Leading Your New Venture

3 Key Strategies to Sustain Your Small Business

Customer Services

You Have Customers, Now What?: 3 Key Strategies to Sustain Your Small Business

Once your small business starts picking up speed, you will want to be sure that you have the capacity to handle your growth. So, how do you continue to grow once you have gotten over the initial hurdle of attracting your first customers?

This depends on your specific business model, but it may mean hiring extra team members, outsourcing, or implementing systems that increase your efficiency. At the end of the day, it is difficult to grow and run your business at the same time.

As the head of the company, you will want to keep one hand in the day-to-day operations of your business, but spend most of your time focusing on big picture strategy in order to keep it growing.

Here are three ways that you can ensure smart, sustainable growth for your small business.

Optimize Your Website for Better Customer Service

Customer service is key to success as your small business begins to grow. Having a website that makes it easy to find out information about your products or services and contact you with inquiries will lead to better engagement with customers and more sales.

There is nothing worse than a website which has little useful product information and no way to contact the business owner.

First, the obvious: include a “Contact” section on your website, which includes a phone number, e-mail address, contact form, or any combination of the three. You may also consider including a “Get a Quote” form. This allows you to go ahead and gather useful information from a customer in order to quickly and efficiently get them a price quote.

Another great option is to add a live chat function to your website that allows customers to talk to your company directly from the web.

Outsource Your Customer Service

Once you have optimized your website to provide outstanding customer service, you will want to make sure that you have the manpower to handle the questions and quote requests that come in. Being able to answer every e-mail or phone call in a timely and friendly way is how small businesses set themselves apart from the competition.

Rather than staying up all night answering e-mails and returning phone calls, it may be more efficient to outsource your customer service. Many companies, such as Register.com, now offer what they refer to as call center plus services.

This service, unlike traditional call centers, helps small companies grow their businesses by providing customer service infrastructure for:

  • Answering e-mail
  • Conducting live chats
  • Handling quote requests
  • Handling phone calls

By letting somebody else handle customer inquiries, you will free up time to focus on further company growth.

Hire a Virtual Assistant

Finally, once your business has taken off, you will need to have someone who can take care of basic administrative tasks for you. This includes data entry, basic accounting, scheduling meetings and calls, and so on.

While you may hire someone to come work in your physical office, another great option is to hire a virtual assistant.

This type of employee comes with little to no overhead as he or she will work from a home office on a personal computer or phone. You may provide a small stipend for office supplies, but this is negligible compared to an employee who you need to set up in an office.

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Image Sources: blog.compete.com

 

EntrepreLeadership: Tips for Self-Leadership in Your Own Startup

3 Important Steps to Launch Your Online Business

Leadership Keyboard

Working in organizations and leading teams certainly has its up and downs; its joys and challenges.

The right organization and the right people in the right places is often very satisfying for everyone involved.

Some of the good things about working in an organization are:

  • Availability to work with others
  • Enjoying personal and professional growth for you and others
  • Being at a place that provides a certain level of resources and a bit of job security

However, leaving the financial security and resources that come with working at an organization to start your own business can be a scary thing to do.

Self-Leadership on Your Own

One way modern entrepreneurs are jumping into the brave new world of self-leadership is to start their own online business. Online businesses often provide relatively low barriers of entry and much more freedom to experiment with different ideas and approaches.

But taking this role requires a massive amount of self-leadership.

So for the brave, industrious, and inspired entrepreneurs who jump into this easy-to-enter world of an online business, self-leadership requires that they do their homework on the very fundamental aspects of launching their new venture.

Getting Up and Running

So if you are ready to go, you will need to follow some good advice and take a realistic few of what to do. This requires an open mind complemented with a healthy dose of discipline.

Think about this advice:

You are probably very anxious to finally get your site up and running so you can start earning some money. It is very understandable that you would feel this way. It is an exciting thing to start a new business.

However, you must remain patient and not get carried away.

Stay calm and do not neglect any essential tasks that you need to complete before the official launch of your site. Important details that you neglect now will most likely come back to haunt you at a later time.

3 Important Steps to Launch Your Online Business

Here are some of the most essential things to do before your site goes live.

1. Decide on a merchant service provider

You will need to sign up with a company that provides merchant services if you are going to be accepting payments on your site. This company will process all of the credit card payments on your site and keep a small percentage of each payment as their payment.

It is very important to shop around and compare the fees being charged by all of the various merchant service providers. You might be surprised by the disparity in the fees they charge. It will not cost you anything to contact all of these companies and see how much you will need to pay for their service.

You should also find out if they will require you to sign a contract. Ideally, you do not want to be involved with any company that will require you to be locked into a contract.

2. Test all facets of the site

Any good web site design company will be testing your site while they are designing it. However, the real test will begin once all of the designing has been completed. You would be wise to spend as much time as possible testing everything on your site to make sure that it works exactly how it is supposed to.

Many business owners who are about to launch a new site will hire people to test out the site and report any problems they find. They will also provide valuable feedback regarding the speed and maneuverability of the site.

The input of these people can be an extremely valuable tool in your quest to design a site that will capture the imagination of the general public. Your site needs to be working flawlessly by the time you go live.

3. Have your budget in place

You will have expenses once your site goes live. You need to be sure that you have enough money to cover them. This is why you need to create a budget for your business.

This will keep you aware of how much everything costs so you can adjust your spending properly. The daily operations of a website can become very costly if you are not careful. This is not even counting the money you will need to spend to promote it. Stick to the budget you have created as best you can.

However, you should always have some spare cash available for emergencies.

So, have you decided that you may want to jump into the world of being an online entrepreneur?  Or have you already gone down this path? What might be some other perspectives that you would add to this list? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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