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SMALL BIZ FORWARD

Issue 20, No. 2

Small

Small Biz Forward Exploring the Small Business World of Today

CONNECT | COLLABORATE | SUCCEED

IN THIS ISSUE

Moment of Motivation by Nancy Becher

Are you happy with where you’re at in your business? Do you feel like there should be more waiting out there for you? Too often we sit around waiting for something big to happen…a million dollar customer, 10 new clients, a big new contract for a year’s work…whatever your dream might be. But how often does something like that happen? Deep down, you know that it takes more than just dreaming something to make it happen. It requires work and devotion to the idea. Being an entrepreneur is a 24/7 responsibility if you’re going to grow that company. And, you know that you’re working for the longterm. It’s not going to happen overnight. It’s called WORK because it is – long, hard, sometimes dirty, work.

But if you are flexible, realizing that when you make a mistake – or if something you’ve tried isn’t working any longer – you can try something new, you will do okay. One of the tricks of getting these new concepts to work is by investing in programs where you surround yourself with people who have similar goals, but who think completely differently than you do. When you do this, you’re much more likely to come up with ideas and potentials that will work. The most important part of all this, however, is to stay positive and not give up.

Moment of Motivation Page 1

5 Ways to Connect Your Biz Page 2

You’re in Business – Now What? Page 3

Customer Service in the Mobile Age Page 5

Business 101 Page 6

BYOD Goes to Court Page 7

Coworking: A Smart Move Page 8


SMALL BIZ FORWARD EXPLORING THE SMALL BUSINESS WORLD OF TODAY | Issue 2

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remarkable that

Five Ways to Connect your Business to your Market by Gail Turluck, President,

Connective Marketing

existing customers can't wait to tell others about them. Provide free trials, offer to do a trial project, provide complimentary

1. BE REAL--Don't promise

consultations and free

something you know you will never

workshops to get the

do or cannot do. People will see

word spreading on the

month for lunch, coffee, or business

through it.

work you do and its quality. Sell the

together.

story rather than the product. 2. USE YOUR KINDERGARTEN

-Holiday card, send a greeting card

SKILLS--Games are useful tools to

4. TOUCH REGULARLY--By

for ANY holiday and/or the

keep people focused. When

touch, I mean remind your market

anniversary of the service start.

something amazing happens to client,

you are there.

celebrate it. When someone goes above and beyond the call of duty, reward them with praise. Reach out

-Of course, a handshake or hug is -Telephone your active clients at

always good, too!

least once a quarter to keep them engaged.

to make a newbie feel part of the

5. BRAND YOURSELF--When you are out, you are your billboard.

vision of what the group is

-Enewsletter or newsletter--monthly

embracing.

or twice a month.

Share everything. Play fair. Put things

-Webpage--can be a solitary page.

back. Clean up your mess. Don’t take

Change something at least monthly.

Be professional. -Be groomed and pressed. Business

things that aren’t yours. Say you’re

casual OK. -For women--makeup and hair, for

-Linkedin page with photo.

men--every morning shave, for all

-Facebook business page(s) and

business meetings and presentations.

personal page, but no more than one

-Nametag--spend the $10--when you

hour a day on Facebook.

put it on, you are putting yourself in

BUSINESS WILL COME FROM

-Networking Group(s), but not more

work mode.

WHO YOU KNOW--Create

than you can manage. Also, meet 1:1

-No jeans when doing business

products and services that are so

with at least one other member a

(change at the job site).

sorry when you hurt somebody. Wash your hands. Live a balanced life. 3. DEFINE AN UNDERSERVED MARKET AND KNOW YOUR


SMALL BIZ FORWARD EXPLORING THE SMALL BUSINESS WORLD OF TODAY | Issue 2

When we water our business’ financial field, and care for it like we would the flowers in our yard, we can watch it grow and bloom and become a beautiful garden.

GEARS TURN, PRODUCTIVITY HAPPENS

A business needs customers. But without good customer service it becomes much harder to retain the loyalty of those customers.

