Startup has plenty of style
They say a sign of intelligence is admitting you don't know it all. "No one fully understands the entrepreneurial game," says entrepreneur Wendy Woods.
ROGER PIERCE -- www.bizlaunch.ca
"Expect to learn a lot of it as you go."
Woods runs The Refinery (www.therefinery.ca), a creative image consulting company that teaches women how to find clothing and accessories to enhance their personal style.
"These women are going through some sort of change, and are ready to invest in themselves," Woods says.
Woods wanted to be an entrepreneur but didn't know what type of business to start.
"When I discovered the image consulting certificate at George Brown College, I finally found the entrepreneurial path I wanted to take."
Definitely an extrovert, Woods loves to have fun in her business. "I like to switch it up and try new things," she says. "For instance, we offer boutique shopping tours throughout the streets and boutiques of Toronto. My clients love it!"
In her two years of business, Woods has learned some valuable lessons. "I've learned about my strengths and weaknesses," she says. "I've learned to use my strengths to my advantage and hired someone to help in my weaker areas."
She's also learned that it's okay when things go wrong. "As an entrepreneur, you need to allow yourself to make mistakes and view the lessons learned as an educational investment.
"Take what you've learned and store it away for the days when you need it," she says.
If you recently launched a small business, you simply must sell. No product or service sells itself. Sales will solve most of your problems. With enough money coming in, you can hire more people to run your business, cover your operating costs, pay suppliers, retain lawyers and accountants to manage your finances, invest in marketing, purchase better equipment and, above all else, feed your family.
Follow these 10 tips to boost sales in your small business:
Offer quality products and services.
Focus on the customer. Commit to doing what it takes to make them happy.
Hire talented salespeople. Invest in training for them.
Understand that selling is about developing relationships. Build trust with your customers by being honest, reliable and admitting any mistakes.
Pay more attention to your existing customers than in finding new ones. It's far less expensive to keep a customer than to find a new one.
Aim to be the best in your industry through exceptional customer care.
Keep your promises. A client's trust is conditional. Under-promise and over- deliver.
Never say bad things about any of your competitors.
Always be selling. Open your eyes and ears for new opportunities. Pursue your dream customers. Don't wait for business to walk in the door.
Commit to continuously improving your selling system. Invest in training, resources and tools to get better and better at selling.
-- Startup expert Roger Pierce is co-founder of BizLaunch.ca.
His company advises new entrepreneurs in free seminars delivered across the country.