How to Survive as a Small Business in a Big Business World
Greetings! I hope you have been having a beautiful and romantic summer. New York has had a very hot and humid summer, but I’ve been making the most of it! I recently read a post from a friend on Facebook about consumers being difficult on businesses via Yelp reviews, and I felt compelled to write a post that I hope inspires all small business owners who are trying to stay afloat among big dominating businesses.
I absolutely believe in everyone’s right to voice their opinion. It’s what is so great about living in this country—our right to free speech. I can, as a citizen of the United States of America, say whatever is on my mind without being punished for it. It is a right that I do not take for granted.
I come from a world of customer service—retail particularly. I have lived and breathed in this industry since I was a teenager. In this industry (as with most), the customer is always right. There are no if’s, and’s or butt’s about it. It is the business’ responsibility to assure that each and everyone of their customers are satisfied. This is how a company grows and thrives. As a consumer however, we have a responsibility as well. That responsibility is to be fair. When I see scathing reviews on businesses on Yelp, I cringe. Consumers are often aware of the fact that behind every negative experience lies multiple reasons that have lead up to that unfortunate circumstance. For example, you walk into a highly reviewed restaurant on a bad night. You receive extremely poor service, and this has ruined your dining experience. You go home, and you write a furious review, hoping to turn every potential customer away from this establishment. Think about this though: perhaps the server waiting on you was having a bad night. Maybe they are going through personal problems, which affects their ability to properly serve you. You have just written a review that has potentially turned away hundreds, or even thousands of potential customers from this business. If this was a chain restaurant, that review wouldn’t really affect the business. However, as a small business owner, I see the struggles and difficulties of running a small business. It is not easy. That review you’ve just written has not only affected that business, it could even shut down that business in the long run. It doesn’t make sense to be that vengeful that you would want to ruin someone’s life over a negative experience. Think about this before you write your next scathing review. My recommendation? Go straight to the source. Report to the highest form of management, or even the owner yourself. Express your displeasure. I am sure that the business would be understanding enough to rectify the situation so that it doesn’t affect their business. Understand how difficult it is to be a small business in a big business world. I implore you to be fair.
Coming from an industry of customer service, I understand how important it is as a small business owner for all of my customers to be happy. I do my absolute best to ensure this, but naturally there are hiccups along the way. With every business, I deal with difficult clients who have high big business expectations for a small business company. Not only am I in an industry that is demanding, but I work in an industry dominated by large companies that can afford to take a hit, whereas I am not. Dolly Pearl is a work in progress, and I am aware that it is a learning process. My advice to small business owners? Fall, and get back up again. Do your best to ensure that your clients are happy, and don’t allow one scathing review to bring you down. Work harder. You’ve worked this hard to get to where you are, and you know it’s not easy. Keep chasing the dream and keep climbing. I have my rainy days too, but I choose not to let the rain & clouds ruin my sunny disposition.
X & O