Customer loyalty is essential to the success of any business. FAST FACTS

50% Easier to sell to existing clients

15-35% Loss of customers per year due to bad customer service. FOR MORE INFORMATION Call us at Business Success Unlimited 269-651-3555 Or check us out online at http://rfacebook.com/bsuconnector OR www.success4biz.biz

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You’re in Business – Now What? by Nancy Becher

The US Census Bureau states that there were 22,110,628 nonemployee companies throughout the US in 2010 (the latest data covered). And there were 5,930,132 companies with 1-4 employees. While that’s the group I’m focused on for this article, the following information is good for many other business models as well.

May I help you? No matter what line of business you’re in, customer service – and that’s what this is – must be uppermost in your mind, for it’s only with good customer service that you get, and keep, your best clients. How do clients come to you? If you’re a retail establishment, they probably walk in your front door. Are they greeted with a hello, and “I’ll be with you in just a moment” Or, are they left to their own devices while you work on something else for what can seem an eternity to the one waiting? Everyone talks about customer service. All the big businesses tell

us that they have the best customer service, but when you walk into the door of their store, how do you – the customer – feel? Do you fell welcome? Or do you feel like “let’s get what we came for and get out!”? If you have a question, can you find someone to answer it for you or do you, instead, find yourself buying something that you then have to return later because it didn’t do what your thought it would? And then, just thinking about that return policy makes you shudder? A business needs customers. But

without good customer service, it becomes much harder to retain the loyalty of those the business needs the most. This is a simple concept but it seems that all too often it is forgotten in the daily bustle. We, as consumers, are noticing the lack of concern on the part of business.


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SMALL BIZ FORWARD EXPLORING THE SMALL BUSINESS WORLD OF TODAY | Issue 2

Why should we be loyal to them, if they’re not going to show us any “love”. Customer loyalty is essential to the success of any business. These words find us, I’m sure, nodding our heads in agreement. This is what we want from our businesses. An excellent example of customer service/loyalty can be seen at Viking Office Supplies where recently the company sent out $50 checks to thousands of customers because they felt that there had been a lack of customer service in recent months. This was their way to say they were sorry and that they really did appreciate the support (and yes, loyalty) of its customers. Another great example is that of Zappos.com. Their Code of Business Conduct and Ethics is right out there for anyone to see. They have 10 core values which permeate the very existence of their business.

These values are: 1. Deliver WOW Through Service 2. Embrace and Drive Change 3. Create Fun and a Little Weirdness 4. Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded 5. Pursue Growth and Learning 6. Build Open and Honest Relationships with Communication 7. Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit 8. Do More with Less 9. Be Passionate and Determined 10. Be Humble

How does that apply to you, the customer?

This quote from Stacy Conradt and Mental Floss Magazine should tell the story for me. A customer’s mother had recently had some medical treatment that left her feet numb and sensitive to pressure – and also rendering most of her shoes totally useless. She ordered her mother six pairs of shoes from Zappos, hoping that at least one of them would work. After receiving the shoes, her mother called Zappos to get instructions on how to return the shoes that didn’t work, explaining why she was returning so many shoes. Two days later, she received a large bouquet of flowers from Zappos, wishing her well and hoping that she recovered from her treatments soon. Two days later, the customer, her mother and her sister were all upgraded to “Zappos VIP Members,” which gives them all free expedited shipping on all orders.

In-Person Training Programs BSU helps in the creation of relationships with diverse business people through intimate training sessions. Throughout these sessions we examine all aspects of what facilitates business growth.

Webinars and Podcasts Powerful business training programs help entrepreneurs discover what they need to grow their companies. Topics include sales, marketing, finances, social media and more. Online programs are accessible to members regularly.


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Customer Service in the Mobile Age by Kyle Johnson, J2 Marketing

When Brie Weiler Reynolds noticed that her customers were discussing their service concerns on social media networks, she realized her company had better start responding to them there as well. "We started getting comments and questions from people on LinkedIn and Facebook," says Reynolds, director of content and social media for FlexJobs. "They were using social media for things you'd traditionally contact customer service for, so we figured if that's how they want it, that's how we'll give it to them." Today FlexJobs uses Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and YouTube to publicly inform, serve and connect with customers on a daily basis. The transparency of communication on social platforms lets companies showcase their devotion to helping customers, fostering brand loyalty and authenticity among a widespread audience. Still, research suggests there's room for improvement. In a recent study by PR and marketing firm Cone Communications, 46 percent of respondents said they'd like to be able to solve problems and receive product or service information via new media, but only 14 percent said they're "very satisfied" with their experiences with companies or brands online. "Social customer service presents a great opportunity for active listening and reacting to your customers," says Andy Smith, co-author of The Dragonfly Effect:

