I’ve been a business owner a long time and I face challenges along the way, but they are what teach me valuable lessons. Today, I’ll share 7 things I’ve learned being a business owner:
- Don’t underestimate a potential sale. We’ve had sales from customers who had our business card for more than a year. We forgot about them but thankfully they didn’t forget about us. Sales don’t always come when I want them or need them, but if I give my customers the best service, more than not they will eventually buy from me and tell their friends.
- There’s always the dirty work. I hate going through receipts and bookkeeping. But, it has to be done. So I block out some time, roll up my sleeves and organize them into categories. I keep a spreadsheet where I can key in expenses and income. Working on this a little bit per week, drastically cuts out the time it takes to do during tax season.
- Under promise, over deliver. This tip I learned years ago and it rings true today. If I know a project should only take a couple of days to do, I tell the customer three to four and I do this not to lie, but to make allowances for unexpected contingencies like: computer problems, more research or work is needed, or a family emergency pops up. You can’t always prepare for these mishaps so it pays to give yourself that extra time just in case.
- Update your website often. The “set it and forget it” days are over. People come to blogs and websites looking for changing content like: a new blog post, announcements, giveaways, or upcoming events. Web content managers have to keep up with the changing technology atmosphere to keep customers engaged and interested.
- My customers are a mirror image of myself. If I don’t want to be mistreated, ignored, or overlooked by a vendor, why should my customers feel that way about me? I want to build a solid rapport with them so that they feel comfortable and important to me and not just “another customer” that I’m trying to sell to.
- Set a price and stick to it. It’s okay to run sales, what’s not okay is to constantly change prices. If you keep going lower, then the message you’re sending is that you don’t think your products and/or services have a good value. And if you keep charging more, then you’re saying you don’t know what the value is and you’re not willing to do some market research. Either way, the message coming across says “this is a flimsy company” and it most likely will send your potential customer to your competitor.
- Keep up the communication. One of my pet peeves is when I’m depending on a vendor to come through for me on an urgent project, that they are full aware of, there’s little to no communication from them. What’s worse is not getting replies to emails or return phone calls. I’m not a micro manager, what I’m saying is when I’m working with a customer, I like to keep them and all team players in the loop on pending projects. This way, it leaves no room for misunderstandings. Everyone is aware of the timeline for completion and any hiccups along the way.
These are seven of my lessons, if you have some that I hadn’t mentioned, feel free to leave me a comment!