Most small businesses start with a belief in a new product or service that an entrepreneur thinks can satisfy a need or desire that people want fulfilled. Then the question becomes, can I get enough customers who desire or need my product enough to make the choice to actually buy it? Next, you have to figure out the most efficient way to deliver your product or service, making sure that you can provide it capably enough to become a viable business.
Then it’s on to the venture capital marketplace for financial support and a foot in the door to the free markets our society’s sublime business environment provides. A little bit of logistics, a dash of advertising and, pretty soon, you have a viable business up and running. So, now what do you do?
Here are four tips that can help any new business prosper during those nascent steps into the supply side arena of smart choices and bright futures.
Tip #1: Get to Know Your Customers
Customers, especially steady customers, are the lifeblood for any new business. They are the fuel for the engine that turns the gears of the profit machine that makes your business go. The more you know about your customers; the better you will be able to serve them.
You need to find creative ways to find out how your customers perceive your business. It’s not enough to just ask, “How are we doing?” You need to get inside their heads and find out “Why” they’ve chosen your product or service. And the best way to do that is by taking the time and effort to personally interact with them by asking, “What can we do better?”
One little personal encounter with a customer, by the boss, or at least someone in upper management, is worth 20 focus groups or market research surveys. Don’t be afraid to try the personal touch; it will pay big dividends.
Tip #2: Treat All Personnel Equally
A significant part of the success of any business is obtaining, using and maintaining a satisfied and invigorated workforce. And one of the best ways to encourage that sort of environment in any business is to lay a firm foundation for equanimity and fair play in all dealings with employees.
There is no greater instigator of workplace disquiet than feelings of inequality when it comes to personnel management. The idea that some workers are more privileged than others can quickly corrupt a healthy workforce.
So it’s important to treat everyone the same, like, for example, with something as simple as clocking in and out for the workday. Some employees tend to take advantage of the time-card anonymity and will clock-in their buddies who might be a little late, along with themselves – if there’s no mechanism to monitor this simple function.
One sure-fire way to stop employee attendance indiscretions is by changing your antiquated time-card/time-clock procedure to a biometric attendance system, which utilizes face or fingerprint recognition to ensure that employees actually clock in-and-out themselves. Then there’s no issue with tardiness or early departure – the biometric system guarantees that everyone is treated the same.
Tip #3: Use Social Media
Almost all of your customers and employees have social media accounts and actively use them to monitor how their lives interface with today’s society. So your business needs to be there, as well. This is the easiest way for your company to build and maintain a credible reputation, while attracting new clients and/or customers.
Hiring someone to maintain your company’s social media accounts is essential in today’s business environment and is probably as necessary an employee as a traffic, logistics or advertising manager. As a matter of fact, your social media manager will probably coordinate with all of your company’s departments to make sure that any messaging stays on point and that everyone in the company is on the same page.
Tip #4: Giving Back to Your Community
Strong communities mean more opportunities for profits by the businesses that reside in those communities. As successful members of the district, businesses have a responsibility to help those who are less fortunate and to contribute to the local common good. That’s why it’s a good idea to donate approximately five percent of income to neighborhood charitable organizations.
It’s also a solid tax write-off and an excellent way to promote your business and get the word out about your products or services. Photos of business people presenting awards to charitable organizations are great publicity and feel good stories for the local newspaper. Charity brings achievement to all those who share in it.