Why is Customer Feedback So Important to Your Small Business?

Small businesses should focus heavily on customer feedback. Small businesses do not have as much brand awareness compared to large corporations and chains. Customer feedback brings new customers to your business. Customers are the most valuable source of information when planning customer experience, products, and services. 

 

Customer Feedback

 

Helps Customers Find You

Potential customers are constantly researching before making a purchase. Customer feedback is a huge part of their research. For example, when looking for a new restaurant, people check out Yelp and Google reviews. E-commerce websites should have an option to leave feedback about purchased products so that new customers have something to help make their decision. 

 

A person is more apt to buy from a business with many reviews over somewhere that barely has any. People typically search through reviews and determine which ones are the most useful. Never delete bad reviews or leave fake reviews. It is easy to spot if your business has done that and the person will be less likely to purchase from your small business. 

 

Aids in Product and Service Changes

Customer feedback is a sizable factor in changing how your business runs. Sometimes a new idea does not work out as planned, and the only way to know this is through feedback. If your construction business gets customer feedback about the quality of work, you can make changes or level up what you are already doing. 

 

How to Get Customer Feedback

High-quality feedback is not always easy to collect. Emails are a great way to follow up with customers. You can send an e-mail shortly after they purchased to see how satisfied they were with the purchasing process and their initial thoughts. Send another follow-up e-mail as more time passes asking if they still enjoy their purchase.

 

Social media is an inexpensive way to gather customer feedback. First, build a following that trusts your small business enough to interact with its account. Then ask questions or post surveys that your audience would like to respond to. If customers comment on posts or leave a review saying that they had an issue with your business, message them or encourage them to call you so you can fix it. 

 

Give customers an incentive to respond to surveys. This could be a percentage off or the opportunity to enter into a drawing. Sometimes these surveys take too long, so encourage the customers with something valuable to them. Send the survey links through e-mail or print them on receipts.

 

PL Consulting is Here for Your Small Business

PL Consulting offers a diverse range of bookkeeping and budgeting services. We are here as your business’s go-to resource when you have questions. Our services are customized to each of our clients and their business plans. 

 

If you have questions about receiving customer feedback, call us at 410.764.3731 or book an appointment through https://calendly.com/michaelplc.

 

 

How to Measure Success in a Small Business

 

 

Running a small business means trying out new strategies to accomplish your goals. Goals should always be measurable whether it is quantitative or qualitative. You should constantly evaluate how your business is doing and thinking of ways to improve it. Luckily, there are a few simple ways to measure the success of your small business.

How to Measure Success in a Small Business

Check Customer Satisfaction

Receiving honest and quality feedback on customer satisfaction is not always the easiest task. Feedback is not typically given unless customers are extremely satisfied or dissatisfied. Checking your customer satisfaction determines what your business is doing right, and what your business can do to improve. This is typically a qualitative result that needs to be analyzed.

 

The other reason that feedback from customers is given is that there is an incentive for them. Types of incentives include a free item, a percentage off, or the opportunity to win something through a drawing. Some ways to check on customer satisfaction is through survey links on receipts, a physical comment box in-store, social media polls, feedback through outside websites/vendors, emails, social media reviews, and in-person comments. 

 

Review Sales and Financial Statements

Focus on how much revenue your business is generating. What are your profits and losses during certain periods? Make sure you are paying close attention to three financial statements: income, balance sheet, and cash flow. Measure sales by repeat business, growth, and overall goals. 

 

Measure Customers

The amount of new and repeat customers is another form of calculating your business’s success. If your number of clients has stayed the same for too long, there may be something that you want to change with your marketing efforts. Measure repeat customers with loyalty programs. There are great customer retention metrics that you can use here

 

Assess Your Expectations

As a business owner, it is important to be happy with how your business is running. Focus on what you want the numbers to be and how you feel with your business. Your happiness is a big part of your business’s success.

 

Create a Successful Business

With these tips, you can start measuring the success of the business strategies that you are implementing by measuring sales, financial statements, customers, and the satisfaction of yourself and customers. Each business favors different measuring tactics depending on their goals and business model. 

 

PL Consulting has many years of experience in business planning, budgeting, profitability enhancement, and other bookkeeping services. We are here as your business’s go-to resource when you have questions. We customize our services to each of our clients and their business plans. 

 

Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions you have about measuring the success of your small business. We are available via phone at 410-764-3731 or on the website here.

 

 

What To Do When Competition Opens Up In Your Area

 

 

Owning and operating a small business comes with unexpected events. Your company might be one of the few ones to sell a specific product or service in your area. When new competition opens up near you, what should you do? 

 

You might think this can be a disadvantage. Maybe you think that your company will lose money. Competition brings quite the opposite effect on a business, and will most likely create success if your business is already operating well.

