Thursday, September 15, 2011

Business Manners: People Are Watching

Some recent discussions with business friends have been around several issues that actually come back to the same basic issue. Which is "Why do so many business owners not put some effort into learning the basic skills their business needs?"

Web

If you are in business then customers expect to be able to find you online.

If you haven't taken steps to make sure you have a website that works, you are still online but not in a good way.

People notice that.

If you think that your keywords for your business is your name then you need to learn more about the internet and marketing online. This is basic knowledge that your business needs. Basic knowledge that you need to have in order to even pick someone to help you carry out implementation of your site in a way that is useful and can work for you.

Procedures and Systems

Your employees need to know what they are expected to do and to the standard that you wish them to do it.

Having proper systems documented means they don't have to guess and don't have to follow you around to ask you. Even better - the business can run more effectively, more efficiently and customers can be more consistently given the service that you promise and they want to get.


Social Media

No matter what you've been told, getting a Facebook Page ( or worse, a personal profile you think you will promote your business on) isn't social media marketing. Getting a FB Page or a Twitter account is the start. Not the finish and your work begins from then on. What will you do next? This is what you need a strategy for and good understanding of what to do - and what not to do online. Be assured. The next person who approaches you telling you that a Facebook Page is the answer for your business online probably knows barely more than you do about it. This is not what your business needs. But it does need you to understand social media - whether you decide to become active or you decide not to become active online. You still need to understand it.


Marketing

Your Yellow Pages advertisement is costing you a lot of money. How many jobs do you need to cover the cost before you make anything for you? If you are paying a monthly fee then it is still the total amount that you need to know you have to pay back to yourself to recover your cost before you make $1. Are you getting value for this? If you don't have a system  for monitoring leads from your marketing how will you know how well anything works?

How will you combine your activities for marketing and test where you get the best bang for your buck?  Where does social media and online marketing fit within your overall marketing plan?

A marketing plan is not a plan if it is in your head. It needs to be set out and planned and costed and budgeted for in order to be able to provide you with any good result and intelligence that you can use going forward for future years.

This is another area that your business depends on you to gain the skills you need to keep on top of this.


Professional Courtesy

You have a phone message. Are you going to return the call? Today? Next week? What about the quotes you promised to deliver? Are they delivered yet? How well have you set them out for your customer to study?

Too many businesses are just slack when it comes to those issues of manners in business. You got a referral from someone in your network? What did you do to show your appreciation? What do you do to reciprocate that act? You go to network meetings. How much thought do you give to how you can introduce people to potential customers and actively promote those people who support you in some way?

Not returning calls, not replying to enquiries are all signs that you don't care. Period.

Not paying your bills is a sign that you have no respect for the people who have provided you service.

When someone has to chase you up for things that are for you then that is a demonstration that you don't care about your business so why should they?

On the other hand, those people who think of others, who return phone calls and go out of their way to demonstrate quite basic manners really stand out and shine. With very little effort they can be standing above the crowd just with a few simple measures.

Which kind of reputation would you prefer?


Businesses Suffering


Every day the news is filled with yet more reports of new closures, more businesses going into liquidation and more families being left in despair over business failure. Many of these will also have put their homes at jeopardy in the process.

We need strong local businesses and to that end we need businesses to operate effectively and efficiently and to be monitoring their business numbers and activities so they know right where they are and can react to change as necessary. Not as so many do, to be just doing what they do, oblivious to the issues can run them into trouble.

Ongoing education is now required in many industries for technical aspects of the industry.  It is your job as the business owner to take measures to ensure that you are educating  yourself overall in matters relating to business, to your marketplace and to technology is being added to on an ongoing basis.

The markets are changing and the opportunities too. There is no place for complacency in a healthy business. These issues can look daunting but they are actually quite simple to fix. That small amount of effort can reduce a lot of stress for everyone including the business owner.

Remember. We're watching. 



Who have you seen in business that you admire who shines at being on top of all these issues in their business?

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