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5 Tips for Small Business Success

Jean Kristensen - 5 Tips for Small Business Success - Connect to Clients’ Wants and Needs. It is essential to go beyond the product and service that you are delivering in order to connect with clients on a deeper level. What do they really want? How can you deliver a top-notch experience?

Here’s a recent example of how I felt under supported by a service provider and terminated a contract as a result:

I decided to end a contract with a service provider because the process they used for invoicing was outdated, inaccurate, and confusing. When I called to speak to them about it, a manager told me they would not change their process just for me. Certainly, I did not expect them to change the process just for me, but the interaction left me feeling undervalued as a client. Efficiency is important to me because I cannot dedicate valuable time deciphering vendor invoices.

I should also note that over the course of an entire year working with this vendor, they never bothered to check in with me to see how I liked their system and service. They did not express interest in hearing my wants or needs; It was clear I needed to terminate the relationship.  

My point in sharing this, is to remind business owners and entrepreneurs how critical it is to create an authentic connection with your clients and find out what they really want from you. Often in business, your soft skills that build rapport—communication, listening, and trust—are just as important as your hard skills that provide the results—helping them save time, save money, or improve on something.  

#2 Seek Out Coaches and Mentors. I attended a webinar led by Julia Pimsleur, author of Million Dollar Women: The Essential Guide for Female Entrepreneurs Who Want to Go Big (Simon & Schuster). She said, “Having a coach is like being on the express train.” I could not agree more.

As you navigate through the various stages of your business, an experienced coach or mentor can provide tips, connect you with resources, and help you avoid painful (and costly) mistakes.  A good coach will help you fast track business success on many levels. Be warned though, if you are thinking about hiring a coach, be sure to thoroughly check their backgrounds and credentials. Just because someone is an expert in one thing, doesn’t necessarily make them a good coach.

#3 Never Stop Marketing. What I often see with small businesses is a lack of consistency with marketing. Some business owners market when they need clients, while others network intermittently. I also see a lack of email marketing and social media marketing—two relatively affordable marketing measures all small business should be implementing. Marketing and communication are the lifeblood of a business. It’s imperative to have a consistent, measurable, and outcome-based strategy that provides your business with a steady stream of interested prospects and grows your online brand.

#4 Surrounding Yourself with Centers of Influence. This year, I experienced tremendous growth in my business, namely due to the thoughtful pursuit of relationships with experienced subject matter experts, like minded business owners, and friends who share my values. Every successful business owner will attest to the power of a strong network. Building and cultivating a strong network needs to be a conscious effort. Identify people in your industry who have already achieved the level of success you aspire to and study how they got to that level:

  • What groups do they belong to?
  • What do their networks like?  
  • Who do they surround themselves with?

Take time to consider how can you maximize these relationships to benefit both you and your business.

#5 Practice Financial Stewardship. Paying attention your business finances—not just gross revenue—is extremely important. Many business owners tend to focus solely on profitability, and while being profitable is certainly a significant component, there are other equally vital financial indicators in a business.  Some examples include cash flow management, debt ratios, and tax planning. Set aside regular intervals to review your finances with your team.

Do you like these quick tips? Sign up for our #MWBEsuccess newsletter here for free small business guides to grow your business!

Jean KristensenJean Kristensen
President & CEO
Jean Kristensen Associates, LLC
275 Madison Avenue
14th Floor
New York, NY 10016
Phone: 917-397-7242

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