“We were very fortunate. We lost everything in Hurricane Irma.”
That’s not something you generally hear after a disaster, but one that smart business owners are adapting and adopting – adapting to changing conditions and adopting a great new attitude to take advantage of our “new normal” world.
Consider face masks. When we were first encouraged to wear masks to prevent spreading COVID-19, most were one size fits all. Which was not only incorrect but painful.
Today, we have comfortable, one-piece fabric masks with ear holes cut into the mask. And I just got a mask with adjustable elastic bands.
This is capitalism: It sees the market shift, companies respond and everyone wins.
But you don’t need an incredible new product or service to be successful. Start right where you are today and make your business better. Here’s how.
Opportunity starts on the inside
- How’s your customer service? Most business owners would say their customer service is stellar, but is it just wishful thinking? Fully 51%of diners who were polled said that service was the biggest reason they would write a negative restaurant review. That was significantly more important to them than food quality or taste (31.6%), according to GatherUp.
- Solution A: Hire the best employees you can afford. Train them well and regularly. Communicate frequently. They are the best investment you can make in your business.
- Solution B: Pay attention to your online reviews and respond as soon as you can.
- Are you responding quickly? Respond to emails, texts and calls within 24 hours, but not to the exclusion of getting real work done.
- Solution A: Set aside time each day to return messages. The only reason to break that routine is if you are expecting information tied directly to the task at hand.
- Solution B: Use your email autoresponder. Create something that says “Thank you for your email. I am not available right now but will get back to you within 24 hours.” Most smart phones have an auto-respond function for text messages, too.
- Solution C: Hire a virtual assistant to field your calls.
- Do you show up? There is nothing worse for your business than failing to keep a scheduled appointment.
- Solution A: When you have an emergency – which is the only valid reason to miss an appointment – notify your customer. Set up a new appointment.
- Solution B: Under-promise and over-deliver. As much as possible, build a time/expense cushion into your jobs and be a hero if you get done quicker and for less money.
- Solution C: Many calendar options are available, including your email client, that will remind you of appointments that you feed into the system.
- Do you follow up? Former customers are your best source of new or additional revenue and cost much less to acquire.
- Solution A: Send a note or email to remind them you are available.
- Solution B: Give a special offer.
- Solution C: Make sure your customer database has not just sales information, but things like birthdays, family member names, hobbies, etc., so you can add a personal touch to your communications.
- How are you marketing? Who is your ideal customer? Hint: It’s not everyone.
- Solution A: Hire an expert to handle your marketing.
- Solution B: If you don’t have money for marketing, check out these almost free ways to expose your business to prospects.
There are a gazillion apps available for customer relations management, productivity, managing your calendar and much, much more. Go ahead and explore those, but understand that you will have to invest time, if nothing else, to learn and master any of these apps. The question then becomes: What is YOUR strength? What should you be focusing on? Outsource the rest. And you may not have to pay anyone to do those tasks for you, if you have supporters with the skills you need with whom you can trade services.