What To Do When Competition Opens Up In Your Area

Evaluate Your Business

If the new business is opening up soon, take it as a wake-up call. Make sure you are satisfying your customers and their needs. If your business is doing a good job, your competition will not matter as much.

 

Once the other business is open, find a new advantage that your business has over them. Take notes on their pricing, promotions, and other benchmarks. See if your business can make any changes to increase sales.

 

Stay Friendly

Stay cordial and friendly with the owners of the new business. When speaking to your customers, keep a positive tone about your competition even if you do not feel that way. Bashing others will never lift your business up. Customers want to purchase from a business that stays professional when the unexpected happens. 

 

Grow Your Customer Base

Besides looking after your current customer base, you should be looking for new customers. Consider how you are marketing your business. Is it time to try something new? Place an advertisement in a different place or have a promotion on a product or service that has not been done before. Remember to use any forms of free advertising that you can like social media and encouraging word-of-mouth. 

 

Business Refresh

Appearance is important for businesses, including the brick and mortar location and online presence. This affects customer’s perceptions of your business. Your competitor will most likely be freshly decorated or revamped from an old building. Take the time to do a deep clean of the premises, update some old decor, or touch up with a fresh coat of paint. Update your social media bios and add up-to-date information to your website. Maybe it is time to re-do your branding and logo design as well.

 

Reward Loyalty

If your business does not already utilize a loyalty program, you should consider doing so. Reward programs create an incentive for customers to return back to your business. Your loyalty program can be a simple stamp card if the business has a small budget, or you can find a digital program to keep track of the customer’s loyalty points. Once the customer’s point goals are met, you can offer them a discount or a free product/service to show your appreciation to them.

 

Stay Competitive

Although it can be difficult when another business first opens up, there are many actions you can take to keep your business going strong. It is also important to stay realistic in your expectations. It is uncertain what may happen, especially if the competitor is a large corporation with a massive marketing budget. Take action as soon as possible.

 

PL Consulting can help you with business planning, budgeting, and other bookkeeping services. We are here as your business’s go-to resource when you have questions. We customize our services to each of our clients and their business plans. 

 

Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions. We are still available via phone and email for anything you may need. You can reach us at 410-764-3731 or on the website here.

 

 

The Best Ways to Grow Your Construction Business

 

 

Starting a construction business takes hard work and a lot of effort. Your next step is to grow the business into new markets. Make sure you have the time, money, and manpower to grow. Here is how you can take your construction business to the next level.

 

Best Ways to Grow Your Construction Business

Invest in Your Business

You need to spend money to make money. Spending your time working on building your business will result in growth. Focus on your finances and where your money is going. Continue to review your budget constantly so you can invest in what is best for your business.

 

Get the Word Out

One way to get the word out about your business is by using social media. This is essentially a free tool that you can use to talk about the business projects that you offer or have accomplished already. You can use paid advertising to get a broader audience to see promotions you have going on. 

 

Provide Great Customer Service

One of the most effective forms of marketing is word-of-mouth. Studies show that a satisfied customer will tell 2-3 people about their great experience. A dissatisfied customer will tell 8-10 people. Keep your current customers happy because they will continue using your services. New referrals and more work will come from them.

 

Utilize Your Strengths

Find the strengths that your business has over your competitors. Use that strength as an advantage for your company. One way to focus on that strength is to find your business’s niche market. Show that market how you specialize in their needs. 

 

Quality Over Quantity

Focus on the quality of your construction work. If speeding up the process results in a lack of quality in products or craft, reconsider doing so. Quality brings better results and happier customers. Set a standard of quality and stick with it so you have consistency among your projects.

 

Build Your Team

As your business takes on more projects, you will need to expand your team. Hire trustworthy employees that bring new skills to the table. Keep your loyal employees happy by offering them incentives and promotions. 

 

PL Consulting Can Help You Grow

Although summer is a busy season for construction work, you can start implementing these tactics to grow your business right now. Over your slower season, start building a plan of action and focus on getting the word out about your business. 

 

PL Consulting can help you with business planning, budgeting, and other bookkeeping services. We are here as your business’s go-to resource when you have questions. We customize our services to each of our clients and their business plans. 

Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions. We are still available via phone and email for anything you may need. You can reach us at 410-764-3731 or on the website here.

 

6 Tips For Managing a Small Business’s Finances

 

Managing every aspect of a small business is time-consuming and requires tons of research. You may have to go through the trial-and-error process, but you will eventually find a way that works for your business. One major part of running a business is keeping track of finances. Small mistakes can cost the business time and money. These are some of our professional tips for managing your business’s finances.

