It’s hard to keep relevant when you run an offline retail business.
Having an online store isn’t the exception, it’s the expectation, and when websites and commerce aren’t a part of a business strategy, it becomes increasingly difficult to remain resilient.
For instance, a recent IBM Retail Index report found the pandemic accelerated the shift toward ecommerce by roughly five years.
To adapt, many offline business owners find themselves launching online stores for the first time.
Others are making it easy for customers to order online and do curbside pickup.
And the savviest are experimenting with omnichannel selling, using their website to manage sales on Facebook, Instagram, and the other places their customers already spend their time.
If you haven’t done so already, the evidence is clear that it’s time to bring your brick-and-mortar store online.
In this post, we’ll walk you through everything you need to have a successful transition to selling online.
Table of contents
1. Research your ecommerce strategy
There are a variety of websites and tools you can use to understand consumer online shopping habits. Some sites that provide these insights for free through their blogs include eMarketer, McKinsey, PWC, Comscore, Pew Research, Nielsen IQ, and Think With Google Research Tools.
Take some time to research:
- How do your target customers prefer to shop online?
- When are they most likely to shop?
- Which channels are they most likely to use to discover your site?
For example, your target customers may prefer using a mobile device versus their desktop. Others might prefer to contact your store online through text messages rather than email.
Knowing this will help you to choose the right ecommerce platform to build and host your website, and create customer experiences that meet or exceed expectations.
Install a web analytics tool to learn as you go
Moving beyond third party research, using a website analytics tool will show you how people actually interact with your site:
- How your customers shop on your website after you launch
- What are your most popular product pages
- How they find your site through channels like search, social media, and blogs or traditional media sites
Google Analytics is free and is a popular option for many small business online retailers. To get started, watch this video which highlights some primary uses and benefits.
Ask your existing customers for help
If you already have a social media presence to promote your physical stores, you can also reach out through that channel to ask what your customers are looking for in an online store.
Their comments on various social channels can also give you insights into which products are the most popular and which ones they’d be likely to buy from you online.
Additionally, you can post an online survey on your social channels to find out what they might want in an ecommerce solution. Tools SurveyMonkey or Google Forms are an excellent place to start.
If you already have a customer email database in place, you can also send the survey out through that channel. It’s helpful to offer an incentive to get people to answer your questions, such as a gift card giveaway contest or a coupon code to use once your new site is live.
Research competitive ecommerce sites
Finally, take a look at your top competitors’ ecommerce websites and social media channels to see how they are targeting customers through savvy copywriting, design, and photography.
Make a list of the strengths and weaknesses of each site so that you can iterate on what works well for them and improve on what doesn’t.
2. Choose a reliable ecommerce website builder and hosting service
Once you’ve researched your market, the next step is to invest in the design, build, and launch of your ecommerce storefront.
Select and purchase a domain name
Likely, you’ll want a domain name that is an exact match to your business.
If the domain name you want is already taken or is too expensive, try for an abbreviated version of the name, or a different extension, such as .shop or .store for general ecommerce, or get more specific with .jewelry, .clothing and .coffee.
The price to purchase a domain name typically ranges from $2 to $20. However, there can be hidden costs. Refer to our domain name guide for more details on what to expect.
You can play around with different domain name options via this search box:
INSERT DOMAIN SEARCH BAR HERE
After you’ve selected a memorable URL, you’ll need to find a reliable website hosting service.
Many services — like GoDaddy’s online store — offer tools to build your own website for free.
Some things to look for in an ecommerce platform:
Accessibility: Your website hosting and design service provider should offer affordable (free or for a monthly fee), and easy-to-use templates. That’s for both an intuitive front-end design for customers and a back-end dashboard for managing orders and inventory.
They should also offer a variety of payment solutions and, preferably, a flat fee for service charges.
Customizability: Since it can get expensive to hire a graphic designer and website developer, the design templates offered by your service provider should be easily customizable and intuitive for anyone without a coding or design background.
Mobile-optimized: According to Oberlo, “nearly three out of every four dollars spent online today happen through a mobile device.” That’s why it’s critical that you select a mobile-optimized design theme and template for your new online store.
Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant: Since credit card fraud and security breaches are a constant threat to ecommerce businesses, it’s crucial to find a service provider, like GoDaddy Payments and Online Store Builder, that comes with PCI compliance built into its ecommerce solution.
The business must also follow proper technical and operational standards, monitored by the PCI Security Standards Council, to secure and protect the data provided by credit cardholders which are transmitted through card processing transactions.
Secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate: SSL is a security protocol that creates an encrypted link between a web server and a web browser. When customers see a tiny lock icon beside your domain name URL in their web browser, they’ll rest assured that their online transactions and information are both private and secure.
Keep in mind that a robust, templated ecommerce store building solution should be available in one quick install, and should include:
- An affordable website template/theme
- Product pages
- Shopping cart
- An encrypted payment processing solution
- Secure hosting for your site
3. Select an enticing store theme and template
Once you’ve selected your URL and platform, you’ll need a theme to suit your online store’s functionality and branding needs.
GoDaddy Online Store Builder offers multiple solutions to accommodate a variety of businesses — from selling goods and services to allowing customers to book appointments online.
If you’re on a tight budget, start with a free theme or basic paid package (starting at $14.99/month) and re-evaluate your needs over time.
If you already have a managed WordPress website, you can also integrate WooCommerce themes and extensions to build an ecommerce storefront for your brick-and-mortar store that processes transactions using GoDaddy Payments.
Once your visual design is sorted, invest heavily in product descriptions and photography to appeal to as many of your visitor’s senses as possible.
4. Carefully select the products you want to sell online
While you already sell products in-store, you’ll need to decide which products to sell online. Between shipping, packaging, and a number of other factors, the margins on selling your products online can be very different than what you’re used to.
In those cases, you might want to take customer payments online but offer curbside pick-up, instead. You can also offer bundled solutions like the example below.
Other product and shipping considerations
When putting together your online product sales plan, ask yourself the following questions:
- Will you feasibly be able to package your products yourself, or will you need to employ someone to help you with it? If so, then budget that cost into your shipping fees.
- How are you going to store and track your inventory? You’ll need inventory-tracking software — ideally built into your ecommerce hosting and design solution. You can also use your stock room if you already have a physical storefront. Otherwise, you’ll need some sort of product storage solution.
- How, when, and why are you adding new products to your website? Be strategic about adding the right items and consider seasonal sales items and discounts.
5. Choose your online sales channels
For example, you might want to sell and ship products exclusively online. On the other hand, you might want to offer customers the option of buying your products online and then coming to your store for curbside pickup.
In fact, “85% of shoppers have increased curbside pickup” since the pandemic started. And many of them want that pickup process to be completely contactless.
You can also offer contactless payment and other online shopping solutions in-store for customer convenience and safety.
Of course, the reverse can also be true where you can also have “online exclusive” products which can be used to encourage your in-store customers to shop online.
Select ecommerce payment providers
There are many options to choose from when selling online. The most common way is to sell your products via an online store or to add ecommerce functionality to your WordPress blog using WooCommerce.
In either case, you need a domain name and checkout page where customers can complete their transaction via their credit or debit card or using their preferred third-party payment provider like PayPal, Apple Pay, or GoDaddy Payments.
Many small businesses prefer to use a third-party payment provider. That’s because it minimizes your security risks by storing customer credit card data through an encrypted service via the payment provider and not on your site.
GoDaddy Payments lets small businesses sell via all major credit card and debit card providers, including Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover. It comes with advanced online encryption while maintaining the strictest payment card industry (PCI) compliance standards.
Likewise, your payment product questions and issues are managed 24/7 by GoDaddy’s customer support team.
GoDaddy Payments also offers the lowest fees (2.3% + 30¢ per online transaction) compared to other leading providers, and the money arrives in your account by the next business day. As a bonus, there are no long-term contracts, monthly minimums, or surprise fees to worry about.
It’s easy to set up your account in minutes, and you can manage all of your orders, inventory, customer reviews, and email in one place using the GoDaddy Online Store dashboard.
