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Business is personal

Do you think business is personal? When you do business with others, for your family or your business, does it make a difference who/where you buy from?

I don’t just mean buying local, or focus on small business economy. I mean the person, (or the group of people), you buy from. The service they offer, not just the products, or the price.

So, whatever your personal preferences, think about what your customers think, and how they act. How can you make business personal for them?

Tips to make your business more personal

  1. Make sure your business shows the customer the people behind the business. Whether you trade solely online, or have a team, show them off. You’re proud of your team aren’t you? Get their photos (good quality), and put them on the website. Introduce them to your customers so they know who they’re dealing with.
  2. Use the name of the person dealing with that part of the process in communications. Whether it’s an email update, or on the despatch note. It makes it more personal experience. If it’s just you, then make sure the customer knows it’s you.
  3. Share your story. Not only do people buy from people, but they like to know your story. They will tell others your story. They may even share their story with you.
  4. Share testimonials. Showing you’re doing a great job for other customers is a perfect way to show that you’re doing a great job, and helps others put their trust in you.
  5. Tell some family stories. Whilst it’s important to keep your private life private, there may be stories you can share to make your world come to life for your customers. It’s surprising how sharing a photograph of a place you’ve visited can instigate a conversation with a potential customer!

If business is personal, are you doing all you can for your business?

business is personal people buy from peopleI say this as you may disagree that business is personal! Please do let me know by leaving a comment.

And if you do agree that business is personal, are you doing ALL you can to promote your business?

  • Are you being yourself?
  • Do you tell your friends about your business, even if they may not be ideal customers they may know someone who is?
  • Are you getting enough sleep so you start work in the right frame of mind each day?
  • Do you take enough breaks so that the quality of your product or service is high quality every time?
  • Does every customer get the same care and attention you want to give?

Whether you agree with the statement, “business is personal” or not, I’d love your thoughts and your tips on what you can do to create a personal experience for your customers to make them feel welcome. Please leave a comment below.

 

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What happens to your business when you’re not in the mood?

We all have days, and weeks, when we’re “not in the mood” to work, to talk, to play, to network, to do business, to serve customers. Really, it’s true. Don’t hide.

There’s many reasons for this not being “in the mood”, some of which are:

  • hormones (males and females are both affected)
  • moon cycles (whether you like it or not, moon cycles exist and affect our daily lives)
  • energy (or lack of it, which in turn can be caused by a number of factors)
  • holiday (just back from one, or about to go on one)
  • emotional challenges (children, parents, partner, friends)
  • unwell

is your business always in the moodSo, what happens in your business when you’re not in the mood?

I’m asking rhetorically really. You don’t have to confess, unless that will be helpful for you. I guess I’m asking you to reflect and review your business, and all aspects of it, so that when you are having an “off day”, your customers won’t notice, and your systems will pick up the slack.

Tips to ensure your business is always in the mood

  1. Support team. Having a support team around you is crucial. Whether it’s family, friends, or staff (on-site or remote), people who can pick up the slack, or the important tasks when you’re not around will help keep customers happy and the business running smoothly.
  2. Email auto-responder. Setting this up, as soon as you know you’re not “in the mood”, will ensure that you can get on with getting yourself back on track, and customers can be still be served efficiently. Do you have another team member you can encourage emailers to contact, using a click through link ideally – a general office email that you know will be checked?
  3. Answer machine message on your phone. This should be fairly easy for you to set up, and amend as your circumstances change. Again, referring callers to another number which will be answered, or giving a clear idea when you’ll get back to them, will help keep everyone informed and happy.
  4. Ordering supplies automatically. Whilst you want to control costs, there’s nothing worse than running out of milk, or toilet rolls is there? So, having some stock items for staff, or for your customers, on regular order that you check every couple of months in your stock review, will ensure nothing is missing, even if you are.
  5. Directory of contacts and contractors. When you’re not in the office, can your team contact your IT support, or plumber, or suppliers, to ensure that the business can function. Having a list of contacts and approved contractors, (even if they are your friends who help out), will ensure that if your partner has to take control whilst you’re unwell for a short time, they can do what they need to keep things running smoothly. Your contacts and contractors will also be more sympathetic as you’ll have built a relationship with them which always make things run more easily.
  6. Be honest….as honest as you can be. With yourself as well as those around you in your family and support team. If ‘life stuff’ is happening sometimes we don’t know what’s going on, so regular reviews of how best to run your business with the facts you have about your situation will serve you, your customers and your business in the best light. If you need to cut your hours, be honest. Cut them. You can only do your best, and be your best if you have the right energy and support to carry out your business tasks.

