For many people, the dream of owning and running your own business is just that—a dream. But if you are interested in making this dream a reality, it is important to focus yourself on some tried and true business plans and ideas that will help you to succeed. Every year, thousands of businesses close shop because they have no sound plan for success. In order to avoid being one of these, here are some of the keys to making sure that your business start up succeeds where others do not.
- Make Customers Your Top Priority—One of the keys to making any business successful is to make your customers your top priority. You cannot make a successful company if you do not have any customers to sell your product to. Once you have established a customer-base, it is generally easier to keep your customers and make money keeping them happy than it is to spend money to earn new customers. This is why customer service is so important. If a customer feels that he or she is valued by a business, then that customer will be more likely to spend money with you in the future.
- Don’t Try to Do It All At First—One of the death-traps for many beginning companies is that they try to do too much too soon. The idea with any business is to start off with what you do well and then build gradually, rather than try to do it all at once. One of the best ideas is to figure out what your customers value the most and concentrate on that first. Be sure to listen to customer feedback early on so that you can learn where to move with your company in the weeks and months to come. And remember that even negative criticism can be turned into a positive if you are sure to move into correcting problems early before they become major issues.
- Train Your Customer Service Staff Well—Your company will live or die based on the quality of its customer service. As such, make sure that your customer service department is properly and adequately trained to handle complaints and service calls to ensure that clients are satisfied. Also consider utilizing a reliable answering service to supplement your staff so that customers always receive immediate attention.
- Be Sure to Study What Others Are “Doing Right”—Unfortunately, customer service seems to be a dying art form with modern companies. But, many companies are doing things the right way and are succeeding with customers. One of the best ways to be included in this list is to study other companies and see how you can adapt their business model and customer service style to your company. Apple Computers, Publix, Southwest Airlines, and Zappos are great examples of companies to emulate and study.
- Adopt a “Cutthroat” Business Model—This may seem uncomfortable, but it may be necessary in order to survive in this current economy. There are some things that you are just going to have to do, especially if you plan to make it through the first couple of years. For instance, get paid up front. Many clients, unfortunately, will try to take advantage of a new company and let debts roll as long as possible, meaning that you will have to carry them. Getting paid first will put a stop to this and show that you are serious about your work. Also, be wary of clients who seem to want to lowball you when it comes to prices. If you allow these clients to set the tone from the beginning, you are setting yourself up as a pushover that will not be able to succeed.
If you want your company to succeed, it is necessary for you to take a hard look at the realities of business and what it takes to succeed. Customer service and support is a key component to being successful if you want your business to stand out from the rest of the crowd. And, in the long run, this is the only way to ensure that your business is able to survive the competition from others.