ile Sm

nd Other a ons from Less Years in 25 Business
The small book of big lessons learned from 25 years of building and running a successful business.

Bruce Jones
Bruce Jones Design Inc

Small Business Guides

ile Sm
and Other ssons from Le 25 Years in Business
Being self-employed, gives one the opportunity to learn, explore and try many new and different strategies to achieve success and fulfillment. Having control over one’s destiny is satisfying and fun. After 25 years of building and running a successful business, this entrepreneur has found a number of actions and ideas that have always created positive results and have led to many successes.

The Short List of Big Lessons
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. Smile Be On Time Personal Relationships Are the Key Do What You Say You Are Going to Do Answer the Phone Be Grateful and Say Thank You Persistence The Smallest Jobs are as Important as the Big Ones Look Behind the Person You Are Dealing With Make Money Be a Resource Remember Your Vendors Put Your Contact Info on Everything No Surprises Have Fun

My number one lesson is to smile and be nice. People like to do business with those who treat them with respect. Often in the everyday work world people just aren’t all that nice to each other. As an outside consultant, vendor or just a regular employee, one can really stand out with a smile and pleasant demeanor. Answer the phone with a cheery tone even if you are having a bad day. Be the happy person.

Be On Time
Be on time for appointments. Remember, people are busy. They plan their schedules and presume that you will be punctual. Make sure to arrive fifteen minutes early as opposed to a minute late. Be on time with the project. Do whatever is necessary to deliver your promised product or service on time.

It is All Personal
Business activities are personal. We all want to work with people we like and those who treat us well. From the clerk at the coffee shop to the CEO who is managing large deals, personal relationships are one of the most important factors in achieving success. Cost, Quality and Delivery are all important, to be sure. But one must build personal relationships with those they serve. One may work with someone once for the sake of the transaction, but not twice because of the abrasive personality. Keep a long-term focus and be willing to be friendly and pleasant.

Do What You Say You Are Going to Do
If one makes a promise one must keep it. The best results come when you deliver beyond the commitment. Make your client look good to their organization. Give them what they need to do their job successfully. Success in serving your client gets passed on to others in the organization. Your client is the gatekeeper to their company and more assignments in the future. Once they know you can be depended upon, you will become a treasured vendor.

Answer the Phone
Answering the phone should almost be the number one lesson of business. Every effort should be made to have a live person answer the telephone. Personal relationships are built with person-toperson communication. Automated phone systems are customer avoidance mechanisms. While the company will be happy to take a recorded order they cannot be bothered to speak to you. We can also learn much from talking to our customers. They give us feedback on the pluses and minuses of the products and services offered. This feedback has measurable value. Customers are living our product and service research; one needs only to listen to them. Clients and potential clients want easily accessible and timely assistance. A company can really stand out from the competition by just picking up the phone. This rule also applies to our web site and promotional material. Give them easy access to communicate with you and they will.

Be Grateful and Say Thank You
Be grateful. Thank customers for the business. Building the personal relationship will help in many areas. Errors and mistakes will occur. One can work through debacles if there is a good personal relationship. A regular expression of gratitude by means of a sincere thank you will help keep a strong personal relationship in good order.

Much of business success is about out lasting the other guy. Woody Allen was famous for saying “99 percent of success is just showing up.” For independent consultants and small businesses, being available is often half the battle. If there isn’t work, do things that relate to your business: develop marketing materials; learn new skills; work on the next product; and get in contact with your customers. Remember, when one is in their own business and a one-person shop there are myriad duties. Along with doing the work, there is answering calls, being the IT department, emptying the trash, figuring out how to get more business, and solving any and all problems. The secret to success is often just putting one foot in front of the other. Just keep going. Be persistent.

The Smallest Jobs are Just as Important as the Big Ones
Treat all projects as if they are the most important. How one treats the small jobs serves as an indicator to clients about how the larger assignments will be addressed. We are always being tested.

Look Behind the Person You Are Dealing With
The person you are dealing with almost always reports to someone else. They are often controlled or directed by someone else and the concepts or projects you deliver are presented or given to another. Make sure that the projects you deliver make your client look good. It is your job to enhance your client both at their level and to the people to whom they report.