6. Consider your online payment solutions
If you don’t have the time, money, or resources to launch an ecommerce store right now, you can still sell online to customers using other sales channels.
GoDaddy Payments recently launched a variety of online sales solutions for small businesses.
Sell anywhere with shareable pay links
If you do most of your business with customers via text messages, email, social media or over the phone, you can process transactions using a customizable GoDaddy Payments Online Pay Link. Simply add your store branding and the cost of the transaction, then easily create and share a pay link with customers in minutes.
You can even transform a pay link into a scannable QR code with one click. Then post it or let customers print it anywhere to scan and pay in person quickly.
Via your GoDaddy Payments dashboard, select Pay Links and enter the price, description, and image for your payment request. Then, send your newly created payment link to your customer (through your preferred sales channel), and it’ll take them to a secure checkout page to complete their purchase.
After your customer completes the transaction, you’ll get paid by the next business day.
Turn your phone or computer into a virtual terminal
The new GoDaddy Payments Virtual Terminal allows you to accept credit card payments right from your computer, tablet, or smartphone.
It’s a simple, secure way to get paid when your customers aren’t standing in front of you (e.g., collecting credit card info over the phone). And you don’t need any extra hardware like a card reader to complete the transaction.
Simply log in to your GoDaddy account and open Virtual Terminal on your Payments dashboard. Then, take your customer’s credit card info, type it into Virtual Terminal, and confirm the charge. Again, you’ll receive your payment by the next business day.
Get a point-of-sale (POS) system for contactless payments
The global pandemic has also influenced a dramatic shift away from in-person cash payments to contactless payments. As a result, small businesses should look for innovative point-of-sale (POS) systems that allow them to evolve with their customers’ in-store payment preferences.
GoDaddy’s POS system offers a variety of payment hardware solutions, including contactless payments, with the lowest transactional fees (2.3% + 0¢) per in-person transaction.
It allows you to quickly and easily take credit and debit card payments, plus contactless payments with Apple Pay and Google Pay. Then you can track it all in your GoDaddy dashboard.
Additionally, you can connect GoDaddy’s POS with your GoDaddy Online Store to help unify and expand your selling and enable customers to buy online, pick up in-store, or book online and pay in-person.
You’ll also benefit from the following hardware solutions:
Dual screens: GoDaddy’s dual-screen POS makes checkout a breeze. Plus, the all-in-one terminal includes a built-in payment processor, scanner, printer, and security.
Tap, dip or swipe payments: You can use the included charging dock to go hands-free. One single battery charge keeps your sales going longer, and you can connect your Card Reader to your GoDaddy Mobile App to start taking quick and easy payments.
Peace of mind: Every GoDaddy POS checkout is PCI secure, and every device comes with a one-year limited warranty and thirty-day refund.
7. Market your new ecommerce site online and in-store
Once you’re ready to take your brick-and-mortar store online, it’s time to let your customers know about it.
There are several ways you can do this affordably — all of which will require an investment of your time at a minimum.
Encourage customer ratings and reviews
Consumers have always trusted opinions and product recommendations from their peers over advertising or PR messaging.
That’s why you should encourage your ecommerce customers to provide ratings and reviews on your product pages and learn how to appropriately respond to all online reviews — both positive and negative.
To use positive reviews and ratings as a promotional tool for your ecommerce business, refer to our comprehensive guide, which includes some helpful case studies.
Boost your social media activity and presence
Whether or not you already have a social media presence, it’s crucial to start boosting your online social activity and brand profile to drive traffic back to your new ecommerce website.
Creating and sharing valuable social media content is both an art and a science. Luckily we have created lots of content with tips and advice to help you do it properly.
You can start by watching the video below to learn how to think like a digital marketer to reach, engage, and convert customers on social media:
Next, read through our time-saving social media tips for business owners, and learn about other best practices to expand your reach and grow your business.
Build an email marketing database
Email is a highly targeted and effective way to increase ecommerce traffic and sales to your new ecommerce website. Start by gathering customer email addresses both in-store and online once you launch your site (if you haven’t done so already).
