Category Archives: Operations & Efficiency

How do things work? How could they work better? Any topic that focuses on efficiency ideas, concepts and best practices in running a business.

How To Get Your Customers To Trust You?

How to get your customers to trust you. Why is this so critical? Well, trust is very important, both in your personal relationships and in your relationships with your customers.

Business owners need to understand that:

1. All sales are emotional. Whether you run a small convenience store in a subway station selling snacks and magazines to busy commuters or a company worth millions that provides consulting services to other companies, you ultimately appeal to emotion, not logic, to make your sale.

2. Gaining credibility, or a customer’s trust that you know what you’re talking about and that you’re going to do what you say what you will, is one of the 3 Tenets of a Sale.

There is a difference between sensible trust, or the trust that develops between people in long-term relationships like those between family, old friends, and significant others, and sensitive trust, which you must develop with customers with whom there likely isn’t that personal history. The inevitable question arises of how to develop that sensitive trust quickly, so that customers will buy from you.

This is where the 3 Tenets of a Sale, or the Sales Funnel, comes in, as people buy from you when they:

1. Know you

2. Trust you

3. Like you.

Marketing is a great way to build sensitive trust and keep people buying from you.

You can use Small Business Solver’s Marketing Solver tool to find a whole list of simple-to-implement marketing strategies that can give you credibility in a flash:

1. Get business cards

2. Record a professional voice mail message

3. Develop a web presence (not necessarily a web site!)

4. Ask for referrals/testimonials

5. Use branded contracts/invoices

6. Rent a post office box

7. Get a 1-800 number

8. Look for media cover opportunities (press releases, articles, etc. – not paid ads)

9. Encourage customers to leave online ratings on sites like Google and Yelp

10. Do presentations (keynotes, panels, webinars)

11. Hire a virtual assistant or use a calling service to look bigger than you are

12. Make brochures to hand out to clients interested in larger or B2B sales

13. List your products in established online stores (Etsy, Yahoo, Alibaba) for better SEO rankings and streamlined customer experience

14. Respond to blogs, letters to the editor, related forums to raise awareness of your company

15. List awards your company has won – even small ones

16. Develop an online portfolio

17. Go to networking events

Building credibility is hard work, and it’s easy to be very hard on yourself if you inadvertently let a customer down. However, if you do, don’t throw up your hands – the situation is salvageable! Plus it is important to know how to rebuild trust in this situation. Remember, nobody’s perfect – you are not the first to do this, you won’t be the last. Handle it gracefully, to the best of your ability, and forgive yourself.

All the strategies in this 20-minute video are low-cost, can be implemented quickly, and do wonders for your credibility. Watch the webinar for details on how to implement each one, pick one or two to try this month, and let us know your results! We’d love to hear from you!

Who Do You Need In Your Business?

Starting your own business takes a lot of work and activity! It is crazy to think you can do everything yourself.

But who do you need and when do you need them? Be prepared to find these people or if you have them keep them for when you need them.

People are the most important resources out there, so make sure that you are managing them well.

Topics that are covered are;
– Who do you need as a technology company? What is the best practices for this type of structure?
– Who do you need as a service business? What are some of the specific challenges that are faced here?
– Who do you need as a manufacturer? How do you ensure that you will continue to grow and not become overwhelmed?

Contact The Expert

The Small Business Solver Team
info@smallbusinesssolver.com

CRM Tour for Small Business Owners

A huge part of building your customer relationships is to not only listen, but to also remember. But remembering is nearly impossible when you think about the number of clients that you have. And even if it is easy at the beginning, if you are planning on growing it will become more difficult.

Do you remember their names?
What they bought last time?
If they like one colour or another?
The name of their dog?

It is strange how important it is to us and to others that someone remembers information about us. It makes us feel more important. And it makes use like the person who remembered!

Having a CRM or Customer Relationship Management tool will help your small business remember these details and build a stronger, lasting relationship with your clients.

Contact The Expert

The Small Business Solver Tech Team
info@smallbusinesssolver.com

Universal Management Principles

It is impossible to be good at everything. In this webinar, SEF Canada teaches us that we don’t have to be!!
 
Success lies in understanding that all of the functions of a business can never be done perfectly by one person. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. By knowing what you are best at and what you love, you will simply be more successful.
 
What do you love to do? Isn’t that what you should be doing if you are starting your own business?
 
Here are the main buckets of skill sets that you need to have in your business. Now that you know, you can get started in the right direction.
 

 
Contact the Expert
 
Suzette McFaul
SEF Canada
suzette@sefcanada.com
 
 

Top Home Based Businesses

Starting up a business from home is a viable option. In fact over 50% of self-employed people run their small business from the comfort of their own home.

Find out why you should consider working from home, some surprising stats, the top trending home based small businesses, the top home based small businesses in operation, and if it is right for you.

Finally this 20 minute video reviews some best practices to help you start and keep your own small business at home.

Contact the Expert
The information from this webinar was gathered from small business resources and Stats Canada. For more information, please contact us at info@smallbusinesssolver.com

Like the Slides? Top Home Based Businesses

Analyzing Your Numbers

 
Financial management and understanding numbers is a daunting topic for many entrepreneurs. However, this is a vital skill when speaking with investors and bankers that will help your business grow and/or survive.
 
This video will give an outline of what numbers are important and some basic ratios to test on your business.
 
Some concepts that are very important are;
 
1. Reviewing your past performance and changing trends can spot problems early.
2. If you don’t have past performance you can also track against industry averages. This can be done based on the industry that you are in and the size of your business.
3. Financial ratios help you determine if there are problems in specific areas in your business.
– the quick ratio and acid test
– accounts payable and receivables turnover
– debt-equity ratios and interest payable
4. Creating a 1-page business performance dashboard helps you see all of the financial metrics in one spot.
 
 

 
Contact Your Experts
 
Fabyelle Chevalier, CPA, CA
Manager – Financial Advisory Services
BDO Canada LLP
Email: FChevalier@bdo.ca
 
Gregg Miyasaki, CGA
Mid-Market Commercial Account Manager
BMO Bank of Montreal
Email: gregg.miyasaki@bmo.com
 
Like the PowerPoint? Analyzing Your Numbers
 

More Resources

 
If you are looking for places to find industry standards;
– Stats Canada: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/start-debut-eng.html
– Your financial institution
– Your accountant
 
 

Benchmarking & Performance Management for Small Business

 

What gets measured will get done.

 
Large businesses and small business alike use performance metrics with the intent to motivate their employees. However often these metrics are misguided and resulting in undesirable behaviour. They are not tied to the strategic performance of the organization.
 
In this video learn…
 
1. Why have metrics?
2. How to create your metrics that will actually help your business
3. Understand what a balanced scorecard is and what components make up a small business’ balanced scorecard
4. Learn how to monitor and implement the metrics in the most effective and efficient way possible
 
There are a lot of red flags when it comes to metrics, and if done improperly a metric can actually stunt your business’ growth rather than foster it.
 
Always remember that what gets measured will get done!
 

 

Performance management resources

 
Examples of Critical Success Factors and Metrics
 
Want the slides for this presentation? Performance Management

New Product Development

85-95% of New Product Launches fail annually (FORBES article of March 24, 2010 based on approx. 250,000 global launches).
 

With this daunting figure, we want to do everything right to increase our product’s chance of success. Learn from the expert, Kevin Scanlan, who has over 30 years experience in new product development with enterprises and small business.
 
In this 30 minute video, you will learn:
 
– what invention is versus product development
– the importance of a roadmap and the process
– how to scan the environment
– the QUAD approach and the 4 different types of product development
– the components of a product specification
– the Gate process used by the most successful companies out there
– red flags and things to look for during the process
 
Plus, if you have any other questions you can always contact our expert.
 

 

Contact The Expert!

 
Kevin Scanlan
Anubis3D
tel: 905-963-9130
email: kevins@anubiscorp.com

Amazing Customer Service!

Customer service is the backbone of customer retention and customer loyalty. Customer retention is the backbone of increasing your revenue year over year.

 

This webinar will walk through the basics that you need to know about customer service and what you should know NOT to do.
 

 
Customer Service for Products
 

If you are selling a product, here are your customer service metrics.

 

1. Available products: do you actually have the product that they want on the shelf or in stock? Think about Chapters/Indigo, and the fact that you can order books on computers in store or find out physical stores where.

 

2. On time delivery: think about anything that you’ve ordered online and if it is close to when you need the gift, let’s say Christmas, they have a cut off online when they can get it to you by. If they missed the date, you’d be upset!

 

3. Zero defects: Do you buy your new pair of jeans with a hole in it (that wasn’t for fashion?) How upset are you about having to exchange it. Sometimes you’ll simply return it as you are that upset. Or you may simply never buy from that store again.

 

4. Meets customer specifications: If you want something custom, like ordering a custom suit. If it comes to you with pink thread and you expected black, you might be a little upset.

 

5. Amazes customers: This is the extra step. Is there something unexpected like a thank you card? A bonus gift? A loyalty card? For the suit example, maybe they threw in a tie?

 
Customer Service for Services
 
If you are selling a service, it is tougher as it is intangible. Here are your metrics;
 
1. Proximity to customers. Location, location, location becomes increasingly important for many services. It is less likely that someone will go to a salon across town or in another town, than down the street. That’s why franchises make so much sense. You love the product/service, but you simply aren’t willing to make the trek. So they bring it to you.
 
2. Zero wait time. How often have you gone to Tim Horton’s or Starbucks, and decided to wait on your coffee because the wait was too long. That is part of customer service. Both of them ended up changing their processes and adopting payment cards to save time. You might have even seen the Mastercard advertising about their PayPass program that has saved millions of minutes of time. It is the wait time in customer service of why this is sooooo important.
 
3. Consistent delivery. Services are trickier, as it is easy to provide great customer service as a single owner/operator of a business. But if you plan on scaling up, this will become more and more challenging. Maybe get your new employees to watch the recording of this video to start understanding the bigger perspective of customer service.
Part of this is understanding your process, and writing it down. That helps to train your employees as well as to improve upon what you are doing.
 
4. No mistakes in the delivery or unexpected interference. Mistakes happen! At Tim Horton’s I always order Steeped Tea. But I often get coffee instead as they might not have heard me with the noise or it was assumed. Another problem is sometimes the customer makes mistakes! They were talking about mistakes at Tim Horton’s the other day on the radio. One of the stories was about a woman talking on her phone while going through drive through. Apparently she heard the order taker speaking to the car ahead of her, and she ended up giving her order to a garbage can rather than to the order taker. When she got to getting her order, it obviously wasn’t ready for her. She was overheard saying on the phone “they got my order wrong again!”. This is a classic case of the customer not always being right.
 
5. Meets customer expectations. Services are tougher, as often the customer doesn’t know what to expect. Think about your last hair cut, and explaining that you just want a trim. You don’t know until your hair cut is done if it compares to your expectations.
 
6. Amazes customers. One of my best examples is at a nail salon I once went to. They ended up giving me a 5 minute massage while my nails dried. Completely unexpected and appreciated!
 
From here you need to know the best practices where are;
1. Managing expectations
2. Being fair and equitable with all of your customers
3. Listening
4. Over communicating
5. Recovering from mistakes
6. Mass customization
 
The subject matter expert was Carla Langhorst, the President of Small Business Solver. You can reach her at carla@smallbusinesssolver.com

Increasing Your Profitability

This is one of the most logical and fun webinars you can come to!

You are already in business. Things are picking up. Why not give your business a boost by looking for ways to make it more profitability?!
 
Isn’t it fun to make more with what you have?  This is increasing your profit.
 
The learning objectives are;
1. Understand the impact of Costs and Expenses on your Breakeven point.
2. Learn the impact of gross margin and cost mark up methods on your profitability.
3. Build a pricing model to understand the impact of pricing and the affect discounts have on your business
 
The subject matter expert is Eloise Pasianotto, a Certified FocalPoint Business Coach with 28 years of award winning experience.
 

 
Contact the expert!
 
Eloise Pasianotto, CMA MBA
info@effectiveprofessionalconsulting.com
Call at 289-553-0241
 

Like the slides?  Improving Your Business’s Profitability.