Tag - Growth Strategies

lose customers

How Not To Lose Customers To Staff/ Competition

Did you lose customers to your staff/ competition?

Did you know you are 405 times more likely to be struck by lightning than not lose customers to your staff/ competition when you aren’t performing as expected.

This is the experience era. People don’t just buy goods and services anymore they also buy experience. For every bad experience your clients get you lose them and potential customers they could refer to you due to the fast spread of word of mouth. And technology has made it so easy for customers to switch loyalty just by a click on their devices.

When you lodge at a resort that gives you the Wow experience you tell your family and friends about your wonderful experience. Likewise if you have a bad experience you will tell everyone that cares to listen. Bear in mind that as humans we like to exaggerate and bad news travels faster. The people that listened to your tales will form their opinion of the place from your experience. Thus affecting the patronage of the resort.

In the scheme of things a customer knows, likes then trusts a company to do business with it. If the company keeps exceeding expectations it progresses into buy, repeat and best of all refer.

But when a company becomes cocky there’s a decline into distrust, you lose customers and eventually failure/ closure of the business.

As much as you strive to render top-of-the-range products/ services ensure your customer care and delivery people don’t cause you to lose customers.

How Not To Lose customers to your former staff/ competition.

Take care to avoid the following so you do not lose your hard earned clients:

  • Lackadaisical Attitude

As a business owner or entrepreneur you should eat, drink, breathe and sleep your business. You should be your Chief marketer and Ambassador not your staff.
There’s a make-up artist who works in the entertainment industry. She’s always sending her PA to represent her everywhere. Hardly meets with her clients. Her PA was practically the face of her business.

She had a major client who needed to do a project abroad. The client side-lined her and sent her PA abroad for the job on a retainer. That’s how she lost a big opportunity. Thence the PA now has her own booming business.
The client said they don’t know or trust her hence them snatching her PA.

  • Overreaching

You should not over promise and under-perform. Don’t sell what you can’t deliver. Clients will lose their trust in you. Do realize your customers can find the same quality for a lower price elsewhere.

A good example is don’t prolong things unnecessarily. An online store decided to make their Black Friday deals last one month. I had forgotten and made an order 3 weeks into their Black Friday. I waited patiently to no avail. After a week I called customer care to find out what the problem was. And was told the delay was due to the Black Friday rush.

Their normal mode of operation is you make an order and someone calls to confirm your order. But due to the rush no one from customer care called to confirm my order. And things got mixed up. As I write this post on Jan 22nd, 2018 I’m still waiting for my refund from 20th Dec.

They say they are the online store to trust but I had to tell them I no longer trust them. The customer care person that attended to me said they were short-staffed. In this case contract staff should have been employed to cater to confirmation and delivery.

  • Employee Dissatisfaction

When your employees are dissatisfied that’s the first thing a customer notices about your business. Thus the saying the happiness of your clients depends on the happiness of your staff.

I did have a boss who always promised to pay commissions, he never did. Neither did he create a comfortable work environment. Overtime three of the Sales reps left and individually set up the same business. Also took along with them a sizable chunk of his customers. He had to make trips to visit the customers to see if he could redeem some and his image. Unfortunately he only won back few.

  • Poor Customer Service

If possible record the conversations that your customer care personnel have with your clients. And for walk in clients ensure you have a supervisor that keeps your customer service in check. Consistency, reliability, and responsiveness is key to retaining your clients.

  • Overworked and Understaffed

Remember the online store I mentioned above? The delivery men were outright rude and under-performing. It was while discussing with one he said he had to deliver items to 70 places that same day. Clearly he’s overworking and it’s taking its toll on him.

lose customers

  • Lack of product knowledge

A typical example of this is where I buy my fish feed from. I dialed the number on the receipt to ask if a brand of feed was available, in what size and amount. The guy that picked couldn’t answer my questions. He spoke like he didn’t even work there yet he did. Due to his ignorance I went elsewhere to make my purchase.

  • Refusal to reward customer loyalty

Nothing gladdens the heart of your customer more than knowing they are appreciated. Reward your customers either old or new. Think of creative ways to recompense them. It could be as little as calling on their birthdays or anniversaries. Also you can give awards to them.

