A lot of my blogs focus on starting a small business, budding industries and monetary ideas, but another important aspect of small business is who YOU are as an owner.
Sometimes, your own personality (not just traits--like we touched on in another blog) can really affect how well you do. You may be the first person people deal with when visiting your business or reaching out via phone or email or you may have employees who have similar personalities that work well with you--so let's hope those personalities work well with the general public!
Here are a few personality types that people want to see and others people don't want to when giving a small business their business.
You have to understand the customer. This means reading their body language from the moment they walk in and taking social cues from them when to stay and when to back-off. A lot of retail workers are told to be persistent, and yes that may get you ONE sale, but you want someone to come back and also spread the word about their POSITIVE experience. More people will talk about a negative and pushy experience than a positive and understanding one--so try to work with the customers and not against them.
Being well versed in anything you are selling is great, be it a product or service. If you are the owner of a small business, you must be ready to help anyone with a question and take the time to learn the ins and outs of everything you are promoting to your customers. Now, people can see right through you if you pretend to know something when you don't and we are all human, so honesty is the best policy--but try your hardest to become an expert in all you are offering.
This may be obvious, but you have to be pleasant. Sometimes, small business owners may be in the business because they want to be their own boss and don't work well with others, but you still need to work well with customers. Going above and beyond sometimes is the only way for success in a small business, at least while you are building your customer base, so as long as you are genuine in your pleasantries then it is best to be as helpful as humanly possible to your customers. In a world where many are in a hurry and sometimes irritable, it is refreshing for customers to be treated as if they are important and appreciated.
Branching off of my earlier comment about being understanding, if someone does not have the money to buy something that day or isn't sure, it is best to at least explain the product or service, but not PUSH it on them. If someone doesn't want something then no matter what you say, they will won't buy it--but may return as long as you didn't scare them away with your pushy tactics. Most small businesses survive on word of mouth, so having many satisfied customers only spending $10 at a time, but telling their friends is better than only having two customers spend $50 but never coming back.
I think most people can say they like things look clean. This is with everything from a location to the layout of a website. If your business is dirty, cluttered and unorganized, then many may believe your product or service will be equally sloppy. I have walked into cafes and businesses where papers and food were just everywhere and it made me less than enthused to be there and I almost felt awkward or I went to a website that made absolutely no sense and was hard to navigate--so I just left. You may not be the neatest person at home, but please do not let that carry over to your work space or any form of work that may reflect your business.
Unappreciative covers many different personality traits (irritable, mean, rude, etc.) so I felt using it as a blanket statement for all. You really have to appreciate the customer as a person and not just a form of income. Remembering names, remembering orders, personalizing your work for them, remembering birthdays, etc. are ways to ensure you maintain and grow your customer base. Being mean alone may not kill your business as everyone has an off day, but making the customer feel completely unappreciated can truly kill a business--especially small businesses.
You have an opportunity being smaller to really take the time to get to know each of your customers--both new and regular--to make them stay and talk to others. If you miss this vital opportunity based on your negative and unappreciative personality, then you might as well close up shop.
Now these traits are for both the owner (if they are the sole person working) or employees as well. You really need to make sure those you hire mesh well with the customer base.
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Socially Dedicated, a Philadelphia-based firm, provides marketing, content creation, public relations, business management consulting and social media management to small businesses. Check out our website or locate us on social media using the icons below.