You notice the light above you flicker a few times.
“I swear I paid the energy,” you think to yourself.
Outside, you hear some footsteps and immediately perk up.
“Finally, some customers.”
You put on your friendliest smile and anticipate the ringing of the doorbell, but it never comes.
The man and woman you heard laughing just outside of your store walked on by, likely heading to the new pizza parlor that is the talk of the town.
Ring a bell?
What Did I Do?
When it comes to small business mishaps, it’s rarely action that causes the issues.
Instead, it’s failing to act when opportunities present themselves, whether they be networking events, new technologies, or consumer trends.
And it’s easy to understand why this is the case.
Small business owners can’t afford — literally — to make many mistakes before they’re wondering if they paid this month’s energy bill.
But just because there’s risk involved, doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth the reward.
In fact, small business owners are the perfect candidates for taking a trip on the “disruptive” side every once in a while.
While companies like Sears celebrate their marketing strategy’s 40th birthday, small businesses are tinkering with new tech to meet the evolving demands of consumers.
Small business owners need to act fast before their competition catches on.
Whether it be chasing after consumers on social media or adopting payment methods that fit their needs, action, not inaction, is the only way to keep pace.
This can’t be overstated.
It’s hard to make profits if no one knows your business exists. If you think you’ve been slacking on your marketing efforts, you probably have been.
Small business owners may not have the resources of larger corporations, but that’s no excuse.
Social media is a fantastic tool that can be used by small businesses to expand their brand and connect with their audience.
Whether it be Facebook, Instagram or Linkedin, create a profile and begin building your network.
Broadcast sales and deals to the world, or comment on topics that you and your audience are interested in. Either way, being active helps get eyes on your business.
The Golden Rule
We’ve heard “the customer is always right” more than we’ve heard our own names.
If you’ve worked in retail, you probably have this tattooed on your body somewhere.
It’s okay, you don’t have to show me.
This has likely helped you master customer service and build fruitful client relationships — or not.
What should have been added to that golden rule is this:
“The customer is always right and they’re the only thing that matters.”
Had Toys R Us, Sears and other retail giants known this, they’d still be kicking.
Nothing can be put ahead of the customer. If they want to pay in cash, purchase an ATM machine.
If they need to have their groceries delivered by a drone, take flying lessons.
Small business owners aren’t exempt from this rule. In fact, it can be argued that they’re even more susceptible to losing favor with consumers.
This is because while people view corporations as boring, industrial assembly lines shooting out product after product, small businesses are personal and endearing.
What matters for most people when it comes to small businesses isn’t the price or supply, but the story behind the business or product.
Is it the only eco-friendly substitution to an otherwise harmful product? Is a percentage of proceeds being donated towards children’s education?
Consumers love stories, and they want to make sure that the one your business is telling interests them.
This is why it’s important that you know your consumers like your closest friends.
If you understand them, they will rarely surprise you. Plus, you might become one of them, finding upcoming trends before they happen.
Sometimes small business failures can be equated to bad luck and unfortunate circumstances.
But more often than not, there’s action that can be taken to prolong success.
We have complete faith in you. Go get ‘em, tiger!