Tag Archives: building business

21 Mar

Need Help Creating a Website? Try Blooming Pixel Creatives!

blooming pixel creatives
This post is the continuing of my series about entrepreneurs. Not only are some of these people local business owners but they have the truest entrepreneurial spirits I’ve seen. Whether they work for themselves or for someone else, each offers at least one strong habit, thought or suggestion to help develop a successful business. Their passion is seen in their work and how they operate in the world.

I’ve had the great fortune to meet this next entrepreneur and what an entrepreneur she is! Not only does she live her work, but her work is integrated into her value system and her way of living seamlessly, not something I see every day. Perhaps it is her passion and creative flare, or her dedication, focus and commitment. In either case, Payge Kerman of Blooming Pixel Creatives is someone you should meet!

When I see an owner actively involved in their business, I take interest because that means they are invested – beyond just passion and money. Passion is great and money (of course is helpful) but we can all agree those factors alone won’t lead a business to success. They might help carry someone through a launch or the long nights that come while the business is growing, but one key trait of successful businesses is the owner’s ability to have a vision. This business is successful because Payge has a vision for her business. And she seeks to create it every day. From who her team is, to what they do, to each client goals and objectives, to how the business runs daily, this owner is not only hands-on but regularly strategizing to keep the flow and growth happening.

Her commitment is undeniable. And it pays off.

With a wide variety of packages available, they can help you design a website, create a logo, add to what you have or grow your business. They offer marketing strategy, website and graphics design and web development, a nice array for those looking to outsource these sometimes difficult and ongoing tasks.

The goals of this agency

“We create powerful branding, forward-thinking websites, and efficient tech solutions”
Don’t be fooled, this is not just another company that will put up a website for you and help you with SEO rankings. This is about “brand transformation”, as Payge calls it. “We care about all aspects of your business and of your marketing, and want to make sure we’re creating the best possible products and strategy to fit YOUR company”.

One of the most important aspects is branding, and that’s about identity – from the product to the owner.

“We are a creative agency committed to helping your business thrive. From start-ups to multi-million-dollar companies, we help our clients showcase their unique specialties and work with them to build cohesive, long-lasting brands”.

“Our creations are our own, and you won’t see them anywhere else. We pride ourselves on creating work unique to you”.

Payge Kerman Founder,
Blooming Pixel Creatives

OUR MISSION

THOUGHTFUL CREATIVITY TO GROW POWERFUL BRANDS

Who doesn’t need that? Two problems new business owners eventually come up against:  deciding what to outsource and how to really find someone good. One thing I educate clients on is the importance of outsourcing. It can not only save time and money but can also actually help build your business. Referrals are still the best way to find someone. That is one reason why it is reportedly 3x easier to sell additional products and services to a customer who has already purchased from you because they know and trust you.

90% of Blooming Pixel’s clients are repeat.

There’s the personal referral you need!

Three key areas of her focus: her people, products, and target niche.

Her people:

Payge attributes part of her success to the people that work with her. She has a small, strong dedicated team that are as invested in their work as she is in her business. She looked at who they were, what type of experience they had in their industry, if their values aligned with her company’s values and what they could offer clients, for the best possible client experience. One goal of Blooming Pixel Creatives is to be better, faster and stronger than the competition. And that’s only possible through the people she has hired.

People as clients:

They say in marketing that customers have to know, like and trust you before they’ll buy something from you. This business model is about building trust, offering quality service and creating a successful project in a way that aligns with the customer’s goals and values.

During our interview Payge said to me “I see my clients as an extension of my family”. How often do you hear that? Exactly, not very often. Relationship is a key value and one service point she offers customers. This is the best type of personalized service you can get. She is personally invested in the success of your business.

Beyond designing a unique site that reflects you and your brand, they also offer a variety of specialized products like branding, email marketing and blogging services, to provide you with continued service and support to enhance value for your brand.

They offer one-of-a-kind website development, graphics and copywriting, in their portfolio of products and services. This part of their business model she reports is based on testing. “We test, test, test things out to understand what works and what doesn’t”. They want your website to be unique and stand out, but they also want a business that works for the you.

