As I waited outside the barber’s shop, I looked up at the entrance and saw a sheet of paper taped to the glass door. On it was a phone number- the barbers’. However, it was a 10-digit number; the last digit was missing. Staring hard, I noticed the missing digit was actually there, but was hidden away from view by some other piece of information that had been taped to the door. I sat there wondering the number of people that would have needed the barber’s services and got to the door only to find an incomplete number which made it unable to contact him.
As insignificant as this error may seem to you, it is by no means so. That the barber had actually put up that number in the first place means he probably understood that there would be times when people who didn’t have his contact would be at his door when he wasn’t around, and would need to reach him. But Mr. Barber, how can they reach you when the last digit of your phone number is hiding behind that sticker?
This oversight happens to even the best of us. As business owners we need to regularly check all our marketing materials to ensure nothing is out of place.
Entrepreneurs, let’s dust out the cobwebs. Here are a few checks you need to make.
Your Business Stationery
Entrepreneurs who have been in business for many years are more prone to business card errors. You started business in 2009 as a Make-up artiste and you printed your business cards listing your services as “wedding makeup, gele-tying, makeup training, skin-care consultation, Event-planning.” Three years later, you have stopped offering makeup and gele-tying services, all you do now is event planning. However, you still pass around your business card that lists all those services you have stopped providing. Now and again, a prospect calls your phone line to book your makeup services and you keep saying “ermm… … I’m sorry, I don’t do makeup anymore, only event planning.”
You go to a networking event, or bump into an old friend, and you exchange cards, next thing they are referring their friends to you for your makeup services which you don’t run anymore, only for them to call you saying Shakira gave them your contact and you have to give them the sorry line. How tacky is that?
Check your business card. Is the business name on it the same one you are using now, or have you changed it?
Are the services listed on it still the same services you offer? Do you have Veterinary Doctor written, when what you do now is Pet sales? Do you have additional services that are not written out on the card?
Is the office address on it still the same address you occupy? Do you have Obele-Oniwahala street on it, when you have moved to Adeola Odeku street? When you printed your cards your office was number 38, after the last house re-numbering by the government, your number was changed to 42. Is it the old number 38 that’s on your card? You don’t want to have clients looking for you at number 38 and instead of your eye-clinic they find a dentist’ place. A friend of mine who is a marketing executive went looking for her client whose office was supposedly at number 54 in a certain market premise, alas, what she found at number 54 wasn’t her client’s office. Apparently, that was his old address. Now you don’t need these errors in your business, do you?
Or your business card reads “Eleke crescent” which is now Walter Carrington crescent, and your prospective clients go out trying to locate Eleke crescent which no longer exists?
Check your office phone number. You printed your stationery back in the days when NITEL lines were functional, now they’ve been wiped out but your card still lists that NITEL number as one of your office lines. No way! The only numbers on your card should be the ones that are valid. Customers shouldn’t be calling non-existent lines and wondering why they never get through to you.
Some years ago, I headed the administrative office in an organization. I remember my boss calling me out for still making use of office stationery that had old, non-functional phone and fax numbers. He found this totally unacceptable, and asked that I call in the printers to produce new stationery with the current office details. At this time, we still had thousands of un-used stationery, but because he was one who always paid attention to the tiniest of details, he couldn’t continue with the flawed documents. By the way, why do you have a fax-number on your card when it doesn’t work?
Next check you need to make is your signage. Are the details up to date? You shouldn’t have a sign above your office, with the inscription ‘Chic-Choc House of Chocolates’ when what you now have inside is a florist’s store. No, I didn’t come for flowers; I came to buy a box of chocolates for my girlfriend! Your sign must indicate the accurate business name and service.
Many times I see signs with some letters fallen off from the board. Where there used to be eye clinic, there’s now “e clinic” (with the ‘ye’ in eye gone). Sometimes you might find an alphabet that has turned upside down. This is not acceptable. Has any part of the information on your sign been washed off or distorted by the wind or rain? Fix this.
Your Company Brochure/Flyer
Read through your brochure/flyer. Confirm that every detail is accurate and up-to-date, else, you’ve got to edit and reprint. You will not have the opportunity to explain to everyone who gets the promotional materials that “sorry, we no longer provide personal home fumigation services, we only serve corporate customers now.” Be wary of ‘typos’! No sort of typographical error should exist in your materials. Set a standard for yourself, whether you are a legal practitioner, fashion stylist, or cleaner!
There is dignity in labour, it is the standard you set for yourself and business that determines how you will be perceived and regarded.
Your website is your online location, while your office is your offline location. The same way you don’t want your clients knocking on your office doors and finding no one, you don’t want them visiting your website and not finding the information you claim is available.
Visitors to your site shouldn’t click on an information link only to find it’s a dead-end containing no content. For instance, I recently visited a company website and clicked on the link titled ‘our services’ it didn’t direct me to any information. Nothing came up.
Regularly click on all links and pages on your website to ensure they are up and running. Also ensure your website address is correctly listed in all your stationery and promotional materials.
These checks may seem unnecessary to you, but trust me, they are highly important. Errors in any of these categories can reduce the number of customers you could have had. It can affect the way your business is perceived- you don’t want prospective customers thinking of your business as ‘just there’. They should see your business as exceptional.
Dear entrepreneur, perfection is not an option; it is a mark of excellence. It is a must-have, and traits of perfection are found in the little things that count.
Photo Credit: www.ebony.com
Like you, sales and marketing coach and consultant Bukola Olayemi has seen many businesses fail in their ultimate aim of selling their products/services. She works with small-businesses and entrepreneurs that are stuck in this low-sales maze, helping them get more customers and make bigger sales, faster than they thought possible.