Making the Year a Success...
With only three months left in 2015 many businesses sprint to wrap up the year on a successful note . With the upcoming holidays often leaving a gap in the operations and sales forces, it can be difficult to make the fourth quarter count. Here are some important tips for business owners that will help make 2015 a rewarding year.
What do you want to accomplish in the quarter? Make a list and the steps you need to accomplish each.
Consider why you want to attain these goals. Do you want to situate your company for a strong new year? Are you working to become a leader in your industry? Knowing the real purpose behind each goal will help you communicate the overall strategy to your entire staff no matter at what level.
Once you know why and where you are headed plan how you will get there. Setting up a solid plan of attack is the best way to achieve your vision.
Rally your team
Your employees are an essential part of your business at every level be it sales, marketing or operations. Even if your quarterly goals are only in sales or marketing it’s important that your employees as a whole understand what you want to accomplish by year end.
Ask for feedback
Your employees may have unique or collaborative ideas of how to accomplish the quarterly goals more efficiently. Promote involvements and be sure to ask for feedback.
Make sure each team member knows their role
Open communication allows team members to ask questions and voice concerns regarding the plan you have laid out. Allowing team members to clarify their tasks will help them achieve the goals you have set.
Set up rewards
Rewards help motivate employees. Whether you give employees a holiday bonus, a party or other recognition, reward deserving employees for their accomplishments in helping meet company goals.
Delegate and identify a leader
No matter the environment there always needs to be someone heading things up. Assign a leader for each that will give you honest information about the project, what is being accomplished, and problems that may be occurring.
Review and modify
Be willing to review your goals and modify things that aren’t working . Be willing to learn from your mistakes and implement a new strategy before the end of the year.
It can be hard to stay motivated around the holidays. Keep your eye on the end result. Make sure you set up some rewards for yourself as well. The business owner deserves a bonus for his or her hard work, too.
Make sure to end your year off with a bang not a whimper. Get your fourth quarter planning done now and boost staff morale by finishing big this year!
By Jack Stieber - President - American Receivable
image courtesy of iosphere at www.freedigitalphotos.net
Customer retention is key for today's businesses
Customer retention is on the minds of small and medium-sized businesses everywhere. With rising business costs it’s becoming more and more expensive to attract new customers so the focus has shifted to find innovative approaches to retaining existing clients.
Studies from the U.S. Small Business Administration and U.S. Chamber of Commerce have found that acquiring new customers can cost as much as five to seven times more than simply retaining existing customers. The fact that customer profitability increases over the life of a retained customer are an incentive for businesses to allocate more resources to sharpening their customer retention strategies.
Set customer expectations
A first step to building better customer retention is to set client expectations early. The earlier the better. A great way to foster loyal customers is to “under promise and over deliver” on the expectations you originally laid out.
By setting expectations early and slightly lower than you can provide, you can eliminate uncertainty as to the level of service you need to offer to ensure your clients are happy. Clients tend to remember negative experiences.
Be the expert
Small and medium-sized businesses are becoming more and more dependent on services to run their operation. No matter what industry you are in if you can be the expert in your particular field, you will likely retain more customers.
Become your customers’ trusted advisor. Becoming a trusted source builds a relationship that leads to dependency. Your customers will trust you, rely on you to give the best advice, and recognize you as an integral part of their business success.
Build trust through relationships
The saying goes, you do business with people you trust. Trust is essential in business, and building relationships with clients will foster that trust.
Cultivating shared values means taking an interest in your clients and their business. Do some research on their business, understand how you play a role in their day-to-day activities, and use this information to strengthen your relationship.
Simply providing a service is no longer sufficient. As competition grows you need to start building shared values with clients and showing you take an interest in them and their success.
Go above and beyond
Going the extra mile for your customers is an easy way to build strong relationships. Often, companies overlook how important this is. As a service business, you have countless opportunities to wow your clients and transcend the minimum.
By doing this, you can build some serious long-term loyalty. If your clients know you are prepared to go above and beyond, they will stay with you when competitors start knocking on their door.
Implement customer feedback surveys
Customer turnover can be avoided by simply listening to your customers. Customer feedback surveys are invaluable for learning how your service is performing in relation to your clients’ expectations.
By Anne Capps Executive Vice President - American Receivable