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TEN $TRATEGIE$ FOR $UCCE$$

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Successful small businesses use successful strategies. Here’s a selection of smallbiz success strategies from Business for Beginners and Big Ideas from Big Ideas for Growing Your Small Business to help you start up and stay successful. Watch this page for new strategies, and if you have a good tip, e-mail it to us and we’ll include it on this page and credit you with the tip.

gifanim2.gif - 5443 Bytes $UCCE$$ $TRATEGY: Learn How to Think on Your Feet!

If you lack confidence and communication skills, take a course through Toastmasters. It will teach you the necessary verbal and time management skills, how to think on your feet and carry on a winning conversation – all in a supportive and positive environment. To find out more about Toastmasters, visit http://www.toastmasters.org.
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gifanim2.gif - 5443 Bytes $UCCE$$ $TRATEGY: Get Help

If you are starting a business to accommodate juggling family jobs, explore services available in your community to help you. You may need a babysitting exchange, a home-care nurse, or even a “gofer” to do some odd running around. You cannot do it all, and your business – and you – will suffer if you try.
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gifanim2.gif - 5443 Bytes $UCCE$$ $TRATEGY: Politeness Pays Off

Good manners, politeness and attentiveness to your customers’ needs ensures repeat business. Customers need to feel that they are important to you. The same principles apply to dealing with your trade suppliers, employees, business contacts and even the competition. Never burn your bridges by treating people badly, and respect those with whom you deal.
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gifanim2.gif - 5443 Bytes $UCCE$$ $TRATEGY: Improve Your Writing Skills

People are quickly judged by their written skills, or the lack of them. When letters or flyers are received with obvious grammatical errors, 99 percent immediately judge that company as unprofessional and recycle the literature. This is your first – and often last – foot in the door. If you need to tune up your written skills, take a course or read books on writing business letters. A course on creative writing can be a tremendous benefit for marketing your business.
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gifanim2.gif - 5443 Bytes $UCCE$$ $TRATEGY: Stay in Touch

There is nothing more frustrating to a customer than not having telephone calls or e-mails promptly returned. Make it a practice to check messages and e-mails regularly and to return calls. This is an important part of customer service and your customers will appreciate you “going that extra mile.”
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From: Business for Beginners, 3rd edition.


light.gif - 14722 Bytes BIG IDEA: STUDY PREVIOUS CUSTOMERS

Look at past sales records and see where your business has come from. If over 60 percent is local, then your marketing should focus locally. However, if your service—such as a consulting business—can be diversified outside of your community, calculate what physical boundaries are practical. Take into consideration traveling time and your hourly billing rate. Is it profitable to travel farther afield? Or could the networking contacts help to build your reputation and hence your business?
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light.gif - 14722 Bytes BIG IDEA: DON’T MAKE CUSTOMERS WAIT

An Angus and Reid poll conducted recently in Canada asked 1,500 consumers about service. The average person will not wait more than two minutes in a line-up before leaving the store, and they want to be served by knowledgeable people. Forty percent stated that they did not return to stores when these problems were experienced. Being an expert is important to the consumer, as is prompt service. Compared to your competition, are you currently offering the same or better service and expertise to your clients? If your answer is no, then get to work to remedy this.
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light.gif - 14722 Bytes BIG IDEA: GET PAID TO NETWORK

You are paid to teach adult education classes, with hourly rates ranging from $20 to $70. What an added bonus! Your students all are potential clients, so this is a win-win situation. When the course is finished, you have developed that necessary relationship of trust with your students. If they need help, who will they call first?
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light.gif - 14722 Bytes BIG IDEA: START A “BRAG BOOK”

Few people realize the value of using evaluations, testimonials, and “brag books” as marketing tools. Have you ever seen an interior decorator’s brag book or a model’s portfolio? These are their most important selling tools. Surely you have made a final decision based on a testimonial. Start a “brag book” as there are always satisfied clients who will give you written testimonials. Where practical, include “before and after” photos.
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light.gif - 14722 Bytes BIG IDEA: REVIEW YOUR CURRENT OVERHEAD

If you haven’t made a habit of perusing your financial figures, why don’t you start now? Waiting until year-end is too late. Get your figures up to date then sit down with your accountant and review your current overhead costs with a fine tooth comb. Your general ledger lists each expense, when it was incurred, who to and the amount. Particularly review expenses where you do have control —you can’t control rent, but you can control marketing, office and telephone costs. See where you are being frivolous and trim those unnecessary expenses.
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From Big Ideas for Growing Your Small Business
McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd.

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