Category Archives for "Small Business"

Enhance Your Chances of Small Business Success

By Randall Orser | Small Business

As a small business owner, don’t you want to be more successful? Are you content with your success up to now, but realize your business could be better if you worked hard at strengthening your business skills? You need to put in the work regularly in order to improve your chances of business success. The following tips will supercharge your long-term growth of your business.

Challenge Yourself

Outperform your previous day’s efforts. You can make it a game to do more each day and watch what you can achieve in a week amaze you. Track your task completion rate and try to beat your work output each day. Supercharge your productivity by adding just one more task to your to-do list.

Learn to Say No

A coach I work with says it’s either a “Hell, Yes!” or it’s a “NO”.  What opportunities are being thrown at you that you need to say no to. Don’t cave into customer demands for fear of losing a sale or take on a customer if they don’t fit your ideal client. You need to focus your energy on opportunities and tasks that help the bottom line to build a booming business. Learning to say no is the hardest challenge of being a small business owner. However, it’s on that’ll pay dividends well into the future.

Spot Opportunities Where Others Don’t

Learn to spot opportunities others miss if you want to be a successful business owner. Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in community politics, competitive challenges, or market negativity. Your best bet to outperform others in your industry is to stay positive about the future of your business and be observant spotting opportunities. Skip the negativity and squabbling and grin all the way to the bank and leave them wondering about the secret to your success.

Change is Good

Your business plan should include change. If you’re not willing to change your business plan, you may miss out on extraordinary growth opportunities. Business planning is smart, tweaking and updating your business plan is smarter.

Make Quick Decisions

If you truly want to succeed as a small business owner, you need to learn to make quick, informed decisions. Take too long making that decision and poof the opportunity has passed you by. Understand crucial factors that are relevant to your decision, weigh the pros and cons, and then make a firm decision. Never look back or second guess yourself.

By incorporating the above tips into your daily routine your odds of growing a booming business increase. Putting in the effort to improve your business skills makes it likelier that you’ll achieve great success. What about it? Are there business development skills you have found especially helpful in growing your business?

 

Is it Time to Clean up Your Annoying Marketing?

By Randall Orser | Small Business

You shouldn’t be annoying your customers with your marketing, but instead creating and curating value in the life of your customers. It will take and effort to build relationships with your customers to where they’ll trust and value your opinions. The following are some of the ways you’ll break your potential customer’s trust and annoy them.

Avoid Minor Injustices

Our first offender for annoying marketing is norm violations or minor injustices. These usually aren’t intentional, but somehow, they violate standards your customers value. For example, you invite IT technicians to a convention where WIFI is not easily available, or any form of internet connection during the convention. No matter how well the convention goes, or the other advantages encountered, they’ll remember being annoyed and frustrated with no WIFI. Your oversight in picking this venue may not have been intended, however, the gist of the meeting may probably boost their expectations.

We rely on technology a lot nowadays, so your customers are predisposed to frustration when you can’t meet their expectations around it. What are your customers standards and expectations being accustomed to? Knowing this can reduce negative reviews.

Crappy Website

Your customer today is looking for instant gratification, and not easy to please. Online shoppers expect your website to load instantly. As soon as your website doesn’t meet their expectations, in mere seconds now, they’re off your page and onto the next. An unwieldy checkout system can also increase the likelihood of cart abandonment. You need to design your website for easy navigation as anything less will end up in a mass exodus to your competitors.

With the popularity of smartphones and tables at an all-time high, your website should be optimized to tap into this huge audience of internet users. Your website should be compatible with all major browsers and mobile devices, in which case you’re best to hire a skilled website developer. Complete your contacts page, and don’t obscure or conceal them as it will make it hard to get feedback from your customers.

Don’t Keep Your Customers Waiting

It’s much simpler now to communicate with your customers thanks to technology. If there’s a problem that you can’t solve immediately, then keep your customers informed. They’ll soon understand that you’re working hard to fix their issue, which makes them feel valued and respected. Unexpected events may end up causing longer wait times, so keep your customers up-to-date via text, which shows you care. Once the issue has been resolved follow up and your customers will look upon your brand as trustworthy.

If you are getting negative feedback, it’s a much better approach to be proactive as that’s in the best interest of your customer. Do your best to solve the problem straightaway, and if you must give them a refund or replacement. Keep track of any feedback and then adjust your offering to continually improve your business. Sadly, one bad review often outweighs a dozen positive ones.