Every business is different, and each of us as business owners will react in a different way to the situations we face day to day. Whilst we are our businesses, our business can often function without us being involved 24 hours a day, or 7 days a week.

I often say to clients, “what happens when you go on holiday?”. If we can sort out the right support and structure for our business to run whilst we’re away on holiday, we can put systems and support in place for those times when we’re not in the mood, due to life’s little challenges.

Whilst being “in the mood” for business may sound flippant, we’re being honest. We’re just trying to get you to think about the wonderful customers you’ve got and how they’re going to be supported if you’re not around. The Business Cheerleading Club could be part of your support structure. A safe place for your support, and also ideas as to how you can get the right support whilst you’re away, or not on top form. You never know, you may even meet your ideal assistant, or collaboration partner there! That’s certainly been our experience so far.

What tips would you add to our list? What do you do to ensure your business is always in the mood?

 

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How much time do you need for running your own business

Running you own business is rewarding, challenging, hard work, and time consuming. Making sure you’ve got enough time to dedicate to running your own business is important to it’s success.

It’s worth reviewing how much time you’ve got to spend every so often. It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting your business, thinking about starting a business, or have been running your own business for years.

Life happens. Children grow up, and their needs become different. Parents get older, and we may find that we’re needed to do different things within our families. Expectations change.

The beauty of running your own business is that you can be flexible. You’re in charge! And how you divide your time is up to you.

Running your own business needs time

How much time you need depends on so many factors, that there’s no “one size fits all” answer to this.

time for running your own business v incomeConsider the following questions when reviewing if running a business is right for you, or sustainable:

  • How much time do YOU need to spend in the business? If you’re the only person who can do something, then you’re limited by that available time
  • Is YOUR time flexible, or is it fixed? Will that work for your customers? For example, if you can only work school hours, but your customers want evening appointments, it’s unlikely this business will work for you
  • What can someone else do & how much will that cost you? For example, can you pass work to an administrator or Virtual Assistant (VA), leaving you to carry out the tasks that only you can do?
  • Can you pass work to a contractor to carry out, whilst you simply manage their work each month? For example, using a Public Relations specialist to work with the media can be a really efficient use of your money and time. Leaving them to use their expertise whilst you carry out your favourite work.

We worked with a client recently who had 10 hours a week for her business. She had a salaried job, and looked after her family as well. When we looked at what she needed to do, it was do-able for her. She assigned 8 hours a week to creating new products, (she makes things by hand), and will spend 2 hours across the week doing her marketing. This was sustainable for her for the next few months whilst she created more products and added them to her website. She’d then shift the hours slightly to do a bit more marketing and website work.

Full time, part time or time to time?

There’s many ways to run your own business. There are so many opportunities to create a part-time income, or even a time to time income. You don’t have to think of running your own business as a full time occupation, although for many business owners, this is their aim.

If you’re wanting to test the waters, then it’s likely you’ll start when time allows.

As your client base grows, you may find you need to commit to regular part-time hours each week or month. This doesn’t have to be the same days and times each week or month, depending what you do. Telling yourself, (and your diary), that you’re working on your business, will ensure you dedicate the right amount of time to growing your business.

Sometimes circumstances overtake us. Tracey-Jane’s second business only started to grow rapidly when she was made redundant from her employment. This gave the impetus, and time to grow the business, and it took off. Everything was in place to grow it, and it worked out.

We often have to think about income v time in our considerations of the time we need for running our own business. For many business owners, or those considering starting a business, it’s the income that prevents more time being spent in the business for family security.

It’s often hard to work out if you have enough time available to successfully run your own business to earn the level of income you desire. Be honest when you’re working through your figures, and pretend it’s going to be hard to make the sales to start with.

How much time do YOU need for running YOUR business?

Think it through. Work it out. Write it down. Is this exercise about TIME or MONEY? Or are they tied together for you?

What works for you may be quite different to your friend, or that person who’s doing something very similar to you. We’re all different & our family situations will vary. Ensure you know what your minimum number of hours are that you can commit to running your business and if it gets that you can’t do that, then maybe it’s time to hang up your business owner badge?

We know business owners who do a couple of hours a month, (these are running Multi-level marketing businesses), to those who are working 60 hour weeks when they’re at full capacity in busy periods of the year.

Need help working out how much time YOU need for running YOUR own business? Grab our 5 Day Kick Start Planner and really focus these next few days on the amount of time YOU need. Or join the Business Cheerleading Club & talk it through with other business owners there.