Is this model successful? You bet!

Focus on Target Niche

Their ideal client: women 33-55, are ok to let professionals handle this aspect of their business, know the do-it-yourself ways of building a website and ecommerce site is not the way to go, understand their own uniqueness and specialness and will ask “why pick you?”

They need to have a vision and are willing to go for it. They have passion, purpose and are driven towards success.

Something to think about if you are thinking about creating a website or looking to bring your online business experience up to the next level.

To book a free discovery call click here.

Payge H. Kerman, CEO
Blooming Pixel Creatives
bloomingpixelcreatives.com
payge@bloomingpixelcreatives.com
(303) 906-1664
7025 N. Lombard St. #104, Portland OR 97203
Office hours: 9am-4:30pm M-F

Thanks for reading!

 

 

26 Oct

3 Things To Decide Before You Create a Website

cover of 3 things decide build a website

After hours of working on my website, paying a lot of money to maintain it, and then paying someone to regularly assist me with it, I have discovered a gap. The “you need to get a website” advice given to me in a coaching program 3 years ago was not the best suggestion as a way to begin building my online business.

And yet so many people do it. In today’s world, with sites like GoDaddy promoting the Danica Patrick type personas, even with vital information embedded in the video (like the importance of branding, the importance of planning, teamwork and diversifying your brand), it still leaves the impression anyone can just whip up a website and have a successful business.

And that is so wrong!

The missing information is in the planning stage, before you put the site up.

And in the budgeting, which should come first!

How I wish someone had told me that.

And the light bulb turns on here.

Decisions to make before the site is created:

What’s your budget like? In this post I talk about creating a business plan.

How are your finances set up?
This post has some good starting information.

What do your business need?
This post has some key questions to ask.

What is the purpose of the website?

What they don’t tell you as a new online business owner is that websites are created for different reasons. Each site serves a specific purpose for each business. Your business will grow depending upon how you create the site itself, what information you put up on the site and how you choose to utilize it as a business tool to grow your business. Some have shopping carts, some are lead generation tools, some work to solely build affiliate links. Others promote a brand.

Will it simply be a way for customers to find you? Do you want to build a customer base? Is it a means to keep customers up to date on your products and services?

Need to build a mailing list? Or build an online presence? Or run advertising campaigns and actively market online? Use it as a lead generation tool? Or as a way to increase sales?

Tip: Do a business plan before you invest money into the site to keep your budget on track and balanced! To learn more about creating a business plan, check out my previous post.

3 Questions to Answer:

1. How Technical are you?

How technical are you? DIY or outsource the back-end projects and maintenance?

 

2. What is your Budget for this?

how much you want to spend on your website? To set it up? On a monthly basis?

Many sites have an annual fee and/or monthly fees for additional things.

How much do you want to do DIY style or outsource?

For resources related to finance and starting a business, look at my previous post.

3. What are you going to Outsource and what are you going to do yourself?

Things business owners outsource related to a website:

Maintenance
Blogging
Invoicing
Social Media management: running regular Instagram posts, Pinterest pin campaigns, FB ads etc.

Answer these questions and then add them into your business plan to start off the right way! A good business plan is also a guide post.

 

Recommended Resources:

Five Skills Every Web Content Manager Needs

5 Must-Have Skills for Running an Online Business

Why Do I Need a Website? Here are 21 Reasons

Essential Business Skills

10 Financial Tools Your Small Business Can’t Live Without

Benefits of Outsourcing

 

09 Aug

12 Must-Reads for Starting an Online Business

12 great must-reads for starting online business

I can safely say I have read a lot of books since I started my online business. Most were not that useful, but there have been a few that stood out.  And they are not just good, they are great.

I’ll go ahead and plug Kindle too for all the readers like me, that read in bulk! Being able to download quantities of books with a simple click of a button, and at a reasonable price is just amazing!

