Friday, November 14, 2014

Once You Get a Customer, Keep Them!

How to Properly Manage Client Retention

customer retention, small business tips, home business
As many small business owners already know, one of the keys to business success is not just making the initial sale but also retaining clients for future business. Although many companies have found a formula for success with making initial sales, they sometimes struggle with keeping customers for repeat business. Transactions from loyal customers can account for almost 40 percent of a business’s overall revenue, which is why customer retention is so significant in today’s market. With this in mind, it can be easy to see why having a customer retention plan is so important to your business.

Have a Post-Sale Plan in Place and Share it with Customers

Although it may seem like making an initial sale is the difficult part, the more challenging and more important part of the deal is guaranteeing the customer will come back and do business with you again. This is where the post-sale plan comes into play. After making an initial sale, share with customers how you will be following up with them in the future to make sure the product or service they are purchasing met their needs or explain your businesses post-sale plan. This is a great way to show customers that you truly care about fulfilling their needs and meeting their expectations. When a business begins a relationship in this way, it is much more likely that client will come back and make another purchase.

Do Your Results Measure Up to Expectations?

Once a post-sale plan is in place, it is important to make sure it is the right one for the business. A great way to measure success is to measure the results against what the expected outcome is. By doing this, it can help reveal holes in the plan or areas that need improvement in order to boost customer retention. One tool that can be used to make these measurements is by sending clients a post-sale survey – ask them to rate their experience on a scale of 1 to 10 and also ask them what can be done to make their experience better in the future. Active monitoring of your and your customers’ expectations is a great way for a business to be able to show empathy to their clients when things do not go exactly right.

Employ Transition Marketing

Many clients are in the “not there yet” phase of the buying process – they have not made a purchase and may need some convincing, which is where a lot of a business’s marketing efforts are focused. But, once they have transitioned to the point where they do engage in business with the company, the way they should be marketed to needs to transition as well. Instead of barraging them with the same marketing materials they have seen already, start mixing in different materials like white papers, invitations to special events, and customer loyalty sales and discounts. These types of marketing campaigns are not meant to bring them in for the first time, but bring them back time and time again.

If you found these small business tips useful, you  should talk to Stacy O'Quinn. Stacy has mentored dozens of work from home professionals to help them turn their struggling businesses into a six figure income. For more information about Stacy and to find out how he can help you, click here.

*Photo Courtesy of jm3 on Flickr via Creative Commons License

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Make Every Day Productive

How to Minimize Time Wasting in Your Small Business

home business, stacy oquinn, dani johnson
Stacy helping another
home business entrepreneur
When it comes to a small business, time is often a business owner’s most valuable asset. But, what many owners come to realize after their business is up and running is that there simply is not enough time in the day. It is important to ask ourselves this important question when it comes to proper time management – “Do I really have this much to do, or can I manage my time better?” The thing about time is that it is not a tangible item that we can buy, sell or trade for – time is something we simply need to reclaim as small business owners. Here, we will discuss different ways to reclaim that precious time.

Do a Better Job Managing Your Email

An email box is often where business owners begin to work and somehow lose so many precious hours of their day. The tricky thing is, although it is supposed to streamline communication and save time, it often pulls us away from what we should be working on for an extended amount of time. When the email alerts to a new message, it often takes someone 10 minutes to answer, and then another 15 to 20 to get back on track with what they were working on. In order to manage this time better, and save it from getting lost in a black hole, designate times throughout the day to read and answer emails and, when working on other projects or tasks, shut off the notification feature so as to not get distracted.

Do Not Believe the Myths about Multi-Tasking

Many business owners, and really all business professionals, believe that multi-tasking is a great way for them to save time and get more work complete. Doing payroll, expense reports, answering messages and have a million applications open on your computer or phone may make you feel like a lot of work is getting done, but are you really getting anything accomplished? The truth is, this is completely the opposite of what we all think and only two percent of people can multi-task successfully. Instead of striving to do more than one thing at a time, schedule out blocks of time and focus on one project or task. Believe it or not, 15 minutes of complete focus is more productive than trying to complete two tasks at one.