 

Overestimate Your Expenses

Many of us have recently seen that each month is unpredictable. Identify trends to the best of your ability, even though there is uncertainty. Thus, overestimating your expenses is helpful. Planning to spend extra money will not hurt your company because the unused money can be put right back into next year’s budget.

 

Find a Trusted Mentor

Build a relationship with someone that fits your financing needs. This person should be knowledgeable and experienced. A mentor is important because the internet does not always have all the answers to your questions. If you are having trouble finding a mentor, ask your surrounding network if they know someone that is reliable. 

 

Revise Your Budget

Consistently revise your budget throughout the year. Again, everything is unpredictable and you need to adjust your budget to trends that are occurring. As your business grows, pay attention to your priorities. This helps you make smart financial decisions and allow your business to thrive.

 

Incorporate Time

Time gets overlooked sometimes when planning finances. Include the time and money that is incurred by your employees when they are on the clock. Consider big projects that need to be done, holidays and sales, or other times that your business is usually busy. 

 

Set Goals

Setting small goals will help enforce the right behavior that you need to help with financing. These small goals might not be noticeable at first, but in the long run they will make a major difference in your business. These goals can gradually be increased as you accomplish them.

 

Hire a Bookkeeper

Consider hiring a bookkeeper to take over the mundane financing tasks. A trustworthy bookkeeper will keep things running on the back end of your business. This will open up your availability so you can focus on what you love doing as a business owner. 

 

How PL Consulting Can Help You

Business financing is not always an easy task. PL Consulting hopes that these tips make it easier to understand and manage. 

 

We offer a diverse range of bookkeeping and budgeting services. We are here as your business’s go-to resource when you have questions. We customize our services to each of our clients and their business plans. 

 

If you have questions about managing a successful small business, call us at 410.764.3731 or book an appointment through https://calendly.com/michaelplc.

How to Make a Business Idea Happen

 

 

Running your own business comes with many working parts. Coming up with ideas is just one small part of a business. After your initial idea, you need to do extensive research and create a plan of action. Here are some of our best tips for taking your initial idea and making it into a reality.

 

make your business ideas happen

 

Ideation Process

Ideas sometimes come to you unexpectedly. They can also come from brainstorming sessions, customer reviews, employee feedback, or another form of inspiration. Brainstorming sessions can be done in groups or on your own by using different brainstorming techniques. Encourage your customers and employees to give their honest opinion about your business, which will help with future plans. 

 

Research

Research is the next step in your process. This is going to help you determine whether you can make your idea happen. Call vendors that you will need to accomplish your idea to get pricing details. Look up other businesses that implemented a similar idea to have a benchmark. Develop primary research like surveys and interviews if you can. The research will narrow down which ideas you want to go ahead with if you have many to choose from. It will help you understand everything surrounding your ideas like customer interest, pricing, and implementation.

 

Target Market Evaluation

Analyze your research and make sure that your idea will solve a problem for your target market. If there is not a pain point that your ideas solve or your market will pay for, reevaluate your target market. Consider targeting a smaller group of people for your initial launch of the product or service to reduce your risk and budget.

 

Plan of Action

Use your research to plan your steps of action. Determine how much money you will need to budget for and how you will accomplish that. You might need to go to an outside lender to get your funding. Create a timeframe of when each step will be complete and stick to it as close as possible. Make sure that all of your goals for the idea are measurable and attainable. Identify who is responsible for each action step. 

 

Make Your Idea Happen

Getting your idea to the final stages is exciting. You will need to get information and research from outside sources to make your idea happen. PL Consulting can help you through the process with budgeting, accounts payable/receivable, and other bookkeeping services. 

 

We customize our services to each of our clients and their business plans. We understand that each one of your ideas is unique to your business. Our one-on-one interactions are a valuable resource for both your team and ours. 

 

If you have questions or would like to set up an appointment, call us at 410-764-3731 or book a time with us at https://calendly.com/michaelplc

 

 

6 Tips For Family-Owned Businesses

Family-owned businesses start small, then grow into successful entities. Each family member has their vision of the business’s success. These owners work hard daily. If your family-owned business has been around for years or you are just starting, these 6 tips for family-owned businesses will keep your business running efficiently and prosperously. 

business man at desk

Networking

An important tip for small businesses in any industry is to make connections. These connections lead to strong relationships and loyalty. Relationships take time and effort to build. They can positively result in collaborations, discounts on materials/services, or shared experiences with suppliers. 

Trust

Trust goes beyond building strong relationships with your connections. Continue to trust your family members that you work with. If you hire employees outside of your family circle, make sure they are someone that the team believes in. 

Communication

Effective communication is key to a small business’s success. Find a way that works best for everyone to communicate. This could be weekly meetings, email, or phone calls. Since a small business can make decisions much quicker than a corporation, use that to your advantage. 

