When you’re a small business owner, you get used to people giving you advice. Sometimes you seek out their insights while, other times they share whether you want them to or not. While the advice is usually well intended, it’s not always good. In fact, sometimes it can lead to a negative effect.
Here are some tips that well-meaning people give to small business owners that definitely should not be followed.
1. Never turn down a paying customer
Money is a good thing. However that doesn’t mean you should say yes to everyone who comes through your door. Not every person who approaches you is good for your business. If your gut tells you something is off—maybe the person is very demanding or constantly questions your prices—it’s in your best interests to say no.
It’s not necessarily about the client, either. You might be very busy, and taking on another project means you will be giving them subpar service or using up your valuable personal time.
If possible, turn them away graciously by explaining that you are very busy and cannot give them the attention they deserve. Consider recommending another business for them that they could turn to.
Don’t say “yes” to everyone who walks through the door just because they are a paying customer.
2. The customer is always right
It’s usually in your best interests to ensure an unhappy customer is addressed and their needs are met. There are clients out there however, who will never be happy, no matter what you do. It’s okay to try to make things right with them, but you also run the risk of word getting out that you’ll bend over backwards to make customers happy which may damage your brand reputation, or encourage people to find reasons to be unhappy so they can get additional benefits from you.
If it is standard practice within your business that customers are constantly complaining and getting some sort of reward, you need to examine your complaints handling processes. If the customers are truly right, then it is time for some changes. If they are not right, address the matter professionally but without losing sight of your business morale.
3. Do what you love
In an ideal world, we would all have jobs we love and make endless money with no added stress, all without giving up any of our personal time. That’s not how the world works. Just because you love something doesn’t mean there is a market out there for it.
It’s more important that you find something you are okay with doing—don’t take on something you hate—that fills a need. It also has to be something enough people would be willing to pay for.
Everyone has advice about running a small business, even if they have never run one of their own. Some of the advice is helpful but much of it is harmful. Listening to that advice can lead a small business owner down the wrong path.
When someone offers you advice on your small business, ask what credibility he or she have to share his or her insights. Have they owned their own business? Do they have knowledge of the industry you work in? Have they learned lessons you could learn from? Was their business similar to yours?
Remember, just because someone is offering advice does not necessarily mean his or her advice is relevant to you.
Got a question about your business? CAAA Commercial Concierge help hundreds of small business owners to work out best practice for their business. Speak with your concierge today.