Running a small business is one of the most rewarding things you can do but can also be one of the most difficult. What do you do when traction is hard to come by and customers don't show up? If you are self employed, run a small business or have a side hustle you are working to grow, a lack of customers and slow results can be devastating and suck the wind from your sales. Things don't have to stay that way. There is a path out of the mess.
Perhaps that's not you, things are going relatively well for you and your business. You just want to take things to the next level. Whatever your story is, there is hope yet for you. There is an incredibly simple path that will help you establish a new and thriving business or kick your existing business into the next gear.
The process I am going to share with you today while simple, isn't easy. However if you will consistently execute on it over a period of time it will help you take your business to the next level no matter where you are in your journey.
1. Treat people great. Think about the people and conversations that leave you feeling the best. What do they all have in common? They made you feel great! People will often forget what you say, but they will never forget how you make them feel. Make every interaction and experience about them not you. Do everything you can to communicate their immense value to you beyond the business relationship. Value them as people, not just clients. Ask them really good questions, get into their world a little bit. Take them to lunch or dinner. Spend time and energy creating an environment in which they feel valued and treasured.
2. Serve everyone. An attitude of service and willingness to help others will do more for your business than any marketing or advertising campaign. While marketing may get your name out there, what type of business are you inviting them to check out? What will their experience with you and your staff be when they walk through your doors? What is working with you like? How do other vendors and companies you work with look at you? Do they enjoy the thought of working with you?
Want to stand out from the crowd and leave your mark on your industry? Serve everyone. Not just your customers and clients, but every other vendor, competitor, and human that crosses your path. Do you see a need that needs to be met? Meet it. Trash on the floor that needs to be picked up? Pick it up. A perceived competitor who could use a little help or direction? Sit down and help point them in the right direction. Get in the habit of giving to others. Whether you see a direct return on your serving a person or not, simply help and serve them.
3. Be professional. Behave in a professional manner at all times. This includes everything from how you dress, how you carry yourself to the words you use. Make the decision that you are a pro at whatever it is you do and act accordingly.
Dress like a pro. Among the many things professionals do, they communicate that they take things seriously by how they dress. One of the perks of working for yourself or running a small business is that you can often set your own dress code. Don't take this amazing perk too far. A good rule is to dress a little better than you think the situation requires.
Speak like a pro. One of the quickest ways to send customers running for the hills is to use the wrong vocabulary. You know what I'm talking about. There are certain words and subjects you use around your friends that are wholly inappropriate for business communication. But speaking like a pro goes much farther than avoiding those pesky four letter words. The words you use when talking about your business, matter. Your language has to connect. Professionals know and understand this. They use their words to play the role of the guide and make the customer the hero of the story. Once again, it is all about serving and making the customer feel amazing. They have a pain point, or a goal they want to accomplish and you are going to help them.
Carry yourself like a pro. Carry your head high and walk with confidence. Be bold and own what you do. When people ask what you do, don't sheepishly and shyly share what you do or go to the other extreme and beat them down with your sales pitch. Simply, look them in the eye and with a smile on your face, tell them exactly what you do. Own it with confidence.
Work like a pro. Part of owning what you do, is doing it with excellence. Give everything your all. Don't do things have way. Go all out for the good of your clients. At its most basic this means doing what you say you will. If you say you will send an email, send it. If you commit to being somewhere at a specific time, be there early.
Establishing and running your own business isn't easy but it is simple. All great journeys begin with a simple plan that if followed will lead you where you want to go. While this map is simple it can be incredibly hard to execute at times. When things get tough and you stray from the path, pull this post out and remind yourself of the target you want to hit then recommit yourself to doing business the right way.