Five Lessons that are Out-of-the-Box

By Randall Orser | Small Business

Best practices are things that are there for a reason as they’re consistent and usually work. Best practices will form the foundation for your decision-making process in your small business. However, don’t get stuck on them as that may not be what’s in your best interest all the time. Here are some of those lessons that you should take to heart, but not always obvious from the start.

It’s the Small Things

Big wins are exciting, and there’s nothing like seeing that jump in sales to get the blood running. Unfortunately, big wins are usually the result of luck and timing; two things over which you have no control. You can’t blame someone for getting stuck trying to get home runs due to their emotional impact, however, it’s an ineffective way to go at all things. Focusing on those small daily wins in an effort to improve every day is more valuable to your business than stalling things while trying to get a home run. Consistency is what leads to strong companies.

Hold Something Back

Commitment is a big deal for small businesses, and for good reason. Try to create a company with one foot out the door and the competition will crush you, simply because they’re willing to devote more. Even so, too many mistakes this for going all-in on a business or decision, no matter the risk involved. Sadly, most of the time this attitude isn’t even necessary.

When should you consider going all-in on a business or decision? When all other options guarantee failure, and even then, failure might be the lesser of the two evils because it limits your losses. Taking your time testing the waters or going slowly isn’t a bad thing, especially if the price of failure is a dead business.

Use What Still Works

Are you one of those entrepreneurs who are always on the lookout for new ways to do things? Your production line can become more efficient or your marketing more effective with new technology, and anything that makes you more efficient than your competition is great. However, you can try to take it too far and end up reinventing the wheel again and again.

That new technology may be revolutionary but that doesn’t mean it’s better than what’s been done before. You need to exam any new technology carefully before changing your system to accommodate it. How much time will it take to implement? Does the gain in productivity or efficiency warrant the time relative to how long you’ll use it? These are some of things to consider.

Be Skeptical of Mainstream Thoughts

Running a small business is about appealing to as much as your target market as possible without diluting your focus. For many entrepreneurs, you’re listening to mainstream opinions and ideas, and thinking that represents the majority. Sadly, frequently mainstream opinions don’t represent a majority. Rather, it exposes how the average person thinks, and they don’t understand how business works. They don’t even understand, or care, why you’re doing something. There are times when it makes sense to listen to prominent statements, refuse the urge to substitute those thoughts for your own. Trust yourself as no one knows your business like you.

Stay Ambitious

Too many people will try to temper your expectations and tell you to be happy with what you got. They think they mean well, as they just don’t want you to be disappointed. You have to stay ambitious as no matter the industry competition is fierce. You don’t want to get left in the dust because you’re not pushing for growth and innovation.

As a small business owner, you’ll have to learn some unusual rules and lessons, but the above should get you have to a good start. If you’re having trouble figuring out the rest, just focus on what it is you want to accomplish. What is the most efficient way to do this? You don’t want to get stuck on what everyone else is doing. Look at what you can do and you’ll find the answer.

Myths about Freelance Freedom

By Randall Orser | Small Business

You’ve thought about being your own boss for some time. You’re tired of working for someone else and want to dictate your own schedule by your own rules and experience the freedom of being self-employed. Don’t quit your day job just yet and set off down the path of self-determination. You need to understand that freelancing isn’t as liberating as you might think. Here are four things to think about before you launch that freelance career.

Flexibility is Not All It’s cracked up to Be

While there is a possibility of a flexible time schedule as a freelancer, the opposite tends to true. Instead of that flexible schedule, you’re more likely to be troubled with thoughts of “I should be earning right now”. You may have thought the freelancer life would be your personal freedom, it may end up being a life of guilt knowing that every moment you’re not working is a moment not earning. 

Less Stress is a Falsehood

A stress-free life as a freelancer is ahead for you, correct? Nope, you need to give your head a shake. You end up trading one type of stress for another. Your stress isn’t coming from your boss or colleagues anymore, but from self-imposed stress of always being on the lookout for new clients. Knowing that your income could come to a screeching stop with the loss of a client or two can make you feel like you can’t ever rest. You’re always in marketing mode with the anticipation of getting new clients to your freelance business.

