A little break

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Hi there, it seems like ages since I’ve been able to read, comment or even create posts on here.

Actually, it’s only been like a week in reality but it seems longer because I’ve been unable to be as involved as I would have liked, due to circumstances beyond my control.

I don’t want to bore you all with what the actual issue is but be rest assured that it will be resolved soon (God willing of course ) then I can get back to blogging about start ups/small business helpful tips and reading your blogs which I like doing a lot.

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Learning to make good decisions in business

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For a lot of people, being asked to make decisions within a certain time frame is one of the hardest experiences they may ever face in life

If you fall into the above category, you are not alone. There are many people suffering from this problem, including yours truly, at a point in my life, being asked to make decisions which was pivotal to my business success or failure was quite difficult for me

This is when having a business mentor can be very helpful but if you don’t have one, you will need to learn how to make the best decisions in the shortest possible time.

Recently, I had such a task to undertake. I had to make a crucial business decision and I was given limited time to do this. For people who are naturally decisive this would be no problem but for some who are not born risk takers, we have to think through every decision we make to reduce the level of risk which will result from it

Therefore, to arrive at the best possible decision for my business, I got a piece of paper, and wrote down every possible result of the decision I had taken. I separated them into advantages and disadvantages. Then I also analysed if the positives involved in the decision outweighed the negatives, fortunately it did in this case and I never regretted the choice I made.

I’ve used this method a number of times before and I have always made the choice that gave me the most peace of mind. If your business is owned by two or more people then you will need to call a meeting of all parties involved and follow the procedures stated above

Making the best decisions for your business as an entrepreneur is crucial in ensuring its success.

Data protection tips for small business

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As someone who has had the privilege of being the first person to establish a book shop in the location which I chose, I’ve heard many suggestions from people, including total strangers

People that I have never met before would often pop into my shop to give me what they assumed was sound business advice. Many amongst them acted like it was their money I had used to establish my business and to some of them my business would definitely fail because they thought it wasn’t well situated.

I came across folks who even asked me how much profit I was making and where I purchased the books. Initially, I was overwhelmed by this show of interest and concern by others towards my business but I began to notice some strange happenings around me.

Similar businesses like mine began to spring up around the area and the similarities were too close to be ignored. I also noticed that some of these new book shops/libraries and business centres were being managed by people who had entered my shop pretending to give me business advice, some of them had even asked me about my profit margin and other such private questions

Then everything became clear to me as to why I was getting so many business advice from random strangers, I’m sure you’ve figured it out already.

I’m also guilty of this, but not in the same way. When I think my business is not doing as much as it should, I begin to look around for my competitors. I visit their shops like a client would do, ask normal questions about the prices of their products but that’s not my true intention. I go there to see what’s working for them and what I can add to my business to improve it. But some other competitors may not be so nice, they might have other evil intent like giving you wrong advice so that you can close down, move on and let them reign supreme. Let’s all be wise small business owners by anticipating what our competitors are capable of doing to ruin our businesses and how they go about doing this.

blur bright business codes

Most of your competitors don’t have good intentions towards your business and many will want to ruin it if they get the chance. What some do is to use any data they can collect about your business to device ways to reduce your profit, take your customers, and minimize your business chance of succeeding. The following are a few tips, i personally think will help you in protecting your business against data theft by competitors:

  1. Take note of questions and suggestions by strangers and respond professionally
  2. Don’t give out company secrets to customers/clients
  3. Handle your mails effectively
  4. Dispose all sensitive and  used business related documents adequately
  5. Keep business receipts and invoices safe
  6. Use effective data storage devices
  7. Password all computer systems to protect data
  8. Use good antivirus to protect your computer systems
  9. Train your staffs on data protection

As a small business owner, it is necessary to prepare, plan and effectively deal with threat from data thieves, as keeping your business adequately protected is capable of ensuring it’s sustainability

Keys to achieving effective customer service in your business

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I can’t recall if I’ve ever told you that I spent eight years of my life working as a professional customer service personnel for my previous employer

Well, if I didn’t mention this to you previously, you now know that I did and you might also want to know that those were amongst my top three best working experience. I also worked in data entry, call handling, operations, marketing and logistics

Customer service is amongst the top things you should take seriously if you are running any kind of business. It might be what will distinguish you from your competitors if you get it right, you are also on your way to achieving customer loyalty which is what most business owners should desire. I don’t think I need to mention all the reasons why gaining the loyalty of your customers is important but one thing to note is that it might not only keep you in business, it also has the potential of sustaining your business throughout its existence.

woman wearing white polo long sleeved shirt

Some essential keys to achieving good customer service in your business are as follows:

1) Employ experienced customer service staffs: this advice is targeted at bigger companies with big budget, who can afford it. If you manage a small company and can’t pay an experienced customer service staff to work for you, then you can make do with one you can afford but ensure they get as much quality training as possible.

