Archives for February 2011

How to plan for employees leaving without warning

For small business owners employee attrition is a fact of life. It is estimated that the annual attrition runs as high as 100% for some types of small businesses; particularly the ones that employ hourly workers! This means that you will not have the same set of employees at the end of the year as the ones you started with. This kind of turnover not only increases your cost in the form of hiring and training; but it may also reduce sales by affecting the quality and customer service.
While you can try to keep your employees motivated and use these techniques reduce turnover; the fact remains that the employee turnover will remain high if you are in type of business that employs hourly workers. My brother, who owns a coffee shop, complains that he always fears a call from an employee who will call him to say he is not going to show up for work because he has found another job. It always happens when he is not able to find any replacement on a short notice forcing him to rush to the business from wherever he is.
While you will not be able to prevent your employees from leaving on a short notice; the next step is to try to mitigate the impact on your business as a result by taking certain steps beforehand. Below we have outlined some steps you can undertake that will help you take care of business even when your employees leave suddenly.
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Improve Sales by Helping Customers Make Choice

Every one of us has been to a soup isle in the grocery store at some point. Have you noticed the number of choices they have for sale? There are endless shelves stocked with soups from different companies in myriad variations. Just imagine having to make a decision on what soup to get – Campbell or Progresso, ready-to-eat or condensed, Mushroom or Minestrone, low salt minestrone or regular or high fiber and on and on. Is your head spinning yet?
Psychology professor Barry Schwartz makes good arguments in his book The Paradox of Choice: Why more is less on why you sell less when you provide customers too many choices. When customers cannot make up their minds on what to get they will simply just walk away without making any purchase.
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Proven Techniques to Deal with Customer Complaints

For small business owners (and for large ones too) customer complaints is a fact of life. Every business runs into few customers who are not happy with the service or product or something else. The complaints in and of themselves are not going to hurt your business much. It is how you deal with them that determines how they will impact your future business.
We have heard many business owners say – “but I know that this customer is wrong. He/she is just trying to get free stuff or get discount by complaining and making a scene.” And they may be right; but does it really matter who is right or who is wrong? At the end of the day, it is about who has the power to hurt your future business. It is these customers who are complaining – genuine or sham.
So, is there anything you, as a small business owner, can do to alleviate this problem? Obviously, you cannot stop customers from complaining; although you can reduce the number of genuine complaints by providing excellent products and services. Based on our experience in running multiple restaurants we have come up with these guidelines to deal with customer complaints and mitigate their impact on the business.
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