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Small Business Corner: 5 Business Practices That Make You Look Small
By Barbara Weltman, guest columnist
Even though you’re a small business, you don’t want to act small. If you want the public to view you as one of the big boys, act like it by avoiding poor business practices. Here are five business practices to avoid.
Whether customers, clients, vendors and other business associates try to contact you by phone, email or text, not replying promptly is a bad business practice. It’s rude and unprofessional. Don’t let your lack of time or an incomplete answer prevent you from responding promptly. You can always follow up later with more information. Just let the sender know you’ve received the communication and that you’re attending to matters.
Your personal problems – health, marital discord, bad weather or the loss of key personnel – can make it difficult to keep up with your business. You may be distracted and fall behind on a job or need to delay payment to your suppliers or vendors. Recognize that everyone has a sob story, but most people don’t want to hear yours. For example, don’t let the fact that you’ve been stiffed by a customer prevent you from paying your bills on time. Find a way.
You have to turn to experts – accountants, attorneys, insurance agents, IT pros and the like – to help you run your business effectively. But you can’t choose to remain ignorant of your obligations. Know when to seek help and what to ask for. The cost of these experts will save money by helping you avoid penalties and other costly mistakes.
Your time and resources may be limited, but don’t focus your activities primarily on one client or customer – no matter how lucrative this may be. If that client or customer leaves you (because of its own business downturn, a better supplier or service provider comes along or for any other reason), you’ll be left scrambling to replace lost revenue. Continually market your business so there are prospects in the pipeline.
You want to do your best, but don’t promise more than you can or will deliver. Don’t say you’ll return a phone call if you won’t. Don’t promise completion of a job by a certain date if you can’t make good on your word.
Recognize that being a small business is no excuse for acting like someone running a hobby. Be professional and watch your business grow.
Barbara Weltman is publisher of Big Ideas for Small Business. Contact her through www.barbaraweltman, or call (772) 492-9594.
Click here to read The Business View – March 2015