First and foremost, recommend owners, commit yourself to providing quality. This establishes and maintains credibility with your customers.
“You must be willing to commit yourself to supplying the absolute best product of the industry you go into. Not being an also-ran but telling yourself, ‘I am going to throw a touchdown every time I open the doors in the morning.'”
Deliver the best possible product or service and do everything you can to ensure that your customers are satisfied. This is the creed by which small business owners everywhere live. Upholding it is a constant challenge.
Another business owner put it in direct terms: “Your customers are going to dictate whether or not you are going to succeed. If you don’t please them and if you don’t listen to them, you won’t succeed.”
“My theory in business,” explained one owner, “is if I do a good job for you, I hope you tell one or two of your friends. If I do a lousy job for you, you’re going to tell everyone you see. Never forget that you have competition.”
It’s important to build and develop credibility because it builds your business. Yet, as one owner stated, “Growth and reputation are the hardest things to come by.”
The owner of an interstate trucking company explained that “the one common thread through every type of business is people. It’s still a people’s business. You’d better have credibility. You’d better have the talent to do what you’re supposed to do, first of all, but that’s only just a part of it. Get credibility and maintain that credibility. Know that the people you’re servicing are going to say good things about you to other people – because that’s how you’re going to build your business.”
This commitment to quality is indeed vital. Just look at how seriously small business owners take it: “Make sure your quality of work is still top-notch and has been from start-up. Make sure you haven’t slid or suffered, that your name and your recognized quality are still there,” advised one.
Customers are the foundation of your business. Thus, it is absolutely essential to do everything possible to please them. Often, initiating dialogues with customers can be of enormous value in helping to provide better service. “We wanted to evaluate the reputation of the company we purchased,” explained a printer, “so we went directly to clients to find out exactly what they thought about it.”
“The response was tremendous,” he continued. “They’d never had someone who really cared enough about their business to ask them how they wanted the products produced for them. That feedback on a direct basis with my other partners was invaluable. It turned things around for us.”
Small business owners find that quality is still the best way to please customers. “Make that product better than anybody else can,” advised an owner. “Do the best job that you possibly can.”
As a business grows, it’s important to maintain quality – but when sales begin to increase, it can be a major challenge to keep the original commitment to the quality and benefits of your product. Thus, most businesses set a goal for controlled growth.
“Whatever credibility you may have built up on your reputation or your performance suffers if you’ve got more work than you can handle,” offered an owner. “You can’t properly perform it. You can’t properly manage it. Your work starts getting shoddy. That will destroy quite a bit of effort you’ve put into getting there.”
Sometimes satisfying customer requires taking extraordinary measures, but owners believe it’s the best way to maintain their reputation and protect their business.