In Conclusion

Study shows that it is 5 to 25 times more expensive to acquire new customers than to retain new ones. So you may want to think twice before you lose your existing clients. Avoid having a lackadaisical attitude to your business, reward customer loyalty, know your products and services, don’t overreach, improve your customer service, don’t overwork your staff and ensure your staff feel like they are part of the family.

Sick And Tired? Here Is My Hack To Deal With Entrepreneur Anxiety

As an entrepreneur at one point or the other you have to deal with entrepreneur anxiety.

Business and entrepreneurship has always been my thing. Right from elementary school I just wanted to buy and sell.

I bought sweets\ candies to resell. I wrote stories and got a boy to draw cartoons for me which I sold.

Though I didn’t sell much while in secondary school I did a lot of trade by barter. If I had or could do something I gave it in exchange for what I needed.

In the university I sold everything from costume jewelry, self-made beaded jewellery, G-strings, cosmetics to clothes. I encouraged my male colleagues to buy gifts for their female friends and relatives so they could buy something from me. I just sold and sold.

My National Youth Service Days (NYSC) weren’t left out. I didn’t stop selling. I even sold my personal stuffs for the right price when people expressed interest in them.

Here I was thinking I will definitely go into business after getting my degree. Hence my being a serial entrepreneur.

But reality hit me hard when I moved back home after my NYSC. My parents were on my case to get a real job and start earning.
I tried all I could to convince them to let me do business to no avail.

So four months later I started working but I couldn’t continue my business due to pressure from the job.

And that’s when the anxiety first started due to the stress of juggling my business with a job.

I realized I had to deal with entrepreneur anxiety.

Deal with entrepreneur anxiety

Finally after four years of being an employee I’m finally doing my own thing. My parents are still on my case though but I’ve grown a thicker skin.

People say I’m lucky doing my own thing forgetting I’m carrying quite a heavy burden on my shoulders. I’m performing several job roles to reduce cost as a small business.

I’m in the agriculture sector which means I don’t make an income regularly like everyone else.
It doesn’t mean I don’t pay bills in the period I don’t earn (business and personal).

Likewise there have been times I didn’t even earn my cost price talkless of profits due to things beyond my control.

But I keep trudging on because I can’t afford to give up. And I just deal with entrepreneur anxiety that these situations cause.

Also I get rejected and turned down after pitching to a client. There are days I just roam the house in my house wear devising means of how to get out of my latest rut. So yes it gets real.

This is the life of a full time entrepreneur.

As an entrepreneur people see you out there looking good but don’t know your struggles.

Deal with entrepreneur anxiety

I can’t even vent to my own parents when I’m crossing certain hurdles because they will say “didn’t we tell you to get a real job with security?”

But I finally learnt how deal with entrepreneur anxiety. It was hard at first but I kept going at it.

I can’t say I’ve fully gotten over it but it’s under control these days.

And these are the steps I took to get there:

How I Deal With Entrepreneur Anxiety

• Identify and Acknowledge

I had to consciously identify what the problem was and admit it was anxiety. At first it was scary to admit. But I understood eventually that I had to acknowledge the problem to overcome it.

• Prioritise and Plan

Prioritising my goals in order of importance helped to lessen the pressure. I plan my days ahead now and it helps tremendously.

I do the most important things first and I answer the most important mails/ messages first. If it’s not urgent I leave it for another day.

• Boycott Thinking Entirely

These days I avoid thinking entirely when I have a business related issue. I simply blank out. This was quite hard to do initially but with meditation, prayer, music, happy-ending movies and dance it got easier. I try to be mentally tough to deal with entrepreneur anxiety.

• Break Issues

Break down issues into lumps and goals into chunks. Have a go at it one after the other. Set goals daily. Now I set my goals into tasks I can accomplish daily.

• Celebrate Small Victories

And accomplishments. Be grateful. Also keep a journal (write them down). I celebrate every milestone no matter how small it seems and it really helps.