1. Building a Website for Dummies
By David A. Crowder

cover for building a website for dummies

I love this first book because the “Dummies” books are so straightforward. Don’t be embarrassed to buy one! They are easy to read and full of foundational information, needed to start a business. Every time I read one, I think “oh of course, I need to remember that”. Like YouTube.com videos, they seem to have a “Dummies” book for everything now!

Here’s what I found out about author David Crowder in short bio on Barnes & Noble:

“David A. Crowder has authored or coauthored more than 20 books on subjects ranging from computers to historical mysteries, including popular bestsellers such as Building a Web Site For Dummies and CliffsNotes Getting on the Internet”.

                                                                        ~Barnes&Noble.com

2. Internet Marketing Made Easy
By Brian T. Edmondson/Internet Income Coach

cover of Brian Edmonton's book Internet Marketing Made Easy

Brian T Edmondson is one of my favorite authors and consultants. He is also one of my influencers. I’ve bought his trainings, listened to his interviews and have been personally coached by him. Not only is he a really nice guy, he offers great advice and support. His smarts and expertise really shine through. His books are always on my lists! In addition to offering books and coaching, he also offers programs that are clear, effective and strategic for marketing online businesses. For more information about Brian Edmondson check out his website InternetIncomeCoach.com.

 

 

3. Content Marketing Secrets: How to Create, Promote, and Optimize Your Content for Growth and Revenue
By Marc Guberti

cover of Content Marketing Secrets book by Guberti

I love books like this one that have a title that reflect exactly what the content is inside. Marc is another one of my favorites and one of my influencers. If you don’t know who he is, Marc is young and wrote 19 books in a very short time period and became very successful. Just the volume of work he turns out is amazing. I find his journey and work inspirational. His books are a big part of my collection and super easy to read. You can sometimes find him online in those summits they offer for online businesses. He’s also fun to follow on social media! You can find out more information about Marc Guberti by visiting his About Me page on his website.

 

 

4. The Power of Broke: How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget, and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage
By Daymond John

cover for power of broke by daymond john

My third favorite influencer in this list is Daymond John. I learned about him on the show “Shark Tank”. Then I found one of the Marie Forleo interviews he did on YouTube.

And started following him on Twitter. Now I read his books and seek out interviews where he is featured. A very wise man and super smart businessman!

 

 

 

5. Small Business Financial Management Kit for Dummies
By Tage C. Tracy

cover of small business management for dummies

I know another “Dummies” book is coming but can you blame me? These books are not only great, they are so needed when you are just getting started. And they are clearly written, often by experts that can really lay out important things. If you want to make sure you are covering all of your bases for building the foundation for your business, this is another good one. I can’t tell you how many people start online businesses and have never created a budget or a business plan. This is a great place to start!

This guy is super interesting because his expertise is way outside of my wheel house! And to prove my theory that “Dummies” books are actually written by experts:

“Tracy has operated a financial consulting service firm during the past twenty (20) years focused on providing executive level accounting, financial, & strategic business planning management support on a project or interim basis”.

~Amazon.com bio

 

6. How to Sell Anything to Anybody
By Joe Girard

cover of how to sell anything to anybody
I can’t offer a collection of readings without listing at least one classic favorite. Anyone in sales knows who Joe Girard is. You can also find YouTube.com videos and his other materials on Amazon.com. He offers the basic mindset needed for selling along with the psychology behind it. If you don’t know him, he made the Guinness Book of World Records for selling 13, 001 cars at a Chevy Dealership! For more info about Joe Girard check out his Biography page on his website.

 

 

7. Schedule Your Dream: 8 Steps to Maximizing Your Time and Mobilizing Your Vision
By Liane R. Grant

Cover of Schedule your Dreams
This next one is a fun discovery I found surfing books on Amazon.com. I think time and project management are under appreciated in the world of entrepreneurship. Books like this can help with identifying needs and help you prioritize.

From Amazon’s description Liane “has a knack for finding the most efficient way to accomplish a task with excellence. Her experience in fulfilling multiple roles has helped her hone her planning and productivity skills into a highly efficient personal time management system. Liane has always loved words, which led her to a B.A. and M.A. in Translation later in life, and she is now doing doctoral research in translation. Liane is an OTTIAQ-certified translator, founder and overseer of The King’s Translators, Secretary of the UPCI French Literature Cooperative, and Curriculum Administrator for Purpose Institute.”

