02 October 2013

Business Basics You May Have Forgotten // Savvy Business Secrets for Creative Entrepreneurs (#31Days)

It's easy to forget the basics, isn't it?  We get caught in the day-to-day, whether it's monotony or full-on crazy town, the old standbys are often the first to go.

They're old standbys for a reason, though, so it's important to incorporate them into the pulse of whatever creative (or otherwise!) business you're in, in the same way you do setting your alarm each night before your head hits the pillow (ahem don't forget to set your alarm).

And so I've set forth a list of what I consider business basics you should be paying lots of attention to:
  • Make it easy for potential customers to find you: Everywhere they look, your customers and potential customers should find your contact information. If your business is active on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, make sure people can find your links to those spots within 5 seconds, or they're likely to click away. Make sure your email and/or phone number are on every page on your website. Tell your web designer you want that information easily accessible and in your website header or footer.  Your email signature should be an extension of your business card.  Make sure it includes all the ways you want to be found. Also, I like to include my signature not only on NEW emails, but also on replies and forwards (this is easy to accomplish in programs like Microsoft Outlook). Make it easy for them! Any of the electronic means of communication you list should be hyperlinked, so all they need to do to get there is click.
  • Answer your phone like a professional: Remember when we didn't have caller ID? Yeah, that's not now. So when someone who is a customer or potential customer contacts you by phone, answer like you mean business.  Something like, "Good Afternoon, this is Cammie", works just great.  If it's your honey or your hairstylist, you'll see it's them before you answer, and can greet them with whatever regular-day greeting you want. But when you're answering the phone for business, take it as seriously as you like your vendors to.
  • Don't assume they know your life is crazy town: It's still business. Your customers are still putting their trust in you, no matter how harried your day has been.  When you're in touch, keep it professional.  And if you need to, let them go to voicemail, and take a few minutes to breathe before you return their call.
  • Use vernacular that's appropriate for business: No matter what kind of business you're in and what kind of customers you have, your credibility is going to be judged based upon your level of professionalism.  Use professional email greeting lines such as, "Good Morning Annie", and end your messages with something like, "Enjoy the rest of your day", or "Have a nice evening".  An email greeting like, "Hey Monique", probably isn't doing us any favors, even if Monique is a "hey" kind of gal.
  • Brush up on your grammar: You had to work hard enough to get the sale.  Don't give them a reason to think you're not as smart as you are. You're awesome! Do a brief review of simple grammar to get further in your communication. A hint: "I was wondering if you had made plans to attend this evening's function" does not end with a question mark.  Also - plural words do not get an apostrophe.
  • If you're going to be out of the office for a bit, utilize an Out of Office email reply: Most email clients make it simple to set up an out of office reply - so use it! Even if your office is your living room La-Z-Boy, and you're going to respond even if you're scuba-diving at 100 feet, utilizing an Out of Office will show your associates that you take your business seriously, and that details are important to you.  And - if you do choose to respond, they'll see you've taken a moment away from what you're doing to make sure they know they're important to you (responding while you're away is another conversation entirely, and is really a personal choice. Make sure you're ready to deal with expectations you might be setting when you respond even while you're away).
Of course there are more basics I haven't covered here. There are so many wonderful ways to build your credibility!  

What are some of your favorite business basics?

This post is part of a series called Savvy Business Secrets for Creative Entrepreneurs. You can read other posts in the series right here, or make a selection based on topic:

Day 7: Ask for Help
Day 9: Margin
Day 18: Make it Happen

1 comment:

  1. These are some great reminders! I'm excited to meet you at MTH!


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