31 Jul 2018, 12:38 — 8 min read
Life and the entrepreneurial journey are continuous learning experiences, so take the time to refresh your expertise, skills and knowledge when it comes to starting, running and growing your business.
You just might be surprised at how much of the foundational skills you’ve forgotten, or if you’re an A+ business owner, you’ll surely be glad to see you’ve got these basics down. Either way, check out our list of the most important details every entrepreneur has to know.
Ask any business expert and they’ll tell you: keeping your customers happy will always take you to the top. Whether you’re in the retail, accommodations, food, education, or any other industry, your success will boil down to delivering the promises you made to the customers who are discovering you, the patrons who are loyal to your brand, or the returnees who keep coming back for what you have to offer.
For sellers who provide products, your job doesn’t end once the customer has walked out the door of your shop or logged off their account on your e-commerce site. You still have to make it a point to answer their queries, treat them kindly when they have concerns, and invite them back when you’ve got a good deal for them.
All the more, for businesses in the service industry, making a good first impression will always count. Everything from the quality of your tools to the expression on your employees’ faces is key to ensuring that your customers have a good time, so make sure you do sweat the small stuff. You’d be surprised at how important they can be.
Quite probably the second most common tip business experts have is to be unique. All entrepreneurs should have something that sets them apart, especially from others who sell similar or even identical products or services.
Thanks to globalisation, free markets and the speed of information, anyone and everyone can be a business owner. Because of that, expect to face a lot of competition once you enter the game. There’s no such thing as no competition, because even if you won’t have similar products as anyone else, you’ll still be competing for your customers’ attention and patronage.
So what does it take to be unique? They say every person is like a snowflake – no two are the same. You have to apply this belief to your business as well. Channel the detail that makes you unique, whether it’s in your product or service. For example, maybe what you offer is cheaper than anything else in the market. Maybe you’re dedicated to a specific area or niche. Maybe you donate a little bit of your proceeds to charity. The key is just to be creative, and to find something people will appreciate and come back to you for.
This can not be stressed enough. Your market is your business’ lifeblood. Knowing them well allows you to establish more meaningful interactions with them, whether its through product development and research, marketing, logistics or loyalty. Find a way to gain their insight on what’s valuable to you and your product specifically — if things like gender, location and age are important, then these are the metrics you should be studying.
Besides knowing how to approach and make customers, knowing your market also allows you to form relationships with them. Customers are much more likely to a product if they have some sort of liking for the brand already. Being quick to inform, answer, and understand them helps you give what they’re really asking for.
Trends are good things. They exist for a reason, after all, and that reason is one your market certainly pays attention to. But what trends aren’t good for (usually) is starting up. Some establishments tend to crumble after a few months, because the trend they followed wasn’t sustainable enough in the long run.
What you want is a business that lasts. This entails finding the balance between being trendy and offering your own thing that no one else can replicate. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself chasing after trends for the whole of your business journey — which works fine for some people, but it’s certainly less creative and more likely to resemble others in the field.
The future is in digital. That’s a fact. For business owners especially, you can’t expect to get anywhere unless you go digital in some way, shape or form. The good thing is, with technology always evolving and improving, you’re sure to find something that works for you.
From physical amenities you can add to your business area like security or logistics tools to digital and online solutions like Internet connectivity and other programs, there’s always something you can use to get your business to the next level. Consider installing CCTV cameras in your stores for more peace of mind. Track your deliveries and supply shipments so you know where everything is in real-time. Install connectivity in your establishments and make documentation, communication and even sales so much easier. Or consider a wide array of other solutions that can tackle your most pressing business concerns, like G Suite, which makes for easier documentation, or online marketplaces like Lazada or Shopee, if you’re into e-commerce.
Social media is a good launching pad when digitizing your business. Online sites like Facebook or Instagram function as all-in-one platforms for anything you might need for your business. They function as marketplaces where you can sell to people by personally getting in touch with them, running digital ads, or networking through focus groups.
It’s a great place to start if you aren’t so tech-savvy yet, but it comes with its own set of responsibilities, too. For one, remember to post regularly, so as to increase your popularity and reach. For another, keep track of the algorithms that manage each platform, and know how to make these systems work for you. Finally, remember to always stay true to yourself and your word, especially when it comes to customer satisfaction — you wouldn’t want to be viral for the wrong reasons.
While business is primarily about growing your brand and increasing profit, never forget that there’s an underlying purpose to it. In the end, your business’ mission is to provide a product or service that your market needs. You’re answering the concerns of a group of people, and the money you’re earning should primarily be made for that purpose.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you don’t earn anything, or that all your profit goes to others. On the contrary, the more you answer the needs of your market, the more likely you are to make profit. So never forget to put your customers first, yourself and the money after.
There you have it! Did you need a little reminder of the basic entrepreneurship do’s and don’t’s? Or do you have these foundations down, and are you proud of that (note: you should be!)? Either way, these are tips you should always keep in mind, because they’ll help you regardless of what business stage you’re in.
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker.
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