At EC Credit Control, we’re lucky enough to work with a wide variety of businesses, big and small. From our debt resolution team to our terms of trade drafters, we have borne witness to many stories of success and failure over the years. Consequently, we have some interestingly common threads.
We want to see our customers succeed, so in this blog, we share some top tips for small business success.
No matter where you’re at today, if you do these things well, we know you’ll achieve great things.
Prioritise customer service
Think about the last time you recommended a business to a friend. What was it about the experience that impressed you? Chances are, it was something to do with the customer service.
Did they go the extra mile to get something to you on time? Perhaps they gave you an added benefit you weren’t expecting or were just really decent sorts to deal with.
One thing we realise is that people enjoy dealing with people. They like to buy from or work with others who are good humans who share their values.
All of this starts with good customer service, which starts with respect for the customer – always. Good customer service builds trust and brand affinity and is more likely to lead to repeat customers.
In small business, it is often easy to do customer service well, compared with larger organisations that have a bigger workforce. Use this to your advantage by:
- Putting time and resources into customer service training
- Reviewing and testing your product or service through your customers’ eyes
- Take the time to understand and develop your business’ personality
- Fostering ways to infuse that personality and positive experience through every customer interaction.
Focus on solutions
How many times have you spent hours on the phone speaking to various members of a team who were unable to solve your issue? And how did that leave you feeling afterwards?
Adopting a solution-focused mindset is a great way to set you up for long-term success.
- Pride yourself on always being able to find a way
- Think critically about all possible actions, to see the challenge from all angles
- Ask why is this a problem? Why should we solve it? Why is our help needed, and how can we best deliver it?
- Enjoy the problem-solving process – after all, it is as much about the journey as it is the end result.
Make a marketing plan… and make it good
Even the best business in the world wouldn’t gain traction if no one knew about it. Having a great marketing plan is about knowing:
- Why you’re in business
- What you want to achieve
- and finally planning out how you’re going to get there.
This will include capturing your story, what makes your small business offering unique, and defining how you are going to share it with others.
Some key tips for building a great small business marketing plan include:
- Put in the time to research your market, competitors, and audience
- Ensure your advertising spend is going into the right channels
- Think about marketing as more than just ‘promotion’ – there are 5 P’s of Marketing – learn what they are and how they are all interrelated
- Even your debt resolution process is a part of your marketing experience. Review all your sales documentation and Terms and Conditions of Trade to make sure they are clear and professional
- Do a SWOT on your marketing and identify where your gaps are
- Call in expert advice for any areas of marketing you’re not clear on.
Start thinking of debt resolution as your friend
Many businesses see debt resolution as a necessary evil, but it doesn’t need to be. With a clear and upfront credit management process, no one gets any surprises. This results in a positive relationship with your customer and one you can maintain.
Make debt resolution your friend and start seeing it for what it is – a core driver of healthy cash flow. After all, cash flow is important for any successful business, right?
Here are some ways to embrace a positive debt resolution process in your small business:
- Set up clear systems, Terms and Conditions of Trade, and other sales documentation to ensure prompt payment
- Check out our free guide to debt management to check yourself and get all the right procedures in place
- Work with a professional debt resolution agency from the outset, to raise your small business’ bench strength and secure your cash flow for the future.
Don’t overlook your existing customers
Often in business, it’s easy to focus on attracting new customers, as we can feel that is where the demand is highest. However, it is worth remembering that keeping your customers is just as important – perhaps even more so.
Your existing customers may not always shout the loudest for your attention but remember that you have worked hard to get them to work with you in the first place.
Depending on the products or services you offer, your customer base can become the gift that keeps on giving, if you look after them right.
Here are a few ways to keep your customers loving your small business:
- Share your appreciation with your existing customer database. A simple thank you or a personal token goes a long way
- Think of ways you could reward them for their loyalty. Perhaps a discount on their next purchase, or a loyalty card next time they visit
- Even if your business isn’t likely to drive lots of repeat purchases, remember your existing customers can be your biggest advocates too. Asking for reviews or setting up a ‘refer a friend’ system can be a great idea to spread the good word about you.
Wondering if your debt management process hits the mark?
One piece of the puzzle we can help with is ensuring your cash flow is healthy, through having a professional debt collection process. You never know what is around the corner but starting your relationships on clear terms creates space for positive outcomes in the future.
- Talk to our team about a review of your debt management process to ensure your small business is set up for success
- Check out the different terms of trade and point of sale documentation we can help personalise for your business
- Load debts online now and pass the problem to the experts
- Find out how we work.