Minimize Unnecessary Distractions

Technology, in many ways, has made running a business much easier and much simpler. But, every ring, ding, ping, and other noise that our computers and cell phones make can be a huge distraction to getting more important items complete. While these notifications are sometimes important to make sure that critical items are handled, the truth is that not every email, text message or phone call needs your immediate attention. In order to minimize unneeded distractions, think about using different filters on your email boxes and text message cues so that only the most important messages are alerted during different times of the day and, like mentioned before, only check messages during specified times.

Do you need help running your small business or in making your home business more profitable? Did you know that Stacy O'Quinn has served as a small business mentor to dozens of entrepreneurs using the techniques he learned from Dani Johnson training? If you would like to see how Stacy can help you, please click here.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Improve Your Small Business Holiday Sales

3 Great Tips to Help You Have a Great Holiday Sales Season

small business, home business
Improve your holiday sales
Recent forecasts have shown that a predicted increase in spending is bound to happen this holiday shopping season – a huge jump in money spent since 2011. While this may be a dismal outlook for buyers as more money is coming out of their pockets, it is a welcome gift for retailers looking to boost their yearly numbers with great Black Friday and overall holiday sales. Because of this promising forecast, it is important for businesses to start preparing for the buying season now to ensure the business is ready for this huge influx of business. Aside from the usual marketing efforts, here are some additional tips to help make the most out of your holiday season.

Consider Extending Operating Hours during the Holidays

The birth of online shopping has put less pressure on retailers to keep stores open later or longer during the holiday shopping season. Online shopping offers consumers the luxury of being able to shop at any time of the day or night. But, analysts say that customers are more likely to spend more money in an actual retail store that they are buying online. Because of this, it may be a good time to consider adjusting your operating hours during the busy shopping season, especially during the month of December. It is also important to make this consideration to help keep up with competition and make sure consumers are spending their money in your store instead of in your competitor’s retail spaces.

Think About Hiring Holiday Help

With the larger influx of customers visiting your store and website, it is important to make sure you have enough staff to handle the demand and still be able to provide great customer service. Many large companies like Amazon, Wal-Mart, Target, and others hire many, many additional staff members to help work the extended store hours as well as handle the larger number of customers in a quick, streamlined manner. By offering great customer service during this hectic time, it can help build relationships with consumers, making them more likely to purchase from the business throughout the year instead of just during the holidays. When hiring holiday help, make sure to express that the positions are temporary.

Holiday Freebies Can Go a Long Way

There is nothing better than a business that spreads the holiday cheer while consumers are out shopping for their Christmas gifts. Everyone loves something free, so consider working in some free giveaways with certain purchases. A great marketing campaign to employ is giving away gift cards or high value coupons with a certain purchase. This not only entices consumers to shop with you during the holiday season, but it also encourages them to shop again when the holidays have ended. If you really want to boost sales after the holidays, consider having the gift cards or coupons only be good starting after the busy holiday season – this helps to guarantee a boost in sales later down the line.

Is your small business ready for the holiday season? If you enjoyed this tip, check out our blog every week for tips on starting your own home business, small business mentoring, and so much more! If you would like to see our other tips not, click here.

*Photo Courtesy of Roberto Verzo via Creative Commons License

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Handling Difficult Customer Complaints

Tips for How to Properly Handle Customer Complaints in Your Small Business

handling customer complaints, small business
How do you handle
customer complaints?
As all business owners should know, building a base of repeat customers and business is the key to building a successful company that generates profits. While most or all of our efforts should be focused on this achieving this goal, it is important to understand that building these important relationships is not always as easy as it seems. Because bumps in the road are inevitable, it is important to have a plan to deal with unhappy customers and complaints in a way to helps to build and continue a positive relationship with them. The way a business and a business owner handle these delicate situations will help to encourage customers to come back and do business with them time and time again.

