In some ways, a successful business is like a successful sports franchise. There are some obvious factors that go into winning. But a lot of it is about the intangibles. It is the cohesion of the team, the ability to execute in difficult situations, luck and momentum, and all the things you just can’t coach or predict.
But there is another category that can only be called the little things. Sometimes, businesses (and sports teams for that matter) get so focused on the big things, they forget about the little things. If not forget, they take them for granted and fail to keep them top-of-mind.
The idea to remember is that small businesses become big businesses because the ones who run them did not forget about the little things. On the contrary, they specialized in and super served the little things as if the business depended on them.
One of the reasons it is so difficult to pass this knowledge along is that all businesses are different. And the little things for one business will be slightly different from the little things in another business. It is all about the details. They say that the devil is in the details. But so is success. Here are some of those details that can make the difference in today’s small business:
Shut Up and Take Their Money
One of the memes from the cult hit Futurama is Fry trying to purchase an Apple-like product. Taken by the heat of the movement while the salesperson was detailing all the problems with the product, he shouts, “Shut up and take my money!” While your customer may not be quite that enthusiastic about doing business with you, they are eager to conclude their transaction as efficiently as possible.
Nothing kills the shopping mood like getting to the counter and having your payment type of choice refused. If you only take cash, your customer is likely to walk out without purchasing even if they have the cash. For the generation entering the market, debit cards are the new cash. And payments by phone or Apple Watch are the new card.
You have to have all the newest online payment solutions if you want your e-commerce site to be taken seriously. You don’t want to ever be stuck explaining to someone that you didn’t want to pay a 3¢ service charge to accept their offered payment. What you really want to do is shut up and take their money. If you don’t, the next store will.
Your internet connection is not an option or an afterthought. It is as necessary as electricity. And without it, you will go dark to your potential customers. It is not enough to have a connection, you need to have a fast, reliable, and secure connection. If one of those components is missing, you are not really on the internet at all.
An unreliable internet connection could cost you business. The internet has gotten very fast, even on mobile. People are getting more tech savvy all the time. When they run into a slowdown, they don’t necessarily blame their internet provider. They blame you. Paying for cut-rate internet service will cost you business before you are able to diagnose the problem.
A Reason to Come Back
A major mistake of new business owners is to spend all of their time and resources on the first sale, they forget about the second one. That is to say, they lose sight of repeat business. Getting a unique customer is hard. It is much easier to convert a customer into a repeat customer. That is what will maintain your business.
At some point, you are going to get all the new customers available in that market. Your success depends on giving a first-time customer a reason to come back. You have to start that process immediately. Cultivating repeat business starts with the first sale. So be sure to build in customer satisfaction and follow up into every customer-facing processes.
There are no guarantees of business success. But you greatly increase your chances by focusing on the little things such as taking all forms of payment, treating internets service like a necessary utility, and making sure every new customer has a reason to come back.