Many small business owners we have met have misconceptions about marketing. They think of marketing as doing flashy advertising with catchy pictures and some coupons in newspaper insert or with a direct mail company. This underestimates the power of marketing and the value good marketing can bring to your small business.
We ourselves have fallen into this trap when we owned businesses in the past. The reason many small business owners, including ourselves, do this is because of lack of time and lack of understanding of what marketing is all about. We have thought long and hard about this when we operated small business and afterward. Based on that we have come up with 5 fundamental rules of marketing that when used properly are sure to improve your sales. Here they are in no particular order:
Whether you are buying a business for the first time or you have purchased and sold number of businesses you cannot underestimate the importance of due diligence before signing on that dotted line. The mistake made at this stage can not only be costly in terms of financial losses; but it will get you stuck with bad business for a long time.
So what is due diligence? Due diligence is the process of looking at the business you are planning to purchase from multiple angles to verify that the financials match with what the seller promised earlier. Presumably, you have already done your homework in terms of market analysis, competition, and future potential before putting an offer with the seller. The due diligence comes into picture after the seller has agreed to your offer. It is usually one of the last steps in the buying process before you start preparing the closing documents.
In 1961 President John F. Kennedy made a bold statement in his speech. He promised to American people and the world that before the end of the decade America would land a man on the moon and return him safely to the earth. When you think about it this was an enormous challenge. We didn’t even know what technology we would use to accomplish this. Many aspects of this mission had huge risks. And still, we found a way to accomplish this goal.
Such is the power of deadline. By setting a challenging deadline for the mission he set the entire nation into motion. Having a deadline somehow springs everyone into action. People simply find a way to make it possible one way or another.
The reason deadline works is because of how human mind is wire to react. When you give someone, or even yourself, a deadline they don’t want to disappoint the promise. Deadline gives them a target to shoot for. Without it they will not only not push themselves to complete it; but also keep the work going forever.
So how can you use the power of deadline to help you accomplish your goals even if they may not be as ambitious as putting the man on the moon? We have identified several ways from our own experience.
If you are like many small business owners you do not put together a plan when starting your day. Instead you just react to whatever comes your way throughout the day. And even if you do plan your day in the morning; you start reacting to the requests and tasks that come your way throughout the day – things like customers calling to complain, employees calling in sick, store emergencies and many other operational issues.
In the previous blog post we mentioned that the ”to-do list” is a very powerful tool to plan your day and accomplish more in less time. However, when emergencies mentioned above start coming your way the to-do list gets thrown out the window and people start reacting to those emergencies. This is what we call the “Busy Trap” – you always seem busy; but don’t seem to accomplish much of whatever you had set out to do at the beginning of the day. At the end of the day you look back and think – “what the heck did I really accomplish today?”
Chances are many of us today will have forgot to complete at least 1 task they set out to do at the beginning of the day even though they had all good intentions and time to do it. The problem is we just couldn’t remember it at the right moment. If you have got a feeling at some point where you think you need to do something; but can’t recall what it is then you know what I mean.
There is a simple, yet effective, tool we have used that is sure to help you remember things and increase your productivity. The “To-do List” in its various forms can make sure you remember what you need to do when you need to do it. In the previous article we have mentioned other techniques you can use to improve productivity.
People often say that once you have started your small business you can pretty much forget about your wife, girlfriend, kids, friends or everyone else that matter in your personal life. We tend to disagree. While it is true that running a business is no small task – they don’t call the owners Chief Everything Officer for no reason – there are ways by which you can get more done in less time and have time left to enjoy those personal moments.
Here are five techniques we have found useful in our experience in running the previous business as well as the current one.
I came across this interesting article showing examples of excellent customer service from some of the companies you may already know. I am sure we all have experienced this type of customer service in our daily lives. Usually, it is easy to find this with small mom-and-pop businesses that are close to their customers and know them by names. We wrote one such example in my personal life not too long ago here.
We have come across some more well-known companies that strive to provide the best customer service every day. Below we have listed some of them along with examples of why they are famous for their customer service.