In an effort to provide our readers with insightful content geared toward growing business and boosting profits, the Professional Carwashing & Detailing team is excited to launch our new weekly roundup of business best practices, Wash Wisdom. Each week, our editors will deliver information on the latest trends, technology, tips and techniques aimed at helping investors, owners and operators enhance their operations.

In this week’s edition of Wash Wisdom, learn more about qualities to look for in a small business adviser, how to save on costs with technology and how to build strong relationships with customers.

What qualities to look for in a small business adviser

For most small businesses, regardless of the type of industry, finding someone to offer advice from the startup phase to the scale-up phase can help increase chances of success. In the article, “4 Key Qualities to Look for in a Small Business Advisor,” featured on Inc.’s website, contributor John Boitnott discusses what business owners should look for when trying to choose an adviser/consultant. Boitnott offers the following four qualities:

  • A coaching mentality. A good small business adviser or consultant will approach the job from a coaching standpoint, making sure the owner gains the skills needed to flourish.
  • A background in small business. Many advisers might be more familiar working with large businesses; make sure to find an adviser/consultant who understands the unique challenges small businesses face — especially car care businesses.
  • A long-term way of thinking. The right small business adviser/consultant should work toward helping business owners identify long-term goals as well as set smaller goals to help keep them on track.
  • A similar set of values. Find an adviser/consultant who shares your values; Boitnott notes in the article that if you value integrity over winning at all costs, don’t go with an adviser who doesn’t agree with this mentality.

Read the entire article here.

How businesses can use technology to cut costs

Finding a way to cut back on costs while increasing profits is a goal for any business owner. Featured on Business 2 Community’s website, contributor Maricel Rivera discusses how small businesses can save money through technology in the article “5 Ways Small Businesses Can Save on Costs Using Technology.” Rivera notes the following:

  • Marketing and advertising. Today, spending money on marketing is vital in order to compete, especially in such a competitive industry such as carwashing. When it comes to cost-effective marketing, Rivera turns to WordStream, which offers the following suggestions in the article: Publish great content; create instructional videos; repurpose old content; be active on social media; and craft a customer referral program.
  • Overhead expenses. Small expenses may go unnoticed at first; however, these expenses can end up causing some serious harm to a business’ bottom line. In the article, Rivera offers the following ways to help counter small expenses: Go paperless; use VoIP services instead of traditional phone systems; get a better deal on insurance; consider bundling services, such as site maintenance, web development and hosting, from the same provider; weed out any unnecessary business subscriptions and memberships;
  • Travel. If you have to travel for business, such as attending industry trade shows, Rivera shares the following tips in the article: Use a fuel price app to locate gas stations with the best prices; find the most affordable, high-quality parts if needed when traveling by car; find cheap parking options by utilizing helpful apps, such as SpotHero, ParkWhiz and BestParking; and use sites, such as Yelp, Google Places and TripAdviser, to find hotels and restaurants offering great deals.
  • Hiring. Finding quality employees is no time to penny-pinch — especially considering the money lost to recruiting, training, turnover and lost productivity when an employee doesn’t work out. However, if it is suitable for your business, you can turn to job platforms such as Freelancer or Upwork to find temporary employees. Or, going through a recruiter may help to cut back on turnover.
  • Free software. There are tons of free software available to small businesses, such as project, social media and time management platforms. Rivera notes in the article some popular free software, including: MailChimp for email marketing, Google Drive for document management and Hootsuite for social media management.

You can find the article here.

4 ways to enhance your customer relationships

In the article “The Key to a Happy, Healthy Relationship With Your Customers,” featured on Entrepreneur’s website, contributor David Royce discusses how businesses can cultivate strong relationships with customers. Royce shares the following four tips:

  • Be flexible. Allowing your front-line employees to have exceptions to the rules, by creating a means for which workers can exceed expectations, will in turn make customers feel special. Permitting your employees to be creative within the parameters of your business’ core values, states Royce in the article, will help build a strong customer base by providing customers with a more honest and enjoyable experience.
  • Work together. “Your bottom line is never about money — it’s about your relationship with your customers,” asserts Royce in the article. When you encounter any issues with your business, ask yourself it it’s a recurring problem, and if it’s important enough to a large portion of your customers that it needs to be addressed; if so, make the changes immediately to improve customer satisfaction.
  • Incentivize feedback. Turning to customer feedback is a critical way to make the right adjustments to your business. You most often will find comments from either top advocates for your business or very angry customers; however, it’s important to hone in on the customers in the middle. Focusing on these middle-spectrum patrons can help ensure they become lifelong customers. Try incentivizing feedback by offering discounts or specials when customers’ take satisfaction surveys and/or tell you how they feel about your business.
  • Cut off negativity. It’s important to know that it’s OK to set customers free when you have gone the extra mile to keep them happy and it’s still not enough. Sometimes the customer isn’t always right, and constantly offering them freebies or discounts when they are unhappy isn’t helping your bottom line.

Check out this entire article here.