Business Tips from St. Louis Small Business Expert Jennifer Q. Williams

Small Talk on KTRS Tune into KTRS 550AM on The McGraw Milhaven Show and to hear owner Jennifer Q. Williams talk Small Business.  Being an award-winning business leader in the St. Louis Business Community for over 24 years, Jennifer will talk Small Business!! Tips on getting your business started, turning an idea into a business, what tools you need to start, run and grown your Small Business.  According to SBA Small Businesses make up 99.7% of all employer firms.

7/23/15  Aren’t we always interested in the habits of famous people, successful business owners? Here are five habits that I think most successful Entrepreneurs seem to possess.

Five Habits of Highly Effective Small Business Owners:

They put their customers first.  Small business owners see a need and fill it! Customer service and customer satisfaction is the make or break of any start-up and the key to growth and sustainability.

They don’t take ‘No’ for an answer.  Small Business owners are not good at accepting the answer ‘no’ to anything. Entrepreneurs will find a way to make things work, they will find a way to keep moving forward. Also ignoring the people who say you cannot do it, is the path to success.

They go one step further than anyone else.  Not only does this apply to customer service, but it applies to everything a small business owner does, go one step further with your brand, your website, your employees. Don’t settle for just OK…be the best.

They make decisions quickly, are OK with changing directions.  Many people get bogged down with decisions and the inability to change quickly if things are not working. Successful entrepreneurs make a decision, move on and deal with it later. Successful entrepreneurs are OK to pull the plug on something not working and quickly change gears and move on. * an advantage small businesses have over large companies.

They are visible.  Successful entrepreneurs are the face of their business. They are in the media, they are a face for the customer and don’t shy away from the customers. They are also available and visible to their employees.

6/18/15  EVERY Customer deserves a response! Over-listen!

Read, listen and learn from Social Media, great platform for customers to communicate with you.

Have a plan, how will customer complaints be dealt with within your business. Is there a chain of command, a time period, do employees have power to solve customers concerns.

Show genuine concern. Make their problem YOUR problem….because ultimately it is your problem.

Respond Promptly, every minute you’re not responding they are telling someone about how unhappy they are.

Go the extra mile….go overboard with your solution!! Fix their problem then do something else. A cup of coffee, a nice dinner, an extra accessory, etc.

3/19/15  Five Small Business Trends for 2015 and Beyond

Entrepreneurship.  More and more people leaving large companies and starting their own small businesses. Downsizing, layoffs, & better opportunities.

Digital Marketing and Social Media.  Videos on YouTube, Facebook, Blogs, etc…no need for TV Commercials, more need for TECHNICAL marketing employees vs CREATIVE.

More people working from home.  Work/life balance is more important to millennials than any previous generation.   More opportunities to work from home and more opportunities for flexible hours due to technology.

Less Retail shopping, more Online shopping.  Convenience!

SEO (search engine optimization) and the Web.  More important than ever! Consumers want content marketing NOT product. Everyone Google’s….your small business needs to be found. Online engagement.

7/5/14  St. Louis Small Business Expert, Jennifer Q. Williams discusses with McGraw Milhaven on How to Get Business, How to Get Your Phone to Ring.  Tell people what you have that others don’t, send out press releases on a regular basis, remember customers need to hear your company name 5-7 times before they remember.  Make sure to stay on top of your competition and know what they’re doing.  You want to Target Market the small surrounding area your business services and Blanket Market the larger surrounding area for name awareness.  Constantly work on, revise and grow your marketing plan to change with what’s working and not.  Don’t forget Social Media.

5/15/14  St. Louis Small Business Expert, Jennifer Q. Williams talks with McGraw Milhaven about Blogging, Facebook, Twitter and Newsletter Ideas for Small Business.

Blogging, Facebook and Twitter are great ways to generate business and turn existing customers into repeat customers.  Some key components of this type of communication:

1.  Don’t sell…this is a great way to disseminate information in a non-sales way.  No pressure and offering great helpful information.  Save your sales for your sales force and your brochures.

2.  Connect with and keep in touch with past clients.  This form of communication will keep your past and existing customers thinking of you, even when they don’t need your services…referrals!

Great topics to consider…Be an expert on your product or service, Review a book or product your customers would find helpful, Highlight new products and how they can help, Top 10 Lists, How to Articles, Take a survey and share your results, photos, feature new employees, promote specials, host networking events, etc.

4/24/14  St. Louis Small Business Expert, Jennifer Quinn Williams talks about Creating Raving Fans for your Small Business not just satisfied customers!  book, “Raving Fans” by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles.

“Your customers are only satisfied because their expectations are so low and because no one else is doing better.  Just having satisfied customers isn’t good enough anymore in today’s competitive marketplace, you have to create Raving Fans.”

The cost of getting new customers in the door is getting more and more expensive everyday.  Let your Raving Fans do the work for you.

Decide what you want for your business and it’s service…discover what your customers want then deliver that plus!

WHY?  Studies show that a satisfied customer will tell 2-3 people about his/her experience with your company.  A dissatisfied customer will share their bad experience with 8-10 people and some will push that number to 20.  But here’s your real opportunity…an unhappy customer will become extremely loyal if you fix their complaint and do it quickly. 80% of these customers will come back to you if you’ve treated them fairly.  That percentage rises to the upper 90’s if you respond immediately.

Everyday you have the chance to transform your mistakes into returning customers and everyday you have the chance to go above and beyond and create Raving Fans.

2/5/14 St. Louis Small Business expert, Jennifer Williams talks about the importance of Mentoring in Small Business.  Define Mentor – An experienced or trusted advisor!  Six tips to finding the right mentor:

1.  Determine your needs, remember your needs will change as your business grows.

2.  Take time to network, not only to generate sales, but to meet potential mentors.  This will help you decide who and what you need.  Great places to network include women’s events, chamber events, local speaking engagements, etc.

3.  Listen MORE, talk less!  Given your enthusiasm about your particular business or product, it may be hard to listen and take advise from someone outside your industry.

4.  Be ‘mentor able’ – Be willing to consider other ideas that may not match your opinions.  Look for other opinions and be willing to think outside the box.

5.  Be flexible.  Don’t assume a mentor will have to stick with you for the entire life of your business.  Mentors can come and go based on your needs.  Some mentors may help you with future planning, some may help with advertising, and some may just be there for you to bounce ideas off of.

6.  Thank you mentor!!  They don’t want money, but their time is extremely valuable, so please let them know you appreciate it.

Tweet Jennifer with your Small Business questions @StLouisClosetCo #SMALLBIZTALK or email her at jennifer@StLouisClosetCo.com

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