To incentivize customers, consider offering a 10% to 20% discount on their first order in exchange for their email opt-in to your newsletter. Then you can contact those customers whenever you’re doing a seasonal promotion or new product launch.
It’s equally important to set up an email report in analytics to help you track how your email campaigns perform in driving new sales transactions and site visits. To learn how, refer to our beginner’s guide to starting an email list.
GoDaddy Online Store Builder comes with built-in email marketing functionality. Have a look at this walkthrough to get started.
Use search engine optimization (SEO)
SEO is a highly effective yet often time-consuming traffic-driving strategy for your new ecommerce store. More than 80% of consumers frequently search online before they purchase a product or service. Likewise, “SEO drives ten times more traffic to a site than organic social media.”
Your best bet is to start small by creating engaging and educational content through a blog or through online videos, and work on building links back to your website through other websites.
Once you’ve begun to build up your site traffic and are more aware of the most popular and highest-rated products on your site, you might want to invest in paid advertising.
Take a look at your website analytics to see which sites drive the most organic traffic to your online store. Then invest in advertising with those sites to drive even more targeted traffic back to your top product pages.
Watch this video for tips on how to get started with paid online ad spending.
Promote your ecommerce site in-store
Be sure that customers who frequently visit or pass by your brick-and-mortar store know about their new online shopping options.
Promote your new domain name on your retail storefront window or awning, shopping bags, receipts and anywhere else that they might see it when they shop in person.
Prioritize customer service
A happy customer is always your best word of mouth marketing tool. If you can’t hire someone to help you with online customer service, then set aside time each day to answer customer emails and phone inquiries, update order statuses, and enter their shipping details.
Before you take your brick-and-mortar store online, ask yourself:
- How will you send shipping confirmations to customers?
- Who will handle phone and email inquiries, how, and when?
- Do you need a separate business phone line?
- How and when should you answer social media questions and comments?
You can save some time by developing and posting an FAQ section on your website, and creating templated email responses to your most common customer inquiries.
It’s time to bring your brick-and-mortar store online
Ecommerce sales are soaring, and customers have accelerated their online shopping habits and preferences because of the global pandemic. As a result, brick-and-mortar stores must re-think their sales strategies.
Even if your retail store sales are solid, it’s time to offer online and contactless payment solutions to satisfy your customers’ evolving shopping needs.
With the right online and in-person sales strategy, using a PCI-compliant provider like GoDaddy Payments, you can rest assured that your customers’ privacy and security are in good hands.
For even more ecommerce tips and strategies, read our post: “How to start an online store.”
Let the Urgency of Your Customers’ Needs Guide Your Sales Strategy
When companies are creating profiles of possible target customers, there is a dimension they often overlook: the urgency of the need for the offering. This article provides a process for segmenting prospective customers in this fashion and creating a sales strategy.
Many business leaders believe that they fully understand their best target customers. They’ve developed clear profiles (a.k.a. personas) that are richly detailed with well-researched parameters, such as standard characteristics (e.g., age, education level, years at the company, role) or firmographic (e.g., annual revenues, number of employees, industry, geography, years in business). While such characteristics are important, they ignore another crucial characteristic: urgency of need.
A company that offers a software-as-a-service billing solution for small and mid-sized private dental practices may focus on classic demographics, such as the size of the practice (number of employees or number of dentists), the age of the practice (since older practices may more likely have outdated systems), or the amount of insurance billing the practice does each year.
These variables are useful in helping to produce a list of prospects, but they don’t determine which of these dental practices the sales team should call on first. If, however, the company added data that reflects which of these practices’ needs is most urgent — say, those that have advertised for billing and claims administration help more than twice in the past year (suggesting that they are struggling to keep up with billing) — salespeople would be able to prioritize their attention on these prospects.
The Four Segments
This needs-based approach entails segmenting potential customers into four segments:
- Urgent. The customer recognizes that it has an immediate need. (We just had another billing person quit!)
- Non-urgent. The customer recognizes the need, but it isn’t a high priority at this time. (We realize that our billing needs are changing and our current system will need to be revamped. We plan to start looking into this in the next year.)
