Ten Tiny Things Every Small Business Owner Should Do in 2009

Publishing business advice may seema  bit of a departure for a tech blog like Skylarking, but Guy Kawasaki’s “Ten Tiny Things Every Small Business Owner Should Do in 2009” includes a several tips that include the use of technology for improving and checking on your business. I found this list on the Open Forum for Savvy Business Owners.

The following is quoted in full:

“On this, the last day of 2008, I provide a list of ten tiny things that every small business owner should do in 2009-hopefully in early 2009. Don’t consider it a New Year’s resolution because there’s a whole psychology behind such things. Just do it.

  1. Act like a prospective customer and call your company to see how the phone system and receptionist treat you.
  2. See if your website has a “Contact Us” section. If it doesn’t, add one. Ensure that it has a street address.
  3. Send your company an email asking for customer support and see if someone responds to it.
  4. Answer customer support calls or emails (not the one you sent in) for a day.
  5. Go out on a sales call with your salespeople and a service call with your service people.
  6. Read the documentation or manual that your company provides. Extra credit: See if you can do this without reading glasses.
  7. Pretend that you lost the documentation or manual that came with your product or service and try to find it on your website.
  8. Register your product or service including finding and reading the serial number of your product. Extra credit: See if you can read your serial number without reading glasses. Extra extra credit: If you use a Captcha system for registration, see how many times it takes to get the word right.
  9. Add a signature to your email. A “signature” is a block of text at the end of your emails that contain all your contact information. It saves your recipients the hassle of asking for your address and phone number or searching for them on your website.
  10. Join Twitter and then search for your company name, your product, your competition’s name or product name, or market sector terms from your business. For example, let’s say you’re in the web design business. Extra credit: Use Twitter as a twool.

If these tasks are helpful, you would probably enjoy “The Top Ten Stupid Ways to Hinder Market Adoption” and CustomerService.alltop. Kick butt in 2009!”

In my opinion, I have seen many small companies overlook their information email address, and allow many repeat messages to go unanswered. Or they have spam filters set to high on their email accounts and lose message from (potential) customers.

Another mistake made by many small business owners that Guy points out is the Contact page on their web site. Countless times I have seen web sites that don’t provide a way for people to find them in the real world. I’ve seen site’s with no mailing address, no store location listings, and no phone number.

I’d like to add my own personal pet peeve. Look at your site and see if you have a page similar to the “Upcoming Events” page where you list conferences and events your company will attend. How old are the listings there? Have they been updated recently? Have you moved old items off the site, or onto a list of “Past Events”? I have seen too many web sites that list upcoming events that are two or more years old! How’d you like a new customer to think you haven’t done anything in two years? Get in touch with your web site manager, pronto.  Don’t have one? Get one.

Using email signatures is a must for anyone in the bsuiness world. It is particularly useful into day’s economy if you find yourself in the market for a new job.  If you’re fresh out of college or new to the job search, don’t put your favorite (funny) quote in your signature line. not everyone is going to get it, nor is everyone going to want to read it.

Got some pet peeves or business advice of your own?  Share it here! Add a comment below.




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4 comments

  1. TMinut says:

    These are marvelous ideas! I certainly wish more businesses would try them; I don’t have a business but for those who do…
    The captcha thing gets me, often I get it wrong and it’s totally unexpected, some are so hard to read that I don’t know WHAT to write. My eyesight isn’t all the great.
    Customer service needs to be reviewed often and the websites too! I don’t ever buy from a site that has old listings as if they’re the latest offerings – I immediately go somewhere else.

  2. Marlene Affeld says:

    Very informative and lots of good information. I am building a website and learning as I go. You comments are thought provoking and always interesting. Thanks for the suggestions, I am applying them at:

    http://nandugreen.typepad.com/chasing_the_wind

  3. Ellen says:

    Great info. I often go on other websites, and whatever annoys me (i.e., broken links, no contact info, even one with wrong phone numbers), I make sure that I am not guilty of the same thing. Here’s a tip: Make sure your website has a place to sign uo to join your email list or get a newsletter periodically. Whenever something impresses me on another website, I try to it incorporate into my own. I update my website almost every day.

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