“Best practice” – what is it, exactly? Many viewpoints rest on the precise definition. For now, best practice is broadly defined as the technique a business uses that maximizes quality and profit in a service or product. Which best practices are ideal for small businesses? These five tips below pinpoint some great strategies to implement.

1. Always be on time.

While it seems like an obvious and ‘nitpicky’ thing, this tip ranks highest for good reason. Being on time every time gives your clients a lasting impression that you’re dedicated, you’re a top performer, and you know what you’re talking about. Plus, being timely helps you focus on work and is much less stressful than tardiness. If you tend to underestimate time, try setting your watch five or ten minutes ahead to help you master this business technique.

2. Respond and communicate to clients ASAP.

Right alongside with timeliness goes with prompt and responsive client communication. Recently returned from a prospect meeting? Follow up with an email. Is the conference you’re attending drawing to a close? Send LinkedIn invites while they’re fresh. Fast responses let clients know they’re top of mind with you and you’re the real deal.

The same goes for repeat clients. Responsive communication assures them that you have a pulse on things. High customer loyalty is almost always facilitated by timely communication with clients.

3. Hire small, reward big.

As a general rule of thumb, hiring a small staff instead of a large one is a smart small business move. Fewer workers mean bigger incentives are more affordable, and acquiring those incentives are worth it to make your employees happy. Happy employees mean happy customers, which makes everyone – including you – happier and more profitable in the long run.

4. Provide excellent customer service.

Speaking of happy customers, let’s not forget the importance of customer service. This principle at first blush may sound like ‘business kindergarten’, but in reality not everyone can bring this valuable skillset to the table. With that said, make sure everyone in your staff is at least trained in the basics of this area. Be on the lookout for customer service talent when you hire, too.

5. Imitate larger companies.

Many large companies are large because their best practices are, well, simply the best. While you’re probably not large enough to have an R&D department (at least, not yet), you can do your own research on the big players in your industry via social media, news articles, and other business publications. It might be a good idea to obtain some legal advice before you begin to avoid intellectual property snags.

Each company’s best practices are unique, but all of them share a common thread – they deliver quality results that maximize company success. Small businesses, too, can get a slice from the pie. Who knows – these five tips might just be the boost to help you find your next innovation.

The Long Road Ahead

Running a small business isn’t easy; you have less people to help you and twice as much work, but it’s something that can be extremely rewarding, too.

Take the time to set yourself apart and define a clear path for what you want out of your business with these top five tips and you’ll be on your way to success in no time.

~Tony Johnson

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