FIVE mistakes that are putting the SMBs on the back foot
Despite the fact that small-business owners are not leaving any stone unturned, they are facing a tough time to come in parallel with their bigger counterparts.
Experts suggest that one of the reasons responsible for such a scenario is an un-smart competitive approach of the SMBs. Instead of reinventing the wheel, they can simply implement the tried and tested strategies that their bigger rivals are following.
In what follows are five such tactics (of the bigger enterprises) which are getting completely ignored or overlooked by the SMBs. Let’s explore each of these tactics in details –
1. Absence of a Business Plan
Investopedia survey suggests that poor planning is one of the crucial reasons why small businesses fail. Unlike their larger counterparts who have a well-defined roadmap for their business – SMBs survive on each day policy.
What they fail to understand is that a business plan serves two purposes:
- It defines the immediate and long-term objectives of the business
- It helps design a roadmap for the accomplishment of these objectives.
Developing a business plan is not as hard as it seems. Just you need to:
- Acquire a thorough understanding of your business and your industry
- Determine who your target audience is
- Define your immediate and long-standing objectives.
Based on the above-mentioned pointers, create a comprehensive and concisely written business plan.
2. No analysis of the Competition
Competition breeds the best results. And this is precisely what most of the established and renowned businesses follow. A large chunk of their strategies come as an upshot of what their competitors are doing.
For instance, customer relationship management software is now synonymous with all the BIG brands. Initially getting adopted by ten to twenty companies – gradually every big brand has adopted CRM solely looking at the multifarious benefits that the solution provides.
To be successful, you can't overlook your competitors too. So study and observe their working strategy and chances are they might be doing something right that you can implement in your business to make more money.
3. Weak Employee Relationships
Employees represent the company to the customers. As a result - The kind of service that a business provides depends on the kind of experience the employees provides to the customer. To ensure that the employees provide the best of experience to the customers - the larger organizations take initiatives to keep their employees happy and satisfied.
On the contrary, 9 out of 10 SMBs have disgruntled employees working under them. These employees do not feel the genuine urge to do a good job and satisfy the customers. As a result, there is no continuity of high-quality customer service and SMBs have to suffer significant expense of employee attrition and employee retraining.
So take a portion of your time and invest it on conducting regular employee sessions. Understand their challenges that they face at work. For example, Support your sales reps with web based sales software that automates much of their time-consuming tasks.
Overall, make your employees feel valued, respected and listened to. This will automatically upbeat their mindset and make them perform better than anticipated.
4. Cumbersome Pattern of Working
63 percent small and medium-sized businesses still follow the old-school pattern where their employees work in water-tight compartments – with practically no communication with each other. Lead generation, sales opportunities, service cases and marketing campaigns – all these takes a hell lot of time as they pass from one department to another.
On the contrary, big enterprises are coalesced with unified business management systems with strong collaboration capabilities. Right from the marketing head to the sales rep to the support executive – all of them can access resources and jointly collaborate on any case from the software itself.
Needless to say – such an approach speeds up their decision making process. Workflows get simplified; new ideas get captured and capitalized upon fast; and winning practices get easily shared through the collaboration platforms.
So be creative. Ditch the old school way of working in siloed departments. Streamline your processes together and use a small business CRM with strong collaboration features.
5. Poor Customer Service
One common factor combines every successful business and that is: Great Customer Service.
But most small businesses often underplay this fact. And the ones who do focus on it - only consider post sales interaction as the customer service. But in today’s age of the Empowered Customer – service starts right from the first interaction with the buyer till the time he continues to deal with the company as a customer. Basically, it entails all three - Marketing, Sales and Post-Sales Support.
So invest in customer management software and start providing a better experience to your customers throughout their journey. Better service will make your customers more inclined to come to you, instead of going to your competition.
Patricia is a full time CRM consultant at ConvergeHub and part-time blogger. She has earned herself quite a fame as a specialist and market expert in CRM software. In the last five year she has worked with various companies as CRM consultant to help them move their businesses to cloud. Her expertise lies in offering cloud CRM consultation, CRM customization and integration solutions to small enterprises. For last one she is engaged in building ConvergeHub, cloud-based CRM solution for SMBs, as a consultant.Follow her at Twitter: @convergehub