 

8. The Productive Person: A how-to guide filled with productivity hacks & daily schedules for entrepreneurs, students or anyone struggling with work-life boundaries
By Chandler Bolt & James Roper

Cover of the Productive Person
You might recognize Chandler’s name from a series of YouTube commercials he has put out (he’s the good-looking guy standing on the balcony of a cool skyscraper in San Francisco). His words and advice are effective and strategic. He and his partner offer great advice and important tools for new business owners.

 

 

 

9. To-Do List Formula: A Stress-Free Guide to Creating To-Do Lists That Work!
By Damon Zahariades

to-do-list-formula-cover
Much to my surprise, this book has become one of my favorites. Maybe it’s because I am such a fan of “to-do” lists so it’s nice to see someone utilizing that concept from a project management perspective. Maybe someone will write a book on how successful Post-Its make people . . . To learn more about Damon Zahariades other books and how to improve your productivity, explore his Art of Productivity website.

 

 

10. Emotional Intelligence 2.0
By Travis Bradberry & Jean Greaves

cover of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 book

Since I became certified as a Social and Emotional Intelligence Coach I’ve fallen in love with this subject (go to www.ISEI.com for more information about certification programs). This is a foundational “must-have” if you want to learn about this topic. Anyone can use the tools and skills sets outlined here. Here’s a great YouTube video of a TEDxUCIrvine talk with coauthor Dr Travis Bradberry about The Power of Emotional Intelligence where he shows you how to use this skill.

 

 

11. The $100 Startup
By Chris Guillebeau

Cover of the $100 start up
Chris Guillebeau was another surprising find for me. He is a non-fiction author, blogger and speaker and has traveled all over the world. I’ve read a couple of his books and his writing style is so free and relaxed I found myself reading his books more than once. It almost felt like I was on vacation! Great information for entrepreneurs and those new to starting a business.

 

 

 

12. The E Myth: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About it
By Michael E. Gerber

Cover of E Myth book

I fell in love with Michael Gerber’s work 15 years ago when I was working for a company that was trying to go from a small size to a mid-size organization but was actually going bankrupt. The book totally helped me understand what was happening. The model he uses to describe business growth is so easy to understand and helps make sense of the growth strategies that are needed for any business.

If you have a book or two that you would like to recommend, feel free to write in the comment section below or shoot me an email.Thanks for reading!

26 Jan

Entrepreneurship for Life Coaches, Part 7

desk with phone, computer, notebooks and reference books

This post is one of a series I am offering to coaches that are new to entrepreneurship and are setting up an online business for the first time.

5 Starting Tools for an Online Business

  • Create a website
  • Create business cards, stationary
  • Decide what advertising materials you need
  • Create a digital marketing strategy
  • Start Networking

First step: Create a Website

There is a lot of information on the internet about this topic. I would decide first if you really need a website. See my post “7 Reasons Why You Need a Website” (insert link here)

Creating your own website is something that can be time and energy intensive so it’s good to decide if you want to take that on or outsource it. You have the option to have someone else create and manage it for you if you can afford that in your budget.

Next step: Create Business Cards and Stationary

There’s a story floating around out there about a famous business owner who wrote personal notes to everyone he met. And yes, over the course of decades it became thousands of notes he wrote. Having an easy way for people to reach you is a good idea, and business cards are cheap and easy to make. Also having some type of notepad with your logo and business name, along with note cards and stationary will bring a look of professionalism to your business. Order a return mail stamp with your business name and address for finesse!

3rd Step: Decide What Advertising Materials are Needed for Immediate Use

Companies like Vistaprint.com and Staples.com offer reasonable prices with templates and print options. Canva.com is also very popular right now and offers a variety of services. It’s easy to hand out business cards, post cards or flyers at business networking events. For industry fairs, you may need a poster board, marketing materials and promotional items to entice potential customers to your table.

