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Build your leadership capabilities while growing your business

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Opinion holder entrepreneur Contributors are their own.

Emily Washcovick, Yelp’s small business expert behind the Review host, shares this week’s podcast episode.

uncommon closet

When building a small business, most owners see business expansion as a clear indicator of success. Bigger is better. More clients bring more revenue. But rapid expansion can really hurt small businesses if not done right with the right tools and resources.

This is a lesson learned the hard way by Korri Burton-Universe, owner of custom clothing and tailoring resource Uncommon Closet. After a slump in 2020, business is starting to pick up again as weddings are rescheduled for 2021.

“Then 2021 comes and it’s like we have to take all our clients. No one can say no. Oh God. Now we’re drowning. It’s been really hard. I I ended up losing some of my keys. It was really hard. I upset a lot of people, and I’ll be honest about it.

Uncommon Closet lost several key staff members to burnout, but the assistant manager provided excellent feedback in his resignation letter, and Cori took the time to listen intently. This has resulted in some changes to the recruitment process and business management.

Korri said: We’ve narrowed down the talent we need and the kind of talent we’re looking for. I learned how to better communicate what I need. I understand what my staff needs and really coordinate the flow of work. I’ve gotten much better at it. ”

As a small business owner, you don’t have to have every answer to every problem. Collie has learned to lend his hand when problems arise and to help employees use their experience to help build a business.

“I have created a team atmosphere here. It goes something like this, “Hey, what do I need to do? How can I phrase this properly? How can I do this?”

Yelp reviewer Yvette C. came to Uncommon Closet and needed to make some changes to her wedding dress. A wedding dress is arguably one of the most important dresses a person can wear, and a proper fit is essential to both looking and feeling comfortable on the big day. The pressure can wear on her nerves at times, but the great service and her welcoming atmosphere made Yvette feel welcome and relaxed in the store.

“I have my own business, so customer service is big to me. I know what’s going on. Even if it’s fake, slap a smile on your face, It shouldn’t be difficult to create that customer. They feel like they had a quality experience, but at Uncommon Closet, everything is real,” says Yvette.

And their goal is to make everyone feel welcome as an LGBTQIA+ friendly company.

“I like to be candid about who we are. I want to talk very loudly and intentionally about being queer, about this being a queer space. This “It’s a safe space. It’s very important to me because I show my clients that. When they walk in the store, they can be who they want to be,” Cori said.

“It also shows people things don’t work out right away. If it doesn’t work out, it never works out. Rainbow storefronts joke that it’s a vibe detector check. If you get this far, you’re probably It should be fine”

Like most small business owners, reviews are both a blessing and a curse for Korri, but they take it with caution.

“I’ve learned that you can’t make everyone happy…and sometimes it’s really our fault and I admit it…and we just didn’t do something the right way.” , something can happen.”

But according to Yvette, you can’t just reply to negative or positive reviews with standard short answers.

“When you write a good review, [the response is] Usually just standard Thank you. Korri actually says thank you by saying, “Thank you for the nice review. We hope you’ll refer us to someone. It’s really helpful.I’m looking forward to seeing you.So I’m glad I got a little more.”

These strategic business lessons contributed to Uncommon Closet’s success. These other lessons can also be useful for small businesses.

  • Rapid business growth brings challenges. You may need to reduce your workload or hire new employees with specific skills.
  • Know where your experience gaps are and be transparent with your employees. They may be able to step in and offer advice.
  • Be proud of your identity. Creating an inclusive environment will help build your customer base and provide your patrons with a self-affirming experience.
  • Be careful when replying to reviews. The reviewer notices that the reviewer is writing a canned response to the reviewer.

Listen to the episode below to hear directly from Korri and Yvette and subscribe. behind the review Get more information from new business owners and reviewers every Thursday.

Available: Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Soundcloud