Make Money
The purpose of being in business is to make money. We work for a lot of reasons but money is often the measuring stick. If the money stops the projects stop and often the relationships end. Don’t get confused about why your vendors are so attentive. While the relationship is personal, it is driven by the opportunity to make money. The same is happening on the client side of the equation. You have a skill or service that is helping them make money. Keep that fact in perspective. Making money for our clients is making money for ourselves. Additionally, clients who pay are supremely better than those who don’t and vendors who get paid work a whole lot harder.

Be a Resource
People just need help sometimes. By being helpful to your clients you start to become the “go to guy.” Encourage customers to call you with questions. Make an earnest effort to solve their problem. One should endeavor to be at the top of the customer’s and potential-customer’s minds. Another benefit is that being a resource is a great way to learn present and future client needs. Consider the problem solving efforts as market research. Answering the phone and talking to people is all about developing relationships. Being a resource builds positive energy for your company.

Remember Your Vendors
Vendors are the backbone of our businesses. We all seem to run virtual businesses these days with many vendors doing much of our work. Treating them well will reward you many times over. Vendors will treat our projects and clients with respect if we are respectful of them.

Put Your Contact Info on Everything Printed and Electronic
Success in business is about being connected to customers. Make it easy for them to make contact. Make sure they can find you from your advertising, your brochure, your web site, from what ever marketing materials you have. Put contact information on every web page not just on a contact page. Customers will call from the point where they got stuck on the web site if you give them a number. No number, no call; they just go somewhere else. In addition to the contact, you also get feedback about problems on your site. Contact information should also be in every e-mail, along with a little blurb about your business. Add your phone number on your mailing labels. Very often, when a project is delivered, the only contact info a customer has about your business is the envelope it came in. Make it easy for them to get in touch with you.

No Surprises
Projects are full of surprises. Often clients are just not focused on all of the steps that are involved. Keep your clients informed of the progress and any problems that come up. Your job is to get the project competed on time even if they aren’t paying attention to it. We know all the steps that are needed and it sometimes takes a lot of pushing and pulling to pull it off. It isn’t up to the client. It is up to us to get it done. Keep the client informed and surprises to a minimum.

Have Fun
Being in business for yourself and being your own boss can be an immensely satisfying way to live. Having control over your day lets you have some control over your life. Fun can be going to Disney World but it can also be exploring your interests and trying new things. So pick customers you like and projects that mean something to you and have some fun with it and the world around you.

Bruce Jones is a Massachusetts-based business graphic designer, with 25 years in business. Serving the graphic needs of professional service firms, non-profits and general corporate clients. Producing newsletters, brochures, promotional and collateral materials, event invitations and programs, stationery packages, portable trade show booths and web sites. Also the developer and creator of the World of Maps and Maps for Design clip art map collections used for business presentations, illustrations and web sites and the eSchoolmaps clip art collection for schools. Creator and producer of Acoustic Music TV, developing cable and web programming on acoustic music. Bruce Jones Bruce Jones Design Inc 661 Washington Street Norwood, MA 02062 781-255-7171 © Copyright Bruce Jones 2008

ther and O rom ns f Lesso rs in 25 Yea ss e Busin
1. Smile 2. Be On Time

The Short List of Big Lessons for Creating Business Success

3. Personal Relationships Are the Key 4. Do What You Say You Are Going to Do 5. Answer the Phone 6. Be Grateful and Say Thank You 7. Persistence 8. The Smallest Jobs are as Important as the Big Ones 9. Look Behind the Person You Are Dealing With 10. Make Money 11. Be a Resource 12. Remember Your Vendors 13. Put Your Contact Info on Everything 14. No Surprises 15. Have Fun

The small book of big lessons learned from 25 years of building and running a successful business. Guidelines that have created positive results and business successes.
Bruce Jones, Bruce Jones Design Inc. 661 Washington Street, Norwood, MA 02062 781-255-7171 •

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