Tip: If you get a chance to attend an industry event – fair, convention, speaker series, see if you can be a sponsor and host a table at the event to advertise your services. Create a package of services, create flyers and put them on your table. People like things that are free, so gifts are good. You don’t have to spend a ton of money. They also like to know what you do and what their buying options are. Get the pitch down you are going to use. PayPal has options where customers can purchase from you right on the spot with a swipe of a credit card so plan to have sales and get the equipment to take payments. Also start a mailing list. It’s a way to draw people into you sales funnel. I use raffles and people love to sign-up for those!

Next Step: Create Your Own Digital Marketing Strategy

Digital what?

“At a high level, digital marketing refers to advertising delivered through digital channels such as search engines, websites, social media, email, and mobile apps.”
http://www.jeffbullas.com/day-life-digital-marketer

How will you advertise your product and services? Online advertising? Regular mail? Cold calling? Networking? Word of mouth?

There are lots of ways online to advertise your business: SEO, social media platforms, ads on websites or e-zines, guest blogging for others, interviews, videos, and affiliate marketing, just to name a few.

Any digital campaigns you create will be based on your target market, how big a campaign you want to create and how long you want to run it for. Budget should be a factor because advertising can become costly. Industry experts say it’s much more effective to offer speaking engagements and attend networking to actually capture the client that will make a purchase.

Tip: Regarding Social Media platforms: experts recommend picking a few strategies and trying them out. In other words, don’t try to learn it all or cover all media platforms. And they recommend to not throw a bunch of money at it to start. This is an area than can easily become a money pit. It’s better to pick a 1-2 platforms to start, advertise and connect there with people. This is part of the process that takes time – time to learn and time to implement. See how your competition maneuvers on social media. As your business grows you can always add platforms and automation later.

Last step: Start Networking!

Get out and meet people, join forums, networking groups, join speaker series, anything that will put you in front of potential clients. Networking also gives you a chance to create a mailing list, necessary to building long term client prospects. It is also a way to keep people informed about what you are doing on a regularly basis.

Tip: Go where your customers are, not where other coaches hang out.

Your affirmation checklist:

I have products and services that clients need and want.

I have a great marketing strategy!

Lots of clients are coming my way!


Recommendation: If you find, after reading this, that you are stuck or just frustrated with your idea, or don’t’ know how to get started, you might want to think about hiring a Life Coach. I know, it’s yet another thing that costs money, but I’ll share something with you – surprisingly I have found it to be the one thing that has been invaluable in building the foundation and success of my business. My personal coaching is what has made my business successful. As a coach, I have worked with many coaches to either them turn their idea into a viable business or help them launch their business. I can offer you a working relationship where you gain insight, accountability and a can develop your own strategies to build your business. Don’t be afraid to invest in yourself, even for a short time. You are your business!



Resources

Books:

Building a Website for Dummies by David A. Crowder.

Digital Business and E-Commerce Management, 6th Ed. Strategy Implementation & Practice by Dave Chaffey.

Million Dollar Coach: The 9 Strategies That Drive a 7-figure Coaching Business by Taki Moore

Content Marketing Secrets: How to Create, Promote, and Optimize Your Content for Growth and Revenue by Marc Guberti

Blog Posts:

26 Tips for getting started with social media marketing

15 step guidelines to create your perfect digital marketing strategy

How to create a social media marketing content plan in 7 steps:

Choose a website builder: 17 top tools

22 Apr

Entrepreneurship for Coaches: 6 tips to move you towards a successful coaching business

Tips for Your Coaching Business

For those of us who have never had our own business, let alone an online business, the learning curve can be steep. There is a lot that goes into starting a business and for many of us in the coaching business; it starts as an online business. Here are a few tips to help you along the way: 

1.Set the intention and visualize what you want.

Research shows that the time a person takes to develop the idea and put into print is a bigger determining factor of success than the blog post itself. The clearer the image, the better chance you have of it manifesting it, just like writing a good blog post. Do you want to have your own business? When you close your eyes, what do you picture? Picture all the details, and then write them down. Write down ALL the details, don’t hold back. (I use meditation to move me energetically into a visualizing space. It relaxes me and allows for a natural creative flow).