Quick, Effective, and Powerful Ways to Use Social Media to Drive Social Change. "When you listen to and create discussions about the problems they're having, you can progress toward becoming the person or having the product that addresses that problem." Patton Gleason, president of NaturalRunningStore.com, says social media helps him build relationships with existing customers; they in turn promote his online store to new audiences when they share the information they've received on their own networks. Gleason doesn't just respond to customer questions with a quick tweet. Several times each week, he creates and posts personalized videos to help customers solve specific problems. "If they have questions about shinsplints or the difference between two shoes, I can actually show people what's happening or [give] a comparison of those shoes," he says. "Not only can they see the products, they can also see the person behind them, which is a powerful way to connect." Shared content--positive and negative--fosters brand authenticity, according to Reynolds. She embraces negative posts as an opportunity for FlexJobs' 17,000-plus social media followers to see that the company cares about resolving problems. "It helps people [who are] on the fence about signing up see that we respond quickly to people and don't shy away from problems," she says. "They see

firsthand that if they were to join and have a problem, we'd treat them the same way." Reynolds adds that social customer service has the unique ability to turn negatives into positives in a very public way. "If someone posts a negative comment on [our Facebook] Timeline--they don't like the site or understand why they should pay for membership--oftentimes our fans swoop in and support us by explaining why they use the site and why those posters should give it another shot," she says. "What could be better than our customers solving our customer service dilemmas with us?"

AROUND TOWN


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Business 101: If we have no clients are we in business? by Nancy Becher

The average business loses 1535% of its customers each year, primarily due to not being attentive. If you spend most of your time trying to attract new customers, and let the ones who have been loyal and paying your bills go without a “loving touch”, they’re going to be someone else’s new customers soon. According to Forbes, Inc. it is about 50% easier to sell to returning customers than to get new ones in the door. As well, they go on to say that a 5% retention rate generates about 75% in new sales. You can’t beat that can you? What can you do to retain these customers then? How about

listening to what your customers have to say. What is it they want? How do they want it provided? When do they want to get it? When you ask, listen and provide what the customer wants (regularly) then the customer will continue to stay true to you. But these days when someone new comes along that pays them more attention, they’re gone. Another way that should be used today is social media. Tweet about your products/services. Send notices, thank you cards, and coupons both in the mail and over the Internet.

Whatever you do, you have to remember to treat your customers like royalty. They have to feel valued and appreciated. When they do, they will love doing business with you and your company, but they will also go out of their way to send you their friends and associates as referrals. Just think: if 10 of your clients each brought you 10 new clients, your business would be a booming success. Then, do what you must to keep them coming back again and again.

Want to get your name out to hundreds of businesses throughout the United States and Canada? Become an event sponsor for BSU. Your organization will be recognized on our website, in the newsletter and in emails, as well as thanked at the event. You can bring your handouts to the event and have them displayed there, as well. All this for a donation of $200, which helps cover fees, materials, refreshments while keeping the attendance fees low. If you’d like to become a BSU Event Sponsor, please give us a call at 269-651-3555 or at nancy@success4biz.biz.


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SMALL BIZ FORWARD EXPLORING THE SMALL BUSINESS WORLD OF TODAY | Issue 2

BYOD Goes to Court by Jerry Sarno, Schooley Mitchell

A recent court case sheds some light on corporate risks of a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy that may cause companies to question the merits of such a policy. Two of the most risky factors to consider in a Bring Your Own Device environment are privacy and ownership. The employee owns the mobile device and the contents within – after all, they purchased the phone and their name is on the carrier contract. If an employee is terminated or quits the phone number goes with them, which is an obvious issue: Just one missed call from a client could cost the company a significant sum, probably much more than any anticipated BYOD savings. They also walk away with a mobile filled with company documents, emails, sensitive information and trade secrets. A recent U.S. District Court case in California (Mintz v. Mark Bartelstein & Associates, Inc.) has shed some light on the matter. The plaintiff left his job for a position with a competitor. His former employer alleged he stole clients and trade secrets upon his exit. He shot back with a claim his email had been illegally accessed on his personal device. The former employer subpoenaed AT&T, hoping to gain access to text messages and calls, including