- Currently met. The customer believes it already has an adequate solution to address the need at this time but recognizes it may not be a long-term solution. (We have an older billing system in place that still does the trick for now.)
- None. The customer simply has no need nor expects such need anytime soon. (Our small practice has a limited number of patients who pay out of pocket. Since all payments are made at the time of service, we simply don’t need a complex new billing system.)
This focus on the urgency of target customers’ needs may sound like common sense, but we have found in our work with B2B companies — from mid-sized firms to Fortune 50 giants in an array of industries such as financial services, enterprise information technology, utilities, industrial solutions, and health care technology — that they often fail to consider this dimension. Here is a process a firm can employ to apply this approach.
Identify new customers.
To identify prospects outside of your existing customer base, you can use available information. One is a source we mentioned: help-wanted ads that reflect a particular need.
But there are plenty of others. For instance, if a company sells inventory management solutions, a source of valuable data might be manufacturing industry merger-and-acquisition data, which could reveal companies with an urgent need to change or merge systems such as those for managing inventories. If a company sells quality-management solutions, a source of valuable data could be companies that are getting hammered for poor quality on social media.
Gather the necessary information.
Identifying your customers’ true urgency of needs requires looking beyond your typical demographic and firmographic profiling. This starts with an outreach initiative to talk to customers and prospects. The purpose is to ask questions to identify new target customer parameters that may be impacting the customer’s urgency of needs:
- Frustrations. How urgent is the need to resolve these frustrations? Which frustration would best accelerate success if resolved?
- Goals. Are your goals clear, consistent, reasonable, and measurable? Have your goals shifted recently?
- Roadblocks. What keeps you from reaching your goals? (i.e., What keeps you up at night?) What is the magnitude of the impact of these roadblocks?
- Environmental and situational factors. Are you experiencing any industry consolidation, organizational or executive management changes or instability, competitive changes, regulatory changes, and so on? What is the magnitude of the impact of these factors?
- Technology factors. Are there new or changing technologies that will impact your ability to achieve your goals? Are you at risk due to technology end-of-life issues or incompatibility?
Assess your firm’s ability to serve lower-level segments.
Once a company has performed its needs-based segmentation effort, it should seek to answer the following questions about each of the four levels. The findings will dictate the sales and marketing strategy, level of investment and resource allocations.
Level 1. Urgent need
How quickly can we meet their need? How can we best serve them? Is the market opportunity large enough to focus only on these prospective customers? Given the customer’s urgency, how do we price our products to optimize margins without damaging relationships by appearing exploitive?
Level 2. Non-urgent need
Can we convince them that their need is more urgent than they currently believe? How do we effectively stay in touch with them so we remain top of mind when they perceive that their need has become urgent?
Level 3. Need currently met
Should we walk away from these prospects? If so, when and how do we touch base with them to see if their needs have changed? Or is there an opportunity to continue to work to convince them that their need is either more significant than they realize or could be much better addressed? If so, what’s the best approach to get them to reconsider their current situation and recognize their true need and its urgency?
Level 4. No need
Should we completely remove these contacts as any potential prospect? Is there some other need we may be able to address for them — perhaps with another product? Should we be in contact on a planned basis to see if their situation has changed? How do we best do that?
The ideal customers are those who clearly understand and recognize they have an urgent need for your offering. However, if that opportunity is not enough to meet the company’s sales volume target, it may be necessary to extend efforts beyond Level 1. Gaining the attention of these additional target customers, challenging their perceptions of their needs, and educating them on how your offering could benefit them will require resources. Consequently, a critical assessment is required to determine whether the opportunity outweighs the investment necessary to address customers in these other levels.
Test your new targets.
Before committing to a complete revamp of how your salespeople are prioritizing opportunities, select one or two experienced salespeople to help you test your new target customer parameters. Identify a few prospects that align to your revamped target profiles, and see how the selected salespeople are able to penetrate them.
Revamp your sales messaging and training.
Include prospective customers’ level of need in your sales messaging — the language that the sales team uses in its interactions with customers. Revamp your sales tools (materials such as brochures, technical papers, and customer testimonials used in the selling process) to include the urgency of need. And teach salespeople how to read and react to the prospective customer’s level of need and adapt their language appropriately.