Dr. Emiliana Simon-Thomas said in a CBS piece that studies consistently show that people who keep a gratitude journal are 25 percent happier than those who don’t.

The people who had the gratitude journal showed increases in happiness, reductions in stress, reductions in vulnerability to physical symptoms, such as headaches.

While Wood et al examined gratitude and well being in the context of personality style using a sample of 389 adults.

In this study, gratitude was strongly linked to well being.

Thereafter the researchers concluded that gratitude has a unique relationship with life satisfaction.

• Take Breaks

Step out of isolation. Interact with friends and family. Break the cycle of work. If you are a solopreneur share office space at least for some days in the week. I’m simply saying come up for air.

• Accept Failure

Failure is bound to happen at some point but I have learnt to accept it and not dwell on it for too long.

• Seek Support

Talk a lot about the problem to people you trust that truly understand (not pretend to understand). I have a friend that I share my entrepreneurial journey with. I can vent all day and she listens without complaining or judging. But when I’m done I feel so much better.

Dealing with entrepreneur anxiety

• Decide To Enjoy The Journey

Consciously enjoy the entrepreneurial journey you have embarked on. Learn life lessons. These past few weeks have been tasking but I’ve taken it as a learning phase. It’s made me improvise and make wise money decisions.

• Eat Healthy And Exercise

Without overemphasis healthy foods and exercise just have a way of calming me down. It’s helping me greatly to deal with entrepreneur anxiety.

Deal with entrepreneur anxiety

• Use It

Finally use the anxiety to motivate you to take action as at when necessary. Now I approach anxiety as a motivator to do and achieve more.

As an entrepreneur you have to deal with not having a steady stream of income knowing fully well you have bills to pay.

These things don’t wait for you; they will steal your sleep, appetite, cause depression and suicidal thoughts etc except you nip it in the bud.

Sometimes you feel like all your efforts won’t pay off and other times you feel you can take on the world alone.

Working all hours of the week, lots of rejection, competition to outsmart and pile of bills to pay all contribute to anxiety.

You need to deal with the anxiety before it deals with you. Because it trumps creativity and as an entrepreneur you need a strong creative game to survive.

These are the things I do to deal with anxiety. Do you do other things asides these to conquer anxiety? Please let’s discuss.

Ergonomics Tips For Your Workplace

10 Ergonomics Tips You Should Know As An Entrepreneur

As an entrepreneur if you do not know these ergonomics tips you are setting yourself up for failure.

Ergonomics and entrepreneurship work hand in hand. Entrepreneurship cannot fully be discussed if it’s not done in conjunction with ergonomics. This said let us dissect these ergonomics tips, its benefits to your business and your loss if you do not take cognizance of it.

As an entrepreneur you need to understand ergonomics and its benefits not just to you but also to your staff and customers.

Ergonomics is the science of understanding human interaction with other elements of a system to optimize human well-being and the system’s performance.

It is also the understanding of how human factors and environmental factors interact.

How the human, equipment and environment fits. The process of ensuring the work environment fits the well-being of employees and not forcing employees to work under conditions that affect their health adversely.

As an entrepreneur ergonomics is necessary to study how the human factor, technology (equipment, furniture, pace of work) and environment (office, work space, market place) suit each other to give the customer the best experience.

They are all interwoven; how comfortable the position you sit at work is, how long you sit at a stretch, the amount of time spent performing each task, how long you stand at a stretch, the position of your desk and chair, the position of the PC or laptop and the level of your productivity.

As an entrepreneur your business is people based therefore it is important to empathize with people (staff, contractors and clients). To ensure that your staff and contractors work under the best conditions which in turn allows them to better satisfy the customers.

Ergonomics Tips For Your Workplace

Ergonomics Tips For Your Workplace

There are a lot of write ups online as to how ergonomics benefits the entrepreneur but I am taking it a step further to say it also affects and benefits the customers. Anything that helps to increase efficiency of staff will have a ripple effect on the customer and business. Benefits such as:

  • Ergonomics increases productivity and efficiency. Also makes you and everyone involved in the business healthy.
  • Ergonomics when applied to your work environment helps you to reduce or totally avoid Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) especially for home based businesses.

