We recently touched on the importance of customer experience and how companies large and small are tuning into this relatively new business area. However, with the advent of customer experience, we can’t forget about good old customer service. Customer service is a company’s backbone, and plays a central part in any business’s success. Yet, in these ever-changing times, traditional customer service methodologies are no longer making the cut. Customers have higher expectations, there is greater competition in the market, and support is no longer an ancillary entity, but rather an integral part of the customer experience. As consumer demands increase, innovating with the changing atmosphere is necessary. As a small business, it’s the time to up the ante and refresh your customer service strategy.
As small business owners, you know that networking is of utmost importance to building your business and credibility. Word of mouth endorsements are invaluable and you never know the connections you will make at an event or during an online networking hour. Yet, as a small business owner, attending hours-long events to establish relationships and potential partners is just not part of your daily routine because they’re a major drain on your most precious resource: time. Luckily in this fast-paced digital age, there are a number of professional networking apps that help you to network effectively on your own time.
Customer experience (CX) has become a hot topic over the past few years and with good reason. Superior customer service is no longer a primary requirement for attracting and retaining customers. The customer’s experience must be stellar, memorable, and positive in order to provide the traction previously supplied by white glove customer service. How the customer is left feeling dictates their impression of a brand and impacts whether or not they will return to the business. “When people make purchases today, they want that purchase to make them feel a certain way,” says Daniel Newman, President of Broadsuite.
The second biggest holiday in the Small Business world is coming up in just about a month, and it’s time to start planning how you can get involved. National Small Business Week takes place May 1st -7th here in the U.S., and this year’s theme is “Dream Big, Start Small.”
Created by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) back in 1963, National Small Business Week provides:
“An opportunity to highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners, and other from across the nation.” (SBA)
Just like April showers bring May flowers, April 15 brings Tax Day. Even though we know it’s coming, somehow the tax deadline tends to sneak up on us. As a small business owner, you have an incredible responsibility for filing correctly and in a timely way to save both time and money. It takes time to properly organize and file taxes, and the 2014 Small Business Taxation Survey found that 40% of small business owners spend 80 hours preparing for their income taxes. Whether you DIY or employ an accountant, we want to take the heartache out of tax preparation and save you precious hours and resources.
When you work from home, there’s a bit of a catch 22 we all must overcome. You are delighted to be able to control everything about your workspace, but you may find that you get overwhelmed trying to set up the ideal work-from-home space. We’ve tackled the issue of creating space for a home office before, if you really are starting from scratch. Once you have the space picked out, consider some (or all!) of the following office gadgets for making your home office truly your own:
Running a small business can be a difficult job. The responsibilities can be daunting, and the tasks can quickly pile up. Running a micro-business can be even tougher. Similar tasks are placed on fewer people, and your to-do list can get crowded in a hurry. Compounding the challenge is the fact that many people simply procrastinate their duties. After all, why do something now when there will be time for it later? There’s no clear reason why some people tend to procrastinate. Research suggests that procrastination might actually be a factor of genetics, something that’s been passed down through the generations. Maybe you even fall into that category. But just because you might be a natural procrastinator doesn’t mean you have to give in to your instinctual behaviors. A variety of productivity tools are out there, ready to help you overcome the urge to delay what should be done right away.
Looking to get started (or start fresh) in content marketing for your small business? You’re in luck – we picked up some great tips at Social Media Examiner’s recent Social Media Marketing World conference and we’re dying to share!
The first session we attended was with content marketing expert Joe Pulizzi. One of the takeaways we most wanted to share with you from the presentation is the idea of creating a content marketing mission statement.
Long before you create a blog, brainstorm topics, or write your first blog post, it’s critical to make sure that you (and anyone else who will contribute) know exactly what it is you’re setting out to do. If you aren’t sure, how can your audience be?
Deciding to break out on your own and start a small business is a bold move. So bold, in fact, that some people think all you need in order to do it is the appropriate amount of gumption. In our current culture, there is a certain amount of glamour assigned to the entrepreneur – from eccentric celebs to startup success stories, there’s no shortage of encouragement out there. But when it comes down to brass tacks, the business of self-employment should not be taken lightly.
When starting a new business, the early decisions can make all the difference. This includes choices like how you craft your business strategy or the tools you use to create a professional website, but equally important are the hiring decisions you make.
The policies you have in place from the very beginning will impact how early employees view their roles and responsibilities and will help set the tone for the future of your company. To get you off on the right foot, take a look at these seven policies that you should definitely have established before hiring your first employee.