Different Boss, Same Game

You’re thought about and have looked forward to be your own boss. Except you’re really not your own boss, your clients become your boss. And, unlike before where you only had the one boss to contend with, you now have many bosses to which you need to answer and make happy. If the thought of being pulled in many directions at the same time doesn’t delight you, then you need to think long and hard before you take on the freelancer thing full time.

Work from Anywhere, Work from Nowhere

Becoming a digital nomad is a big thing now and can be appealing. As long as you have internet access, you can work from anywhere. Regrettably, you may find out that you really work better in an office environment without distractions. The problem with so many places, such as your local coffee shop, is too much noise, too many interruptions, and too many dirty looks from servers can make you want to retreat to a quieter location. A poor internet connection (or none at all) can thwart your plans of working from the beach. In the end, you’ll probably end up working from home instead of exploring your opportunities as a digital nomad.

You need to check yourself before launching your freelance career that your romanticizing the benefits of freelancing. The freedom is always nice at the start, but you’ll probably end up feeling numerous pressures once you realize how you are completely on your own. There many challenges to think about from revenue generation, to retirement planning and medical/dental benefits as a freelancer. The sooner you realize these self-employment truths, the better prepared you will be to develop solutions.

Are You Following These Five Entrepreneur Rules Religiously?

By Randall Orser | Small Business

Entrepreneurship is erratic and unpredictable, so rules are crucial. Rules give you a groundwork to work from, that will serve as a guide for when the optimal direction seems uncertain. Your first step to be a successful entrepreneur is figuring out and remember those rules. Here are five rules worth remembering.

Tools

Every business needs tools of some sort. Whether it’s rows of machines, or just a single computer. No matter what technology you are using, it’s absolutely important to keep them well maintained. Actually, maintaining what you have now may be more important and feasible than struggling to get top-of-the-line equipment.

You can keep replacement costs down by maintaining equipment, which leaves revenues free for other important expenses. Being vigil on maintaining your equipment lowers breakdowns keeping productivity high. Of course, that’s not just physical maintenance. It’s also keeping your hard drive free of files you no longer need, so you aren’t buying new hard drives.

Business Before Emotion

As an entrepreneur, your passions and desires matter. They keep you going when you’re tired and facing mountains of work ahead. Sadly, too many startups fail because the leader confuses passion for intelligence.

Passion is important; however, it should never determine how you run the business. Passion is the “why” of your business. It brings you to the office and drives you forward. When it comes to actually making decisions, you need to let the numbers and your head do the work.

It’s not just passion that can be a problem. Entrepreneurship is naturally stressful, and there are lots of times where your buttons get pushed, sparking sadness, anger, joy, and more. These emotions can push you into making decisions in the heat of the moment, which is dangerous. Positive emotions are just as dangerous. Using joy to make a decision is just as bad as giving in to anger. In the end, you’re making a decision that wasn’t made through careful thought.

Partner only with People Who You Trust

For a lot of startups, taking on a partner may be unavoidable. You are only one person no matter how brilliant you are as an entrepreneur. You’re only able to do so much, and you may only be able to afford to delegate so much. You may need more authority than an average employee for certain things, and that authority may need to be equal to your own. Some things just need a partner.

However, don’t just let anyone be your partner. You want to fill in the gaps of your skillset to increase value, however, they need to be trustworthy. After all, you’re sharing the reins with this partner. If you can’t trust them to have the same goals as you, then they don’t deserve tht power and responsibility.

Preparation

Entrepreneurship isn’t something that lends itself to improvisation. Products and sales don’t just magically appear because you did something on the fly. They happened as you were prepared for them. You determined your target market and what they wanted out of your offering and focused on developing towards those needs.

Not sure what to do next or you’ve somehow managed to clear your to-do list, prepare. Something is always coming up that needs attention and need to figure out and study. This could be a direction the market is going, or negotiations. Figure out for what you need to prepare, and get ready.

Take Care of Yourself

Do you want to be one of those entrepreneurs who pushed themselves to death? Many have, literally in order to develop a successful business. Many have worked long hours, gave up everything, such as friends and basic hygiene, in order to turn a profit. Sadly, that route usually doesn’t pay off, and, if it does, it’s a costly victory.

You are your most important responsibility. You’re not there for the sake of your business, your business is there to help reach your goals. All the money in the world is pointless if you sacrifice your health and well-being for it.

Entrepreneurship can be confusing, however, having a core set of rules will keep you grounded and going in the right way. The above rules are not the only ones you’ll need, most will come from experience, but these will get you started.