By adding urgency of need to target customers’ profiles, companies can do more than differentiate their offerings more effectively. They can also identify new growth opportunities and successfully pivot away from slowing or tightening markets. They can accelerate the sales of new products. Last but not least, they can turn underachieving sales teams into strong performers.
11 Ways Tech Adoption Impacts your Small Biz Growth
Small businesses rely heavily on technology to drive development and innovation. Adopting the correct technological solutions can help to streamline processes, increase efficiency, improve client experiences, and create a competitive advantage in the market.
In this post, we will look at how technology contributes to the growth and success of small enterprises.
1. Streamlining Operations
Implementing small business technology solutions can automate and streamline various aspects of small business operations. This includes using project management software, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, inventory management tools, and accounting software. Streamlining operations not only saves time and reduces manual errors but also allows small businesses to allocate resources more efficiently.
Tip: Regularly assess your business processes and identify areas that can be automated or improved with technology. This continuous evaluation ensures that your technology solutions remain aligned with your evolving business needs.
2. Enhancing Customer Engagement
Technology enables small businesses to engage and connect with their customers more effectively. Social media platforms, email marketing software, and customer service tools allow businesses to communicate and build relationships with their target audience. Customer relationship management systems help businesses track customer interactions and preferences, providing insights to deliver personalized experiences and improve customer satisfaction.
Tip: Leverage data from customer interactions to create targeted marketing campaigns and personalized offers. Use automation tools to send timely and relevant messages to your customers, enhancing their engagement and loyalty.
3. Expanding Market Reach
The internet and digital marketing platforms provide small businesses with the opportunity to reach a broader audience beyond their local market. Creating a professional website, utilizing search engine optimization (SEO), and leveraging online advertising channels allow small businesses to attract and engage customers from different regions or even globally. E-commerce platforms enable businesses to sell products or services online, further expanding their market reach.
Tip: Continuously monitor and optimize your online presence to ensure your website is discoverable and user-friendly. Leverage analytics tools to track website traffic, visitor behavior, and conversion rates to make data-driven improvements.
4. Improving Decision-Making with Data
Technology provides small businesses with access to valuable data and analytics, enabling informed decision-making. Through data analysis, businesses can gain insights into customer behavior, market trends, and operational performance. This data-driven approach allows small businesses to make strategic decisions, optimize processes, and identify growth opportunities more effectively.
Tip: Invest in data analytics tools and dashboards that can consolidate and visualize your business data. Regularly review and analyze the data to uncover patterns, identify bottlenecks, and make data-backed decisions to drive growth.
5. Facilitating Remote Work and Collaboration
Advancements in technology have made remote work and collaboration more feasible for small businesses. Cloud-based tools, project management software, and communication platforms enable teams to work together efficiently, regardless of geographical location. This flexibility opens up opportunities to access talent from anywhere, increase productivity, and reduce overhead costs.
Tip: Establish clear communication protocols and project management workflows to ensure effective collaboration among remote teams. Use video conferencing tools for virtual meetings and foster a culture of transparency and accountability to maintain productivity and engagement.
6. Embracing Emerging Technologies
Small businesses should stay informed about emerging technologies that have the potential to transform their industries. Technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, and the Internet of Things can offer new opportunities for growth and innovation. Being open to adopting and integrating these technologies into your business strategy can give you a competitive advantage.
7. Data Security and Privacy
Data security and privacy are critical considerations when using technology in small businesses. Implement robust cybersecurity measures, such as firewalls, encryption, and secure data storage, to protect sensitive customer information and intellectual property. Regularly update software and educate employees on best practices for data security to minimize the risk of data breaches.
8. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems
A dedicated CRM system can help small businesses manage customer relationships more efficiently. It allows businesses to track customer interactions, store contact information, and monitor sales pipelines. Utilize CRM software to streamline sales and marketing processes, personalize customer interactions, and nurture long-term customer loyalty.
