Leadership Tips – Small Business Requires Faster Decisions

Introduction

This leadership tip has something in it for managers everywhere, but it’s particularly targeted at those of you with large company backgrounds who have made career moves to smaller businesses that you own and/or manage.

My background is primarily in large scale management of IT organizations. The companies where I’ve worked were places where changing a process or behavior took some time. I always thought I was quicker than most, and action oriented. As a small business owner, I found I had to be much quicker.

I’ll offer this leadership tip in the form of a story. It’s a story of how taking your eye of the ball can cost you money, and worse than that can cost you customers.

My First Small Business

I opened a small personal services business. It was located about an hour from my home office, and with all my other commitments I knew how important hiring the right manager would be for this shop. It took a few tries, but I found one with a good background and references, and she seemed to quickly develop loyalty to the business and to me.

For the first six months we grew slowly but steadily. We were behind plan in terms of customers and revenue, but the trend was up. There were a few staff issues, but overall turnover was okay. I decided to invest a little more in marketing to try and get more new faces in the door.

Over the next three months, customer counts were mostly flat, and average sale was actually down a little. Concerned, I visited the shop a few times more than usual. The people were not as upbeat as they had been. When asked about that, they attributed their moods to less business and less enjoyment of the job. I wondered about seasonality, the economy, and whether I needed even more marketing investment.

Want to know what was really going on? My trusted manager had some personal problems that I had not been aware of before, and was exhibiting some totally unacceptable behaviors:

  • Criticizing staff in front of customers
  • Intimidating staff, letting them know they were at risk of being fired, and telling them I was out to get them.
  • Stealing money by voiding transactions and other means

The Damages

I’m still figuring out how much money all this cost me, but the money is only today’s problem. The customers I’ve lost are a more serious longer term issue, because many of them won’t be coming back.

When I figured out what was going on, I moved quickly to fire the manager. There were only two problems:

  1. I was too late, and there had been several months of damage done;
  2. There was collateral damage. I had to fire two other employees who had adopted the attitude and behaviors of the manager.

Today, I’m working on putting together data to see if I can assemble a case for prosecuting the employees and the manager. An even higher priority, though, is the work I’m doing to recruit and orient new staff and develop a recovery plan for our customer service reputation.
This leadership tip was a painful lesson that I hope never to repeat.

SEO Content Writing Services for Business Websites

SEO content writing services for business websites are available from professional SEO outsourcing solution providers based both within the US and abroad. SEO companies in India are particularly well-known for their well-worded and error-free content for websites offered at a lower price than that of their U.S. counterparts. These companies cater to the requirements of different industries – healthcare, finance, marketing, media entertainment, communication, education, travel and hospitality and others. The advantage of time zone differences is often seen as an additional reason to outsource to India.

SEO Content Writing Services Available to You

Irrespective of whether the SEO copywriting and content development is being done in the US or outside of it, you can expect a wide range of solutions. These solutions would attract not only the search engine spiders but also your target audience and potentially big customers.

• Website content development
• Blog writing
• Development of articles and press releases
• Development of reviews and testimonials
• Development of newsletters
• Creation of content for PowerPoint presentations and videos
• Posting of comments in blog websites
• Posting of forum threads
• Technical writing

Well-planned Solutions

The providers of SEO content writing services would take into consideration the core processes of your business, your major products, markets and target customers; the expected tone (serious or light, formal or informal) and the keywords you wish to target and the competitive keywords which they have discovered, to develop content that is:

• SEO optimized
• Original
• Unique
• Informative
• Organized
• Smooth Flowing
• Compelling
• Credible

On-page content would also be persuasive enough to encourage your website visitors to buy from you. To ensure that they consistently develop only quality content, the professional SEO company would have a superior QA strategy in place. The QA team would include experienced and expert content editors and proofreaders.

Outsource only to a White Hat SEO Company

There are a lot of companies that adopt black hat techniques in their content development and other SEO services. Keyword stuffing is one of these unethical techniques. When you outsource, make sure it is to a company that develops content with the right keyword density (not too much, not too less). In addition, the keywords should not appear to be forced into the content but rather, as a natural part of the content. Get some samples from different service providers to make the right choice.

The Foundation for other SEO Services

To conclude, SEO content writing services for business websites are the basis on which other SEO services can work. It is no wonder then that content is called the king of SEO. If you have good content supplemented by other optimization efforts, you are on the road to a sure boost in your search engine rankings, an improvement in your online reputation and an increase in conversions and profits.

Ingredients of Small Business Marketing

A business may be small, but the efforts of operating it is not. Small business owners often wear many hats – financing, product development, marketing, sales and customer support. While major corporations have sufficient resources to kick off a thoroughly planned marketing campaign, small business marketing is often on a budget. Marketing a small business should not be limited to a single channel because of the size of your business. Customers will always go through the three phases of a purchasing decision making: 1) aware of the products or services, 2) collecting enough information before the purchase, 3) and action of purchasing. The ingredients of effective small business marketing provides the information they need at each stage of a purchasing process.

Reach the Customers

Most small businesses target local market. Your business, of course, should be listed on local phone directories. Ads on local newspapers and flyers will bring you business from your local communities as well. Distributing business cards is always one of the most popular and inexpensive ways for small business owners to market or advertise their services and products. For instance, some landscaping companies distribute business cards door-to-door in newly constructed communities. If your services involves with artistic design (interior design, web design etc.), color business cards or custom business cards are more effective. They show the artistic tastes of the designers.

Provide Information About Your Products and Services

Awareness of a product or service is the start-point for customers to make a purchase. They will further research and compare similar services or products before they make contact for possible purchase. Now that you need a brochure or a website to present your business with product details, testimonials etc.. If business card design makes a good first impression, brochure design and brochure printing (or booklet printing if you prefer) are effective for converting leads into sales. Brochures that you send out will get more attention if you enclose a personal note with personal touch to introduce yourself and your company. A professional Web site serves as an online brochure to promote your products or service so that the prospects can get the information about your business 365 days a year and 24 hours a day. Affordable Web hosting costs as little as $25-$50 a year.

Call for Action

Once customers have made up of their mind to purchase your services or products. The brochure or the website should offer clear direction for further actions. The advantage of a website over brochure is that you are able to update as frequently as you want, offer discount or incentives for customers who make purchase in a certain timeframe. When they’re ready, a transaction is just a few clicks on a website powered with online shopping carts.

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