14 Strategies We Attribute To Our Recent Business Excellence Award
Unexpectedly, I received an email one day from the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce informing me that we had been nominated to receive a 2016 Business Excellence Award.
What are you waiting for?
After I had gotten over my shock and disbelief at the mistaken Susan, it started to sink in that someone thought we were worthy of this nomination. Wow!
A 30-minute interview was part of the nomination process. It was conducted in front of a three-judge panel. Imagine being forced to brag about yourself for half an hour! You can imagine me squirming in the seat!
Now, let’s fast forward to last week when the awards ceremony took effect. It was a relief to me that our category was first, so I could enjoy the rest of my evening.
To be truthful, I was not anxious. I knew that the odds of winning were 1 in 7. So I waited patiently for the name to be announced. I didn’t expect it to be me.
It was! We were declared the winners!
Speak up! ?
As I tried to comprehend what had just happened, shock and disbelief overtook me once more. Although it was a blur, I managed to walk to the podium without falling down the steps to receive our award.
After receiving this amazing recognition, I thought about the interview of the judge and the reasons they chose us to be the winner.
This in mind, I want to share the attributes that I believe helped us win this prestigious award. Here’s how I created an award-winning company.
1 Be passionate about what you do
This is not my first business. There have been many others, ranging from faux finish painting to creating craft pieces. It didn’t matter what I did or how small it was, I was passionate about it.
Do not waste your time trying run a business to make money. It will become tedious very quickly, and it will be more difficult to sell.
Passionate about your work will attract others.
2 – Love to Work with the People You Serve, and Provide Exceptional Customer Services
The greatest joy I get is knowing how much we can help a new owner set up their online business. It brings me joy to be a part their excitement at seeing their dream become a reality.
If you are avoiding answering the phone or responding emails because you fear talking to clients, you should adjust your marketing to attract the right people.
It’s difficult to build a business that is loyal to the people you work with. This means that you must answer the phone promptly, respond to emails quickly, and treat every client as if they were your only customer. This should not be difficult if you are attracting the perfect client.
Your business should be about your clients, not you. Remember, you wouldn’t be able to succeed if there weren’t clients.
3) Get to Know Your Stuff
Before I even considered starting a digital marketing/web development business, I made sure I had the right education. I was able to attend the Vancouver Film School’s Multi-Media program, and later received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Computer Information Systems with a concentration (with an A+ grade).
There are also the many online courses that I have taken over the years in order to keep my skills current with the ever-changing industry.
Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs want to start a business but don’t have the necessary skills or experience. Then they wonder why they are struggling.
It is not enough to read a book or take an online course to be awarded. If you are passionate about building a business that succeeds, there will be a way for you to get as qualified as possible.
4) Be Committed
Are you committed to working 6-7 days per week, 15-hour days? Yes, Daniel and I do that every week. To fulfill points 2 and 3, we must.
To ensure that your clients are well taken care of takes time and effort. It is also important to have a level of commitment that will “do whatever it takes”.
While you might not be required to work as many hours as us, and I’m sure that we will, we are still willing to do what it takes to make our business successful. Are you ready?
5) Be Consistent
When running a successful business, consistency comes in many forms. It’s my consistency with my message, brand, social media presence, newsletters, team management and the quality of our service to clients.
What do I sometimes miss? Absolutely. However, consistency in these areas is very important to me. I do what I need to do to make my team and clients happy.
It’s difficult to build brand ambassadors (such the ones who nominate your for an award), loyal team members and a steady stream of clients without consistency.
Be consistent in your commitments and you’ll be amazed how things flow.
6) Surround yourself with a dedicated and knowledgeable team
My business started as a one-woman operation. My education background allowed me to easily design, build, and market a website. I would describe myself as a “generalist”. Someone who knows a lot about many things but is only a specialist in one area.
My one-woman show wasn’t going to make a business. Especially in this technologically-driven industry. My skillset would not get me far.
My first hire was someone who could compensate my greatest weakness. Warren was a student at UFV when he applied for my position as a part-time programmer. His addition to our company was perfect. I was relieved from having to do all of the site building myself when he joined us. Then I could focus on building the company instead of spending time on site construction.
It can be difficult to do everything by yourself when it comes down to running a business. There are costs associated with hiring, but if your business hires smart and keeps an eye on your bottom line, you will see your business grow faster than if your try to do everything yourself.
This topic is worthy of a whole article itself so I encourage you to read How to Take a Solo-Entrepreneurship to the Next Level for more.
7 Have Honesty and Authenticity as a Part Of Your Daily Life
Although it’s a shame that I have to include this attribute, I have been in business for long enough to understand that not everyone follows these principles.
This is my life. I don’t know how I could have it any other way.
However, judging by the stories of new clients about how their web developer treated them, it seems like many people need this reminder.
Honesty and integrity are the keys to a business’s success. A little secret: gratitude can make your business flourish, and your entire life. Try it and you’ll see what I mean.
Each business has its ups as well as downs. You must not allow those “downs,” to stop you from being excited about your business. Get back up, learn from the lessons learned and continue moving forward.
We wouldn’t have been award winners if we had quit when only $20 was left on our Christmas credit cards a few years ago.
9 Invest in Your Business
Each investment was a step in building the company. It doesn’t end.
There are always things that need to be improved. Here are my top recommendations for where to invest in your company:
A.Branding and Website
d.Building and Leading a Team
10: Understand that you’re running a business, not a hobby.
This is a distinction that I believe entrepreneurs don’t make enough of.
My business mind and business degree have helped me see our company as a business.
For those who are simply passionate about something, and want to make money from it, it can be difficult to know HOW to turn your dream into a reality.
They blindly do what they believe they should, to save money or not spend the money they don’t have and hope for good results.
If you find this familiar, there is another investment that you should consider: a mentor or business coach. ASAP. You’ll likely end up with a hobby.
11: Set up a systemized business structure
Over the years, I have worked with many clients. I am amazed at the organization and systemization of some clients. Others, however, are not as organized and systemized.
My only excuse for not going insane is because I have a well-organized business structure.
These are the tools that we use to be more efficient, organized, and less stressed.
12) Feel Comfortable with Sales
Sales. Many entrepreneurs and business owners consider it a dirty word. I feel the same. Although I don’t like to be called a “salesperson”, at the end of it all, if we aren’t selling our products, we don’t have any business.
However, you don’t have to be a pushy predator. It’s far from the truth.
Do you remember attribute #1 about passion? This is what you want. People will respond to your passion if they trust you. Be aware that passion can sometimes be too intense and turn people off.
Keep working until you find your niche. Accept the fact that you are selling your products and find strategies that work for you.
13) Give back
When building a business, it is essential to give back. There are many ways we give back, so here are some examples of what we do.
-Offer discounted prices for non-profits
Volunteer your services to community organizations
Send cash donations to charities that you believe in
Make purchases to support worthy causes
Donate silent auction items and door prizes for fund-raising activities
-And be there for your clients when you can
14). Be Accessible
New clients often approach me because they are unhappy with their current web developer or marketer. The most common complaint is that they cannot get in touch with the person. They either take too long to reply to emails or don’t answer the phone.
This alone makes me think that I will write a book about how to NOT run a successful company. This is a disturbing story. These people are able to keep a business afloat despite such poor service and accessibility.
I follow a policy of answering emails within one day of receiving them. Although I usually exceed this policy, sometimes the volume of emails is too high and I am delayed in responding. The same thing applies to the phone. If we are available to answer the phone, we do so. If not, we’ll call back the person.