Monday I had the opportunity to take a class with Brittany Foster called Get out of your Own way. Foster is a passionate business owner and Quite the entrepreneur. Besides running her own salon she had developed a natural product line and runs a nonprofit ministry called Be a Blessing. Her giving spirit drives her desire to help educate other business owners. The class I attended on Monday is the first in a series of 12 classes, one each month to address topics entrepreneurs need to survive and thrive in the business community. I wanted to share some take away nuggets I found spot on.
1. Customer service is number 1. Make sure the customer comes first in your business. Think about meeting an over looked customer need. Not sure what that might be? Ask your customers.
2. Join or create a specific or uncrowded niche. There is a lot of competition in the masses. Step off the beaten path and create something new. In a category of one, there is no competition.
3. Take a risk. In order to make things happen you must get out of your comfort zone. Taking a risk involves being vulnerable, chancing failure. Take the risk anyway. You just might surprise yourself.
4. Offer something exclusive to your business, something your competitors don’t. Do some research in your hometown. Set yourself apart by going above and beyond client expectations. Have unparalleled customer service.
5. Always be on the lookout for a potential opportunity. Have cards, ever flyers with you at all times. I was just at Ulta this afternoon and ran into an old business contact that is in a new position with a few schools. She invited me to come speak to her students. I gave her my card and told her all of the students need to be listening to Nail Talk Radio.
6. Be humble to connect with customers and employees first. Always think about how your business decisions affect them, put yourself in their shoes.
7. Deliver Excellent customer service and you will stand out from the rest. There is so little attention paid to customer service people have come to expect a mediocre experience. Wow them with more.
8. Continue to find ways to reinvent your current business practices to enhance your business. Don’t fall into the “This is the way we have always done it” trap. Look at waterless pedicures as an example. This concept was so foreign to so many professionals yet more and more is adopting this new technique.
9. Become an expert within your industry. Do your homework. If you run a sloppy business no one will ever treat you better than sloppy. I love her quote “If God gives you a vision He will give you provision.”
Brittany also shared some hints and tips on building a successful brand on social media. Make sure you do things the right way. Look at how people are going to view you. A brand is a promise that resides in your customers mind. Make good on that promise. Be consistent in your brand, stay structured and focused. Don’t be all over the place. Split up your personal and business account. Be content with who you are. Love who you are and what you are and build your true identity. Don’t be too proud or afraid to ask for help. Read up on areas you need to master or hire a professional if need be. Create a tagline that people can remember you by. Last but not least invest in your dream, put your money back into your business. Because investing in you is smart marketing.