7 Tips for a Healthier Small Business

  1. Take action. Most likely if something is stuck in your brain and thwarting your good mood or continuously hammering at the edge of your thoughts it needs to be dealt with. Taking action will not only put the nagging voices to rest, it will probably move you forward on some significant goal.
  2. Know your customers. If you are too general in the description of your you will likely be too general in your message and not stimulate actual purchases. If you do not bore down to specific customer/client types you will probably spend some of your time, effort and money marketing to the wrong people. Look back at the misses and successes of the last two years and use that data to help you reassess your idea of your real customers/clients and prospects.
  3. Speak your customers’ language. Remember that you are not selling your products or services, you are meeting the needs or solving the problems of your prospects and clients/ customers; package and market your products/services in a way that addresses that need or problem. Look at it from their viewpoint. Knowing the language of your customers/clients means you must know who they are as discussed in the previous resolution.
  4. Some revenue is better than none. Don’t stall your success because you are afraid partnering will reveal your secrets to a potential competitor, do not want to share the revenue, do not want to be seen as “too small” or not capable, or do not want to do the research and negotiation necessary to establish a working relationship with another company.
  5. Put it in writing. If you put the specifics of every agreement and arrangement in writing you will save yourself time, money, agony and broken relationships. Any partnering or subcontracting arrangement should be spelled out in an agreement and signed by all parties. Any contract with a customer/client should include a Scope of Work/Services that clearly states what you will do, what the customer/client will do and the amount and schedule of payment Follow Up and Follow Through. A primary criticism of all small businesses by buyers (government and commercial) is that they do not follow up or follow through on promised actions and information. How well a vendor follows up or follows through on promises is part of the test to determine if they will be a quality supplier.
  6. Make marketing a priority. You should develop a schedule of marketing actions, put them on your calendar and carry them out – just as you would any product or service development and delivery for a customer/client. Because many people are not comfortable with marketing, do not like it or feel that other things are more important it often does not receive the proper level of attention.
  7. Avoid spending time “getting ready” instead of “doing”. If there is something you do not really want to do or are not comfortable with, there is the risk of avoiding it by getting trapped in the preparation phase. Some examples of this are: listening to motivational tapes to get inspired about a project instead of breaking it down into bite size pieces doing it, writing and re-writing and re-writing copy for a marketing piece instead of sending out a decent effort or asking everyone you know for input on an important decision instead of making the decision. You will know when you reach the point where preparation turns into avoidance, when you reach that point – act.
From: Janet Christy

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