BBB tips for building a better business

  • Steve Bernas

    Steve Bernas

 
 
Posted2/13/2022 1:00 AM

Many businesses continue to be tested and pushed in this ever-changing economy and pandemic. Some companies have been able to thrive and succeed, while others have faced serious struggles.

With COVID-19 variants, supply chain issues, changing economies and so many other factors in play, business owners must have as many tools in their arsenal as possible. We always like to start by urging all businesses to become knowledgeable on steps to protect your business from cyber security threats.

 

One of the most critical pieces of information we share is the vast majority of attacks (over 90%) are from simple but authentic-looking Phishing emails. Training your employees to watch for suspicious emails and not clicking on links is a great start. Also, keeping firewalls and software can make a big difference preventing your data stolen, ransom demands and loss of your business's confidence to vendors and customers can be devastating. Remember the adage, "An ounce of protection is worth a pound of cure."

Other tips to help build business include building your online presence. Help attract new customers and build brand loyalty by strengthening your digital footprint in 2022. Take an honest audit of your website and social media pages to ensure user-friendliness and accuracy. By being stronger online, customers will be able to engage and hopefully purchase from you directly without ever walking into your store.

Often overlooked, great customer service is of vital importance to any successful business. Most of our successful businesses take customer engagement very seriously. By communicating with customers on updated promotions and responding quickly to inquiries and comments, companies increase their bond and chances of future business.

A survey in HubSpot revealed 80% of customers expect an online response within 24 hours. Always remember it is your business, but it's satisfied customers that make your business strong.

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As the world continues to change, especially in a growing virtual world, 2022 is a great year to continue to embrace technology. Technology can make it easier for customers to communicate with you online, which helps build trust and lead to more business. Don't allow outdated technology to cost you customers.

It's also essential to foster a great culture and workplace environment. Positive environments and flexibility have never been more critical as the number of vacant jobs continues to be ongoing. Great cultures also contribute to better results and efficiency and lower turnover.

Another inexpensive way to boost trust and visibility is to leverage your customer reviews. Reputation can mean everything, especially for a small-business owner trying to attract and retain customers. You want to tell customers that your business is trustworthy, ethical and transparent -- and what better way to illustrate that story than through online customer reviews.

Another important business builder is investing in the community. By giving back or helping your neighbors, you can build relationships and show that your company takes pride in the community.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Consider getting more involved in your area. It's a great way to strengthen your company's reputation. Don't be shy in showing how your brand is committed to helping make a difference.

Last but not least, make exercising transparency and establishing trust a priority. Operating with openness builds relationships that turn curious browsers into buyers and buyers into raving fans.

This also builds trust and customer trust, and satisfaction can make or break any business. In an era of the internet flooded with information about every product or service, finding a way to establish a trust foothold in a competitive market will give your business a step up over the competition.

• Steve J. Bernas is president and CEO of the BBB of Chicago & Northern Illinois. He can be reached at sbernas@chicago.bbb.org.

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