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is a work related condition in which pains and impairment are caused to the body due to prolonged and             excessive repetitive actions, typically to the tendons and muscles involved.

  • Designing your office ergonomically does not just keep you in good health but it makes you take less time off work thereby allowing you more time to perform tasks. Spending more time to work smartly increases productivity thereby creating satisfactory customer experience.

Most people running a home based business tend to take things for granted and work from their couch or bed forgetting the long term effects of this on their back, shoulder, hands, waist and neck. These ergonomics tips are to help you realize that doing this is wrong on all levels. Rather create a work space in your home.

I have personal experiences as to the work place not being ergonomically arranged. I worked at an aviation services company where I did not sit properly and had to sit for long hours on end.

Before each day ended I would have splitting headaches, eye ache and excruciating back and waist pain. I popped a lot of painkillers to dull the pain.

I reported this often but no solution was provided so each day ended in pains. Overtime I snapped a lot and lost interest in my job.

The funny thing is the company had a Health, Safety and Environment Management (HSE) document but it did not include anything about ergonomics. The questions are how current were they and how concerned about the employees were they?

I also worked at an Agro- allied company where we sat hours on end staring at the computer screen at awkward angles. The result; excruciating pain. I kept looking for a masseuse to straighten me out week in week out.

This company did not even have provisions for HSE (Health, Safety and Environment Management) or a Safety Manager despite being a manufacturing company. No consideration for the well-being of the staff.

As an entrepreneur you should regularly review the work conditions of your staff and contractors to make sure it does not affect their health. Conditions such as:

• Sitting in the same position for more than two hours at a time.

• Handling heavy objects for hours on end.

• Being in awkward positions for more than two hours at a time.

• Performing the same motion for more than two hours at a time.

• Staring at the laptop or PC screen for long hours.

Being ergonomic can be quite expensive for small and medium businesses especially in terms of purchasing ergonomics furniture but on the long run it is quite cheap.

It is cheaper in terms of staff not staying away from work to treat ailments thereby getting more work done.

As an entrepreneur it is left to you to decide if the initial costs of ergonomics in your business is worth it. Though it is important for you to realize early on that it is a long term investment.

For the good of everyone when designing your work space do not let aesthetics be the bane rather focus on investing in the well-being of everyone. Thereby resulting in the happiness of your customers due to buying from a company that has happy staff and not grumpy ones.

You can make changes with these ergonomics tips to ensure this. These 10 ergonomics tips are widely agreed upon by ergonomics experts:

• Learn to take breaks, walk around, stand for a while and interchange the hand that clicks the mouse.

• Make the sitting area quite comfortable. Choose a chair that supports your spinal curves. Sit in a way that allows your feet rest flat on the floor or on a footrest. Also ensure your thighs are parallel to the floor.

• Ensure the desks are positioned such that your upper arms are vertically hanging while typing at your keyboard.

• Upon returning to your seat after each break alternate your posture so some of the tissue elasticity that protects the joints can return.

• Place the phone on speaker or use a headset if you have to talk on the phone and type at the same. Do not cradle the phone between your head and neck.

• Keep underneath the desk clear; create space for your knees, thighs and feet. If the desk is too low and not adjustable place boards or blocks under the desk legs. Also solve this by raising your chair.

• Ensure the monitor is directly in front of you precisely an arm’s length away. The screen top should be at or a little below eye level.

• Position the monitor so that the brightest light source is to the side thereby you avoid reflections. Use screens of good quality.

• Look away from the computer screen every 15-20 minutes to relax and readjust your eyes.

• Ensure that the computer is not backed by light from a window or bright light.

It will surprise you that little changes as these will tremendously improve your work conditions.

As a leader in the work place it is left to you to educate your staff on ergonomics tips and its benefits. This gives them the assurance that you do not just need them to make you money but you also need them to be healthy while at it. Thereby increasing their confidence in you as an employer. Once you have their confidence as an employer you automatically get the best of them. When this happens you know the rest of the story.

The relationship between ergonomics and entrepreneurship cannot be overlooked. Hence it is imperative you explore it and its benefits.

