Small business is poised to generate many new jobs in 2018. We need small business to grow our economy and will need local small business. I have had the pleasure over seeing many small businesses grow in the last years and expect more in Westchester County New York in 2018.
While it is true that today’s business environment can seem somewhat volatile there have also been many more opportunities with the growth in the economy.
While I don’t want to oversimplify I believe that small business owners can leverage success by following the suggestions in the three following steps.
Step 1 – Think Strategically then follow through.
When you think strategically you work ON your business rather than IN your business. You are future focused. You decide where you want to take your business now and in the future whether it is in 5 years, 10 years, 15 years or more. You determine who your customers are now and who they will be in the future. With this information you plan for changes in customer needs so that you will continue to meet them.
You have financial controls with budgets for sales, inventory, gross profit, employee expenses, fixed expenses and net profit. You change these as needs require.
Your people do the right things and do things right. You remain nimble and flexible as business changes and you cross train and develop your staff to do different jobs.
You have clear and sensible processes throughout your entire business operation. Members of your team are empowered to make commitments to most of your customers without your intervention.
Step 2 – Creating Loyal Customers and Generating Referrals
While sales and profits are measurements of success they are trailing indicators. An important leading indicator is customer loyalty—that is the emotional attachment your customers have with you and your organization.
Satisfaction and loyalty are not the same. Satisfaction is a measurement of, “I expected it and I got it; therefore, I’m satisfied.” If this were translated into a grading system, satisfaction could easily translate into a grade of “C” on any report card.
The desired score is obviously an “A” and A’s always equate to loyal customers. A’s imply that customers got more than they expected, and their expectations were exceeded in some way. Based on what is truly important to customers, they received more value from you than from your competitors. The best way to create perceived value in the eyes of your customer is to always exceed their expectations. Under promise and over deliver.
Step 3 – Getting the Right Team and Keeping Them Engaged
Engaged employees are necessary for loyal customers. Employees who are disengaged with their workplace and with the work they do can drag down team performance. Employees who are disengaged show up for work, but they leave their hearts and minds somewhere else.
Your leadership is the key to creating an attractive work culture. First, hire the person who shares your organization’s values. You can teach the operations of the job, but you cannot teach values.
• Simply, it means that they are motivated to achieve and have the feeling that they are contributing to a winning team. An engaged employee trusts management, understands the mission, is encouraged to innovate to be his very best. He is encouraged to do his best and is recognized for his contribution. When this happens, you have the highest level of customer loyalty, and employee retention.
• Employees do not leave companies; they leave supervisors. While there are many complex issues facing business, if you focus on these three areas you will have a greater chance of success.
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