The beginning of the year is the best time to evaluate how the past year went, any important lessons learnt and form intentions for the future. In our experience as business consultants for Melbourne businesses, we have found that our successful clients have learnt three important lessons. In the interest of learning from other people’s wisdom and mistakes, here are they are.

Lesson 1. People do business with people they like.

Time and time again it has been proven that people dislike the ‘hard sell’ approach to sales. While it is important to demonstrate the benefits of the product or service, future customers are not typically won over with expensive lunches. Instead they trust the business owner who is natural in their presentation and does not resort to fake conversations about sport or golf. Please note, this is not the same as building a rapport with a customer, getting to know them and taking an interest in their life.

Lesson 2. Delight your customers.

One of the best steps a business can take is dedicating themselves to delivering the very best to their customers. Customers today expect a certain level of care or attention as part of their purchase or service. To stand out from competitors and prove a business worth staying with, owners should focus on over-delivering. By providing an unanticipated value, many businesses have made reputations for themselves as one that promotes long-lasting relationships.

Lesson 3. Look after yourself.

One of the most important aspects of running a business is taking care of yourself, whether in your health or your physical work ability and boundaries. As we mentioned in a previous blog post, as a small business owner many things rest solely on your shoulders. If you are sick, that can force your business to run at half capacity or even close while you get better.
Defining boundaries is a strategy for preventing ill-health or creating contingency plans and is an area that will not happen by itself. It could be as simple as ensuring a good work-life balance to prevent you getting sick, or even setting realistic deadlines, fees or work demands. This prevents clients taking advantage of you and can remove much of both the physical and mental stress involved in running a business.

While these are the three business lessons we have discovered from our clients, we know there are more valuable insights other business owners have discovered. Are there others you would like to add? Let us know in the comments.

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