Becoming an entrepreneur is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences you could ever have. Between building something that is completely your own, growing with your founding team and more, there is a tremendous amount of benefits to being an entrepreneur. Yet, one of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to becoming an entrepreneur is you will never have another boss again - that you'll be a free man or woman until you eventually retire.
Yet, the truth is you actually have a higher number of "bosses" as an entrepreneur than almost all employees will ever have: your customers.
The second you become a business owner, your new boss becomes your customers. Why? Well, much like a traditional employer, customers have the power to hire and fire us by continuing to buy from us or go with a competitor instead. When a customer buys your products or services, they are essentially hiring you to do a very specific job or task for them.
By learning to be a great "employee" to your customers, they will appreciate your services and reward you with more time, attention and paychecks. If you're not serving them that great, you run the risk of your customers (your boss) moving forward with another candidate in the talent pool.
Want to make sure you keep your job for years to come? Here are 6 great places to start.
1) Listen to Your Customers
Above all, be sure to listen to your customers. Be attentive to their requests and needs so they will know you care about their thoughts and needs. Communication is key when it comes to any employee/employer relationship, and the customer/entrepreneur relationship is no different.
Keep in mind that having a customer is like having a boss who can, and most likely will, "fire" you after having just one sub-par interaction. With so many options available in the marketplace, one case of poor customer service, an offensive marketing campaign or something else can be enough for a customer to side with a competing business for good. Be mindful of this when engaging with your customers.
2) Give Your Customers a Chance to Offer Feedback
Another way to ensure you keep your employment with your customers is by giving them a chance to offer their honest feedback. Not only will this make your customers feel as if you're going above and beyond to keep them happy, but it will also enable you to know exactly what to improve on as an entrepreneur. To keep the analogy alive, think of customer feedback as your "quarterly evaluation" as their employee.
In addition to setting your business up on platforms like Yelp, Google Reviews and TripAdvisor, you can also take advantage of tools like SurveyMonkey to seamlessly get feedback on your products and services.
3) Show Your Customers You Are Invested in Them by Working Hard
When it comes to any type of employment, showing that you have loyalty and a deep investment in the company will go a long way when it comes to keeping your job. Because of this, it's important to always make sure your customers know you're working hard in all your products, services, marketing materials and more. In all you put out into the world, from your logo to your landing page to your products, show your customers you're "all in".
4) Take Advantage of UGC (User Generated Content)
Another way to highlight your talent as an employee of your customers is through social proofing. If you can showcase how well past customers enjoy your brand, it's only natural for prospective and current customers to follow suit. One easy way to do this is by leveraging user-generated content. This can be Instagram photos customers took while they were at your business, pictures posted on your Yelp account or something else related.
With these photos, publish them on your own company's Instagram account and other social media profiles. People trust other people more than they do advertisements, so if they see customers being happy and enjoying your business, it's very likely that they'll believe them and perceive your business as credible.
5) Build a Community
One of the simplest yet most effective ways to show how much you care about your customers is by establishing a community affiliated with your brand in which they can become involved. This will inevitably lead to an increased sense of brand loyalty among your customers. To begin the process of creating community, create a Facebook Group, Slack channel or meetup group related to your industry where your customers can meet one another.
6) Answer Your Customers By Publishing Content
Customers, just like entrepreneurs, are busy people. By acknowledging this and making it easy for them to have their questions answered without having to pick up the phone and dial customer service, you'll keep them happy. Start by publishing content on your company blog, Medium profile or somewhere else that answers all of the frequently asked questions your customers may have.
Gary Vaynerchuk, serial entrepreneur and marketing mogul, often discusses how despite what others may think, he actually has thousands of bosses: his employees and his customers.
The same can be said for you. By keeping your boss happy, you'll put yourself in a terrific position to keep your job for many years, and using the tactics laid out in this article is a great place to start.