Unity

Families are brought together through unity, so keep the same unity when running a business together. When making a big decision, do it as a team. If that is not possible, consider how everyone will feel about it. It should not be hard to agree. Ensure that everyone is on board with how the business is running. 

Values

Every business needs core values and standards that they believe in. Many family-owned businesses base these values and standards on how their own family runs. These will make an ethical decision-making process involving customers, employees, and vendors. Values and standards entice customers to buy from your business.

Community

Family-owned businesses are more than just their own family. They include the community that surrounds them. This community includes new employees that are brought onto the team when the business starts expanding. The community also includes the area that the business is based in. People want to see your business support the city they live in. The purpose of a community is to keep unity with people that are both inside and outside of the family. Share your objectives and mission with everyone in your community to develop a cohesive business model. 

Success

Building a successful business with your family has trials and errors, but it is well worth it. This article covers some basic tips, but we know there is so much more to running a family-owned business. 

 

PL Consulting offers a diverse range of bookkeeping and other financial services. We customize our services to each of our clients and their business plans. Our one-on-one interactions are a valuable resource for both your team and ours. 

 

If you have questions about running a successful family-owned business, call us at 410.764.3731 or book an appointment through https://calendly.com/michaelplc.

 

How COVID-19 Has Changed the Future of Money

COVID-19 has spread across the world and closed down businesses everywhere. There have been changes to the world in ways that we never could have imagined. It will have a major impact on the way businesses and individuals handle money.

credit card changes the future of money due to covid-19

Consumer Spending

Spending is low in most industries because of lockdowns and limited locations being open. Some particularly low industries are travel and transportation, apparel, and services. Consumers are expecting lower household incomes for the upcoming months, so money spending is focused on necessities. The uncertainty causes irregular buying behaviors. These behaviors have businesses scaling back on production. 

Industries that have been thriving include grocery stores, house supplies, and at-home entertainment. This is caused by the increased amount of time people are spending indoors. Consumer spending drives economic growth. Although it is positive that these industries are still doing business, it is vital to the economy that other industries pick back up again. 

It is unknown if buying behaviors will go back to normal or not. Gyms may not completely recover because of the increase in at-home workout equipment and virtual fitness subscriptions. Restaurants have lost tons of money from canceled trips and lack of orders. Without a steady income, many of these businesses have had to permanently close their doors. 

Retirement Plans

The CARES Act made three changes to certain retirement accounts. These changes have increased the number of early withdrawals to people’s retirement plans.

  1. It doubled the amount a person can take out as a 401(k) loan. 
  2. It allowed people to take early hardship withdrawals of up to $100,000 from 401(k)s and IRAs in 2020 without paying a 10% penalty before the owner turns 59 1/2.
  3. It allowed retirees and those who have inherited IRAs to skip taking a required minimum distribution (RMD).

This may cause people to feel more comfortable taking out extra money when the CARES Act is not in place. There are rules and restrictions on that you can find here. 

Cash Payments

Many stores started to only take plastic cards and virtual payments like Apple and Samsung Pay. This is one way to reduce the spread of germs. There might be a shift in some of these places to only accept these payments over cash permanently. Some people have opted out on using cash on their own for the same reasons- to flatten the curve.

Other businesses have completely reduced contact with payments. Their solution to this is mobile payment applications. Venmo and Cash App are two increasingly popular examples of this. These apps are easy to download. After the pandemic, people will be more likely to use this form of payment after they feel more comfortable and trust that it works. 

Future of Money

Businesses need to adapt to the changing world. Changes in spending habits, retirement plans, and cash payments are some ways COVID-19 has affected money. We can help you navigate the future of your business’s money. Serving the Baltimore area for several years, we are dedicated to providing customized services to fit each one of our client’s unique needs. 

Please contact us at (410)-764-3731 or at https://www.plcfo.com/contact/ for questions or to book an appointment.

Four Essential Financial Services PL Consulting Can Offer Your Small Business

Every decision that you make affects your small business financially. Therefore, you need experts, such as PL Consulting to help streamline your business and make financial tasks manageable. Some financial processes are more critical than others. If you’re a startup company, then you may need guidance on what financial aspects will make and break your company. Keep reading to discover the four essential financial services PL Consulting can offer your small business.

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The Top Five Mistakes That Small Businesses Often Make

A trend in the business world is people wanting to work for themselves.

A trend in the business world is people wanting to work for themselves. Owning a successful small business is a part of the American dream.  The sad reality is that a third of small businesses don’t make it. It takes more than talent and a vision to make a small business thrive. You don’t want to become a statistic. Therefore, you want to be aware of any potential mistakes that could cause your company to crash. Keep reading for the five mistakes that small businesses often make.

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