5 Tips Lafayette, CO Small Business Owners Can Follow to Take Their Business to the Next Level
As a small business owner, wearing multiple hats and working long hours is expected, especially if your business is in its early days. But, for your venture to be successful, it’s important to develop the right processes which take some burden off your shoulders and provide the business with a steady structure to operate and grow. In this article from the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce, we’ll explore the best processes you should implement to ensure your business does not become a part of this alarming trend and can go on to become successful just like you envisioned.
Focus on Your Niche
As a small business with limited resources, it’s important to channel them into projects which will provide the best returns. A common mistake made by small businesses is choosing to diversify too early and wasting a ton of money, effort, and time creating a foothold in various markets and fending off competitors. The better approach is to play to your strengths and work towards becoming an authority figure in your niche.
Focusing on a niche doesn’t mean you can’t increase product offerings. For instance, if you run a gardening business along with the services you provide, consider selling products such as gardening equipment, seeds, etc. Rather than undertaking manufacturing yourself, create a tie-up with a reliable supplier.
Create Financial Projections
Poor financial management was reported to be the biggest cause of failure among the 71% of businesses mentioned above. Along with sticking to a niche, creating accurate financial projections is another way to keep the business healthy.
Projections are predictions regarding the business’s future financial position, which are based on past performance and assumptions regarding future performance in terms of sales, revenue, debt management, and market conditions. To create accurate forecasts, consider using accounting software that will complete complex transactions with ease and generate on-demand reports. As forecasts are based on assumptions, they’re never 100% accurate but are a useful tool for setting future business goals, creating budgets, making hiring decisions, and finding areas to scale back spending.
As a good practice, always make multiple financial projections based on ideal performance, average performance, and poor performance. While your goal will always be to chase ideal performance projections, having other estimates in hand help to manage unforeseen circumstances.
Make Customer Service a Priority
To provide good customer service, businesses need to first understand what is expected of them by their customers. Below are some key customer service stats reported by research conducted by ZenDesk:
Around 60% of customers say their priority is the prompt resolution of issues
More than 40% expect businesses to provide 24/7 customer service
Close to 35% of customers expect their customer service agent to be courteous and connect with them over their preferred mode of contact
Based on these statistics, work towards creating a multi-channel customer service pipeline that makes it easy for customers to reach you at their convenience. Additionally, consider using customer relationship management (CRM) software through which all queries can be catered to from a single platform. This will reduce response times and result in quick resolution of queries.
Implementing a Chatbot on your website is a great option to address repetitive customer questions such as:
How much time does it take to deliver the product?
What are your payment methods?
Is there a return policy?
How is customer data used by your business?
Create Omni Channel Strategies
Similar to customer service, adopt an Omni channel strategy for your sales activities. This will involve providing customers with numerous channels through which they can purchase and receive your products. Here’s a list of common sales mediums to consider:
E-commerce Store: Use an eCommerce platform such as Shopify to create a store on your website through which customers can make direct purchases from their phones or laptop.
Social Media Selling: Social platforms such as Instagram provide businesses the functionality to create a shop and tag products on their posts. While viewing the post, if customers press on the tag, they’re provided an option to purchase products from Instagram itself.
Marketplace Selling: Amazon, Walmart, Etsy, and eBay are prominent marketplaces where you can create an account and start selling. Given that these are established marketplaces with a large number of concurrent users, it’ll help your products garner more eyeballs and increase revenue.
Along with selling mediums, provide customers multiple options for fulfillment, such as home delivery and curbside pickup.
You will likely be using images along with text in all of these promotional strategies, but relying on PDFs is not always the best solution. Although PDFs are helpful because they retain their formatting despite the device customers are using to view them. But image files are much more effective for social media. Fortunately, it’s easy to change formats if you have the right tools. This is a PDF-to-JPG converter that will allow you to create JPGs in a few simple steps. Simply select your files and drop them into the converter. Select JPG as your file type, and click Convert to JPG. All that is left is to save and share your file!
Focus on Self-Care
There is a thin line between being dedicated to your business and overworking yourself to the point of exhaustion. The number of hours worked does not directly result in higher productivity, but pushing yourself to the limit each day will surely lead to burnout.
Taking ample rest is key to bringing out the best in yourself and your team. Additionally, given that you spend most of your time working, whether it be from home or at the office, it’s important to create a space that promotes positivity. This can be achieved through the following steps:
If working from home, create a dedicated workspace that is free of distractions and clutter. Similarly, at the office, keep your workstation clean of heaps of paper, food, and miscellaneous objects. A clutter-free workplace will increase productivity and reduce stress.
Decorate your workspace with the help of houseplants such as nerve plants, snake plants, and succulents. Not only do plants lead to happier moods, but they also purify the air of toxins.
Invest in an ergonomic chair that provides you the necessary lumbar support needed while being sedentary for long periods. This prevents slouching and keeps muscle aches at bay, allowing you to focus on your work and be productive.
By implementing these tips you’ll witness a noticeable change in performance levels which in time will be reflected in terms of increased sales and profits.
Curious what other local businesses are doing to rise to the next level? Consider joining your local Chamber of Commerce.