Missteps Your Business Can Avoid

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Thoughtful service is often the simple oversight that hurts your small business. These real-life scenarios are a drop-in-the-bucket sampling of how some proprietors discourage repeat business and deflate their bottomline.

  • Situation >> The team lead for a contractor attended

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    an initial appointment wearing a lycra dress more suited for a nightclub, that rolled up when she leaned forward and walked. The client didn’t pursue a second appointment. Adjustment >> Your team should dress professionally and modestly for client appointments.

  • Situation >> A cake baker didn’t deliver to specifications confirmed on their invoice. In responding to the client’s disappointment, the baker  defended their work by commenting that people on social media liked the cake. Adjustment >> Apologize for the

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    oversight because specific instructions were documented upfront. And never expect your customer to accept other people’s standards or expectations.

  • Situation >> A general  contractor submitted an estimate with over 6 typographical errors, and failed to detail the tasks and items included in their quote as requested during the initial consultation. Adjustment >> Always have other eyes review your documents, what your mind reads can differ from what your eyes see, especially after a long day. You get one shot at a stellar first impression.


  • Situation>> A graphic artist promoted his athleisure garments primarily via social media. Delivery was delayed by the factory. Customers inquired about updates via social media. One month after the projected delivery date, the artist revealed the arrival of the factory shipment to quell anxious customers.

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    The artist posted daily but didn’t state when order distribution will commence. The social media platform shutdown the artist’s account for 30 days due to inappropriate posts. Customers were left in the dark. Adjustment >> When using social media as a primary communication channel, be consistent and mindful of your personal posts that may breach user guidelines. Update customers on shipping details via direct email so your business relations aren’t impacted by a social media mishap.

  • Situation >> A customer calls to speak with a restaurant’s manager to discuss a take-out meal they just purchased. A cashier tells the customer that the manager has left, when in fact she was still on the premises as it was their dinnertime rush. Sounding annoyed, the cashier comments,“I have other customers” to attend to.

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    Adjustment >> Never dismiss one paying customer by boasting you have others to serve, that will discourage return business which represents over 50% of annual revenue for a small business.

  • Situation >> A contractor was given details for a potential job. The person offering the business lead followed up with a call only to learn, the contractor didn’t follow-through on the lead because he misplaced the prospective client’s contact info. Adjustment >> Don’t ask someone who gave you a lead without a commission, to text you the details

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    because you were careless. Instead, be proactive, as you are on the phone fetch a pen to write down the info offered for your benefit.

  • Situation >> A prospective client called a sole proprietor and was instantly discouraged by the deficit in enthusiasm, very casual language, and lack of branding savvy. Adjustment >> Always employ professional etiquette and state your businesses name when answering calls. It’s always a good idea to end a call with a prospective client with a tone of interest and a thank you.

Resources for your inspiration composed by The Wall Street Journal and Live Plan.

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