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5 Reasons Setting Customer Expectations Goes a Long Way

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There are a lot of different things that go into starting and operating a business. You need a product or service that can sell and a team that can distribute it. You need marketing campaigns, a customer service plan, and financial planning. All of these things are important, but there are nitty-gritty details, like customer expectations, that can be easily overlooked that can throw your entire plan into disarray.


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One overlooked aspect of running a business is managing expectations. This isn’t likely to be a bolded item on your “how to be the perfect CEO” Powerpoint presentation. However, that doesn’t make it any less important just because it’s not talked about enough. Customer expectations can have an enormous impact on the success of your company, for better or for worse.

Expectations come in many shapes and forms. There are expectations for quality, time, appearance, customer service, and just about everything in between. Customer expectations greatly affect the decision to shop with your business as opposed to your direct competitors.

In this article, we’ll discuss why you should set customer expectations and why it will be beneficial to do so. Additionally, we’ll touch on some of the things that can go wrong when you don’t properly set customer expectations as you develop client relationships. The way you set and manage expectations is an important aspect of running a business, so let’s get right into it:

1. Keeps Customers Accountable

There is a considerable demographic of consumers that will try to get away with as much as they can. They’ll seek out every possible loophole that works to their benefit. Anything that isn’t explicitly explained or detailed in your company policy can be skewed heavily in their favor if you’re not careful.

Setting customer expectations before you even develop a client relationship can prevent too much tomfoolery from happening. What you’re doing is using clear expectations to keep customers accountable to themselves and to you. Even as a one-time customer, you are developing a relationship with a company, and there are expectations that both sides need to meet in order for transactions and partnerships to be properly executed.

Let’s use a return policy as an example. Many companies establish a 30-day window for products to be returned after purchase. If your expectation is clearly stated to be a month-long time period for possible returns, your customers will be expected to follow that policy. Set that expectation from the start, and you’ll have a lot fewer calls and complaints about trying to return an item well past the 30-day limit.

2. Predicts and Anticipates Needs

Customers can be a needy bunch. You won’t be able to provide one hundred percent foolproof, satisfactory performance to every consumer within a 500-mile radius. However, you can do your best to take care of every client and customer by using expectations to predict and anticipate their most common needs.

A common expectation being set is the delivery time required for companies to ship their products to a customer’s doorstep. If you don’t provide an estimate to your customers at the time of purchase, they’ll come up with their own expectations. Their prediction might be significantly faster than what you’re capable of doing, and they could be setting themselves up for disappointment when your deliveries don’t reach Amazon Prime levels.

Knowing this, you can maintain customer expectations by anticipating the needs that may arise. When someone buys something from you online, you can typically assume they want their purchases completed and shipped as soon as possible. You should be ready to address possible delays due to common errors such as payment problems and address mix-ups.

3. Maintains a Realistic Outlook

When you are able to set customer expectations from the very start, you are able to maintain a realistic outlook. Not all expectations are realistic, especially when many situations are left up to interpretation. If you let vague responses and information take hold, customers may build up expectations to be impossibly high and still hope that you can meet them.

Let’s go back to that return policy. If this policy is made well-known to your customers, they know exactly what to expect if they choose to make a return. This includes opportunities to receive a refund and a timetable for a second delivery if applicable. If these expectations are not set clearly, customers will attempt to make demands that could be unreasonable.

What you need to remember is to stick to the expectations you set. You can’t offer a money-back guarantee and try to weasel your way out of it every time a customer tries to take advantage of the deal. The more you stick to your word, the greater the relationship and brand image you will develop with consumers.

4. Establishes Consistency

One thing customers love to see in the brands they shop with is consistency. Knowing exactly what you’re getting out of a company makes it easier to develop a long-term relationship with them. If you’re never sure about the quality of the service you’ll get, you might as well seek out different options that provide stability.

This concept can be clearly seen at hair salons. People can be very particular about how they get their hair done. When selecting a hair salon, they have expectations that need to be met for them to want to return. If you can set and meet those expectations, your customer retention rates will be through the roof. After all, you won’t want to visit a hair salon that cuts your hair a different style at every visit.

These sorts of expectations come through performance. You can’t set high expectations for your products and services if you’re unable to meet them consistently. Top brands have the expectations they do because they have a long track record of success. People expect high-quality products on a consistent basis from Nike, Apple, and Tesla because they’ve shown they are capable of setting and meeting those expectations.

