Starting a business can be emotional for any entrepreneur, aspiring or seasoned. It’s exciting – you’re making your own decisions and you’re doing your own thing—you get to call the shots. It’s intriguing – what life lessons will you learn along the way? It can be confusing – are you making the right decisions to make the most of your new business?
If you’re feeling a little more confusion than you’d like, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve talked to seasoned small business veterans to find out what advice they’d offer an aspiring entrepreneur like yourself. After everything we’ve heard, we’ve been able to compile the list down to 5 key secrets.
1. Be Frugal.
This one seems to be one of the toughest rules for a small business to follow. Many new business owners cling to the notion of “you have to spend money to make money”. However, we’re here to tell you that what you’ll want to do is start out lean and mean, right out of the gate. Keep overhead low, and in-house staff to a minimum. Companies can spend lots of money hiring someone to be present just to answer phones. Hiring a professional answering service saves you in more ways than one. Your business won’t need to pay a salary, benefits, or provide paid time off when you outsource to an answering service. An answering service is ready to go upon hire, with very little time and money spent in training. Last but not least, you can offer extended hours by phone because a small business answering service, unlike an employee, can be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
2. Be Adaptive.
The landscape is always changing for small businesses and one of the most important things you can do, is adapt to the changes so you’re not left resorting to outdated business practices. In many industries being available 24/7 is expected. That means if you’re only responding to customers within the confines of a 9 to 5 schedule, you’re already operating with an outdated mentality. However, there’s an easy fix. You can stay available to customers around the clock by offering sales or support any time, day or night. Outsourcing to a small business answering service can solve this problem for you! Remember, a professional answering service is an extension of your business available 24/7/365. Best of all, the interactions between your customers and the answering service will be seamless.
3. Be Prospective.
One of the most important things to a small business is a full pipeline of leads to ensure business is always coming in. When potential customers call in, they’re not going to come right out and say they’re a potential customer. They might call asking what your hours are, they might have questions about one of your products or services, or maybe they’ll just call to find out about pricing. It’s so important to make sure that information is properly mined from these calls so that these prospects can be marketed to. After all, they may be ready to purchase! Wouldn’t it be nice if you could hire an answering service that already knows how to ask the right questions then organize and deliver this valuable information to you day and night?
4. Be Accommodating.
Customers seek the help of a small business because they need your product or service. However, you aren’t the only one who offers those products or services. With that in mind, how are you going to set yourself apart from your competition? The simplest way to do this is to be accommodating to the needs of your current customers and prospects alike. Go the extra mile. Remember, being available 24/7 is a norm nowadays. Hiring a small business answering service is a brilliant way to keep your business competitive. An answering service is an extension of your company, which means they will portray themselves as a member of your in-house team. They’ll answer questions, data mine for leads, offer tech support, and field general questions so that your customers feel accommodated. It can also set your small business apart from the rest.
5. Keep Your Customers.
Customer retention is important. It’s how you’ll get referrals and it’s where your reputation as a company is built. Staying on top of communication with your current clients is just as important as gaining new business. Be sure to continue to do things to stay in front of your customers, whether it be via an email newsletter, a customer appreciation day, or expert tips and tricks.