Small Business

A lot of people looking for small business advice are hoping to find the perfect niche in which to do business and make a lot of money. Makes sense. But I would venture to say that most businesses can make a lot of money... the question is more how do they make that money. It is probably not so much a question of the product or the market, although these play a large influence. Even more than having the perfect product or market, business entrepreneurs seeking small business advice need to find the right methods and processes to make their business succeed.
The right method of making money is clearly defined by seeing the wrong method of making money. In other words, see what doesn't work to see what does. There's a surplus of examples everywhere in every market all over the country.
Allow me to share a recent experience I had which I believe serves as stark example of the "wrong" way to do business.
One of my clients needed a loan for a business with real estate he was purchasing. It wasn't much of a loan because he was putting down over 60% in cash. He went to the bank where he had kept his money in for years and got a loan officer to help him start putting the package together. Everything requested was sent in on time; the paperwork, the documents, the disclosures. My client and I did everything we were asked.
The process went on for a week or so when suddenly the loan officer went silent. My client called him and emailed him multiple times over several days. I got involved and called and emailed, hoping to figure out what was going on. When I finally got him the officer rudely informed me they could not do the loan because of a derogatory on my client's credit. I asked for some explanation and was told he wasn't sure because he couldn't see the credit report and we would have to wait for it to come directly from the bank. My client was shocked because he knew of nothing on his credit that would negatively affect his loan. My client called and emailed and eventually got the same answer.
Days crawled by. Nothing. I called again, only to be ignored again. At some point I was getting really fed up with the lack of professionalism and went straight to the bank branch to discuss the issue with a manager. The manager told me she would notify the department head of our trouble and get the information we needed to us.
Again, days of nothing. Then I finally get a call and with a sarcastic manner the officer told me they had no interest in helping my client with a loan... if I had any questions the explanation would be in a letter already sent from the bank.
We never got any letter or explanation. No phone calls or apologies. Just a big "NO THANKS". And I could hardly believe what had happened.
This incident reinforced to me some small business advice I had learned years ago: if you work for and relate to people in business with a caring, genuine, and professional manner, YOU WILL BE LIGHTYEARS AHEAD OF YOUR COMPETITION, because your customers and clients will beat a path to your door.
So many people in business, from blue collar tradesmen to white collar professionals, refuse to treat others respectfully. People are coming to them to give them money for their products or services... and they treat them like a bad omen. They don't return phone calls, don't follow up on commitments, and don't show any genuine concern for their clients' welfare. I wonder if these business people understand how much business they give away by simply not taking care of their customer's needs.
To take advantage of a really simple way to succeed... be different. DON'T DO what the majority of others do in your line of work. They don't return calls - you must always return calls. They don't follow through - you must always follow through. They don't go out of their way to make sure the customer is happy - you must always do everything within reason to ensure your customers are thrilled. Because if you do, you will get the business that they don't get, and the people will keep coming back for more.
It's the law of sowing and reaping, and there's no changing it. Whatever you sow, you will surely get the same returned to you. If you sow controversy, you will get discord back. If you sow understanding, people will understand you. If you sow deceit, others will lie to you. If you sow honesty, others will treat you honestly.
So to really succeed, consider this small business advice, and watch it benefit your customers, and your business, in every way.
Rhett Kniep is a licensed building contractor and real estate broker. For over a decade he has successfully worked in the real estate investment business, buying and rehabbing and selling single-family homes. Out of a desire to share his expertise with others, Rhett created FlipAHouseForProfit, an organization devoted to training entrepreneurs in the highly lucrative, house flipping business.
An accomplished writer, Rhett communicates with passion and clarity, and his work is known for its unique balance of practicality and entertainment.