There are some practices that anybody running a small business can benefit from. Here are some lessons gleaned from the experiences of successful small businesses.
1. Running a business requires more than just quality products or offering your expertise in a specific field. You need to have ways for attracting people into your business and for reaching out to your target customer base. Marketing strategies are essential to the survival of a business. You also need to have someone knowledgeable in handling the financial aspects of the business.
2. If you feel you do not have adequate knowledge concerning marketing, hire people who are experienced in that aspect. A marketing expert would know how to lure people to your business and motivate them to refer your business to their acquaintances.
3. Avoid making spur of the moment decisions. Sudden decisions can have considerable negative effects later on, and might even result in the loss of your business. For instance, a store that experiences a few days of very rapid business due to a one-time event in the community, would be in trouble if the owner decides to increase his staff in response to the increased demand on those particular days. Later on, he will have to divide his profits among more people, even when the rate of business goes back to normal.
4. Do not make promotion from within a rule in your company. People's talent in one aspect of a business does not necessarily translate to other areas of the business. Promoting people from within only works if the person being promoted really has the necessary know-how for the position to be filled up. Otherwise, both you and your employee will get frustrated. If a position requires a certain amount of expertise, make sure that the person you place in that position has the requisite skills and knowledge.
5. Be consistent in your product offerings and services. This is especially true for restaurants and franchises. When a customer returns to an establishment, it is because they had a previously satisfactory experience with that particular business. They would be expecting the same quality of products and level of service in their future dealings with that establishment. Consistency is the key to creating a loyal customer base.
6. Avoid hiring your friends. You risk ruining your relationship with your friends when you hire them. As a business owner, you have certain expectations from the people that you hire, which you will not ordinarily have among people you consider your friends. If you and your friend are unable to separate business from plain camaraderie, both your friendship and your business will be in trouble.
7. Be responsive to the needs of your customers. Find ways to get your customers' views. In this highly digitized age, you can capitalize on social media to improve your customer relations. Of course, satisfactory face-to-face interactions with customers must never be neglected. In whatever medium you choose to relate to your customers, make an effort to hear their views and respond to them.