7 Things I’ve Learned from Small Business Owners
My life was headed in the direction of becoming a professional musician. Somewhere along the way I became a Home Based Business Professional in the Network Marketing Industry. But that’s another story.
One of the things that I could never figure out in the Industry, was why more network marketers failed to take a nod from traditional business owners. Why these home based business people insisted on isolating themselves as if they somehow had all the business knowledge they needed on their own little island.
But then there were a few obscure, wise, higher level thinkers who always talked about “treating your home based business LIKE a business.” THESE were the men and women who caught MY attention! THESE are the trainers/mentors who always made the most sense to me, even when I was a newbie in the industry. (They still make the most sense today!)
And so I have decided to take a page from their play book, and look to traditional business owners for some success principles that can boost YOUR business, whether you are a small business owner or a home based business professional seeking to increase sales.
1) Customers First: ALWAYS There’s no single more important aspect of any business than premium customer service. If your customers aren’t happy…you won’t have a business. At least not for very long. Lay down your ego in those tough situations, and be sure to Keep Customers First! (A note to those of you in sales: stop relying on your company to provide all the customer service. YOU made the sell! Respect the people who gave you their money. They’ll be the best lead source you’ll ever find!)
2) Get A Mentor and Quick! It’s surprising how many business people starting up new ventures go it alone. A girl knows how to cut hair, so she feels empowered to start a salon. A young man can fix cars, and thinks that qualifies him to open a garage. What they fail to remember is this: salons and garages aren’t just salons and garages; they are businesses. And 95% of all American businesses fail in the first year. Sounds like somebody needs a mentor to me!
3) Know Your Personal Pros & Cons It is critical to know what you’re good at and what your personal challenges are in terms of skill set. We’ve all heard the adage, “accentuate your positives.” Through self analysis, take time to scan over your life. What are the best things you have going for you? People skills? Time management? Work ethic? Put your best skills out front, and let them lead you toward success. Hire your weaknesses, and let others flourish to those ends. You will be more satisfied AND make more money!
4) Catch & Release! (Train ‘em) Nobody likes a micro manager. Especially in these times! Humanity is more creative, informed and capable than ever before. If you run into an employee (or team member of you MLMers) who is under achieving, spend time identifying both their personality type and their way of communication. Train them into a position that is befitting to their skill set, and then give them room to flourish! They will appreciate your trust, and follow your leadership.
5) Don’t Just Manage THEM…Manage YOU! I have personally witnessed many businesses that failed, not because of the incompetence of the employee/team-member, but because of the incompetence of the employer/leader/boss/manager. A personal mentor of mine once told me to work harder on my self than on anyone else, and I would become uncommonly successful. I am paying that same advice forward to you business owners out there! Give your employees a break, and go attend the personal development seminar of your choice. You’ll come home reinvigorated, with bold, fresh, new ideas.
6) Hire the Best Surround yourself with good people! NO…surround yourself with the BEST people!! If you don’t like your team or work force, then look in the mirror. Chances are YOU hired them! If that’s not the case, then perhaps you inherited them into your team. Refer to #5, and if that doesn’t work…go ahead and pull a Donald: “YOUR FIRED”! That may seem harsh, but we’re talking about the success of your business here. Keep quality people close to you! Release those who refuse to measure up. HIRE THE BEST, LET GO OF THE REST!
7) Spread the Word I am finding more and more that it doesn’t so much matter if you are using old school or new school models to spread the word about your business. The key is to just SPREAD IT already! One type of exposure isn’t enough. You need every type of exposure that is available to you and will cash-flow you positive! I recommend trying a marketing measure, keeping detailed analysis, and tracking the results. If it makes you money, keep it in your arsenal…for now. If it fails to cash-flow for you, scratch it! As you put together a collection of marketing strategies that work for you, you will begin to see trends and will be able to identify the ones that make you the most money. Voila! You have your marketing strategy! For starters though, nothing beats word of mouth from satisfied customers! (See #1)
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