Owners of small and mid-sized businesses are some of the most innovative and tenacious people around. We’re inspired by our business-owner customers and we love seeing their success!

Nominate your favorite teacher and they could receive $500 for classroom supplies.

If you run your own business or plan to start one, here are some inspirational tips to help you win customers, grow sales, prevent burnout, and enjoy the ride:

Create a more memorable customer experience than any competitor can. You may not be the biggest, or sell for the lowest price, but nothing stops you from providing OUTSTANDING customer service. Make sure your employees understand you hire and evaluate them for the friendly, personable way they take care of your customers. Empower them to do everything possible to accommodate a customer’s request. If it’s something that can’t be accommodated, follow the best practice of having a manager or owner speak with the customer.

Delegate, delegate, delegate! Put some strategic thought into how and what to assign to employees or to outsource, so you can focus on what you do best. Besides keeping you from burning out, it’s generally the most efficient way to grow your business.

Partner with other local businesses for exposure. Hosting a customer event with another complimentary business can be a fun, easy way to introduce more people to your brand. Or try a co-branded tradeshow booth, event sponsorship, coupon or digital offer. If you’re a storefront business, don’t forget to hit the street and go visit your neighbors. Make friends at nearby stores and offices, and tell them what you can do for their customers. Don’t make the common mistake of not telling people personally that you want their business!

A well-designed e-commerce site and smart digital marketing can help you compete with larger, more established businesses. Even a business as local as a boutique shop with a small inventory can drive online sales. Your marketing emails and social posts can do more than just keep your store top-of-mind. They can link shoppers directly into your website to purchase their favorite new items before they sell out.

Collect data to understand your customer base. Keep records in a database to understand who’s buying from you, and what, when and how they’re buying. (Is it in-store or online? Is it linked to a specific ad or promotion?) Detailed sales records provide the data to help you invest time and resources wisely as you grow. Likewise, collect as much customer feedback as you can.

Talk shop with good company. Whether it’s an organized network or just a few acquaintances getting together, make the effort to visit with other business owners regularly. Beyond the benefits of camaraderie and emotional support, this can help you view challenges and decisions from a more objective perspective. You’ll see potential solutions more clearly.

Don’t forget our Arvest business bankers are here to help you simplify your finances, so you can focus on running your business. To learn about our financial services for business owners, connect with an Arvest business specialist at (855) 249-4930, visit us online or schedule a convenient appointment.

Small Business Development Resources

Your state’s small business development center is an excellent resource for businesses in every stage of development. Whether you’re considering starting a business or you’re already established, start here to connect with your local business community and take advantage of consulting resources available in your area:

Arkansas*

Kansas*

Missouri*

Oklahoma*

 

You can also find free online training at the Small Business Administration’s SBA Learning Platform.*