14 words every small business owner needs to know.

Strong Small Business

Money? Revenue? Success? Nope. Think again. Here are the top 14 words and phrases that drive good business.

  1. Thank You. Do you thank your customers for their patronage? Do you send out handwritten thank you notes? Do you take the time to praise staff, not just in private, but in public, for their exceptional efforts? If you aren’t using the words “thank you” daily, then make it a point to start. People love being appreciated, and they’ll work harder when they know you care!
  2. Marketing. How much of your budget do you spend on marketing? Too much? Too little? Whether you send out mailers or email blasts, invest in infomercials, or flood social media with ads, you need to achieve a balance between what you are spending, and your ROI. If you don’t have an in-house marketing team to guide you, consider the next word in our list.
  3. Outsourcing. When you are drowning in responsibilities and don’t have the staff or the time to get things done, outsourcing can be a lifeline. Perhaps your phones calls are being handled by a respected answering service. Maybe you outsource to a well-known marketing firm to help you make a name for yourself in your industry. Whatever your needs, outsourcing can help.
  4. Customer Service. Exceptional customer service. If you want to ensure repeat business, you need to show consumers how much you value the fact that they choose your retailer instead of your competition. Be friendly. Be helpful. And most importantly, be there when they need you. Customer service doesn’t end at the checkout.
  5. Partnership. Business = partnerships. You are in a partnership with your colleagues, your employees, your management team, your clients, your vendors, etc. You are in a partnership with anyone who is involved in keeping your business going. Establishing strong partnerships is only the first step. Cultivate them daily, and your business will be stronger for it.
  6. Leadership. To quote The American President, “People want leadership…and in the absence of genuine leadership they’ll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone.” Are you a good leader or a great leader? Maybe you aren’t a leader at all. Just as a ship needs a captain, every business needs a steadfast, trusted leader to plot a course towards success.
  7. Purpose. AKA mission, vision, or goal. What is your business trying to accomplish or create? What is the vision you are working hard to attain? What is your ideal end result? If you don’t know, then make a plan, decide what to do first, and do it. Commit to that goal. You’ve heard of the book The Purpose Driven Life. Well, the same goes for your business.
  8. People. People decide what a company should sell or do. People lead others towards that goal. Other people carry out that goal. Then, more people make the purchases that bring in revenue, and the cycle starts over. When everyone plays their part, the end result will be even better than you expected. So, treat people well. Your success depends on it.
  9. Prioritize. “Get your priorities straight.” Someone coined this phrase for a reason. For example, if you spend too much time deciding what kind of lunch to serve at the board meeting, and too little time preparing for the meeting itself, then let’s just say the board will not be happy. If you don’t properly align your priorities, some aspect of your business will inevitably suffer.
  10. Integrity. Or honesty, whichever word you prefer. This is self-explanatory. Are you a trustworthy leader? Do your employees believe you have their best interest at heart? Do your customers think your prices are fair and your commitment to service excellence is unwavering? If your staff doesn’t trust you, then customers won’t, either. And no trust = no profit.
  11. What do you think? Bill Marriott, Chairman of Marriott International, believes these words are the key to success. Including others in decision making and listening to feedback empowers staff to create a stronger infrastructure and a more profitable business model. Asking others what they think fosters a greater sense of self-confidence, and pride in their work.
  12. Communication. How are your communication skills? Does your assistant need a cipher to figure out what you need her to do? Do your employees have a clear picture of what you expect of them? Just because something makes sense in your head, doesn’t mean it makes sense to anyone else. Take stock of your communication skills, and work on perfecting them!
  13. Creativity. Think outside of the box. Try something different. Don’t be content with the same ole stuff. Creativity opens doors. It keeps things fresh and exciting for employees, and it shows customers that you are dedicated to providing them with the most up-to-date products and efficient service in the marketplace. What creative solutions can you bring to the table?
  14. Fun. If work always feels like drudgery, then what incentive do your employees have to put their best foot forward? Employee satisfaction is your biggest asset because it inspires motivation, leads to better customer service, happier customers, and inevitably, greater profit. Make every effort to improve work-life balance. The ROI will be worth it.

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