I've had many comments over the last several months that suggest that some people do not consider our business viable because we aren't making enough after a year to support a lifestyle in Toronto. I can understand where these people are coming from, but I really do believe that these comments stem from not understanding the processes by which a business is built. The reality is that building businesses from scratch and getting them to a point where they can employ other people is incredibly hard work: hard in the sense that your responsibility is unlimited and in the sense that very few activities that you engage in, or tasks that you complete will yield immediate results. This stands in stark contrast to the situation that most employees have, where they complete a task and get paid - an instant result. Most of the things we entrepreneurs do only achieve visible results over time and it is often really tempting to quit on the grounds that what we are doing is not working. Take social media marketing for example. Does anyone really know how long one has to be blogging to generate sales leads from social media? Probably a lot longer than one would think. Does this mean that you should quit if you have blogged for a year and have a solid reader base, but no sales from the blog? I don't know. But what I do know from experience is that most things in business take time and developing good habits does yield results over time.
What are some examples of good habits? I can think of several:
- Sending out orders in a timely manner - either the day they are received or the next day.
- Letting customers know when they can expect their item.
- Taking the time to personally thank customers for their business and elicit feedback from them that will enable you to serve them better in the future. You would be surprised how few businesses bother to do this. While most customers will not engage, and will ignore your communication, the ones who do will become loyal clients. Even the ones that don't will respect you for going to the trouble.
- Responding to questions from customers or prospective customers quickly, efficiently and within a day of them contacting us.
- Being thorough and accurate in our item descriptions. Again, most e-bay sellers in my field do not do this at all.
- Providing scans of both sides of a stamp where it is helpful.
- Sharing your knowledge of your field by writing and posting blog articles about relevant topics. This reinforces the perception that you know your field and that you are willing to share your knowledge.