Would you ever turn away a customer? While conventional business wisdom holds that the customer is always right, like so many things in business there are clear exceptions to this rule. Customer relationships that turn sour can create major sources of stress for small business owners, but apart from that, can also place major drains on finite time and capital that can be tough to recover from if allowed to get out of hand. Identify if your customer relationship makes sense, or if you are stretching to accommodate for a poor fit. Common problems that can arise because of a toxic customer relationship including scrambling to accommodate for a customer that simply isn’t asking for services or products within the realm of what your business is able to offer. While you may have some strongly performing products and others that don’t perform as well in terms of sales, you offer what you offer and constantly stretching outside the bounds of what you typically produce for

According to Wikipedia, goodwill refers to “a special type of intangible asset that represents that portion of the entire business value that cannot be attributed to other income producing business assets, tangible or intangible.” What this means in plain English is that, aside from the material assets of a business, such as its equipment, and tangible assets such a employees, there exists an intangible value that is comprised of brand recognition, customers, and cultural capital. Goodwill in accounting terms is the reason why a business that has $20K worth of equipment and property might be worth $100K to a buyer. How can you increase the value of your business’s goodwill? When you increase your goodwill, you are increasing the value of your business, so ignoring this aspect of business development is a poor strategic move. Not only that, but goodwill tends to grow from positive customer service experiences contributing to word of mouth referrals and increased brand recognition, which is already a cornerstone of business development

The end of the Summer isn’t even here yet, so why should business owners think about the beginning of the holidays? Because, with the buildup to the largest shopping weeks of the year beginning with the advent of the Fall, the time between then and now isn’t as immense as it might seem and with so much to be done, getting a jump on the business to be won is a powerful strategic move. What do you need to do to prepare for the changing seasons? Marketing campaigns should be based on research, so one thing that business owners should begin to prepare for is directing their marketing spend in a way that can create the best response and sales. Apart from preparing to allocate marketing dollars, business owners will have a list of things that they need to tie up before the end of the Summer. Highlighting and attacking the priorities that they have remaining is another way to make sure that as Fall arrives,

  A business may be getting a fair amount of traffic to its website, but in and of itself traffic can’t keep a business running. Visitors need to be turned into leads, and there are a wide number of factors that can effect their willingness to do so. One core concept of content marketing is that valuable content and the appearance of being a trusted source enhances your ability to win business. Putting content to work has benefits in terms of SEO, branding, and social media growth, but using content to create leads specifically is also a viable strategy, provided that your content is of a high enough quality to merit serious interest. Here are three techniques business owners can use to turn their content into a catalyst for lead creation. 1) Gate your best content. Gating content forces visitors to provide information in exchange for the ability to read a full article. While gating all of your content will more likely than not wind up annoying

Customer loyalty has the ability to make or break a business, but then again, so does the loyalty of a business’s employees. While performance is at the core of an employee- employer relationship, business owners should also value the human element of the relationship, which goes beyond the metrics of their business, yet can palpably add value to it. Reducing turnover and creating a culture of accountability can increase organizational efficiency, stop losses created by employees leaving and help avoid the costly process of hiring and training. A “birthday budget” is a small pool of cash set aside for honoring employee birthdays. Covering the cost of a cake and a small break to celebrate on employee birthdays is not only low cost when the costs are spread over the entire year, but also a nice way to say thank you to long term employees, and even to make relatively new hires feel welcome should their birthdays occur soon after they join your staff. Another benefit of honoring

Additional technology training isn’t always necessary for small business owners. Even if they are considering picking up a new program in order to broaden their ability to handle digital projects, a lot of the time they can get by through online lessons or simply searching for answers to issues when they become constraints. The drawback of a DIY approach to software learning, however, is the fact that it can take a lot of valuable time that business owners could otherwise spend improving business processes or pursuing new avenues of growth. Generally speaking, the more features and nuances present in a software’s interface, the more likely it will be that investing in a professional training program is worthwhile. Case in point, Photoshop. Why is Photoshop useful in a small business context? When people think of photoshop, their first thoughts might be more along the lines of funny edited pictures and less towards the potential uses that it brings to a business. That said, photoshop’s usefulness in a

As a business grows in both popularity and production capacity, there will come a time when the physical location that they began with no longer supports the level of business that they are handling. At this point, business owners will either need to open up a second location or move to a larger one in order to make the most of all the potential business they can create. In the event that they opt to go with a larger location, there are a few things that they need to get a handle on before they are able to commit. Fumbling the transfer of their business to a new area can not only disrupt cash flows and waste liquid capital, but it can even lead to them losing business to competition during the down time of their move. In general, business owners should begin to consider moving to a larger location when they are unable to handle the capacity demands imposed on them by business growth.

It can be tough to know what the best way to gather and sort customer information is, but given the fact that the more you know about your customers, the better you are able to make sales, it’s an important area for small business owners to work on. What can they do in order to keep track of who they are working with? Here are a few ideas for gathering and cataloging information on who is driving your sales numbers. Create a follow up to your lead forms. A lead form should really only collect the essentials, since the longer and more complicated that it is to fill out, the harder it is going to be to get visitors to the site to take the time to fill it out at all. One solution to this issue is to make extraneous fields non-required, but even the site of a long and daunting lead form can deter people from taking the time to fill it out. You

Design work in a business context can often get pretty pricey, and when you have a set amount of time within which you need a project completed, you may want to take steps to make the process of getting a design you can settle on expedited. All business owners should agree on a rate and a pricing plan that they feel comfortable with before allowing the designer to begin doing work for them, and once they have begun a relationship, ask for a clear invoice after each completed job, possibly itemized if there are multiple components that go into getting the job done. Before even approaching a designer, however, there are a few things that you might want to take care of on your end before you start the clock, especially if you are going to be managing them on a remote basis. Have an idea of what you want them to create. While business owners don’t always know exactly what they want to have done

One of the main challenges of managing projects with remote employees and contractors is the fact that face to face communication is not always an option, yet it is through face time that many breakthroughs are able to happen. Often, a project will be broken up between people who communicate with a project manager, but rarely with each other. Unfortunately, that can often lead to a slower rate of progress due to a need for revisiting and tweaking results. Imagine assigning a team to assemble a puzzle. Each team member is given a number of pieces and told to meet up again when they have finished putting their share together. The problem is that each team member is both removed from the insights of the other people on the project and they also will have a harder time envisioning what the fully assembled picture will look like. The metaphor of separate rooms with puzzle pieces represents the challenges faced by a team of remote workers.

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