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Some things I've learnt about running a business

Discussion in 'Business & Tax Advice' started by Conor, Apr 22, 2016.

  1. Conor

    Conor Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    I've been self employed for a few years now, and I've picked up a few things that I think are quite important to keeping a business running smoothly. Here are some of them I hope some of you will find useful:

    1. Follow Up

    There are 2 important times that it's important to follow up with a client:

    During the project
    The client will appreciate good communication from your side, if you keep him in the loop. It doesn't have to be a long essay about everything you're doing that day, just let them know you haven't forgotten about them, what you're busy with on their project at the moment, and whether or not you're having any issues. They will appreciate being told sooner, rather than later, if they do need to expect a delay.

    After the project
    This is one of the easiest, simplest ways to get repeat work. Send a client a lighthearted, friendly email a few weeks or even a few months (or both) after the project, just to find out how they're doing, whether your service is working nicely for them, and to remind them that you're there if they need anything. They'll appreciate that you haven't just forgotten about them after you've finished (unless that was your intention), and they'll often be "reminded" of something they wanted to ask you to do.

    2. Keep Backups

    I've had the misfortune of having 2 hard drives crash in the past year or so. Thankfully I had backups of my important stuff. If you're running a service where you provide any sort of digital goods or media to your clients, it's even more important to keep a backup. For example, if you do web design like I do, and the client is late with his hosting renewal, simply make a quick backup of his site (most hosts use cPanel, so this should take 2 minutes), and store it somewhere safe. You never want to have to do the same work again for free, just because you forgot to backup your work.

    3. Keep Your Word

    If you say you're going to do something, or give a client a specific time you'll have something completed, make sure you have it done as they're expecting. If that means you have to work all night on Sunday to have something done by Monday, then so be it. Don't be unreliable.

    Something important to note here: Don't set unrealistic goals. Just make sure you keep them, no matter what.

    4. Be Ready to Refund

    There may come a time when you get a client who isn't satisfied with your work. Or maybe they'll have a sudden week of poverty, and will want their money back. Whatever it is, make sure you're ready to refund for a few days or so. Don't spend your deposit right away. Keep the money somewhere it can be sent back at a moments notice if worse comes to worst. Sure, it's annoying, especially if you've already done some of the work, but sometimes it's better to have wasted a little time, rather than get in a big dispute and possibly have your name slandered (you get those dramatic clients sometimes).

    5. Be Professional

    This should go without saying, but clients don't want to receive smiley faces in their emails, or be called "Dear". Keep your communication professional. It can be friendly, and there's nothing wrong with a "Hi, how are you doing?", but don't overdo it. If your pet has just died, post it on Facebook if you must, but don't use that as an excuse for replying late to a clients email.

    Also, it helps to try to keep your cool around those dramatic clients I mentioned in point 4. If they start acting childish, throwing around threats and insults, it's better to diffuse the situation as soon as possible by being calm, give them a refund, and just cease doing further business with them. Don't be that guy who tries to get "revenge" by doing neg-seo on their site. Be the bigger man.
     
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  2. badmans

    badmans Newbie

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    Good advice but the customer isn't always right, have to measure that as they can eat valuable time.
     
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  3. tompots

    tompots Elite Member Premium Member

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  4. Conor

    Conor Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    For sure. Giving them a few days "grace period" for a refund is a good way to avoid unnecessary disputes. Those tend to waste even more time.
     
  5. Adrian112

    Adrian112 Supreme Member Premium Member

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    Great advices, there are tons of other tips too but these are great for basic business-customer relationship.
     
  6. june007

    june007 BANNED BANNED

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    I think number 1 is best, will try to use that thank.
     
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  7. Conor

    Conor Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Yeah, this list was just taken off the top of my head at the time ;)
     
  8. healzer

    healzer Jr. Executive VIP Jr. VIP

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    Well said ! :)
    We need more of these threads.
     
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  9. shanna_doll

    shanna_doll Power Member

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    I'd also add that you should always treat your customers as best as you can. Even if they are wrong, try to stay soft about it, even if they are mad for this or that, try to stay respectful.. admit your mistakes.. .. it will pay off in the long run.. :)
     
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  10. abhi007

    abhi007 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Man dude I been following your posts since start and how can I miss this one?

    Awesome pointers....Tree :)
     
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    Last edited: Apr 23, 2016
  11. living2xl

    living2xl Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    I think Backup is the most important thing for running a successful business.
    That's nice things that you've learnt and I hope many people will learn more from your post.
     
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  12. THUNDERELVI

    THUNDERELVI Elite Member

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    Number 4 depends on the contract between you and your client. If it's written in the contract that no refunds will be given, then you aren't obliged to give a refund just because your client got poor within the night. There are a lot of clients that will try to take advantage from you, because they expect things for free. A contract gives you peace of mind and makes sure your money stays in the bank. Of course this is for offline clients mostly... if you are selling online, it's a bit different.
     
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  13. Conor

    Conor Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    I definitely agree, it won't work for all businesses. It probably wasn't the best worded point of my whole post, but I was basically saying it's sometimes easier to lose a few hours work, rather than have a dispute over nothing.

    For example, I've seen quite a few people get shitlisted over less than $50 on BHW because the client wasn't happy with services rendered. It would've just been easier to refund.
     
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  14. THUNDERELVI

    THUNDERELVI Elite Member

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    I agree as well, in those cases the bad reputation alone (even if you don't deserve it) will cost you way more than $50.
     
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  15. Bleght

    Bleght BANNED BANNED

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    Nice list!

    I would add "Always exceed expectations"

    Reputation is a very important part of virtually any business and having satisfied customers boosts it in a major way. Overdelivering even if it's by just a little or adding some kind of bonus to your service or product leaves the customer much happier are significantly more likely to work with you again and/or recommend you to somebody else. Even if something like this would cost you something in terms of times, money or resources consider it as part of your marketing budget, because it really makes a difference.
     
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  16. webwhizz

    webwhizz BANNED BANNED

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    Be top of your game, then client who isn't satisfied with your work won't be