Small Business Success Factors: Make 2019 YOUR YearJason Siddall
You likely already know the statistics around the dismal success rate of SMEs and start-ups here in South Africa. We know that entrepreneurship is not for everyone and is a tough game. However, a high-level view of SMEs shows that small business success rests on just a few common traits.
What are these common small business success factors which keep some enterprises afloat while others flounder?
Small Business Success Factors
We are pretty certain that none of these factors are going to come as a surprise to you. The problem is that as entrepreneurs we are generally so busy herding cats that we can drop the ball. So, if you’re going to differentiate between urgent and important tasks, then make sure that these points below sit high atop your priority list.
Great Customer Service
How do you feel after receiving poor service for something you’ve paid good money for? That feeling doesn’t go away quickly, and statistics show that poor customer service results in an invisible erosion of your bottom line over time.
GrooveHQ has some interesting numbers for us to consider:
“Just as it’s important to keep your customers happy—because happy customers tell their friends—it’s equally important to turn angry customers around. Why?
Because while happy customers might tell nine friends, unhappy customers, on average, tell sixteen. That’s sixteen “anti-referrals” for every upset customer that you don’t make whole.”
Good customer service is not simply flashing a smile. Rather, it is an entire business culture made successful by a combination of well-trained staff, a solid business plan, sound business processes, and regular communication between staff and customers.
A good leader knows that good customer service does not stop after the sale has been concluded. Excellent after sales service is a key driver of repeat business and referrals which are two of the easiest ways to boost sales (with very little effort.)
A phone call to ask if you are happy with your product or service tells your customers that they aren’t just a number. It also provides the perfect forum to fix anything that they weren’t happy with and turn a potentially angry customer into a raving fan.
Staff and Customer Support
Do you consider your business processes to be part of the support infrastructure for both your staff and customers?
Over and above the way you deal with your customers lies the tools and resources within your business processes which allows them to interact with you and your team. A clear and concise website, easy payment options, immediate response to communication, and a system which is always-on forms a solid foundation.
Alongside this, a small business would want to give their staff the ability to connect with customers from anywhere, solve problems as fast as possible, and maintain excellent productivity for the best outcome.
This means that you need to give the right people the right tools to do their job effectively.
In fact, the entire working world has been in a slow shift to accommodate the increasingly important work/life balance. Retaining good staff is critical for a new business, and this may mean providing them with the flexibility to work from home or to work outside of traditional “working” hours.
In this instance, the connectivity between your business and their laptop or smartphone is your lifeline. The support that you provide in the form of effective platforms is a key driver for small business success.
“While technology is important, it doesn’t have to be complex or costly to be effective. Effective technology is probably the most important enabler for change that a company can introduce.” So says Business Coach Ron Finklestein in his article for Entrepreneur.
And we tend to agree.
Small businesses or start-ups can easily be sucked into costly, long-term and contractually binding agreements in order to give them the technology that they feel they need to sustain a business.
In our experience, we have found that the backbone of small business success lies with a stable and cost-effective connectivity solution. You just don’t need all the bells and whistles if you’ve chosen a service provider who can provide reliable, month-to-month, affordable connectivity for your SME and who can scale with you.
Finklestein, quoted above, says regarding risk and competition, “Most owners who take risks do so because they recognize the need to change as the economic climates changes, and they understand it’s disastrous not to embrace change.
“Successful business leaders understand that being in business is about managing and responding to change. Companies that succeed embrace change and respond to challenges presented by the market, the competition or changes in general business conditions.”
This brings to mind the saying, “The only thing constant in life is change.” Replace the word “Life” with “Business” and the saying remains true.
Small business success hinges on staying ahead of the curve; being nimble and adaptive in a fluid world. This also means that your financial responsibilities should be kept to a minimum to grant you the freedom that you need to change direction quickly.
Are you just starting out? Do you plan to grow your business in 2019?
We can’t help you hire the right people, but we can help you to set in place sound voice and data connectivity platforms to support your business success in the years to come.
Talk to the Huge team and find out how our business can benefit your business.