PPC Tips Written by 0

Becoming a small business owner can be an exciting experience if you have a good sound foundation and know how to stay cost effective in the beginning. In order to help with this journey we have drafted a few tips for some of the areas where SMB may find trouble coping.

Let’s Start General..

The first tip for your SMB is to be creative. There are several other businesses out there that are probably offering the same thing you are, so you have to dig deep and find a way to make your business stand out. This means that yes you have to spy on the competition. If the thought of that makes y0u feel uneasy then think of it this way; “your” competition is kicking your butt and you want to learn from them. Ok let’s look at it from a different approach. What does it take to be different?

  1. Your prices have to be better than the rest
  2. Your quality has to be better
  3. There has to be something different about your company.

When you look at that list then you have to ask the question, “How do you know when you have accomplished this unless you look into the competition?

The next general thing your business should do is make an impact. How will your business help others? If you are working on a business that services other business what about your SMB is going to make those businesses rely on your service. Make people want to talk about your business and what a help it is to them. This too will take research. Who is your target audience  and what do they need from you? After gathering this information you make sure your business is constructed to cater to those needs.

When you are planning your business future always “think big” Your business will grow only as big as your highest expectation. If you put yourself in a box then you will never perform outside that area. A successful business has to have vision and long term goals that lead to improvement and growth.

The last general tip is one that every SMB has been guilty of at some point and that’s trying to cut cost in the wrong areas. Yes when you are starting out the goal is to not spend more than you are bringing in but that is not always possible. A good example is not bringing on the necessary help to allow you to move forward and get it all done. It seems easier to jump in there and do it all yourself. You know how you want it, how to do it, etc and besides brining someone else on means you have to take time to train them on everything already in your head, pointless right? WRONG. In order to grow you have to be able to manage several parts of your business at the same time, this means more than one you. It is actually easier to bring in someone in the beginning so they can learn as you go then it is to try and train someone while running the business at the same time. The other factor is the cost of bringing someone on. The more productive you are the more money your company can make. There are many ways to automate your business.  Wasp Barcode is a great company with several tools to automate your business.  You should check them out if you’re having scaling issues.

Whys to Cut Costs Right Away

At some point in your business venture the SMB has to branch out and travel, whether it is to a conference, or expo, or meeting. These types of events can be quite expensive but are necessary for your business to gain exposure and network with other companies out there. Below are tips to help you cut costs a little more, even before you go.

The first tip would be to find a way to cut the cost of your printing. As we all know you can’t go to an expo without a few handouts. These handouts would of course cost money to have printed. If you follow these tips you are sure to save money;

  • Think about what you are buying before you buy it.  It may not be necessary to print your documents in color which will reduce your bill drastically.
  • Be realistic about the amount of material you have printed. Although as a SMB you would love to have 200 people walk away with your information in their hands, is it realistic? This answer will depend on the number of businesses expected to visit the expo. A good judge of this would be how many visitors they have averaged in years past. This information is normally found on the invitation to get the vendors to sign up and display at the expo.
  • The other things many people don’t consider is making sure that the information that you print can be reused. The way to secure this is to prevent using dates and the names of the expos. Make the information about your business is very general so you can use it for multiple events. The end result is having materials that you can use at another expo or in your general everyday business.

The second tip is to save on the cost of the actual expo. You can do this by sharing your space with another small business owner. With splitting the cost you can also partner with another business that compliments yours. This can also help you gain more exposure with an all-n-one approach. (that’s a whole new blog)  The other place SMB’s go wrong is making too much fuss over their display. The decorations and features are not going to make a sale unless your ability to decorate and make things pretty is what you are selling. Keep it simple and put more effort into what you are going to say to the people and how you can lure them to your table.

Get free outside exposure through their local news publication. There are several papers and other publications that are always looking for what or who is new. You would be surprised what a little expert in the local paper can do for you and your business.

Lost count, but I think this is tip three. Take some extra help. I wouldn’t advise hiring someone just for the expo but remember if you followed the tips from earlier you already have someone in house to take along and it doesn’t cost you any extra.

Complaints, Complaints, Complaints

The hardest part of being a SMB is dealing with customer complaints. Now you may think that if you do your job and deliver in a timely matter that these will never come your way. The truth is there is always going to be someone who finds a reason to complain about your business no matter what you do. The life of your business will be determined by how you handle these complaints.

  1. Whatever you do never make the issue seem trivial or unworthy of your time.
  2. As much as we would rather stay quiet and hope that the issue goes away silence only makes it worse. Let me repeat that last part, “silence only makes it worse.”
  3. If the issue is because of someone else you have working for you, don’t waste your time blaming someone else. Just accept the fact that you as the owner are always at fault. The conversation is better spent trying to figure out what has to be done to make the client happy again.
  4. Even if they are wrong…the customer/client is always, always, right. Just fix whatever it is and move on.

The security in handling a complaint the right way is one you will retain a client if you choose to and two you will create another good reference for your company. The thing is they are going to tell the whole story including what you “did wrong” the catch is the end of that story with will include how helpful you SMB were in resolving the issue.

There are several other tips for the SMB. These haven’t even scratched the surface but are some general tips to help you get off the ground. Oh wait one more tip, all ventures have their ups and downs a SMB is no different so stick with it. Don’t assume you have made a bad choice or your business won’t work until you have covered your entire basis. Actually, I have learned that ever hurdle and “dumb:” mistake has only made me a smarter business owner. We would love to hear any stories or tips you would like to share.

 

 

 

John Rampton is a PPC Entrepreneur, Author, Founder at Due a finance company helping small business owners. Follow me on Twitter @johnrampton

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