May 6, 2016
Business owners are champions when it comes to juggling various functions related to operational routines and longer-term tasks. Amid these pressures, it is easy to get lost in the grind and lose track of the big picture. Often, these little issues become complicated problems requiring even more time and resources to resolve. Identify and address these issues now to limit business hurdles down the road.
1. Are you listening to your customers?
You have a feedback system in place through your website, customer service line or onsite contact. Review the feedback regularly and make sure your team has an established process for processing and acting on both positive and negative feedback. This is especially critical if your business has grown into a multi-site operation.
2. Are you responding to client problems quickly?
Information travels very quickly in today’s business environment because of social media. Customer service issues with your products or services can lead to bad reviews that can negatively affect your brand.
Automate the feedback process to make sure you can stay on top of the feedback process and take control of your online reputation.
3. Are you wasting time on clients who can’t be pleased?
Retaining every client you ever did business with may not be possible. Identify the clients who take too much of your time and resources with very little production on your part. Cease doing business with them, but make sure that the breakup is polite and professional. You can then devote more time on more productive pursuits such as seeking out new clients.
4. Is your revenue stream diversified enough?
Solidifying your client base is key to long-term survival in a highly competitive environment. To limit the impact of losing a major account, make sure that your client base and sources of revenue are diversified enough to withstand a temporary downturn on your revenues.
5. Is your data secure?
Data hacking is one of the fastest growing crimes today, and it is not inconceivable for small businesses to be targeted. Make sure that critical data is backed up frequently. All other records should be secured and backed up because data loss will affect your reputation and your business will incur costs to resolve these issues.
6. Is your website accessible and up-to-date?
About 81 percent of consumers check online resources prior to buying even if they expect to buy from local retailers. Your website is the centerpiece of your digital branding efforts. It is an essential part of your marketing efforts, and you can be sure that visitors are drawn to your website for a specific reason: they are looking for possible solutions to a question or a problem. Is your website ready to deliver?
Ensure that your website is well-designed, updated and mobile-friendly to make it convenient for visitors to find the information they seek. You increase the chances of engaging site visitors and potentially converting them to customers if your website shows up on searches and delivers solutions quickly.
7. Is your NAP information consistent across various local directories?
Your name, address and phone number provide the direct link to your business. Some directories do their own indexing of local businesses while others may want you to sign up. Information can change especially if you are expanding.
To ensure that your contact information is updated and accurate regardless of the directory, perform a scan using tools. Performing the scan manually will take time with various directories including Facebook, Yelp, Foursquare, Google My Business and LinkedIn, but an efficient scanning tool can complete this task quickly.
8. Is your content focused on your target market?
When your website is designed to appeal to the widest possible audience, it may end up disorganized and lacking focus. Visitors that can’t find what they are looking for within a few seconds will move on to the next website.
Develop and publish optimized content that will help your website rank on SERPs. Focus on your target market by using the appropriate presentation.
9. Are you watching your competitors and industry developments?
It is a competitive world. As a business owner, you need to keep an eye out for the competition to avoid loosing your edge. Additionally, be aware of changes in technology that will impact your business.
10. Do you have a plan?
Some business owners are winging it when it comes to operations because they are experienced at what they do. This may work for a bit for small companies, but there’s no substitute for a solid business plan that outlines where you want to take your operations and how you plan to meet your goals to meet your growth objectives.
Find the time to review your operations to determine which of these mistakes may be holding you back from taking your business to the next level.
Nooruz Z works as a growth marketer at Synup, an integrated dashboard to make life easier for local marketing consultants, agencies and brands. He is a tinkerer with a passion for building things and finding out new (and ambitious) ways of fixing problems. Follow him on Twitter @nooruzzonline