Five Ways to Build a Strong Business

Tom Egelhoff  |   Tuesday Sep. 30th, 2014

The hardest period of time for any business is between opening day and getting to the break-even level. That’s the point where the business is taking in enough to be self-sustaining by paying all bills and producing a profit.

This period of time is where most businesses fail for a variety of reasons. The products may not be what the majority of customers want, advertising in the wrong places, or poor money management are common reasons for business failure.  

A Lamborghini auto dealer would have a tough time making a living in Bozeman selling half million-dollar cars. A store specializing in Montana Griz products might have a hard time making it in Bozeman as well.

But, if your business is viable with a workable realistic business plan then go for it. To help you out, here are five ways that might help reduce the time it takes to get to the break-even level.

Reason #1:
Your Customers

Customers are the lifeblood of any business. Whether you are a realtor selling one person a home for a lifetime, or a retailer selling customers every week. Building relationships is the secret to a prosperous business.

How do you make friends? You do it by being someone who wants to be friends with you. Learn your regular customers names, give them helpful suggestions, and make every customer experience a positive experience. Turn shoppers into buyers.

Reason #2:
First Impressions

As the saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.” We’ve all met people we liked immediately and others not so much. What impression do you or your business make on a first time customer?

Do you exude confidence in dress and manner; is your store clean and neat? Your personal appearance, your employees appearance, and your business appearance, all matter. Look good every day.

Reason #3:
Handling Complaints

Nothing can kill a customer relationship faster than a complaint that is not handled correctly. Empower your employees to solve customer problems if you are not available.

Usually customers only want one of three things. They want a refund, they want a replacement product, or, if a replacement is not available, they want one of equal or better value. All employees should be empowered to do those three things and turn complaints into loyal customers.

Reason #4:
Follow Up

An unhappy customer simply moves on and you never know about it. A follow up call for purchases above a pre-determined dollar amount could salvage the relationship and turn an unhappy customer into a cheerleader for your business.

Reason #5:
Your Guarantee

Most of us assume that everything has some kind of guarantee. But there are times when the fine print can also damage the relationship. If your guarantee has specific conditions, make sure that the customer is aware of who is responsible for what.

Some Final Thoughts

A referral is the most powerful form of advertising any new business can receive. Customer’s who are pleased with their treatment at your place of business, or with you personally, will spread the word about you.

Clear communication is critical to any business getting off on the right foot. Build relationships and those relationships will build your business.   

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