If you are looking to start or expand a business there are many things you should understand. I’ll start by saying that you should get the best advice from the most knowledgeable people you know. Pick the brains of successful business people, take classes, read, and think about visiting with your local Small Business Development Center. These folks, who I work with every day, are true experts at helping you learn and understand things you’ll need to success. Get in touch with them on this website.
I read (a lot!) and one of my new favorites business writers is a lady by the name of Ash Ambirge. She writes a blog in a pretty irreverent and refreshing style…and she has a list of “10 Uncommon Truths Every Business Owner Should Know”. Read her blog post here. I’ve condensed this list to the following:
Customers don’t mind complications–but only if they genuinely think you’re doing your best.
If your staff looks and acts like they don’t want to be there – why should you customers want to be there either? You are doing your customer a favor…they’re doing you one by making it possible for you to stay in business.
The customer may not always be right, but guess what? They don’t have to be.
Never forget it’s the customer that pays the bills. Do what it takes to build good will.
Smiles are your greatest business asset.
If you aren’t smiling….why not? If you can keep a genuine, friendly smile on your face (and on the faces of your staff), then good things rub off. It’s hard to be grumpy when a smiling staffer is doing her best to help. Smiles help customers leave with a positive feeling….and come back.
People buy the experience you provide as much as they buy the product:
Most businesses have competition. In many cases, the competition offers similar goods or services. Provide atmosphere, service and do everything you can to make shopping with you a memorable experience. Customers will pay a premium for a better experience. . Figure out how to deliver a more satisfying experience and then make it happen.
Don’t pay attention to what people want, pay attention to what people buy.
If everyone loves your hot pink motorcycle seats, great! How many do you really sell? Keep you eye on what actually works with customers, and find things like it.
You have two choices: Sell a lot of cheap ice cream to a lot of people who will never be back, or sell a little bit of better ice cream to less people who will come again and again and again.
This is called the commodity trap. When you compete on price only, then there’s always someone coming along to push the price down. It’s much better to be unique, in product or service. You’ll make more money and have less stress.
What do you think. Do you see application for these thoughts in your business?
Mike Lambert is the manager of the Wyoming Market Research Center in Laramie, WY.