How’s business? Do you feel like things have changed for the better (or worse) since the pandemic? Maybe you are stuck in neutral?
Continuous growth and improvement can be a struggle for entrepreneurs. However, if you can find good information on where opportunities lie, you can take your business in the right direction.
So, what exactly IS the problem?
You may have a few suspicions about what is holding you back. You’ve likely been triaging the symptoms for some time. However, it’s time to stop going with your gut and ask the people who know you best: your customers and employees. Encourage them to provide you with the unvarnished truth. If you can diagnose the problems, then you can treat the root causes.
Encourage the unvarnished truth
Excellent customer testimonials will drive new business. However, if you’ve put all of your focus on gaining positive reviews, you won’t get the data you need to improve. You need feedback– the opinions, good and bad, that your customers have about your product or service.
Ask for customer feedback in a more private rather than public way. Three of the best ways include:
- Surveys: Make your survey concise and easy to do. Only ask the essential questions that will provide answers you can act on.
- Feedback boxes: Your customers are constantly thinking of ways that your business could be better. However, more often than not, they won’t reach out to a person at your company to share. Instead, give them the online equivalent of a suggestion box.
- Reach out directly: Despite the ease of surveys, email, and analytics, we can miss contextual information. Be open to talking to your customers.
Feedback from your employees is also encouraged. Demonstrate that you value employee input by holding meetings for ideas, not just tasks. Give your entire team a structured way to offer their own opinions. Get their thoughts on how they feel the business is performing. Find out what suggestions they have to improve operations, product offerings, customer satisfaction, and growth.
Ways to get to the next level
There’s a wealth of small business resources out there to help you succeed. A few of my favorites include:
- SCORE Small Business Resilience Hub The Resilience Hub offers remote mentoring, resilience training, and a resource portal for financial support to help your small business adapt and succeed.
- Local networking groups, like BNI This referral system helps businesses work together to pass referral business and explore new opportunities.
- LinkedIn Groups LinkedIn Groups focus on areas of expertise, industry, and more. They provide a place for professionals to share their insights and experiences, ask for guidance, and build valuable connections.
I encourage you to pursue data, feedback, and ideas as vigorously as you search for new clients and customers! If you have additional questions about improving your financial operations, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your local accounting professional.