Most Common Ways Your Business Might Be Falling Short

customer service, Online presence

You may have been running your small business for a while, or you could be only just looking into starting an online business now. Whatever stage you are at, it’s always a good idea to return to the basics and make sure that the foundations of your growing empire are sound. It can be very easy to keep your eyes planted firmly on the horizon when trying to grow your business, but it is also important to look closer to home and make sure that everything is shipshape. Below are some key aspects of your business you would be wise not to forget when it comes to analyzing how effective your business model is and can be.

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Customer Service

The core of any good business is its customer service. Whatever kind of product or service you are offering, you need to ensure that the whole experience is as relaxing and rewarding as possible for your customers. First start by asking yourself what the needs of your clients actually are, and why they come to you. Secondly, scrutinize how you interact with them, and ensure that you are doing all you can to meet those needs, perhaps even before the customer has realized themselves. Make sure that you are dealing with your customers in a way that is conducive to the success of your business. If you are offering a service or product to other businesses, make sure that you set the correct professional tone. If you are likely to be dealing with students or are working in a less professionally oriented sector, then being a little more informal and personable may be the step to take. Above all, ensure that customers can give feedback easily, either positive or critical. Both will help you mould your buying experience into something that is worth recommending to friends and family. Dealing with any feedback promptly, by either saying thank you for the positive words or addressing a customer’s concerns, will go a long way towards showing your clients that you are a business that cares about first class service.

Online presence

If you run a business that operates solely from a single location, this may not seem as important to you. But even companies who do not sell online should have a strong online presence. Having a nicely laid out and easy to navigate website is only the first step on the road to online success. It’s never been easier to create your own web page, and places like Website Builders make it even easier by detailing all the different options available which you can read about if you visit their website. After you have your website all set up and running, you need to ensure that your customers will be able to find you. This is where search engine optimization, or SEO companies, come in. They help you to make certain that your clients are finding your website first when they search for businesses like yours.

Marketing

Your marketing strategy should be well thought out, adaptable, and above all, effective. The key to your marketing is knowing your target audience. Consider who they are, what their other interests might be, what the best way to reach them is. If you are selling mobility scooters for the elderly, you may not have much success marketing on social media platforms like Twitter or Instagram. However, by the same token, you should not dismiss the power of social media. It is the latest step in the evolution of word-of-mouth marketing, but with a much higher capacity to be effective. Simple concepts, such as offering a chance to be entered into a prize draw if they share a picture advertising your company, can transmit your business across the globe within hours. The internet has eliminated borders and oceans, allowing small businesses to operate on a global scale, even in the very early days of its growth. You should also be wary of ‘putting all your eggs in one basket’, so make sure that you have a multifaceted approach to your marketing campaign. Radio, TV, billboards, and print advertising are all effective and should not be left off of your plan.

Specialize or diversify

If your business is struggling to elicit growth, you could have fallen prey to one of two possibilities. You are either operating in a market that is too niche, or you offer a service that is too generalized. As an example; imagine you were a plumber that only serviced and fixed one particular brand of boiler. You would struggle to maintain enough business to keep your company afloat. Better to offer boiler repair as a whole service and widen your market. If however, you offered boiler repair, electrical installation, cavity wall insulation, and kitchen fitment services, you would likewise struggle for business. Seeing such an assortment of services would make any potential customer wary of using you. The phrase ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ would spring to mind. You must take a similar approach to your business. If the service you offer is too niche, think about other things you could offer that would service your customer’s needs. A coffee shop doesn’t just offer coffee; it offers cake, sandwiches and other options that a customer might like to enjoy alongside their chosen beverage. If, however, you have become a bit too diverse in your offerings, it is best to strip back some of the extraneous services or products that you offer. The first thing a struggling restaurant will be told to do is to simplify the menu. It is better to do five dishes well than to do ten dishes poorly.

Hopefully, these areas of your business are already up to scratch. However, if you are struggling, it may be worth scrutinizing each one, in turn, to see if they could be the weak link in your business model. It is important to remove emotion from the equation and be completely honest with yourself; only then can you optimize your business and continue to grow.

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