Business Basics

No matter how long you’ve been in business or how well its going, it never hurts to review a few business basics. We all need a refresher now and then. Let’s start with finances. You should have detailed and organized records and a good handle on your cash flow.  If you’ve been sloppy with your books, talk to an accountant and get them straightened out. You’ll be glad you did come tax time!

 Customer service is another area you should review periodically. Are you responsive to customer feedback? Have you addressed complaints promptly and professionally? Take a look at your complaints for the past few months. Is there a recurring theme or a particular employee or service that stands out? If so, address those issues and get them on the road to improvement.

 Part of customer service is marketing. Chances are you have a mailing list that you send promotional emails to. If you haven’t in awhile, review it and remove any addresses that have permanent errors. That is, addresses that bounced back as not found, invalid, or blocked. Addresses with over quota or other temporary errors can be left alone, but if the error persists, remove it. Also make sure your mailings have your physical address and a clear and simple way to unsubscribe-and make sure you honor every unsubscribe request! Otherwise you will be in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act which could cost you dearly.

 Your education might need review too. Continuing education is invaluable. If your business is expanding by leaps and bounds and you haven’t yet, consider going for your MBA. It can provide you with a wealth of knowledge to help your business succeed. Visit mba.csumb.edu/ for more info.

 Next check your website. Has it been awhile since it was updated? Have you gotten complaints that it’s too slow or crashes a lot? Time to get to work. If your site has been up for more than 5 years, a new design may be in order to freshen it up. Test your shopping cart. If it’s slow, won’t let customers save them after placing items in them, demands payment info before providing shipping and tax fees, or checkout takes more than two pages, it’s time to get a new one. All those things can send customers to the back button and to another site. Remember that these days consumers have a tremendous variety of places to shop at. This means stiff competition. Be ready for it by never forgetting the basics. They are the foundation every successful business is built on and could not do without.