Managing The Speed Of Your Customer Interactions

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To keep your business moving, you need to be able to act instantly. There has never been a better time to be able to do that than right now. Technology speeds up so much of your business needs, making you more efficient. But customers may not react at the speed that you need them too. 

Have More Channels Of Communication Open

If the problem that you’re facing is waiting for your customer to respond to your messages, then chances are they are not talking to you using the best tools for them. Having as many routes for your customer to get in touch with, you will speed things up dramatically. Using messaging services such as Facebook Messenger, offer your customers a great deal more convenience than emails. Often, when talking through emails, exchanges can take a great deal of time. There is a general tendency to write longer messages, and very often, emails are not replied to immediately. 

By utilizing the quick reply functions on messenger apps, you’ll get shorter, but more prompt responses- allowing you to get straight down to business. 

Keeping The Cash Flowing

Waiting for your customers to pay their invoices can often mean that you’re left waiting in limbo. With some companies keeping a tight grip on their own funds, they’ll push payment back as late as possible. Often to the due date, which could be anything up to ninety days after the invoice was sent. You can’t afford to wait that long. 

Your business has needs, and if you’ve completed a large job, your staff need paying for it. You may need the capital for the next project too, and if you’ve not got it to hand, you might find yourself turning down jobs. 

There is a way around this. Using factoring services such as BCashflow Positive you can effectively use an intermediary to claim your invoice immediately.  And, for a small percentage, they will wait to receive the money from your customers.

In-Depth Team Training

Customer service issues may take some time to resolve, and your team will no doubt want to get them dealt with quickly. But often, the way that your team handles an issue might not be the best way. Making sure that your team are well trained in all aspects of customer handling will ensure they do not get stuck on cases for longer than is useful. 

Specific and Measurable Targets

Time is money, and you need to set limits on how long things should take. Obviously, this will depend on the type of business that you are in, but you need a specific and measurable target to set your customer service representatives. These might be based around how quickly they respond to an initial query, to the total time that a ticket should be open. 

Customers expect a quick resolution, but importantly, it is in your best interests to deal with these in a timely manner, allowing you to move onto the next query sooner.

Preventing Avoidable Problems For Your New Business

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OK, there aren’t too many easy things about starting a new business. But it has to be said that sometimes new business owners don’t make things easy on themselves. While there are always things beyond your control, there are important matters that most definitely can be handled before they become issues. It’s just that the burden is on you, no-one else! Below, we take a look at four pieces of advice that’ll ensure your company isn’t sinking before it’s learned to swim.

Start Slow

Enthusiasm is a powerful tool, one that can be used as a force of good to grow your company. But it can also be your undoing if you’re not careful. If you’re rushing through all the steps to get your business up, running, and making money, then you’re more likely to make a mistake. A business isn’t something that should happen overnight; it’s a long-term goal. So take your time. If you’ve got all the details planned, all the pieces in place, and the energy to handle the rush of work that’ll soon be coming your way, then you’ll have a smooth entry into the world of business.

Make Sure It’s Legal

There’s nothing worse than putting much time, effort, and money into getting your business up and running, only to then find out that it’s not legal. It’s highly unlikely that someone’s going to inform you of this before you market it to the public, so take steps when you’re still in the planning stages. If you consult with a business lawyer, they’ll be able to inform you of all the steps you need to take to be on the right side of the law. Depending on what industry you’ll be in, there might be many more rules you need to follow than previously thought.

Cash-Flow Issues

You’ll have a pretty solid financial plan for your business. But it’s not enough just to have earmarked cash for the various aspects of business development; you also need to ensure you have the funding for day to day expenditures, too. When you’re starting out you might not have all that much money coming in – especially if you’re sending invoices – but will need to outlay cash. If you don’t have that cash to hand, then your business is going to take a backward step before it’s even had the chance to move forward.

Charging the Right Amount

Nobody wants their business to be a failure. However, there’s a right and a wrong way to tackle this fear. The right way is to make your business the best it can be, and give your customers a reason to choose you. The wrong way is to undercut everyone and have rock-bottom prices. You’ll get plenty of business – no problem there – but your profit margins will be too small, and you’ll be in financial troubles. So find the right amount to charge for your services. If you’re good at what you do, charge what you’re worth and what will generate a profit.

Are You Getting In The Way Of Your Own Business Growth?

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There’s a solid argument for keeping your small business small. It makes the day to day operation of your enterprise more manageable, it affords you greater oversight over quality control, it invariably allows you to provide a more intimate level of customer service and enables you to spend more time doing what you love and what you’re great at. In today’s fast paced and ever changing business landscape, however, the ambitious entrepreneur may well have growth on their mind. After all, a small business means small profits, small profits mean small wages and small wages mean stunted entrepreneurial progression. But if you have your sights set on growth there may be one significant obstacle getting in the way of it…

You!

As passionate as you may be, as much as you may care deeply about your every employee and every customer, and as dedicated, determined and resourceful as you are, it’s entirely possible for a well meaning entrepreneur to impede their own business’ growth. As yourself some of these searching questions to see if you’re really the one getting in the way of your business’ growth…

Are you trying to run before you can walk?

Does your reach exceed your grasp? Are you trying to grow your business without the proper infrastructure? Are you investing a surge of effort, time and capital into marketing to draw in new customers when you can barely keep up with the ones that you have? If you don’t keep a close eye on your resource allocation and cash flow management your business may end up tripping over its own feet. In order to facilitate sustainable growth you have to be able to walk before you can run.

Is it your way or the highway?

Your passion, determination, single mindedness and drive are all part of what makes you a great entrepreneur… But even you have your limits. While your business is, and should be, an extension of you, built around the values and ideals that matter to you, when it’s either your way or the highway, you run the risk of stagnation. You recruited your employees for their skills, intelligence and savvy and in some cases they may be better placed than you to identify areas for change and improvement within your enterprise. If you don’t give them an open forum in which to air their ideas, they will feel less empowered and your business may suffer.

Do you eschew outsourced assistance?

When you have established a way of operating that works for you, it can lead you to become resistant to outside perspectives, but this may also be detrimental to your business. Moreover, it can cause you to divert a great deal of capital, time effort and resources into functions that may be better fulfilled elsewhere. Historically, outsourcing to providers of Managed IT Services, HR service providers and marketing agencies has been beneficial to small businesses. It has allowed them to find custom solutions that are entirely scalable to their growth ensuring that there is no waste in capital or resources. 

Finally… Do you get skittish when it comes to capital investments?

It’s only natural for entrepreneurs to keep a close eye on their bottom line and when they have expansion in mind, it’s understandable that they might be wary of margin erosion. However, this cannot make them resistant to capital investments like new equipment, software and even premises. It may take a while for them to start paying for themselves but if you give them time they will prove a vital part of your operation’s growth.