By Karah Hawkinson, Social Media Coordinator
Welcome to part two of my look at small business growth in challenging times. If you didn’t read yesterday’s post (Roots), you might want to go back to that one first. It gives you the introduction to this blog series, as well as info on who I am and why I’m doing this.
Today I want to talk about the real heart and soul of a small business – the actual product or service you provide. Some marketing types want to sell you on a lot of flash and slogans, but you and I know that the real strength of your business, the reason you exist, is what you provide to your customers. Offering good materials, hiring quality workers, and doing a good job is really what it’s all about.
I’m going to go all “mom” on you for a minute – it starts with taking care of your physical health. And no, this isn’t about Covid and quarantine. What I’m talking about is taking care of yourself with proper diet, exercise (you know, when the job isn’t enough exercise on its own!), and regular health and dental check-ups. You simply can’t be the best for your clients and family if you’re not taking care of yourself. You are your business’ most valuable resource.
OK, scolding over… I’m not here to tell you how to do your job. I know that you know your business better than I ever could. I’m just here to remind you that there are things you can do in the down seasons to strengthen what you offer.
Are you licensed? Bonded? Insured? Up to date on your certifications? Are you keeping up with industry trends or changing product lines from your vendors? Do you have the most current brochures that show what you have to offer?
Keep your vehicles, shop, and tools clean and in good working order. It’s about efficiency, because they’ll last longer, but it’s also about the image you project to potential customers. A disaster of a shop doesn’t instill confidence that you’ll be meeting scheduled deadlines. I’m not saying you should be able to eat off the floors, but hose off your truck once in a while and make sure it’s not leaking oil all over your clients’ driveways. It’s simply about being courteous and showing your customers that you’re organized and professional.
If you have a staff, make sure you have a clear and up-to-date employee handbook. This lets your employees know what is expected of them and what won’t be tolerated. Creating a handbook doesn’t have to be a huge project, either. Grab one off the internet and personalize it for your business.
During the busy seasons, it’s hard to keep up with the business part of running a business. Use down times to set up a processes for payroll, billing, ordering materials and other necessary tasks. Once you have a system set up, it will be easier to keep up when the busy season comes.
That’s all I have for you today. Come back tomorrow to read about leaves – the visible marketing things you can do to attract business. I’ll be focusing on cutting through the clutter and helping you find effective and inexpensive marketing tools.
I want to say thank you to all of you out there who are working hard during this crazy time. Country Lumber customers are there for local homeowners and businesses who need repairs, remodeling, and new construction in spite of the current shut-down situation. We appreciate all you do for our community!