This is the foundation of the business you are building, so this is a good exercise to do regularly. I find my goals and dreams shift and change regularly based on a variety of factors. As human beings, we are in a constant state of change, as is the world around us.

Creativity and flexibility are your partners here!

2. Connect with your passion!

Keep your eye on the prize. Make sure you know what that is. People often focus on the nuts and bolts, the tangible things around them. But it’s important to look a little deeper. When you stop and think about what you really want, is that the path you are heading down?

Focus directly on what you want. What about this work ignites your passion? It’s important to keep a pulse on this, especially if the hours get long or you have to do other work to supplement your income.

3. Take time to think. No really. And do it often.

One way to connect with your passion and grow your business is to take time for yourself in this way. It sounds funny, but successful entrepreneurs commit time every day to thinking. This includes generating ideas, answering questions, strategizing and getting organized.

Franklin Covey had huge success with their planner series. An important step they suggest is to take time each day get organized. They recommend doing this first thing in the morning to start your day off right. And it doesn’t end there. They also recommend reflecting and setting goals, writing your dreams out and supporting your visions. Educating yourself, learning and improving skill sets, along with giving your mind time to think are all necessary skills for personal growth and professional development.

4. Write down your goals: including a business plans, financial goals, and types of clients, specialty/niche you want to work in.

They say writing the important ideas down, your thoughts and dreams help to move them from the conscious mind into the unconscious mind. This creates the energy for it to manifest. (Hey, it can’t hurt right?) It’s another way to dedicate energy towards your dream business.

Suggestion: Write feely, give yourself permission to write in an unedited format. Save the judgment and editing for another project. The important part are the details. Get it out there! The universe wants to know what you want!

5. Develop a support network

Find a few people that believe in what you do and support you in a positive way. If you can’t find anyone in your immediate network, expand your search or go to a Tony Robbins seminar!

(I say that tongue-in-cheek, but honestly, everyone that I’ve talked to rave about his workshops !)

What the experts say is to surround yourself with successful people. And he is definitely one of them!

 Try joining a group on Facebook/Twitter or LinkedIn.

Look for networking opportunities like BNI events. Action steps, whether they succeed or fail are one more step towards creating your dream.

Find networking opportunities within your niche or join industry related groups.

Tell people about what you do! They say you have to ask for the sale. This begins with a conversation. You have the power to start that!

6. Develop multiple sources of income 

I know the dream is often to just start coaching and move into a full-time practice. That may be possible for some, but it’s not for everyone. The online industry recommends giving yourself multiple sources of income until your business becomes profitable.

(When people quote how many month or years starting a business will take that can create a limiting mind set or a lowering of expectations. Often times when a number is stated, that automatically becomes the bar. It can feel deflating if you are nowhere near that mark. Good news: The time line for getting your business up and running is what you create! You are on a path that is yours and only yours).

You know what? As soon as you think of the idea and start moving towards it, you’ve already started your business!

It is already there, waiting to grow.

Profit will look different for various industries and specialties. Give yourself cushion with your income sources so you don’t have to give up your dream. Profit can mean financial success to some but to others living their dream is more profitable for their soul.

Some coaches work as trainers or consultants and use coaching to supplement their other business. Some write blogs or books, some go to work for businesses that offer coaching services; some work one job part-time while they are building their coaching practice.

Do what works for you but don’t give up your dream!

There are lots of ways to build your business.

Remember, creativity and flexibility are your allies! 


