Let’s turn our attention to business owners before the weekend!
Looking for ways to make your business surge? When I was an advisor, small business owners would ask me to help them attack their problems. Often I’d find people lacking in these three areas.
Clean Up Your Dashboard
Not only can you run your business from one single platform….you’ll save time and avoid aggravation.
Here’s the analogy: you’re headed on a road trip. Do you have five dashboards or just one? Whether you’re a business person or not, an effective dashboard is crucial to getting where you’re going. Finding a way to handle everything from payments to inventory to customer contacts, all in one place not only makes business easier for the business owner, but it cuts out a lot of jumping around when you’re trying to keep your business running smoothly.
If you’re going to be in business, shouldn’t you run it professionally? I believe half of the “game” of winning in any business is to invest appropriately. Many products out there that can cover all your business needs in one place. A good mobile POS system, for example, allows you to sell your products in your store and online as well as accept payments, manage your inventory, track sales, and refunds plus many other things. Years ago accepting credit card payments in your business meant a long and tedious process of filling out a form and then making a carbon copy of the customer’s credit card. The other options were to be strictly cash or accept checks which carried another set of risks, such as wondering if the check would clear or bounce. In most cases the business owner had to cover the check and bank fees themselves as well as be out the goods that the shopper walked out the door with. Implementing a system platform such as Shopify’s POS, not only takes a lot of risk out of your business but it just makes good sense as a business owner.
Think about inventory controls before mobile platforms existed. Knowing what you had available to sell was a living nightmare to track, and it was pretty close to impossible to know where your sales were coming from. Marketing? There were no good ways to tell if your business was more word of mouth or newspaper ads.
If you’re running a business or managing your household, having a single platform that does all this for your business is one of the most powerful tools you can have. Having the right platform to run your business from is also about having the right sales strategy to go with it.
The Right Sales Strategy Can Make or Break Your Business
Sales strategy is not just about cutouts and displays, nor is it only about payment processing and marketing. It is about attitude and learning sales techniques. Inc. Magazine recently blogged about sales strategy, stating that in any selling/buying decision, it might seem obvious, but you need to know who the decision maker really is.
For example, if your business sells furniture, then many people in your customer base will be married couples. I hate furniture stores because I feel like the salespeople are sharks. It’s my least favorite type of buying. To sell to a person like me, you should become the “anti-furniture” store. Teach your staff to track subtle clues instead of hounding customers. Create training programs to hone your listening skills. Does one spouse ask another permission to make purchases, or does one person say “I think I’ll buy this one.” How strong a buyer are they? Be careful to be professional enough to seem knowledgeable, but easy going enough that customers feel like they can relax around you. Speak in turn, and don’t control conversations. I’m there to look at furniture, not to chat about your golf game. Give people space when they seem like they need it. You’ll seem different, and in the furniture business (or nearly any business) different is good.
Image Is Everything
I wrote earlier this week about my dermatologist who shared his political beliefs. Really? Create a system of self-checks and company image rules for your employees. In a story put out by The Guardian, people (not shockingly) responded differently to foul language as opposed to an abbreviated form, such as, “That really “P’ed” me off” instead of the real thing. Foul-mouthed employees in general always amaze me. Can’t figure out why your customer is stand offish? That’s probably why.
While many training programs stress mirroring your customers, there’s still a line in the sand. Even if your customer uses offensive language you would be better not to join in. It would be a shame to build your business, then implement the right platform, then get your marketing in place and then destroy it all with being offensive. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that all you need it the right equipment to look good. The face of the company sets the tone for it all. A positive attitude is king when it comes to dealing with the public, and according to right.com, if you garner a good positive attitude, whether you are the boss or an employee, the people you work with will also have a more positive attitude.
…and like anything, rather than changing the people around you, it all starts with changing you.