And… the saga continues!
I’ve been in business for myself for the last 13 years. Whether or not you’re self-employed, there’s plenty you and I know from working for others. Maybe we don’t understand what’s going on in the background, nor do we always understand why decisions had to be made the way they were.
Here are the most important lessons I’ve learned throughout the years of a rather eclectic resume—some of these practices apply to our personal lives, too…
If you missed the previous tips, check out the links below:
Part 3 of 4
5 Successful Business Practices
- LISTEN to your customers. They’re not always right, but there’s often a need you’re not addressing. Once we remove our Ego from the situation, can we compromise? Often, the answer you’re looking for is right under your nose. Ask questions and listen for the response!
- Buy only what you need. I’ll tell you from experience, growth is hard. Most companies struggle as they grow, just as we do when we’re children. Keeping inventory is one of the trickiest aspects of any business, especially a start-up. In the beginning, only purchase what you know you’ll sell, or purchase for the most popular products. I spent thou$and$ in having too many products, buying labels I’d never use, and various product containers to appease the masses. It’s better to start small and lose an occasional customer than it is to put yourself in debt to please that occasional customer!
- Pick reliable partners. Before you approach someone, how do they market their business and treat their customers? What’s their customer feedback and what are their values as a company/person? What do they focus on in conversations—do those resonate with you? Never forget patterns, either—people rarely change how they do business, whether or not you want to believe it. It’s better to have 1 reliable partner than it is to have 10 scatter-brained partners.
- Build trust and communicate. Be authentic with everyone. Remember, everyone is a customer, even if they’re a business partner. People work with those they trust. Don’t give people half-ass answers or fail to answer at all. The old “I forgot to hit send!” cliché is a huge red flag. Don’t be that “scatter-brained” partner!
- Over-deliver. Never make promises you can’t keep—you’ll burn more bridges than you’ll ever make. But if you promise the bare minimum, what can you give as a bonus or surprise? It’s unnecessary with every transaction, but can you boost your happiness hormone by giving them a little surprise that lights up their day? How can you inspire others by going the extra mile?
5 Tips About Marketing:
- No 2 products sell with the same tactics. Skincare needs in-person action. Classes sell online. Food sells through taste and photos… Not every marketing tactic you discover applies to your situation. Be selective about what you spend your time and money on with marketing.
- Be authentic about creating a sense of urgency. Many experts suggest creating a sense of urgency to create demand. Humans procrastinate by nature; we need deadlines. But that doesn’t mean you make up statistics—it’s a cheap way to sell, feels inauthentic, and people know it. For example, when I say I have room for only 5 students, is that true? Will I REALLY close the doors tomorrow? See… I’ve watched too many campaigns to understand how they work (subconsciously, so have you). I rarely watch live broadcasts… I know I’ll get the replay tomorrow. How many times has someone told you they couldn’t fit you in for an appointment, couldn’t do the job because they’re overbooked, or extended a deadline after doors closed? It’s as unethical as bait-and-switch. Create a realistic deadline for a reason and stick to it. If you don’t want to do a job, politely decline. Don’t lie to make yourself important. Too many people are aware of sales tactics… most of us have watched the same “launch” sequence, know what to expect, and tune out. Stand out—be authentic.
- Put yourself in the brand. They buy you, not just your product. The world of commerce has changed a trillionfold since I was a kid. We all want to know who’s behind our products, what we’re getting, and many of us want to know what a company stands for. Be clear with your values and mission because THAT’s what creates loyalty!
- It requires consistent care and attention BUT…
- It’s not as hard as it seems. Just be yourself. Study marketing and if it feels good to you, try it. If it doesn’t align with your beliefs, no matter who says it, toss it.
Anything you’d like to add?