Resources:

Websites:

Blogspot.com

Problogger.com

SocailMediaExaminer.com

Forbes.com

Blog Posts:

Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Oprah all use the 5 hour Rule on Inc.com

Books:

Work with Passion, How to do What You Love for a Living by Nancy Anderson

Living in the Light Workbook by Shakti Gawain

The Four Fold Way, Walking the Paths of the Warrior, Teacher, Healer and Visionary by Angeles Arrien

 

25 Jul

5 Recommended Good Business Practices

It takes a lot to run a business. One of the most effective ways to maintain a good business is to develop good practices you can utilize on a regular basis. Here a few basic things you can do to stay current and on top of things:

1.Update your business plan.
Sounds like business 101 right? But many small business owners never put all the pieces of the puzzle together to see how or why their businesses succeed or fail. Nor do they even make a business plan or revisit their plans. A good business plan includes a summary of the what your business is, a detailed description of the goods and services you plan to sell and includes market research to identify who the competition is, what they are selling and how they are doing in the market. It also spells out how you will market your business, and what your internal management structure will look like. If you are looking to get a loan, a written business plan is often a must and can include market strategies and a financial forecast of your business.

2. Shop your competition.
When was the last time you drove around to see what retailers are in your area? Or shopped online to check out who else is doing what you do? Too many small business focus only on what they offer. They have no idea what is going on around them in their market niche. This is true from groceries to tires, appliances to real estate. To really compete in the market, you have to know what’s out there and what you are competing against. Only then can you be secure in your business model, price point and services.

“Customer perception is defined as: ‘A marketing concept that encompasses a customer’s impression, awareness and/or consciousness about a company or its offerings. Customer perception is typically affected by advertising, reviews, public relations, social media, personal experiences and other channels.’ ”
-Businessdictionary.com

3. Train the staff.
Small business often don’t put the necessary time and energy into the people they hire to make sure they have the skills they need. Sure the employee may come with a great resume and attitude, and perhaps good experience, but they will need your support to get the job done in your business. What’s your vision? How do you share it with your staff? What do you want them to focus on? How do you communicate that?

Research is well documented in showing that training that is on the spot, unplanned or lacking all together, takes away from productivity, performance and sales. It ranks up there in the loss category with lengthy meetings as a productivity killer. Give your staff the advantage of knowledge and a skill set that will give your business a leg up in the industry. Take an interest in what they want and in what they need to learn to do their jobs effectively and outperform the competition!

4. Improve procedures and systems.
Too many people get stuck doing things a certain way (“because that’s just the way it’s done” or “because there’s just no way around it”) which frequently causes a backlog. Do you know who ends up suffering? The customer. Simply put, you can’t afford that in your business. If customer service is your priority, and if customers truly drive your business, what can you do to improve policies and procedures to reflect that? Find an efficient way to offer the same quality product or service in a reasonable amount of time. And if you can’t, create a policy that includes incentives to help the customer adjust to a lengthy wait time and their dissatisfaction – before they get online to talk about it!

5. Connect with the community where you business lives.
Don’t be a stranger, visit the Chamber of Commerce, volunteer at local agencies, attend conferences and local meetings, sponsor a school or sports team. Engage with the community around you. It will be bring name recognition, put your face to your business name and give you a chance to develop real relationships, one of the pillars of successful businesses. Expand your personal referral base.

Additional questions to ask yourself:

Do you take every opportunity to get a sale or do you just wait for business to come to you?

Do you know the demographics of your customer base?

Do you take steps to increase sales, improve relations with clients or take an active interest in what people think of your business?

Are you actively involved in your community?

Is your business on Yelp? When was the last time you looked at the reviews?


References:

From Entrepreneur.com – Why you must have a business plan. 

From Commercialtribe.com- Why an Inadequate Sales Training Program is Hurting Your Goals
From SBS.org  an article on how to build a small business –  10 Tips to Help You Build and Grow a Stand-Out Small Business Brand.

From Entrepreneur.com – Closing Time: 6 Lessons in Good Business Practices From a Maryland Crab Shack.

From the Design Craft Council of Ireland, CCOIEnterprise.ie , 10 Essential good business practices.

From Forbes.com –Entrepreneurs Should Be Community Leaders.

From The Community Tool Box at the University of Kansas, CTB.KU.edu, Chapter 14, Section 1: Learning How to Be a Community Leader.

From SBA.gov- Write your business plan.

18 Jul

5 Basic Tips to Good Customer Service

What happened to good customer service?

