More often than not, I talk to many small business owners who are experiencing problems that can be avoided.
Those problems range from not having people who care about their business to not knowing how to make their business stand out to not being innovative.
To them, it is a real problem because they know they have to be different or that doing business as usual is not cutting the mustard! Being different matters a lot! Doing business in the usual manner matters a lot! Keeping your motivation and others motivated is a big problem too.
So what can you do about all this?! Well, you first have to remember that it doesn't help to "look back".
My Mom used to say "don't cry over spilled milk" or "don't look back, look forward" and she was so right.
We all heard it as a child but as adults, we have forgotten about this excellent advice.
However, no one ever taught us how to look forward and this is something we have to learn or have learned if we are what some would term as "born leaders".
And by the way, there is no such thing in my mind as leaders who are born leaders.
In my mind, they are just good at problem solving, they are good listeners, and they most likely get followers because they are people oriented! Some learned from experience and some learned through "observing" but they were not born leaders.
Back to the topics at hand.
As a business owner, you can't continue in your status quo.
You have to challenge yourself, challenge others, and challenge your targeted audience.
The problems result from being comfortable.
You become comfortable when you are making a decent profit, you are comfortable when you have good people working for you, and you become comfortable when you get repeat and new business from your customers.
So what has happened in the last three years that has possibly caused you to say to yourself "what happened to my business?".
You cut your prices, reduced staff, and you advertise more and still profits aren't where they were before so you blame it on the economy? Well, the economy always has an impact but that doesn't explain why some businesses are doing well and others are going down the tubes, does it? There are rules I put behind all this so you can move forward: Rule #1 is "don't look back"! Always look forward! Rule #2 is "diagnose your tunnel vision now".
The majority of the problems you are experiencing is because you didn't open your eyes to what is changing all around you nor what is about to change in the business world.
Because people are forced to think about how much disposable income they have, the consumer will spend but only on items that bring them the most value.
Now it is dinner and a movie and not the $5 popcorn or the $3 candy that used to go with a night out.
Or they will drive to the nearest grocery store so gas consumption at $5 a gallon will go further for them.
These are just two examples of how we all need to think about business in the future but there are more.
I want to talk a little more about what you should focus on! Add value, promote value, and give value with every product and service you provide.
When you get ready to lay off employees, ask yourself this question, "will my customers sacrifice because I am not able to greet them properly at the door or on the phone?" And if you are the employee and you want to keep your job, do more than you are asked to do.
Value giving comes from everything and everyone in business.
One word of caution though.
If you are doing more work with less people, then ask this question of yourself, "how can my employees be at their best if they are so stressed out from being overworked?".
Rule #3: Look for opportunities to expand your business services.
You can do this by surveying your customers, taking notes when they ask questions, and listening to them when they call or come in.
Spend more time keeping your current customers but not just through loyalty cards.
Everyone has loyalty cards today and I wonder just how loyal those cards are at keeping customers.
Rule #4: Do what you do best! Quit trying to be all things to all people.
Do be different In order to set yourself apart from your competition.
Respect others and stay focused! If you take these four very important steps forward and you don't look back, you have a greater chance to succeed.
And remember, always be on the forefront of things to come! For more information on how we help businesses succeed, call us at 336-766-9623.
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