Chalestra’s business tips
Chalestra provides business support to all sorts of businesses of all sizes, from small startups to the mega businesses. It also makes the Business Administrator software that provides a wall-to-wall power base to make businesses more efficient.
It is with this phenomenal and successful experience that we offer these tips. All of these tips are missed out time and time again by all businesses, yet they should be routinely and conscientiously applied, every moment of every day, and that's even true when you're not working. One tip is so important it's repeated here.
- Listen: whenever your clients tell you something, pick it up straight away. Never turn it into something you want to hear.
- Listen: if you’re in a crowd, don't try to become the centre of attention. It might be an opportunity to get well known, but it will also expose weaknesses, and it's the equivalent of shouting. A better way is to listen to all the conversations around you, and with small accurate comments, you can correct statements, show off your expertise, guide the conversation, earn phenomenal respect, and become and influencer, which is always remembered.
- Listen: On many occasions now, I've been asked to help a client to pitch to another client. And on many of those, I've been shocked by what I've heard: people are pitching to their clients when their clients are already requesting their service! Don't waste time and competence by selling to people who are already buying from you!
Nothing is more important than listening.
- Never repeat a statement that someone makes: it's such a turnoff. For example, someone got in touch with me asking if he could have a printing job. I did have one. "Could I get 200 A4 leaflets printed full colour both sides, please", I said. He said, "so you want 200 A4 leaflets printed full colour both sides?"! You wouldn't mind too much, but it was over email! His response should have been "yes sir", or, better still, "what weight of paper would you like them on sir?" Repeating statements is boring, and demonstrates a lack of aptitude. Rightly, he never got the business.
- Read the brief! The number of my clients who get a brief from their clients and get it wrong is outrageous! It means you deliver the wrong product, make something to the wrong spec, or even get it ready for the wrong time. It's a sure-fired way to throw away customers. When you've read the brief, read it again. And again and again! For those that get it wrong, it means rubbish has been produced: you can't charge the customer, and you've spent money. You've made a huge loss.
- When marketing, value the marketing (this also applies to any expense). Many a time has someone spent a fortune on marketing and got nothing back. A great way to make a loss. Everything can be valued. Commit to small tests to see what comes back. Also, there's nothing wrong with asking advertisers to prove they can competently get you business - after all, your customers will ask you to prove your capabilities, so why should they be immune to it?
- Business is not about numbers of customers: there are businesses with millions of customers and are failing (that's what M&A is about). And there are businesses with only one customer a year and very profitable. So, don't treat customers like cattle. Treat each as though they are special, and see if you can get the repeat business. These days, customers can get their fill remotely, so be sure they've got your email and web addresses and, most importantly, that they are up for getting in touch again. Remember, getting a new customer costs five times as much as keeping one.
- Make someone smile. It's not true that it costs nothing, buy you never know where it leads. And never be afraid to talk about anything but work: it shows you have a life and are worth knowing!
- If you're anything like me, you're crap at paperwork. Either get good at it, get someone else to do it, or get Business Administrator software.
- Never lie. Nothing demolishes trust like lying does.
- The customer isn't always right. If they're not right, don't be afraid to say so. But be absolutely sure you are right, else seek advice, and don't be afraid to say you have to.
- Have a clear vision of what you do. Be prepared to describe it in 5 seconds flat, and ensure it can be understood straight away. It doesn't matter that you need time to answer questions: what's important is that you get your audience on the same wavelength as you, and quickly.
- Procrastination means you are doing a job badly. Find another way to do it that you can enjoy.
Note: Business Administrator software can be bought at Amazon.co.uk