True story: A friend of mine went in to a bagel shop one day. There was a young woman standing behind the counter and behind her were 4 racks with fresh bagels. Sam asked for 2 of his favorite bagels. The girl said “I’m sorry we’re out of bagels today”. He looked at her, surprised, and then pointed to the racks behind her. She replied, “Oh those are tomorrow’s bagels”. So he asked for the manager who came out and said, “Sorry we are out of bagels”. Again he pointed to the racks of fresh bagels sitting there. The manager said, “we can’t sell those, those are tomorrow’s bagels”. His response: “you won’t have tomorrow customers if you don’t help the customers you have today”. They, of course, sold him the bagels.

Question: Do you think he ever went back to that bagel shop?

The reason why a business needs good customer service is pretty simple: Customers drive the business. Every business should seek to offer outstanding customer service.

“A customer interaction can become a brand reputation action really quickly”.
– Madeleine Aman, Social Media Strategist, Duke Energy

Tips to good customer service

 

“Customers may forget what you said but they’ll never forget get how you made them feel.”
– Unknown

1. Create a forward thinking culture of service within your organization.

If employees believe in the business, if they are invested, feel valued, and are offered opportunities to succeed, they will be much more likely and better able to sell products. Make sure your employees understand all the products and services that are currently offered and what’s coming down the pipeline. Be on site with your staff, check-in, answer questions, model good sales and customer interaction. Offer training and support. Be enthusiastic. Offer incentives. Make your team feel valued. They are the ones that make contact with the customers. Creating a team perspective can also automatically generate accountability, enthusiasm and engagement.

 

“The customer’s perception is your reality”
– Kate Zabriski

2. Hire people that are friendly and people oriented!

Who does the customer come into contact with first when they walk in? Or call on the phone? Customer service is a skill set beyond just a position to fill. People that get hired as a favor to someone or because they were the only person you could find, may not be the best candidate to make a first impression. Research shows first impressions happen within the first 7 seconds of contact. Consumers today are savvy; they have a level of expectation before they walk in the door. Create an inviting environment by phone or with a friendly warm body. Meet their expectations from the start!

 

3. Include a strategy that promotes employees making contact with the customer immediately.

Hire staff that can greet a customer face-to-face, look them in the eye and say “hello” in a polite and respectful manner! It’s easy to create an inviting atmosphere, even on the phone or online. That is the experience you want the customer to have during those first 7 seconds. After that the staff can then start to work on building a customer’s trust by asking important questions and assessing the customer’s needs.

 

“The art of communication is the language of leadership”
– James Humes

4. Teach and model good listening skills to your employees.

Good communication skills include asking important questions to assess the customer needs and then actively listening to how the customer answers. Is the customer upset? Confused? What else are they looking at? Communicating clearly, communicating in a positive manner and utilizing product knowledge during the conversation are great attributes for good customer service. Teach staff to get excited about products and to expand their product knowledge. Model patience with your staff so they learn to offer that trait to customers. Especially for those irate customers! Teach your staff to value being of service to customers. That’s what they are there for.

“When customers feel taken care of they are more inclined to buy from you again.”
– Helpscout.net

5. Sell the product with a service profile that invites a repeat customer.

Give the impression the customer is invited to come back. Assessing the needs of the customer also means listening to what the customer is not saying. Say it for them. Offer additional product knowledge, information about upcoming sales, other services or other ways to invite additional business, maybe through mail order or online. Successful businesses direct their service profiles and strategies to achieve customer loyalty, customer retention and generate referrals. The only way a customer can respond is if they have the information in hand. And they only way they will come back or refer someone is if they have a positive experience.

So plant the seeds. Make it so they want to come back to buy other things, or refer a friend and talk about you – in a good way!


References:

Customer service assessment by Job Test Prep.

Forbes magazine: 7 seconds to make a first impression.

Inc.com: 9 ways to make a great first impression.

Business.com: Making a great first impression with your customers. 

Social Media Today Episode #33: How the largest utility helps customers.

Callcenter-iq.com podcast: Assessing maturity in customer service experience.

Inc.com: 10 reasons employees really care about their jobs.

Helpscout.net: Customer loyalty.

Copyright 2019 Etain Services.