When Should You Turn Down a Client

By Randall Orser | Small Business

You’ve started our business and it can be tempting to take on every client that comes along. After all, without your clients then you won’t have revenue which your business greatly needs to prosper. So, while on paper it makes sent to take one and all clients, regrettably, frequently that client is more trouble than they’re worth. Is this client a good fit with you and your business? Sometimes it’s not and it’s best if you both just move on.

Clients in a Rush

You’ve worked hard on creating the most productive processes during the development phase of your business. You’ve got the right mix of cost, speed, and quality together. You don’t want to mess with that formula, however, that client in a rush will definitely mess that mix up. The rush client is one of those that phones you just before closing on a Friday, and wants a job done by Monday morning. Avoid the rush client that wants you to work entirely with their schedule. You know what you’re capable of and how fast, so if it’s not possible, then don’t do it. In the end you damage your brand by taking on the rush client as you know they’ll never be satisfied.

The Mundane Job

Not all your jobs will be exciting or glamourous. Your clients can project their enthusiasm for the details, or job, onto you and get you excited for the job. However, there are going to be those tasks that just bore you, and you should avoid those as much as you can. Boring jobs just suck the life out of you and your work, which can upset the quality and your enthusiasm for the business in general. If you want to take on that boring job, then either recommend it to a colleague or someone else in your company, so the client doesn’t leave empty handed.

Not Paying Enough

The most difficult thing you’ll do for your business is come up with pricing for your offering. You have to find a price that’s profitable, but at the same time one that fits your target market. This will require a bit of work but totally worth it in the end.

Whenever you get that customer that wants a discount, you need to just turn them down. You should also turn down those clients that want something difficult or special that you don’t usually offer. You’ve come up with your price for a reason, as it’s what you believe your offering is worth. Stick to your guns when it comes to pricing and insist on the posted price. And, for Pete’s sake, avoid those clients that go on about giving you exposure for a discount, or worse, a freebie.

Your Time is Limited

You only have so many hours in a week to do client work. There may be a time where you just can’t take on a client, even when that client is not in a rush. No time is a good problem to have as it means you’ve gotten to capacity. You may be thinking it’s easy to ignore that new client, until you think about the money it could bring. Don’t take on more than you can handle, unless you’re just backed into a corner, you’re better off to err on the side of caution.

Outside Your Niche

Have you been asked to do something that’s outside your niche? It’s great that people think you’re capable of doing great things, however it could backfire. You have the chance to expand your offerings and learn something new. However, you may not do it at all well, which could affect future business. The best time to expand is when you decide to do so, not when a client asks. You need to focus on what you’re great at and what you’ve designed the company to offer.

Just Feels Wrong

Measurable metrics is what your business revolves around. Getting to your final cost for your offering is a composite of manufacturing expenses and the target market’s average income. However, there’s something to be said for your gut feeling If you’re just not sure about the client, or what they’re asking, don’t hesitate to say no. You’re much better off to lose a client than be forced into things you never wanted to do.

The above usually apply to small businesses that have a small number of clients, however, you can apply them to businesses that sell products as well. The important thing is that you value your time, your effort, and your business. Anytime a client asks you to compromise one or more of them, it’s time to move on.

Get Your Business Moving in the Right Direction

By Randall Orser | Small Business

Business development requires one of the most overlooked and important aspects, direction. How many businesses seem to fail even though they seem to have everything going for them? You can have a talented team, a great product or service, however if the business isn’t pointed in the right direction it’s going to fail.

It may sound simple, but many businesses seem to miss it. No matter if it’s a mom and pop shop or a Fortune 500 company, by not aligning all the businesses parts it’s going to be a disaster. From personnel to marketing, you need to ensure all parts of your business are focused on accomplishing the same goals. Ideally, you should be aligning those goals with the wants and needs of your customers.

Are your businesses parts all moving in the same direction? How do you do that?

People

Direction is the difference between a team that’s greater than the sum of its parts, or a disorganized and disappointing group. 

Your worst-case scenario is where your talented people are going in opposite directions and cancelling our each other’s efforts. That said, the worst-case scenario doesn’t have to exist for a lack of direction to hinder your company’s performance. 

If your people are going off in different directions, then you’re getting less than ideal results across the board. To ensure peak potential of your team everyone needs to have the identical goals in mind.

