Small business owners routinely face tough conditions even when times are good. The constant demands on their time and the lack of resources can exhaust even the most strong-willed of people. However, there are many things that SMB owners can do to make things easy for themselves.
According to Smallbiztrends, 84% of small businesses rely on a manual task in one of their critical workflows. In the past, choosing such tasks was understandable since automation technology was expensive. However, thanks to the proliferation of BI tools for SMBs, this isn’t much of an excuse anymore.
Aside from automation, here are 4 tips that small business owners should use to ensure their companies run smoothly.
Always Gather Feedback
Your customers are the beating heart of your business, and you should always strive to seek feedback from them. Consumer tastes change, and the best way to stay ahead of the curve and keep your offerings fresh is to seek feedback from customers and incorporate them into future products.
Product reviews and monitoring social conversations about your company are great ways of keeping track of the things you need to improve. Secondary social conversations such as the ones conducted on platforms such as Reddit or Quora, help you understand not just your product, but also your entire industry.
These platforms help you understand some of the deficiencies that exist amongst all product creators in an industry. For instance, you and your competitors might be ignoring a product feature that consumers want because you’re unaware of it.
Monitoring these conversations will help you avoid groupthink when designing your future products or services. The result is happier customers who will be willing to back you even when times are tough.
Prioritize Customer Service
Have you noticed that large companies these days don’t seem to care too much about customer service? Most of them have lengthy FAQ sections and make it extremely hard to get in touch with a person. In some instances, it’s almost impossible to do so. Customers stick with these companies because they typically have no other choice.
However, as a small business, you cannot afford to behave like this. Prioritize your customers’ needs at all times and invest in training your customer support teams. Do not treat them as an appendage that exists to deal with pesky problems.
Many eCommerce small businesses outsource customer service to teams situated halfway around the globe. This practice isn’t bad, but you should still invest in training them to respond genuinely. The days of asking team members to adopt fake Western names are long gone, so don’t resort to gimmicks like that.
Prioritize Your Employees
If your customers are the beating heart of your business, your employees are the connective tissue that brings everything together. Many employers think of their workers as cost centers and view them in terms of profit or loss.
Needless to say, such Industrial Revolution era attitudes don’t work anymore. Thanks to the rise of remote work options, people can choose to work for more companies than ever before. Prioritizing the needs of your employees means paying attention to how your payroll works and how easy it is for them to get paid.
Many small businesses have employees working in shifts. This means time management and scheduling is often a headache. Try using a scheduling software solution that will help you create accurate and dynamic employee schedules.
If your employees are in sales roles, use software that allows you to compare wages versus sales so that you can quickly identify top performers. Good scheduling software will also help you create optimal work schedules that minimize wage costs and create accurate labor demand forecasts.
These days, small business owners have to wear more hats than ever before. Instead of trying to do everything yourself, make it a point to either hire people who have the expertise you need or leverage third party solutions.
For instance, small businesses have to master digital marketing to ensure they remain competitive at all times. Instead of trying to create and upload all of your ads by yourself, hire a digital marketer who is qualified. In some instances, you can sign up for software that automates the task for you and ensures your budget spends are efficient.
Similarly, use automated accounting and bookkeeping software or hire someone to do the job for you. As an owner, your primary job is to allocate resources in the right proportion and location. You’re not there to do everything yourself.
Focus on the things you’re good at and rely on employees or software to do the rest. It’s the only way to grow efficiently.
Many Hats, One Goal
Every small business owner has to familiarize themselves with multiple functions. However, your goal is to ultimately satisfy your customers and increase your bottom line. Do whatever it takes to achieve this goal and introduce efficiency into everything you do. You’ll find that you’ll have more time for yourself and the things that are important to you.