Recently I’ve needed to contact some small businesses for a few different reasons, and it’s helped me appreciate that some of the most basic steps in setting up a business are essential, but there are lots of businesses out there that don’t do it very well, or not at all.
Many small businesses start small, from either a hobby or with very little money to invest in to marketing tools such as a website. However, there are many ways in which small business can do business well, without having to invest much money, or any at all.
For instance, social media platforms are free (unless you choose to create ads). They are a great way to connect with your potential clients, and to show them the service or products you offer. However, if you don’t do some of the most important parts of connecting with those potential clients, you will be missing out on getting them on board as actual clients.
My recent experience with several small businesses have got me very frustrated at the lack of business owners that effectively and efficiently communicate with potential clients. I had the money ready to spend, and I knew what I wanted, but when I tried to make contact they made three vital mistakes. Mistake #1: When I tried to make contact via their website, their contact form didn’t work and their phone number was wrong. Make sure your website forms, email links, and phone numbers actually work. Mistake #2: When I did make contact with the business, I received a reply that they didn’t have the information ready, and could I please send a reminder in a few weeks time when the information should be ready. When someone contacts your business, it’s YOUR job to send them the information once it’s ready not the client’s responsibility to follow it up in a few weeks. Mistake #3: When I made contact again, they let me know they were on holidays (fair enough) and that they would send the information the following week, but nothing was ever sent to me. When you say you’re going to send something, then send it! After such disappointing and poor communication from the business owner, I decided to contact another business….yep, you guessed it, I used their contact form on their website and it’s now been several weeks and I haven’t heard back at all! Their website does not give their email address or their phone number, so they’ve now missed out on my business too.
I’ve also tried to make contact with some businesses via Facebook, but it’s amazing how many business pages don’t have the owner’s name, their location, their phone number, or their email address, and who don’t reply to messages promptly. If you want people to buy from you, you need to make it easy for potential clients to contact you, and when they do, you need to respond promptly, and do what you say you’re going to do in the time-frame promised.