Many entrepreneurs start a business with the greatest intentions. They have their business plan, funding is in place, and some have already built a large client base. Far too often however many entrepreneurs try to “reinvent the wheel.” They focus on the fun things and forget about some of the things that matter the most. As a kid (and even now) I loved to fly kites. I remember my dad took me to the park on a very windy day. He told me to tie a really good knot so that my kite wouldn't fly away from me. I was so excited about flying a kite that I didn't listen to him. I don't think I need to tell you how that story ends. A great number of entrepreneurs are not tying the knot before they take flight in the airspace of business ownership. Everyone wants to be a disruptor and we understand that no two industries are the same. However if you don't follow certain fundamentals in business that are universal you will find your business aimlessly flying in the wind and just like a certain little boy I know find yourself crying uncontrollably chasing after it.
It’s cliche I know but one of the most important things we must do as entrepreneurs is get a good night’s rest. How long that is depends on you and your lifestyle. For me, as long as I get 6 hours at night and maybe another two hours during the day for a nap, I am ok. However some people need 10 or more hours to function at a high level. The ultimate point I am making is that it is important to know yourself and your body to get the appropriate amount of sleep. Getting enough rest is not only important for feeling rested but for good health as well. When you sleep your body is repairing itself. Your heart and your blood vessels are being repaired for the work moving forward. Also you are able to improve your memory, spark creativity, have greater attention to detail, and even help with weight loss. You should be in the best physical shape to be an entrepreneur. One of the biggest advantages to a good sleep pattern is the reduction of stress. As small business owners, we are hit with constant adverse situations that never end which can be extremely stressful. A good sleep pattern lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of cardiovascular issues. So don't skip on a good nights rest. That issue in your business will still be there in the morning and you will be able to conquer it better with more clarity.
Establishing Good Relationships
During this journey we call life you will encounter many people. Some good, some great, and some not so much. The same can be said in business. Making these connections can make all the difference in the world. I recently met a lady who needed help in knowing the process of importing some goods from Asia. Now import/export is not my expertise but I knew someone who had that subject well within their wheel house. I made this connection awhile back not knowing how it would benefit us at the time. All of a sudden that opportunity had fallen in our lap. In making the connection between the two, I have raised our credibility on both fronts with the import/export expert and with with the prospective importer. Sometimes you have to just make a good connection with someone even if there is not a direct or immediate benefit. Making a quality connection is important because you don't want to make a connection that could ruin your reputation.
Always Deliver Value
You always want to remember that people’s time is precious. You can’t go into an interaction with a client or potential client thinking “why wouldn’t you want to buy what I'm selling”. You must deliver value to the customer and you must understand (and quickly) what sells to one customer may not sell to the next. You deliver value by focusing on what are called benefit statements. For example, statements that suggest saving time and saving money are some of the common ones. Also remember that even when you give out free product or service it needs to be top notch and not diluted. It needs to be just as good as the sold version. You don't want it subpar because the customer will definitely remember and not only will they not come back, they will tell someone else not to patronize you either. If you are a start-up thats the last thing you want.
For the entrepreneur, learning should never stop. Show me stagnation in professional development and I will show you a business that will be closing soon. As many of you who follow me on a regular basis know, I always tell you that everything in life evolves. Whatever industry you are in is not excluded from that. We at OWLS are always engaged in webinars, online courses from Coursera, conferences, and what ever seminar we can find so that we can stay on top of what ever the current trend or need is at the time. You must find opportunities on a regular basis to improve yourself to improve your business. It was my rabbi that told me about the concept of spiral learning. He said that you should read the Bible in your 20’s and in your 50’s because your life experiences juxtapose to those same stories will continue to have different meanings. Continuous learning works the same way in business.
Get Customer Service Right
This is a non-negotiable. If you don't get customer service right then nothing else matters. I recently applauded Chick-Fil-A on its new initiative to target millennial moms. Many small businesses want to do the extra stuff in customer service while forgetting the fundamentals. Simple things like welcoming them into your establishment, thanking them for their business, and empathizing when there is an customer complaint. The last thing you want is for a situation get so out of hand that the customer has cooking grease thrown on them. Don’t laugh because if you live in the Memphis area you know that happened……on more than one occasion. So make sure you get the fundamentals of customer service correct first because only focusing on the extra will seem gimmicky as my friend from New Zealand pointed out to me awhile back. Trust me, customers are quick to point out something that is not genuine.
So Whats The Bottom Line?
I know small business owners want to be disruptors in their space and make a ton of money at the same time but skipping the simple things can close your doors really quick. Getting a good nights rest can make the difference in being able to expand or retiring early due to health. Connecting with the right people can help you scale and and boost credibility. Remember to always deliver the same great value to your best client and the one you struggle with from time to time. Always be willing to learn from multiple sources for continuous self-growth. Lastly and simply put, GET CUSTOMER SERVICE RIGHT! So make sure you tie your knot properly so that your business can soar for years to come. Fail to do so and you will have no choice but to watch your business fly away as you cry uncontrollably. #AnOwlInYourCorner