While working in the above capacity for my employer, I had to interact with many clients, some who even got angry at an attendant, caring, polite and composed staff. In such a case, experience matters a lot but training can also be crucial in handling it as well

2) Your customer service staffs should have empathy: this isn’t gotten by training or experience but rather has a lot to do with personality trait. There are times when managing disgruntled customers, that only being empathetic and listening to what they are experiencing is all they need from you. Your staffs should be ready for this at all times because it can win you loyal customers

3) Professional staffs: Let your staffs know what your company stands for and what is expected of them at all times. What are your company policies? Your customer service staff should be aware of them because they are your business representatives, they project your business ideals directly to your customers and it is crucial that they conform to the ideals of your company so that your business is not misrepresented

4) Offer personalized service: There’s a bank in my country who projects itself as “Number one customer bank” their aim is to give personalized banking service to clients. In my dealings with them, I receive emails from them, I receive birthday cards from them on all my birthdays, for my last one I received an ecard and birthday message from them by 12a.m, not only were they the first to wish me a good day but for some lonely people they might be the only ones to even remember such a special day. It’s no surprise that I’ve been banking with them for eleven years now and although their interest rate on savings is not as high as most of their competitors, I’m still with them. My deposit isn’t as much as what I have in another bank but I remain with them mainly because I’m loyal. My loyalty paid off recently but that’s a story for another day

5) Be flexible: Yes, it’s good to have professional staff and to follow company policies as much as possible but most people who are familiar with working with customers know that sometimes rules need to be bent in order to satisfy them. Do you know that the most difficult people to deal with are often eventually more loyal than the average client? It’s true, if you can win their hearts by being flexible, if required, you’ll gain a very loyal customer. This has happened many times in my experience as a customer service representative

Give incentives: people tend to feel happier and better about themselves when they feel smart. Offering incentives that are easily achievable make customers willing to get involved in doing more business with your company.

Can you think of any other factors that will contribute to achieving effective customer service for businesses? Add your contributions in the comment section, we are interested in hearing what you think

When you stop learning you stop living

I didn’t update my blog last week because I made a decision to become a student again

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Recently, I decided to go back to school. The digital world is very fast paced and for anyone to be carried along with the pace, one needs to acquire knowledge consistently

We constantly need to learn about new apps, new softwares, new marketing strategies, new ways to advertise our businesses and new ways to make the most of the digital world.

If you are not already doing it, you should think of starting. Conduct researches about new apps and softwares that will help you improve your business, use social media to find out what things are trending and how it can be applied to make your business better. Find out what others in your line of business are doing in cyber space

Those who are keeping themselves up to pace with trends in the digital world are also constantly learning. They dedicate a lot of time into seeking knowledge that will improve their businesses and make them more effective in the digital space

What are you currently doing to keep up with the pace of the digital world? I will like to know

Celebrate the Human Spirit

Life After 50

For the past few days, many of us have been holding our breath as we have been watching the coverage of the rescue attempt of 12 boys & their coach from a cave in Thailand.

After 18 days, thankfully & miraculously, all 13 have now been safely brought to the surface through the efforts of thousands of volunteers.

As this international team of volunteers assembled, gathering their expertise to work towards a common effort, it struck me that if this is not an example of how we can work together as human beings collectively towards a positive outcome, I don’t know what is.

We can & should learn from this experience.

Regardless of where we come from, what religion we practice, what colour our skin is or what culture we happen to immerse ourselves in, if we all work together as human beings, what we can accomplish is nothing short of…

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Multitasking in business

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I can’t think of anything I’m not prepared to do for my business to make it grow and remain relevant in the industry

When I first started and I couldn’t afford to pay for a contract cleaner, I would scrub, clean and dust every where, every morning on my own while still acting as the accountant, cashier and sales person. I did virtually everything possible and played every role that was needed to do to make things work.

But it didn’t feel like I was doing too much. I overlooked the fact that I was playing multiple roles because it was my passion to set up and manage the business. It was my business and this was what needed to be done to make it work especially as i didn’t have enough capital to hire other people. If I had to work in all these different capacities for someone else’s business, I would have either thrown in the towel or asked for a much hire pay

As an entrepreneur you need to be prepared to do things you probably never imagined you would do when you decided to start your business. Be ready and willing to do it because it will save you a lot of money which you will need for other more pressing needs.

Instead of recruiting a cleaner, sales person, delivery guy etc try to see which other roles can be carried out by you conveniently

Can you learn a new skill that will help you play another role in your business instead of employing someone else? Will you be able to conveniently work in other capacities while still managing your business effectively? Recently, I saw a lady who owns a big restaurant and also works as a waitress, I learned that she’s been doing this for years.

If you aren’t already looking into doing other jobs within your business as a business owner, you should. It saves money, you learn new skills and your business will stand a much better chance of succeeding with your effort