Today I am on a rant.  Face it…I love to support small business and look for opportunities whenever possible, to purchase from, book with, and support the Canadian entrepreneur.

Owner-operator businesses can be fun, original, and very, very good at what they do.  They can be caring, and because they are hands-on, can be pro-active, responsive, and one step ahead of trend.

They can also be the most frustrating to deal with.  Recently, I was looking for an event location for a birthday party.  I did an Internet search and came up with 3 ideal locations that were unique and well-suited to my needs.  It is important to note here that all three locations are small and unique hospitality businesses that are run by owner-operators.

All three of the company websites gave me an email address to send an inquiry to.   Emails were sent and only one responded with a call…five days later.  I was promised menus by day-end.  It has now been two weeks.  There is still no email with menus, nor has the fellow called me back to see what I thought of the menus or if he could book me.

As I was really interested in booking with them, I called one of the other locations twice more and left messages with their voicemail.  Here we are two weeks later and still no calls or emails back.

In my opinion the average customer today wouldn’t have even made the additional call as they would have expected an email response right away. People don’t wait; they move on. How many potential customers and how much money are we leaving on the table because the follow-up is poor or non-existent?

Here’s a suggestion to the business owner.   Get an outside person to email or call your business and have them make some inquiries.  Find out what the response time is, what your people are saying, and what they aren’t doing. Create a follow-up plan, train to it, and monitor it for success.  I guarantee you that there is money to be made by efficient follow-up.  Do it right because your competitors aren’t!