5. Set Expectations Can Be Exceeded

Perhaps the greatest reason to set expectations for your business is so you can exceed them. You should obviously aim for high expectations, but keeping them reasonable means you can go above and beyond from time to time. Customers who feel like their expectations have been exceeded will be blown away.

You can’t feasibly exceed expectations for every single customer. This can be taxing financially, emotionally, and physically, depending on your industry. However, it’s nice to know that if you need to appease a customer or land a major client, you have a list of quality expectations and the capability to push them to their limit when deemed necessary.

For example, you could pay the extra fee for overnight shipping on your deliveries, but you set customer expectations at three days. If you really needed to, you could pay the few that would speed up delivery, such as a replacement for a defective product or a large purchase that can put your small business on the map.

We all have expectations for everything we do, whether we actively set them or not. When operating a business, you have expectations for yourself and your company. Your customers also have expectations of you. While some of these expectations are out of your control, you can manipulate them in your favor. Setting customer expectations allows you to serve your community to the best of your abilities accurately.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Tim Douglas; Pexels; Thank you!

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Better Chip Stock in 2023: AMD vs. STM

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While the last year has been challenging for the chip makers, the outlook for the industry is improving. Moreover, lucrative government initiatives are expected to strengthen the industry further. So, quality stocks Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and STMicroelectronics (STM) could witness stable growth. But which is the better buy in 2023? Let’s find out.

The semiconductor industry witnessed significant supply chain disruptions in 2022. However, according to Peter Voser, the chairman of Swedish-Swiss tech and engineering giant ABB, the global shortage of semiconductors is expected to ease this year.

Moreover, the CHIPS Act is expected to bolster the industry further. It allocates $52.70 billion for American semiconductor research, development, manufacturing, and workforce development. Lucrative federal investments are expected to help the semiconductor industry thrive in the upcoming terms. The global semiconductor industry is projected to grow at a CAGR of 7% until 2030.

Therefore, quality stocks Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) and STMicroelectronics N.V. (STM) are expected to gain significantly. AMD and STM are popular chip makers operating globally.

AMD has gained 16% over the past month, while STM has gained 32.8%. Also, AMD has lost 20.5% over the past three months, while STM has gained 24.5%.

Which stock is a buy? Let’s find out.

Latest Developments

On December 1, 2022, AMD and Viettel High Tech (Member of Viettel Group) announced the successful completion of a 5G mobile network field trial deployment. This collaboration for advanced 5G connection deployment is expected to be strategically beneficial for both companies.

On the other hand, on January 30, 2023, STM launched the world’s first MCU Edge-AI Developer Cloud.

Ricardo De Sa Earp, Executive Vice President of General-Purpose Microcontroller Sub-Group, STM, said, “Our goal is to deliver the best hardware, software, and services to meet the challenges faced by embedded developers and data scientists so that they can develop their edge AI application faster and with less hassle.”

Recent Financial Results

AMD’s revenue came in at $5.60 billion for the fourth quarter that ended December 31, 2022, up 16% year-over-year. However, its non-GAAP operating income came in at $1.26 billion, down 5% year-over-year. Also, its non-GAAP net income decreased marginally year-over-year to $1.11 billion, while its non-GAAP EPS decreased 25% year-over-year to $0.69.

On the other hand, STM’s net revenues came in at $4.42 billion for the quarter that ended December 31, 2022, up 24.4% year-over-year. Its net income increased 66.6% year-over-year to $1.25 billion, while its EPS increased 61% year-over-year to $1.32.

Past and Expected Financial Performance

AMD’s revenue is expected to increase 5.1% year-over-year to $24.71 billion for the current fiscal year 2023, while its EPS is expected to increase 2% year-over-year to $3.58 for the same period. Moreover, its EPS is expected to rise 14.3% per annum for the next five years. Also, it surpassed EPS estimates in three of four trailing quarters.

On the other hand, STM’s revenue is expected to increase 6% year-over-year to $17.10 billion for the fiscal year 2023 and 4.8% year-over-year to $17.92 billion for the next fiscal year 2024. Its EPS is expected to increase 7.7% year-over-year to $4.36 in 2024. Moreover, its EPS is expected to rise 5% per annum for the next five years. In addition, it surpassed EPS estimates in all four trailing quarters.

Profitability

AMD’s gross profit margin of 50.95% is higher than STM’s 47.34%. However, AMD’s EBITDA and net income margins of 24.30% and 9.96% are lower than STM’s 34.76% and 24.55%, respectively. Also, AMD’s ROE, ROA, and ROTC of 7.37%, 2.26%, and 5.72% are lower than STM’s 36.00%, 20.34%, and 20.13%, respectively.