times, dates, call length and numbers. Several of the rulings were difficult for the employer to swallow: 1) AT&T was prohibited from handing over the text messages (Stored Communications Act) 2) The court found that the employee had a limited expectation of privacy related to the calls because of several factors, including: a. The employee provided the phone number b. The device was in the employee’s name c. The employee signed the contract d. The employee paid for part of the cost of the device e. The employer permitted personal calls, texts, and emails to be made on the device f. The device predated employment In his analysis of the ruling, Silicon Valley lawyer Stephen Wu

pointed out companies wanting control over devices should provide the phone number, pay for the entire cost of the device, and have a signed agreement in place with the employee. There should be no personal use of the phone. “... Companies with BYOD policies will have to accept that employees will have a greater expectation of privacy than a nonBYOD workplace,” Wu wrote. “The phone account may predate employment and may be in the employee’s name. The employer will know that personal calls, texts, and emails will be made using the device. And if the employer does not pay all of the cost of the device, the employee will have a greater expectation of privacy. These factors may be unavoidable with a BYOD policy.” Given these factors, many companies will opt to keep wireless devices under a corporate umbrella and forego BYOD policies. Jerry Sarno is a Strategic Partner with Schooley Mitchell telecom Consultants, North America’s largest independent telecom consulting company. Jerry.Sarno@schooleymitchell.com 269-408-8679.


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Coworking – The Smart Move for Your Business by Dan Neumann

Working as a freelancer or on growing a small company has no shortage of challenges. As an independent consultant, I live these challenges. Working from home can isolate you, coffee shops don’t create the business image you want, and dedicated office space is a waste of money. The solution to these problems can be found in coworking. Think of coworking as a gym membership for your business. When you join a coworking space, you become a member. You build relationships with folks who have complementary skills, you add legitimacy to your business by having a place to meet with clients, and you save money by not having to lease and equip your own space. Coworking spaces provide diversity; some members may be specialists in accounting, others advertising, and yet others technology. Working in proximity to a diverse set of talents like that is an enormous asset to your business, providing you with insights you would not get if you were working at home.

Coffee shops are wonderful places to socialize. A coffee shop might even be a good space to have an introductory meeting. But, such public places can be too noisy to have quality conversations, let alone to take a phone call. If you meet your client at a coffee shop too often, they may wonder about the robustness of your business. Coworking provides a business climate in which to meet your clients. To establish your business’s physical presence, you can lease a private office, buy all the equipment, and deal with multiple vendors. For a fraction of that cost, coworking provides you with the equipment you need to do your work and just a single point of contact for the service. Instead of working on logistics, you can focus on your business. Coworking spaces are a great mix of business environment, opportunity for social engagement, and value for your spend. And, coworking is also gaining in popularity. Look to coworking as the next smart move for growing your business.

Dan Neumann is an Agile coach and trainer at NeuManagement, LLC. Dan is also an entrepreneur. Having seen a need for coworking in South Bend, Indiana, he is currently working to open a new space in the heart of downtown. Watch for The Branch to open this spring. Dan Neumann Dan@NeuManagementLLC.com 574-514-3285


SMALL BIZ FORWARD EXPLORING THE SMALL BUSINESS WORLD OF TODAY | Issue 2

Small Biz Forward Exploring the Small Business World of Today

March Calendar of Events Mentorship Project – Do you have a dream for your small business? Want to see it grow and become bigger? March 6 (starts a 3 month project) at 10am to 12pm. This is held online. For further details: www.success4biz.biz

Lunchtime Learners – Michael Port’s: Book Yourself 701 Prairie Street Sturgis, MI 49091 Like us on Facebook Linkedin Twitter

Solid. March 8 (monthly program with different books each month). From 12pm to 1 pm online. Details: www.success4biz.biz

Entrepreneurial Forum – Customer Service is so important to our businesses. Considering that we often lose between 15-35% of our customers each year, how does yours rate? National College, South Bend. March 19 from 4pm to 6pm. Details are at www.success4biz.biz.

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Exploring the Small business World of Today

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