You must be communicating all the time to achieve this. Have a crystal-clear idea of what your businesses priorities are. And, being receptive to feedback is important.

Departments

You can scale direction for any company size. And, that direction needs to be on point for every department in your business. 

To that point, envision a company with each department full of talented people but missing common direction. Your marketing department is putting out great materials aimed at the 18 to 30 demographics, however, your R&D team is producing a product aimed squarely at retirees. While your sales department is focusing on getting the product stocked in stores which are most popular with new parents and young families.

The above is an extreme example; however, many businesses end up in a similarly harmful pattern of misalignment. Your business needs to have clear organization goals that all departments are aware in order to flourish.

The most successful brands in any industry create a great product and then create a marketing campaign that reflects the product in a way that appeals to the targeted demographic. And, available in places that demographic is mostly likely to check.

However, it’s all pointless unless the company is pointing in the same direction as its customers.

Customers

You can make the best product, or provide the best service ever, but that’s pointless if no one wants to buy it. A restaurant with an incredible effective marketing campaign targeting twentysomethings will have no sway in a community mostly made up of retirees.

Your businesses success hinges on aligning your goals and priorities with those of your customers. Unless you do that then no amount of effort is going to make your product or service successful.

Successful brands know their customers and provide them with what they demand. If you look at history’s biggest successes, you’ll find that they aligned perfectly with their target demographic. The failures are the ones that had a complete misunderstanding of this.

A great example of this is New Coke, remember that? This fiasco tanked the world’s most popular soft drink sales back in the 1980s. Coca-Cola’s various departments worked in perfect harmony to create the new recipe and market it to the masses, which was great; however, this wasn’t a direction its customers wanted Coke to be moving. Coca-Cola was a popular drink everyone recognized by its taste since childhood. Coca-Cola went against everything its customers wanted by changing the taste; especially one that was kind of gross.

The Takeaway

You need to be creating clear goals for your business and ensure those are reflected at every level. Your staff need to understand your company’s goals whatever their position in the company. Without everyone understanding that your most talented people may end up working against you.

It’s imperative that these efforts are aligned with the goals and expectations of your customers.

Build a Sound Financial Business Strategy

By Randall Orser | Small Business

Are you an entrepreneur seeking to build your company? Or someone thinking about opening a new business? To be a successful business builder the best thing you can do is focus on your company’s finances. Be the entrepreneur that focuses on the finances of the company rather than the one going to the tech conferences or inviting the media hoping to get exposure. Do you want your company to fail because you weren’t aware of its fiscal responsibilities? Keep the following sound financial business strategies in mind and you’ll have a successful business.

Learn Business Finances

To improve growth opportunities for your company, then focus on learning as much as you can about business finance. In the time other new business owners are going after media attention, you should focus on refining your business finance expertise. By learning more about business finances from experienced people, like Warren Buffett or someone in your industry, the more able you can leverage growth opportunities others might miss.

Economic Trends

By watching economic trends over various business verticals, you can ensure you’re best prepared to handle financial risks. Focusing too much on your own market sector can make you miss impending market shifts that can affect your growth rate. From trends in retail to how automation is changing business development in global markets, the opportunities are many to understand future economic trends. Gather all the information possible on global economic forecasts and ensure you’re looking years ahead, not just months.

Changing Rapidly

Business finance these days is rapidly changing. The norm used to be bank loans and venture capital, now the options have expanded and becoming more common are cryptocurrencies and ICOs (initial coin offerings). You need to understand how business finance is transforming as technology advances, if you want to ensure you’re in a good place financially.

Chief Financial Officer

A Chief Financial Officer (CFO) can be a smart in-house hire for your startup in order to secure your businesses financial strategy. Too many startups wait until far too late to look at their company’s long-term finances. Whether it’s an accelerated burn rate that is unsustainable or business expenses that can’t be recovered in an acceptable amount of time, a CFO helps keep your company out of trouble and on the path towards profits.

Spending Habits

Are you watching your competitors’ spending habits more than your own spending patterns? That’s not very productive at all. You’re much better focusing on growth elements you control, rather than on what your competitors are doing. Whether it’s expenses on talent, fees paid for services you use, keeping an eye on your own finances and looking for increased opportunities is much more productive.

