You are in business to solve a problem for your customers. So make sure you over deliver
because I guarantee your business will get noticed. They will remember your exemplary
customer service and they will tell many of their friends personally or on Social Media about
the experience they had in your business. They are definitely less accepting today of bad
experiences. One survey noted that 86% said: “They were willing to pay more for a better
customer experience.”

Hire Nice People.

Hire people with positive personalities and then train the heck out of them. Put the right
people in the right positions. Having your employees work in positions where they feel
comfortable is only going to benefit your quality of service. By putting them in the right
positions you are setting them up for success.

Train, Train, Train.

A trained employee makes for a great customer service experience and ensures that you have a
chance to build a relationship with a customer. An untrained staff member is a liability to all
around him. An untrained staff member makes mistakes and ultimately costs the business

Let your Employees Be Great.

If you have a good product, then the next step in delivering outstanding customer service is
letting your employees be themselves.

The robotic or disconnected employee can kill your business. If you have taken the time to find
the right person with the positive personality, and spent countless hours training them, then let
them go.

Give them the power to make a difference.

Many owners and managers are so concerned that their employees will not “tow the line” and
follow the protocol that they stop the employees from being who they really are.

Measure your Service Quality.

Don’t pretend that everything is perfect. It never is. There is always room for improvement
when it comes to service. If you ask for and get suggestions from customers and/or staff, act on
them quickly because if you don’t, you run the risk of losing their respect.

Always ask your employees about their interactions with customers.

Discover what your best customers think is great service and give it to them. For
example, if you have one customer who comes into your business regularly, take the time to
talk to him:

1.  Does he have a favorite product?
2.  Is there a particular item he likes that you don’t currently carry?
3.  Is there an employee he really enjoys being served by?

If you ask questions like that and get good answers, then once again act on them immediately.
If he sees you going all out, he will be mightily impressed; I know I would be.

Reward your Employees based on results in two areas:

1. Sales
2. Service

By rewarding positive performance, you will encourage more positive

Be Active Online.

Whether you are selling a product or a service you must have an up-to-date presence online. If
you want to be found then you must be active on all social platforms. The more platforms you
integrate into your website the higher you will rank on Google.

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