9. Continuous Learning and Skill Development
Encourage continuous learning and skill development among employees to keep up with technological advancements. Provide access to online courses, training resources, and workshops to enhance digital literacy and proficiency. Embrace a culture of learning and innovation to ensure your small business remains adaptable and competitive in the digital age.
10. Scalable and Flexible Technology Solutions
Choose technology solutions that are scalable and flexible to accommodate your growing business needs. Consider cloud-based software and platforms that allow you to easily scale up or down as your business evolves. This scalability enables small businesses to adapt to changing demands and seize new opportunities without significant disruptions.
11. Regular Technology Assessments
Regularly assess your technology infrastructure to ensure it aligns with your business goals and remains up to date. Conduct technology audits to identify areas for improvement, eliminate outdated systems, and explore new technologies that can drive growth. Stay proactive in evaluating and optimizing your technology stack to maximize its impact on your small business.
Technology serves as a catalyst for small business growth. By leveraging technology effectively and staying agile in an ever-evolving digital landscape, small businesses can unlock their full potential, adapt to changing customer expectations, and drive sustainable growth.
Nine Reasons Why Turning Down a Client Is the Best Option for Your Business
While your business may not be right for every client, every client may not be right for your business. To that end, what’s one sign you should turn down a client, and why?
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.
1. The Client Has Unrealistic Expectations
Sometimes you’ll meet clients with unrealistic expectations — even when those expectations are incompatible with your products and services. They might demand services that you may not be able to deliver. Trying to keep such clients can often damage your relationship with them, encourage them to spread bad word-of-mouth, and hamper your reputation. Identifying such clients in time can prevent that.
s2. They’re Unresponsive
The number one way to tell if a client isn’t right for your business is if they are unresponsive. For client-business relationships to work, mutual understanding, communication, and respect are essential. If a client keeps pushing you aside when you need to clarify something for a project you’re working on for them, it may be time to move on at the end of the assignment.
3. They Complain During Every Step
An obvious sign that a client isn’t a good fit for your business is when they complain about your work every step of the way. I’ve encountered clients who complain because they think they will get a better price or free work. If they are truly unhappy, try to correct the mistake once or twice, and if that doesn’t work, give them a refund. Catering to toxic clients will not help you grow or succeed.
4. You’re Unable to Meet Their Needs
One should turn down a client whose expectations are hard to meet. They may not be in the wrong in the situation, and they have the right to expect certain things since they will be paying for the solutions offered. However, you should assess whether it will be possible for you to keep up with those expectations considering your current scale of operations or resources available.
5. They Exhibit a ‘Blame-Oriented’ Mindset
Watch for a “blame-oriented mindset” in your prospecting and sales conversations. Ask a question like, “What solutions or service providers have you tried before to solve this problem, and why didn’t they work?” Observe if the prospect takes any ownership for past failures or solely blames previous providers. Such an attitude is a clear sign of a lack of accountability and collaboration. Turn down such prospects!
6. They Constantly Dismiss Your Advice
Picture this: a client who insists on guiding you through uncharted territory while you hold the compass of expertise. When faced with a client who consistently dismisses your professional advice and insists on going against best practices, it’s time to question the compatibility of your collaboration. Remember: You’re the expert for a reason, and your recommendations should be valued.
7. They Aren’t Engaging in the Project
When a client consistently fails to provide the necessary resources, feedback or engagement required for a successful partnership, it’s time to hit pause. A one-sided relationship will leave you feeling like a solo artist in a duet. Seek clients who actively participate, collaborate and invest in the success of the projects you undertake together.
8. There Is Value or Goal Misalignment
Turn down clients if their values or goals are not aligned with your business. This can lead to conflicts and dissatisfaction and even damage your reputation. Focus on clients who share similar values and goals to maintain your brand’s integrity and benefit from the work you do for them.
9. They’re Always Adding ‘One More Thing’
You can tell a client is not right for your business, especially if you’re a freelancer, if they keep adding “one more thing” to the project. For instance, if you’re a writer and a client asks you to edit some of their other work “as a friend,” it may be time to end the partnership. This situation will lead to you doing tons of work and extra assignments for free, which was not the arrangement.
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