Financial Technology Tools

Thanks to rapid growth in the fintech sector, financial technology tools have grown significantly and available to entrepreneurs. You need to pay attention to this sector to discover savings opportunities you might not even know exist. Technology is changing the resources to which you have access to handle your businesses finances, however, you do need to know that they exist. A core component of your business’ financial strategy should be looking at the fintech sector regularly.

Spending for Spending sake

Too many new companies fall into the trap of spending for spending sake when they get the investor funding. That cash injection is great for stimulating growth, however, spend it on things that have a high ROI (return on investment). You should be spending on marketing, or hiring someone to do it, or a sales person that can close business deals, those are much better options. You need to ensure you’re maximizing that influx of cash so spend wisely.

Business Consultants

Any business consultant you hire should be driving for revenue generation. Far too many young businesses double-down on business consultants outlays rather than bringing on someone internally. That internal person is much more likely to put your businesses interests first as they have skin in the game. The consultant on the other hand is juggling many clients so your business’ growth is not their first priority. Analyze how much you’re spending on consultants with other expenditures to ensure your costs aren’t atypical.

Accounting Team

As part of your business financial strategy, the most prudent on is to hire a top-notch accounting team, accountant and bookkeeper. You want an accountant that doesn’t waste your money on just looking for loopholes, but one that finds the tax savings that are the best long-term advantages for your company. A smart accountant can help grow your business in ways you never envisioned.

Big Isn’t Always Better

The old adage big isn’t always better is one many entrepreneurs overlook. The obsession of tech media with funding news from angel investors and venture capitalists skewed impressions among entrepreneurs. Too many entrepreneurs focus on acquiring outside funding rather than smaller, bootstrapped growth which may end up being more profitable. There is a fallacy of growth at any cost, don’t fall for it, as you may be happier and more fulfilled if you built a smaller business without any outside funding.

Remember the above strategies and your odds of building a financially-sound business increase. Put your effort into building a foundation that is fiscally sound, and the likelier you’ll be proud of your business. You’ll never regret spending your time on making smart financial decisions for your business, and your business will grow as a result.

It’s Now All About the Cloud

By Randall Orser | Small Business

When we talk about the cloud all we’re really talking about is someone else’s server. Your data is stored somewhere else rather than on computers right in your office. Of course, this also includes Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), which is software (usually in the cloud) for which you pay a monthly fee and are always on the most current version; rather than the old way of buying software for thousands of dollars, installing it on your computer then having to deal with IT issues as they come about. Plus, then buying the software again when a new version comes out.

The beauty of SaaS is it can also help you with the profitability of your business and should be the number one priority. SaaS startups offer a whole slew of things from mobile productivity tools to artificial intelligence (AI) marketing, and, of course, cloud-based accounting. By implementing SaaS technology into your businesses MO you’re prepared for future growth while maximizing your profit margins. If this is your year for growing your business full tilt, then these tips for choosing SaaS will help.

Fiscally Responsible

Your bottom line is important and using SaaS is a good way to start. Most companies offering SaaS have fair pricing options, many provide a free trial. Why buy bloated software packages when you don’t need to, and SaaS can be customized to your company’s particular needs. Pick a subscription package that will best work for your growing company.

Latest Technology

The beauty of SaaS is that you are always on the latest technology. Whenever your provider upgrades the software, you get access to the newest version right away. SaaS businesses usually do their best to keep you as a happy customer as that’s cheaper than trying to find new ones. From AI algorithms to machine learning capabilities, today’s SaaS companies are incorporating a myriad of powerful APIs into their software.

Lower IT Costs

SaaS tools are a great way to significantly lower your IT costs. Yes, you’re paying a monthly or yearly fee all the time, but that fee is generally much lower than the cost of managing your own servers or installing IT hardware at your business. Lower IT costs + immediate access to newer technologies = a winning way to build a prosperous business.

Easy Upgrades

The great thing about SaaS is that you get the latest tech, and upgrades as they come out or as you may need them. You can start out with the free version or basic package and upgrade as your company grows. Most SaaS businesses offer enterprise-level upgrades to tweak; you can tweak your software subscriptions as the profitability of your business grows.

The days of buying software on CDs, or downloading it, are long gone. The business owner of today is savvy and going with cloud-based SaaS. Are you ready to double-down on your intelligent business building this year?

