Virtually Anything

Archive for July, 2008

Don’t Be Bullied In Business

Posted by collinsadmin on July 28, 2008

We have our house up for sale and recently we got an offer that we accepted.  However, the buyer of our house thought that since the housing market being what it is today, he could bully us into doing what he wanted. Well needless to say, the deal fell through which is okay.

Some of you may be thinking, what the heck are you doing?  Getting a house sold right now is a great accomplishment.  I would tend to agree but I would rather live in my house than be bullied into something that I don’t believe in.  This whole ordeal was a huge awakening for me in what I perceive about myself and business.

Too often, business owners are bullied into doing something that is either against their personal principles or what they want for their business.  They do this because they believe that in order to get a client they need to submit to the demands, but that is not the case at all.

One thing that business owners need to take into consideration is that while the client may be providing your business with an income in the short term, in the long term this particular client will be more trouble than they are worth.  You will be babysitting more than doing what you love.  You will be bending over backwards just to keep him happy and is that really how you want to run your business.

Customer service is a big issue and from the time we get our first job until the time that we decide to think for ourselves, it is pounded into us that the customer is always right.  For some things that is true but not always.  As a business owner we need to stand up and stick to our guns about how we want our businesses ran.  Running a business does not mean that we need to put our principles and our beliefs to the side just to make a client happy.

We will all meet this dilemma at one time or another. A client who is overbearing, tries to micromanage everything you do and somebody who will find fault with everything you do. It is at this time that it is best to just cut the ties.  In the long run, your clients will appreciate the fact that you have principles and you will not set them aside just to make somebody happy.  You may lose that bully of a client but you will see that you will be much happier running your business as you wish and your clients will appreciate you more for not selling out just to make a buck. Not to mention the fact that business owners who love their business and love their clients are more successful than those who feel anxious or like the clients are running them.

Advertisements

Posted in business | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Economy and Small Business

Posted by collinsadmin on July 8, 2008

Due to the status of the US economy right now, many small businesses are having a hard time with sustainability.  Even though the price of gas, food, and other necessities are rising, small businesses are reluctant to raise their prices.  They don’t want to put any more of a hardship on their clients but yet they also need to be able to run a business that is profitable. 

 Raising prices for products/services should be a last resort.  A few things can be done to cut corners without compromising the service to clients. 

  1. Do you really need the newest gadget? In a world of cell phones, laptops, computers, blackberries, Iphones etc who wouldn’t want the newest greatest gadget to go with the technological world that we live in?  This is when you have to really sit back and think, do you really need it?  Are you losing time and productivity because of the technology that you have now? If the answer is yes then by all means if you can afford it, go out and buy it, but if you just want the latest, greatest, coolest gadget out there for the prestige, walk away. If you do feel that you need new equipment, check out sites like www.ebay.com, www.amazon.com, and www.woot.com for low-cost alternatives.  If you use Ebay, just be leary of what you are purchasing and make sure they have good feedback from previous customers. On Amazon, you can read reviews, and often choose between new and used. Always test a trial version of new software before you buy.
     
  2. Do you really show your clients that you care? There is more to customer satisfaction than just getting their work to them by the deadline. Your clients need to know that you care.  This doesn’t need to cost anything.  It can be something as simple as talking to them and finding out about their problems and then finding a solution for them. I don’t mean selling them more services/products, I mean actually listening and offering a solution. Doing small and thoughtful good deeds can mean the difference between retaining a client or losing one.
     
  3. Are you flexible in how to get more clients? With the economic woes, people are going to need different types of things than they once did.  People need to be more cautious about how they spend their hard-earned money.  Do you have a plan on how to capitalize on this?  At times, this may mean offering different types of services/products at different prices.  I don’t mean a lower quality but I do mean a lower price product. For example, if somebody only needs a letter tweaked, instead of charging hourly, just charge a flat rate or don’t charge at all unless it is intensive tweaking.  Are you willing to barter, will you help someone with a custom solution, and can you revise your product or service to meet a new need? You will gain more clients by showing that you care about them and their needs.
     
  4. Can you outsource any of your business tasks? Outsourcing does require you to spend money but it can also help you to receive money. Some people may think they are saving money by handling everything themselves from administrative work to website design and everything in between. If you are one of those people, next time you start working on your website or you administrative work, make a mental note as to how much time you are spending on these things and what you could be doing in that time to help increase your profits. If you are spending 5 hours doing a task that a pro could do in 1, you are losing money at it – if you charge $45 per hour for your time, and a pro charges less, you are losing money even if you can do it in the same time. If a pro can help you avoid costly mistakes due to inexperience, it also makes more sense to hire it out. 

Being a small business in hard economic times is doable it just depends on what you do to create the sustainability factor. It may require thinking outside of the box a little bit but it can be done in a wildly successful way.

Posted in business, Customer Service, Virtual Assistance | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »