1) Always operate with honesty & integrity, even when it’s easier not to do so. If you always do what’s right, even when it’s hard, customers will notice & appreciate it by giving you their business in the future & telling their friends & family how awesome your business is. When you’re honest about pricing or the work you’re doing, customers appreciate the effort, even if they’re not paying attention at the time.
2) Fill out your website and social media profiles completely so potential customers can get to know you better & see what you’re about. People visit websites & social media profiles first to decide if you’re worth their business. Consistently posting content on social media sites that your customers will benefit from as well as posts about your interests will draw in more people. People do business with those who they feel comfortable with, so be sure you’re allowing them to feel comfortable with you!
3) You may have to work all hours & weekends when your colleagues don’t, but sometimes you need to put in the time to deliver on promised work to show you can do the job. However, be upfront & honest about deadlines, time frames to do the work, & what you can deliver; customers won’t mind waiting a little longer as long as they’re being kept in the loop of what’s going on. With honest, real time frames, customers won’t be upset or disappointed, and if you finish early, you’ve exceeded their expectations!
4) Don’t be afraid to say “no”, or realistically, “not now”. Realize that you need down time, or extra time to finish a project before starting a new one. Don’t respond to emails at all hours of the night as this shows your clients that you are ok with working at that time. Remember, what you allow is what will continue. Leave work at work, even though it’s super hard, because even though you want your clients to think well of you, you need down time or you won’t be at your best later!
5) Be flexible & open to new ideas; often a customer suggestion will make the most money for you! You may not always be able to say “yes”, but be open, explore the idea & see if you can make it happen.
6) Don’t be so wrapped up in your own business that you neglect your community. Even though your business is important to you, it cannot consume you. You must think of others, help out fellow business owners, and donate & volunteer for charities. This fosters goodwill among your fellow business owners who will then want to share your information & help you, but also customers love businesses who give back.
7) Don’t neglect your customer service & etiquette skills! If you treat people how you would like to be treated and remember to say “please” & “thank you”, you will get farther than just demanding people listen to you. If you show you care, your customers will return the favor by becoming a loyal advocate & give you referrals.
8) Don’t try to be like everyone else–and don’t worry that you’re not like everyone else! Find your own niche & be confident! Don’t be intimidated when others in your industry says, “Oh, you don’t do this? You should!” It’s important to learn from your ignorance, pay attention other’s wisdom, and adapt, but don’t let them bully you. Be confident that you know what you’re doing.
9) It’s ok to be scared sometimes. There will be cycles in your business that you are left questioning yourself, “What have I gotten myself into?”, but accept that there will be those times, take a deep breath, & figure out how to get out of the position you’re in that’s scaring you. You may have to do something you’ve never done, but that’s ok! Remember what Maya Angelou said: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” — LOVE THIS! Success doesn’t always follow a straight line, but if you do what you know needs to be done, you’ll get there!
10) Always keep learning about your industry & business; don’t assume you already know everything. Strive for better & improve yourself and your business. This will keep things fresh & exciting for your customers and keep your business moving forward. Besides, if you’re not learning and growing, what’s the point of being in business??