As a small business owner, you want the very best for your company. You want satisfied customers, you want to provide the best value and you want to grow — with as few issues and as much profit as possible. Putting out fires and overcoming hurdles have been in your job description for as long as you can remember, but you may not realize how many issues you can avoid with just a few changes.
In the bustle of day-to-day operations, you have a lot on your plate. It's easy to overlook issues, big and small, that could be holding you back.
That's why our sponsor, Dell Small Business, is here to help. Read on for the top 3 mistakes small business owners are making and the pro tips on how to avoid them.
1. Saying yes to everything
In most small businesses, the owner is a jack of all trades and does everything to keep operations running smoothly. From accounting to marketing to cleaning, a small business owner is the one who gets the job done — no matter what.
But that doesn’t mean you have to spread yourself so thin that you neglect to work “on” your business and just continue to work “in” your business doing mundane tasks. It's important to dedicate time to strategize and plan for the future. Without that, it's hard to see the bigger picture. Do you need to pivot your business strategies or change direction? Give yourself time to find out.
So, how do you make time when you're already doing so much each day? It’s simple: Make it a priority to not say “yes" to everything. It’s OK to delegate admin tasks or other daily chores to someone else. With the proper training, he or she can perform a lot of tasks just as good or even better than you can.
By being more selective about what you say "yes" to, you can dedicate time to focus on important business matters that often get overlooked when you're knee-deep in data entry logs or other tasks someone else can take on.
2. Missing out on potential new prospects
Are you following up on your list of leads and inquiries? Just because a prospect was a “no” yesterday doesn't mean they are a “no” today. Often, that really translates to “no, not at this time.”
Take a few minutes to pick up the phone and call your leads, or send out a follow-up email. Take control of your prospects and you may just land a few more orders or new clients. That outreach also keeps you at top of mind. Even those not ready to move forward may know someone else who needs your product or service, and those referrals are valuable.
Unanswered inquiries, voicemails, and email questions from your social media channels could mean lost revenue for your business. Don't leave money on the table. Follow up with every new lead who contacts you, and find out how you can make them a customer.
3. Not listening to your customers
Your customers are always giving you subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) clues about how they feel about your product or service. This is invaluable information, and you should consider using it when planning future updates, customer communications and marketing efforts.
How do you keep up with what customers are saying? Read reviews, social media comments and mentions, and any emails or other communications from clients and users.
And don't leave those reviews unanswered. Thank your customers for positive reviews, and take the time to respond to negative feedback. This info may even help you improve and relaunch your product or service to benefit your customers even more.
How does this work in practice? If you sell electronics and a customer expresses concern over the functionality of a product, listen closely. See what others are saying or if you can replicate the same issues yourself. You may have changes to make. If you run a custard shop and a patron is upset you aren’t offering more flavors, brainstorm additions to the menu.
By being proactive, you can prevent some of the most common small business mistakes. Scale your business to its full potential by focusing on strategy, growth and your customers. Find out how Dell Small Business can help you grow your company to new heights. Learn more here.
Harness technology to boost your small business workplace
Expanding your small business is sort of challenge you're excited to take on. Offices and employees are always changing and evolving, so you need to make the right technology choices to keep your growth on track. Dell Small Business can help you find a smart way to expand.