If you have tried other ergonomics tips that worked kindly tell us in the comments section.

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Business Growth

Tips For Business Growth

As an entrepreneur you are constantly faced with the challenge of speed in your business growth. You listen/read so many tips and advice from all sorts of sources thinking if you just do all they said you will break out into the big leagues.

Exerting energy in the wrong direction takes you nowhere. Applying the wrong techniques will only stunt your business growth. Have you heard the saying a lot of people are going nowhere fast? Speed without direction is zero.

In this article I share tips that I read and tried out (still using) which actually aided my business growth. You can try them too.

Growing a business should not be a race most especially if you intend to leave behind a legacy rather it should be done systematically with planning and great organizational skills.
These tips will contribute positively to your business growth:

    There is nothing more systematic than being organized and orderly. Ensure you keep detailed and accurate record of everything; every document signed, transactions done and not done, receipts issued, complete data of every employee even applicants etc. Also ensure your goals are properly outlined into daily, weekly and monthly targets. You cannot measure business growth without goals. This makes it simpler and achievable.
    As an entrepreneur be open to new ideas. Innovation is the bedrock of entrepreneurship. If you feel you are not innovation savvy then get a team that is. Surround yourself with smart people; employ based on what they have to offer and not on who they know. This will only speed up your business growth.
    Getting clients to do repeat business with you is far cheaper than what it costs to get new clients e.g. adverts, publicity etc. Applying the Pareto’s principle 20% of your clientele brings in 80% of your entire business earnings therefore it only makes sense to re-target your existing clients for your business growth.
    Become a competitive entrepreneur. Look closely at your niche and pay close attention to what the influencers are doing then do something better or improvise on what has already been done. Monitor your competitors on all levels. Be all up in their business but not in a rude way and find out through questionnaires, suggestion boxes etc. why your customers prefer your competitors to you and work on improving on their concerns.
    Adequate preparation is a must for business growth. Ensure you have all it takes to meet up with demand for your products and services e.g. if you run a manufacturing business make sure your machinery is at top notch. Your methods, policies, procedures etc. should be such that allows for expansion on a short notice to meet up with the business growth.
    Work together with companies whose business complements yours that is it either completes or adds more value to yours e.g. if you own a PR company and you feel Social media is overwhelming for you then work together with companies that do Social media expertly on a full time basis.
    Have you heard the saying fake it till you make it? I am not saying lie; I am saying hang in there till you eventually get there. Being positive minded will get you to your destination faster than fear. Mentally see your business growth rather than give in to fear.
    Increase your online and offline presence either organically or otherwise (free or paid). As much as people have gotten to know your business offline there is a certain reach you can cover offline. You should use the opportunity social media offers to expand your business reach thereby expanding your business growth.
    Never see your business account as same as your personal account. A lot of entrepreneurs fail to distinguish between their personal purse and the business purse thereby spending uncontrollably and in turn ruining the business. Rather pay yourself a certain amount as salary and use it to cover your personal expenses. Also always plan ahead for expenses so it does not catch you unawares.
    As the business owner you ought to connect more with your clients and more often with the 20% that brings in 80% of your income. Be your brand ambassador because no one can explain your vision better than you.
    For business growth it is best you take into account what works and what is not working to make the necessary changes such as reassigning staff, letting them go, cost reduction etc. Success can be measured using questionnaires and interviews to find out what your customers feel about the products and services you have to offer. It is imperative to measure success and reward it; this reassures your staff and encourages them to do better.
    Being good at one thing does not mean you can run an entire company by yourself. Once your business starts growing steadily employ capable hands to run the business efficiently. You perform excellently as a Sales person does not mean you will perform excellently as an Accounts, Operations or HR person. When starting out it is better you use contract staff to reduce costs such as salaries, allowances, taxes etc.

Focus on your vision and chase it relentlessly. Focus on your clients and ensure you do not lose sight of what they expect to get from                 your business. Focus on the development of each product and service before diversifying. Make a mark by consistently hitting a                           target.

Please feel free to share tips that have aided your business growth with our readers in the comments section.

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