The essential factor for long-term growth of your small business is to use an approach that:
• adds value for your customers
• brings value into the business
• is scalable through the use of technology automation
But just what does this mean in practise for a small business owner?
Well one of the best ways to give your customers better value is to focus on the service you offer rather than the price. We’ve probably all made bad purchases in our lives but it is the reaction and approach of a customer services department that will determine whether we use a company again. Take, for example, a purchase I made recently for a special birthday present. I ordered online and paid (significantly) extra to have a guaranteed delivery date to be sure it was delivered in good time for the celebration. But, guess what? It was not delivered on time. Of course, I was annoyed – I had to go out and buy another present but what will make me use the original company again? My first telephone call resulted in an immediate refund of the cost of the item and the cost of the failed delivery but they still delivered the item. So it arrived late but was free! Now that is what I call good customer service, and because of that exceptional handling of a problem I will use that company again.
Of course this item cost less than £50 so it was a relatively small sum for the company to sacrifice for the sake of good customer relations but nevertheless it is an example of what to aim for. If your products are particularly expensive then maybe send a less expensive product for free to the customer as an apology. The good will you could build up this way is likely to be worth far more than the item itself, especially when you consider the power of positive social media and forum comments which a generous gesture could produce.
So, according to a form of North London accountants, a well-recognised and successful plan for long term growth of a small business is relatively simple and includes:
• Use leading edge technology
• Create a growth strategy with a clear schedule
• Define the company vision (what exactly is important to you, as the business owner)
• Employ people who can implement your vision and share your passion for the business
So when you are building your business think very carefully about your team and your company philosophy. Don’t focus exclusively on the bottom line but think about what level of service you would like to receive in a perfect world. A small business isn’t just about the figures, of course you cannot ignore your budget and finances entirely, but your accountant is there to keep the finances on track. Use technology where possible to optimise not only products and services but also the customer relationship; if you are proactive in dealing with problems people will notice that and comment on it – they will tell their friends and a good recommendation cannot be bought.