Valuation

In terms of forward EV/Sales, AMD’s 4.85x is higher than STM’s 2.41x. Its forward EV/EBITDA of 14.93x is 114.8% higher than STM’s 6.95x. Furthermore, AMD’s forward P/E of 66.92x compares with STM’s 11.06x.

Thus, STM is relatively more affordable.

POWR Ratings

STM has an overall rating of A, equating to Strong Buy in our proprietary POWR Ratings system. On the other hand, AMD has an overall rating of D, which translates to Sell. The POWR Ratings are calculated considering 118 different factors, with each factor weighted to an optimal degree.

STM has a B grade for Quality. Its trailing-12-month CAPEX/Sales of 19.57% is 679.5% higher than the industry average of 2.51%.

On the other hand, AMD has a D grade for Quality. Its trailing-12-month CAPEX/Sales of 1.80% is lower than the industry average.

In addition, STM has a C grade for Stability, in sync with its beta of 1.30. On the other hand, AMD has an F grade for Stability, with its beta of 1.98.

Of the 92-stock Semiconductor & Wireless Chip industry, STM is ranked #2, while AMD is ranked #88.

Beyond what we’ve stated above, we have also rated the stocks for Growth, Value, Momentum, and Sentiment. Click here to view STM Ratings. Get all AMD ratings here.

The Winner

The supply chain issues in the semiconductor industry are expected to ease this year, which should boost production. Given the steady prospects of the industry, quality stocks STM and AMD should benefit. However, STM’s better financials and attractive valuations make it the better buy here.

Our research shows that the odds of success increase when one invests in stocks with an Overall Rating of Strong Buy or Buy. View all the top-rated stocks in the Semiconductor & Wireless Chip industry here.

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STM shares rose $0.16 (+0.34%) in premarket trading Wednesday. Year-to-date, STM has gained 32.75%, versus a 6.29% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.


About the Author: Riddhima Chakraborty

Riddhima is a financial journalist with a passion for analyzing financial instruments. With a master’s degree in economics, she helps investors make informed investment decisions through her insightful commentaries.

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The post Better Chip Stock in 2023: AMD vs. STM appeared first on StockNews.com

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These Co-Founders Built a Mobile Farmers Market With a Mission

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“The world was in shambles,” Prosperity Market co-founder Carmen Dianne says, recalling the pandemic and social unrest of 2020. “It was really hard to see everything that was happening, to know that 41% of Black-owned businesses were closing. The grocery store lines were so long, just getting food was even more difficult than it had been previously.”

Dianne and her friend Kara Still didn’t want to stand by amid the tumult — so they took action.

To address the economic instability and food insecurity facing the Black community, the Los Angeles-based duo co-founded Prosperity Market, a mobile farmers market featuring Black farmers, food producers, entrepreneurs, artists, florists and chefs.

At the time, neither Dianne nor Still had experience in the food industry. Dianne was a makeup artist; Still worked as a fashion designer. Yet coming into the food space “with fresh eyes” has been advantageous for the co-founders, who’ve been ready to question and challenge things from the start.

Entrepreneur sat down with Dianne and Still to learn how they built Prosperity Market while navigating an industry that was entirely new to them — and hear about the exciting initiative they have planned next.

Related: Sorel Liqueur’s Founder Shares His Multi-Million-Dollar Comeback

Black business owners suffered the greatest earnings losses during the Covid-19 pandemic.

More than 800,000 Los Angeles County households (almost a quarter of the total), experienced food insecurity over the 12 months ending July 2022, up from 17% in 2021, according to a study released by Public Exchange.

And a report from the U.S. Small Business Administration found that Black business owners suffered the greatest earnings losses during the Covid-19 pandemic: They lost between 11% and 28% while white business owners saw decreases in the 2-15% range.

Dianne and Still came up with a two-pronged approach to tackle the problems of food insecurity and economic instability in the LA area. They’d take healthful and affordable food options directly into the communities that needed them — and partner with Black businesses and farmers to make it happen.

The co-founders’ vision was clear from the start: They wanted to launch a mobile trailer, largely inspired by Dianne’s days as a makeup artist on set, where snack trailers were common, to transport the products to local communities.

But as newcomers to the food space, they had to contend with unknowns along the way, and they soon realized that such an ambitious endeavor would require the kind of funding that would only come once they started to prove themselves. That’s when they landed on the idea for the pop-up markets.