Do Homework on Potentially Difficult Customers

It is sometimes impossible to know whether or not a customer will become difficult and unpleasant to work with. But, when you have an initial vibe or inclination that they may be, it is always a good idea to do your homework on the organization. Consider asking for references from other companies who may have worked with them before and find out whether or not the company in question was pleasant to work with and paid their invoices on time. Once you have an idea of what the interactions with that business will be like, it will be much easier to put certain safeguards in place to make sure the transactions go smoothly and the relationship remains positive through the relationship.

Lay-Out the Scope of Work and Acquire a Signed Agreement

When dealing with a potentially difficult customer, it is always a best practice to have the customer sign an agreement for the scope of work before any actual work begins. This is a great time to discuss what the customer expects from you and your business ahead of time in order to make sure their needs are being met. Additionally, consider asking for a 50 percent deposit on the work being done along with the signed agreement – this will help you to have leverage over the customer should they become difficult to work with or decide they do not wish to pay for your services. Having these safeguards in place will help to protect you, your business, and your time investment in engaging the customer on a particular project.

Do Not Jump to Offer a Discount

In the event that a difficult customer is unhappy with a project, product or service, do not be too quick to offer them a refund or a discount on the price. This is a good time to sit down with the customer and find out exactly why they are unhappy and come to a mutual agreement that works for both parties. If a discount will help to bring potential for more business, it is definitely appropriate to offer one. For example, if a customer is unhappy with a service, offer them to have the service done again at a discount – this will bring you more business if the problems are solved and a refund is not given. While the general rule of thumb remains that "the customer is always right," you still need to keep the overall well-being and profitability of your business in mind. 

Do you need more small business tips? Stacy O'Quinn can help you! Stacy has helped dozens of entrepreneurs create a six figure income and he would love to help you too! For more information about Stacy and to learn how he can help you, click here.

*Photo Courtesy of ttarasiuk via Creative Commons License

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Tips for Day-to-Day Management of Your Small Business

3 Simple Tips to Help Better Manager Your Business

stacy oquinn, dani johnson, small business
Stacy lecturing at a
Dani Johnson Conference
Owning your own business and being your own boss is a dream that many people have, but only some can ever fulfill. For a few determined, hardworking people, this dream has become a reality and they are ready to being running their company day to day. Opening a business is a huge amount of effort and getting the business up and running is a large accomplishment within itself. But, once the business is open, there are more hurdles that will inevitably come down the line. Running a business day-to-day is another challenge, but by following a few simple tips, it can be much easier to manage in the long run.

Always Remember to Promote Your Small Business

Where many small businesses fail is in the inability to be able to effectively market its products and/or services as well as being able to grow the business through sales. Marketing is very important to all businesses big and small, so it is important to make the time and monetary investment in this area of the company. Equally important to investing time in marketing – signs, banners, email campaigns, social media, mailings, and so on – it is also important to get to know your target market and make sure you are advertising in a way that motivates consumer to buy from your business. By approaching marketing in this way, you can make the most out of the time and money that is spent by spending it on customers who want to buy.

Manage Cash Flow Carefully

Cash flow is the lifeblood of any business, so it is no surprise that all business owners monitor this area very carefully and it usually becomes their top priority. Not only should it be monitored, it should also be evaluated for any problems or ways in which it can be improved. While this may seem like a lot of work, there are some tools out there that can help business owners stay on top of their cash flow. For example, a cash flow forecaster allows you to look at running costs and help to determine how much funding will be needed to stay in business throughout the year. Additionally, this tool can help you to identify weaknesses within the business’s cash flow and help to make sure invoices are paid on time.

Stay on Top of Risk Management

Risk management is an important part of business, but an area that most owners do not worry about until they need it. In order to spend less time worrying and more time building a business, it is important to put risk management procedures in place from the birth of the company. It is important to invest in adequate insurance including coverage for tools and equipment that is needed to keep the company running. Additionally, it is important to think about your business’s reputation with customers when thinking about risk management as well – make sure to have a continuity plan in place, have a diverse customer base, and monitor what is being said about your business in social media and online forums.

Would you like more help making your small business better? Did you know that Stacy O'Quinn has helped dozens of entrepreneurs either improve their small business or create one? If you would like to contact Stacy to find out how he can help you create a lucrative home business or improve your already existing business, click here.