Avoid These Types of Customers at all Costs

By Randall Orser | Small Business

Is any customer a good customer when you’re a small business? No, they’re not. As a small business owner, you probably realize just how important it is to grow your client base and keep them coming back. However, there are those customers who are just too much to handle. As a small business owner, you are more likely to connect more closely with your clients, so interacting with a bad one can leave you in a delicate situation. These types of interactions can be way more stressful than what they’ll cost you in respect of your time, money, and reputation. The following ten customers are the ones to definitely avoid, even when starting out.

The Endless Negotiator

Are your prices set in stone? Or are you open to some negotiation? I would think you’d have a good idea of what you’re going to charge any given customer. However, there are those customers who just insist on bargaining and determined to do so. This person will constantly move the goalposts to get a better price or more perks, forcing to adjust costs with no actual promise of their business. Just say goodbye and move on to someone who’s more than willing to pay what you want to charge.

The Customer in a Rush

Mr. Rush always wants the full package deal done in half the time, and they won’t take no for an answer. If you can negotiate a fair price for the rush job, then go right ahead. Sadly, this person is just trying to push you to complete an impossible job for little pay, and you just need to say no. If you feel the timeframe is unrealistic, don’t feel pressured to work to it; otherwise, you end up exhausted, your staff are too, and end product that’s not up to par, and a disappointed client.

The Buddy

This is someone you knew vaguely in college, or your cousin’s best friend, or someone you met at a party that one time. This person is determined to us this connection to manipulate a better price, in order words, you do fair work at an unfair price. Don’t get caught by this person. You’re fine to offer a ‘friends and family discount’ but don’t feel compelled to do it for everyone who says they’re a buddy.

The Time Hog

If you’re a service-based business, then this type of customer is especially dangerous. The Time Hog is very willing to pay what you ask, and their request is reasonable, however, they’re going to ask a thousand questions and demand an absurd of your time with meetings and updates. This kind of customer will require extra time, and you should calculate your hourly rate based on how much extra time you need to spend with them. In the end, you’ll probably realize that they’re just not worth the hassle after all.

The Bad Communicator

This customer sends haphazard emails, doesn’t answer your questions, and you end up improvising much more than you’re comfortable with doing. You may be thinking they just don’t care what they get in the end, but that’s not usually the case. The bad communicator is usually the one that refuses to pay or gives a bad review chastising you when they don’t get the result they wanted. So, unless you can read minds, just say no to this type of customer.

The Freeloader

No one likes a freeloader, but it’s sometimes hard to tell which of your customers are just being fussy and which are freeloaders. The freeloader usually wants something for free before doing business with you, such as samples, or for the designers out there a mock up. Almost always, the samples are all they’ll want, and they may even try to sell them to someone else. Determine what your policy will be in regard to samples and hold firm from customers who demand for more.

The Enquirer

Customers will always make inquiries, however, there are times when you get that knot in your stomach that says, ‘Why does this person care about that detail?” When a customer enquires looking for detailed answers to a lot of specific or unusual questions, before they’ve even started working with you, then more than likely they’re not a customer at all. Other businesses or potential competitors may be using this as a way to analyze the specifics of what you offer, which is just a waste of your time.

The Customer Who Knows Best

This customer worked in your industry decades ago, or an old college pal ran a similar business, or they’ve been getting information off the internet. Showing real interest is a good thing, but being an uninformed know-it-all isn’t. They will disagree with your methods, ignore your advice, or contend that they know better than you. This customer will never be happy with the finished product no matter how hard you try.

The Perfectionist

This customer comes to you with high expectations and highly refined sense of what they want, so you need to be careful on how you continue. If you feel your abilities can make their dream come to life then go ahead, however, if you’ve got any doubts then stay away from the perfectionist. They won’t change their thinking no matter how unrealistic it is, so don’t even bother going down this to start.

The Customer Who Promises to Return

Stay away from that first-time customer who keeps telling you what they could do for you if you’d just do this job for free, a steep discount, or lots of free samples. This especially goes for creative people as most of these types of customers will tell you about all the “exposure” you’re going to get by working with them, which is absolute BS. Good repeat customers determine whether they’ll work with you again based on what you delivered to them, not before. Stand firm and only offer the same kind of perks you’d offer any first-time customer, even if they keep pushing.

Bad customers end up being a bad headache for you and your business. Worst-case scenario then can end up being disastrous for your small business, especially when you’re just starting out. To keep your business running smoothly, happily, and free of unnecessary drama, avoid the above ten customers at all costs, even when first starting your business.

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