The co-founders consider the required pivot a “blessing in disguise,” as it allowed them to familiarize themselves with the market, connect with vendors and build relationships with different communities.

Image credit: Courtesy of Prosperity Market

Related: The 10 Best Books for Black Entrepreneurs, by Black Entrepreneurs

“Because we hadn’t intended to start this, it wasn’t like we had a business savings fund.”

In the first six months after they came up with the idea for Prosperity Market, the co-founders had to learn how to do it all — from getting permits to finding funding.

“[Funding] took some figuring out,” Still says, “because we hadn’t intended to start this, it wasn’t like we had a business savings fund. So really what it looked like once we were getting started was friends and family outreach.”

The inaugural market opened in February 2021, and in the lead-up to launch, Dianne and Still prepared relentlessly, researching everything from farmers to food to economics.

Dianne and Still also crafted an aesthetic to help Prosperity Market stand apart from traditional farmers markets. “[Our creative backgrounds] informed our branding and the experience that we want to create, and the theme, continuity and way we show up,” Still explains.

But one thing the co-founders hadn’t banked on? Just how difficult it would be to find Black farmers.

“It was like, Okay, we need more Black-owned businesses,” Dianne says. “We need essential Black-owned businesses — we’ll find Black farmers. And then we had trouble doing that, and we had to learn about the history of Black farmers and why it was this way. So that added another layer to our work.”

Image credit: Courtesy of Prosperity Market

Related: 6 Ways to Offer Allyship to Black Entrepreneurs

“You can get your hot food and shop for your groceries and produce all at the same time.”

Through it all, the co-founders’ dedication, flexibility and creativity have helped Prosperity Market gain traction and find success.

As word about Prosperity Market spread, friends and family continued to support Dianne and Still’s venture — and so did their other fans. In 2022, the co-founders launched a crowdfunding campaign on the platform Fund Black Founders with the help of a grant from the JLH Social Impact Fund.

It was a triumph and allowed them to raise enough money to fund the mobile trailer they’d dreamed up at the beginning of their journey.

“That was such a transformational experience for us,” Dianne says. “It taught us a lot. It is not for the faint of heart, let me tell you, but we did it: We raised over $111,000 for our mobile trailer.”

The long-awaited trailer will be 48 feet long with a farmers market that’s set up to look like a produce aisle with shelves full of goods, and a kitchen in the back, which Prosperity Market will rent out to different chefs and food entrepreneurs.

“So it’s a pop-up food truck all in one trailer,” Dianne says. “You can get your hot food and shop for your groceries and produce all at the same time.”

Image credit: Courtesy of Prosperity Market

Related: Black Women Entrepreneurs, Not Banks, Helped Me Keep My Company Going During the Pandemic

“It takes something to be able to pull yourself up every day, no matter how things are going.”

As the co-founders look to Prosperity Market’s exciting future, they consider capacity one of the greatest hurdles they’ll have to overcome.

“We have all the ideas in the world,'” Dianne says. “There’s so much we want to do, but then [we] have to execute it, and we just need more operating capital.”

“Because everything takes time,” Still adds. “You write it down, plan it out, strategize and then [it takes] time to actually execute, and there’s always things that come up, and with such a small team, we can only do so much at once.”

The road to Prosperity Market has had its twists and turns, teaching the co-founders the value of practicing patience every day in all areas of their lives.

“You’ll need patience with that vision, patience with all of the different types of people that you’ll be working with and patience with yourself,” Still explains, “because it is not an easy process. It takes something to be able to pull yourself up every day, no matter how things are going, because no one makes your schedule but you.”

It also underscored the importance of having a solid support system along the way.

“We have great mentors and advisors and people we can go to when we get stumped with something,” Dianne says. “We have a supportive community of people who want to see us win. And if it was not for that, I don’t know that we would be continuing this.”

Prosperity Market will hold its next market on Saturday, February 25, 2023, its second anniversary, at the California African American Museum. Its virtual market will be open the week before the pop-up to provide an opportunity to pre-order online and schedule a pick-up at the market or satellite location.

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You’re Not Shadowbanned — Your Content Just Isn’t Working.

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

If you’re anything like me, the phrase “I’m shadowbanned” keeps you up at night. It’s like a bad dream that keeps recurring. Those sleepless nights are not due to the gravity of the client’s situation, but because of what the likely scenario actually is.

