Article Contributed by Lauren Downey
If you want to succeed in business there are certain things you’re going to have to do the same as everybody else, such as getting your name out there and, yes, paying your taxes on time. There are other things, however, that you should go out of your way to do completely differently, to buck the trend on, in order to secure your place in the history books of successful business owners of the twenty-first century.
With more and more people becoming self-employed and starting their own companies, the competition is stronger than ever before. Rather than letting that deter you, you should see it as a challenge, as something to thrive upon. Sure, you’re unlikely to get anywhere if you follow the same old rules and regulations. But if you choose to do things just that little bit differently to everybody else, success could be just around the corner.
To help you along your way, below are four thing you should start doing differently in your business, right now, to help ensure your success for years to come:
1) Focus on Customer Service
Regardless of what field of business you work in, focusing on improving the level of service you offer your customers will have an enormous impact on the popularity of your business, how many of your current customers become repeat customers, and how many of your customers start referring you to their family and friends.
For an example of a company that thought differently about customer service and, as a result, became one of the largest online shoe retailers in the United States, look no further than Zappos. Zappos (who’s tagline is ‘powered by service’) were bought by Amazon in 2009 for $1.2 billion — and the reason for this acquisition, more than anything else, was due to the extreme focus Zappos place on customer service.
It’s absolutely within your power to do the same. Assuming you’re running a smaller business than Zappos, you don’t have to match the monetary levels their customer service representatives go to to keep their customers happy, but you do have to make the effort to treat your customers like they deserve to be treated.
2) Invest in People
You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘investor in people’ thrown around a lot over the last few years and wondered exactly what it means. You’re not alone. When it comes to doing things differently in your business, one of the best things you can do is invest in (hire) the very best people — people who are already brilliant at what they do, and who show potential to go even further, bringing your business along for the ride.
As a small business owner you may feel pressured into hiring family members or unemployed friends whenever you need to take on a new employee. Although this is an entirely noble thing to do when hiring for unskilled labour positions, when you’re looking to hire somebody to help lead your company alongside you you’re obliged to hire the very best person for the job; an innovator, somebody who knows what they’re doing.
3) Start Thinking Like a Big Business
One way to succeed in business is to start thinking you’re bigger than you are sooner; getting yourself into the mindset of a big business owner. There are many ways you can do this, with one of the easiest (and most convincing) being to rent a large office space as soon as possible, even if you don’t need all the space. When you’re working from (and paying for) a large space you’re going to undoubtably start working harder because you will:
Want to fill the empty space with employees as soon as possible.
Begrudge paying for space you’re not using, and therefore work harder on the grounds that the harder you work, the sooner you can employ more individuals to work alongside you.
4) Consistently Re-Evaluate Your Progress
This point is absolutely crucial.
One thing business owners tend to do all the time is constantly move from one idea to the next, one marketing strategy to another marketing strategy, always looking for their next move because they believe the path they’re currently on isn’t working. In truth, the path you’re currently on may not be working, but you should give yourself the opportunity to re-evaluate your choices over time so you can:
Give every strategy a fair chance: Changing your mind on a business strategy after not giving it a fair chance is not only foolish, it could cost you money.
Steer clear of obstacles: Re-evaluating the progress of your business once a week, for example, will allow you to notice obstacles early on, giving you the leeway to steer clear of them
Be open to new opportunities: Similar to steering clear of obstacles, if you’re currently on a path that seems to be working, but a new, exciting opportunity comes up, when you’re frequently re-evaluating your progress you’ll be able to recognise this opportunity and decide whether you wish to take it.
In conclusion, success in business resides in you doing things differently to your competitors, whether that be focusing on customer service above all else, investing in the right people, thinking like a big business (and renting a larger office than you immediately need), or constantly re-evaluating your progress.
About the Author
Lauren Downey is a freelance writer from Regus UK, a global workspace provider. Aside from writing, she enjoys cooking Asian foods and travelling across with her husband.