As the world changes, so do algorithms. Platforms push out native content when the data informs them that this is something that needs to be seen by more users. What does that mean for a content creator? Yesterday’s content strategy may not apply to today. As people adapt and grow, their need for different consumable content changes, too.

At my company, Innovo, we’re constantly being asked to reach out to our reps at the respective social media platforms to have clients’ accounts assessed for any potential marks causing lower viewership. In our experience, 9 times out of 10, the content is underperforming due to the content itself.

Of course, there are situations where a client is actually being throttled by Instagram or TikTok due to a violation the creator may or may not have been aware of, but more often than not, the best course of action to overcome the “shadowban scaries” is to pivot your content and keep going. Thanks to the rapid spreading of this mythical scapegoat for low viewership, it’s easy to get convinced that what is happening to you is just that.

Sift through Google for five minutes and you’ll see a mountain of “social media gurus” telling you how to “fix” a shadowban. Let’s break down a couple of ways to refocus your thinking and break past this antiquated and overused excuse.

Related: It’s Easy to Avoid a Dreaded Instagram Shadowban. Just Don’t Act Like a Bot.

The zoom out approach

I preach this macro-driven thought process for most things in business. It’s especially relevant in the case of social media. With the advent of TikTok, brands and content creators of all niches worry about the individual video’s success. By focusing on such a micro-target, it’s extremely easy to get caught up in low viewership, low engagement and, ultimately, believe you’re shadowbanned.

If you retrain your mindset to think about the data on a zoomed-out approach, it’s much easier to see the impact of staying relentlessly consistent. Review content and metrics on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis to determine if growth is occurring. Chances are, despite an individual video underperforming, macro growth is still happening. If it’s not, then it’s time to adjust the actual style of content and posting schedule.

Don’t be afraid to pivot

Especially with short-form content avenues such as TikTok, Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts, pivoting is vital to long-term success.

I like to do an exercise when thinking about content where I first create an understanding of my top-of-funnel content bucket. This is something as wide as sports, food, beauty, etc. (Note: If you’re struggling with this, you’re not ready to start creating yet). Then I put two minutes on a timer and write as many sub-content buckets off of that first topic. For example, let’s say I’m a food creator. Things like food reviews, unexpected but great food combinations, home-cooked meals vs. restaurant versions, etc. Those buckets should be a mix of what you’re already creating as well as new ideas.

As one type of content is no longer performing, take slight pivots and adjust the content to stay in the overall broad topic (in this case, cooking), but change the specific content within that. You can also consider keeping similar videos to what you’re currently doing but changing the actual video style, such as switching from text-on-screen to narration or from POV to a selfie video. You can always revert back to your old ways and do a mix of several ideas, but we’ve found not being afraid to pivot is an extremely effective way to continued success with short-form content. Stagnation means death.

Related: I Built a Social Media Following of 1 Million in 30 Days. Here’s How You Can, Too.

Build with intention

As you’re gaining traction and strategizing how you’re going to create and when you’re going to post, it’s important to continue focusing on building with intention. There are tons of companies out there offering mass engagement on social platforms. While that may come off as enticing at first, cutting corners and being inauthentic will eventually damage your brand. We all want followers and higher engagement, but if you’re not focusing on the value-add to consumers and instead focusing on following and unfollowing thousands of accounts a day, you won’t sustain an audience.

Although shadowbanning isn’t as common as people think, the two below ways are the biggest drivers to actually seeing a temporary shadowban:

  1. Frequent spam-like engaging and following of accounts. Focus on organic and intentional growth. Engage with your audience and with potential consumers through hashtag searching and recommended content. Don’t mass-follow people hoping you get a follow back. This is a great way to receive a temporary decrease in reach.
  2. Follow the individual platforms’ Community Guidelines. Posting content that is not appropriate for general viewing will result in temporary bans (and can lead to permanent suspensions). These apps will automatically flag these kinds of videos and content moderation staff will then take a closer look at your profile.

In short, don’t post illegal or graphic content and don’t spam people. If you’re being intentional with what you create and how you grow, you likely aren’t shadowbanned and aren’t going to be.

Ultimately, it’s important to remember that users are distracted by other content as well as things happening in their everyday lives. Create content with that in mind and instead of trying to compete, carve out a unique differentiator for your accounts. It is your responsibility to build a safe environment for your followers, no one else’s. If you drift from that approach, you may receive an actual shadowban — but remember, in the case of checking all of the boxes, you’re probably not shadowbanned, it might just be time to make a change.

Related: How TikTok Changed the Social Media Game With Its Unique Algorithm

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