Welcome to my brain.
1. Create non-local Backups- You purchased an extra hard drive or a DVD burner to backup your hard work, great! If your main drive crashes or you accidentally delete something then you're covered. What happens though when your house catches fire or you're burglarized?
If you use an external drive or DVDs for backup make sure you keep a copy off-site. This is the ultimate insurance in case a massive loss occurs. Safety deposit boxes are good for this. If you're insistent on keeping your work in your own home or office then the least you can do is put it in a fireproof safe out of sight. The small ones are actually quite affordable.
Alternatively, there are numerous online backup services that allow you to upload your files right to them. Depending on the size and nature of your work this may also be an option.
2. Test Everything- If you have a page that is already working for you bringing in sales or subscribers then it is a veritable sin to change ANYTHING without some way of testing it.
Nothing on my sites get changed, not even the font size, without testing the results. I have run millions of visitors through my split-test software and recorded every move they make. But remember...nothing is constant. The tone of your letter, your personality, your market, your product and your visitors all effect results. Do not expect that just because something works once, it always will. It won't, that's why you test.
You've read the sales pages that boast that even a small change or tweak can bring massive results? It's true. BUT, you need to know what it was that caused these results or else you're just twisting in the wind. This is especially relevant when a change brings BAD results. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to discover just why conversions are in the toilet when you've made 10 changes that might have done it.
Test and track absolutely everything religiously.
3. Process All Refunds Immediately- I am downright mystified that some people on this forum go to great lengths and even brag about delaying refunds. 99% of the time this is a recipe for disaster.
Yes, we all know that many refund requests have no merit at all and people are basically ripping us off.
Why then give these same scumbags more ammunition to make your life miserable? If you refuse or delay a refund then one of these little weasels may waste their time posting negative reviews of you online or otherwise ruining your business. You also risk a chargeback which means you not only lose the sale but now you also pay a fee AND risk your relationship with your merchant provider.
There are certainly situations where refunds should not be honored but even in these cases it is still often worth it to simply refund and move on. How much emotional energy is that sale worth? Not much IMO.
Refunds are a normal part of business. Decide ahead of time what an acceptable refund rate is to you and strive to keep your numbers below that rate.
Nothing is more pathetic than someone who advertises a 100% refund guarantee and then brags about not giving them. Just click that button and move on to customers that are actually worth your time.
You will come across rare occasions where a fight is actually warranted- save your energy for them. Otherwise, refund.
4. Outsource Customer Service- If you want to age prematurely and start drinking- handle all your customer service by yourself.
I see a lot of people here proud that they are answering their own mails and spending hours with customers. At the beginning of a venture this has value, it helps you get a feel for prominent issues and customer feedback. After an initial push though, it just shows a disregard for the value of your time and will burn you out quickly.
90% of customer problems can be handled by others and you can save your energy for the 10% that might actually need your input.
When I first started selling products online 10 years ago I was one of the "proud" that "really cared" and spent stupid amounts of time answering emails and dealing with customer issues.
There is no scalability in this and it creates unrealistic expectations.
When I went from 1-2 sales every day or so to thousands of sales per month across multiple markets I nearly killed myself trying to deal with support stuff and my business suffered for it.
Even worse, if you spend an hour dealing with a customer and then a year later are unable to do so because of growth that same customer may feel jilted. It's best to start from the beginning with someone else dealing with support so there is an even expectation.
You can hire someone on a "per email" or "per ticket" basis and only pay them based on the amount of work they handle. When success permits you can get someone fulltime and also give them other responsibilities if warranted.
If you're absolutely bent on handling your own support, simply take up boxing. You'll still get the crap beat out of you but at least they wear gloves...
5. Play Chess- Chess originated as a military game...and business is war. (it can certainly bear many resemblances at least)
Chess is a fantastic game that will hone your business and logical thinking abilities.
Firstly, it teaches you to think many moves ahead. You must always be aware of potential moves by your competition and how you will counter them, AND you must plan your own moves well ahead of time as well as alternative solutions.
Additionally, it teaches the concept of controlled loss. In chess you do not simply bounce to the opposite side of the board and pounce on the king. The game is only won when the opposing player has no available moves, this is "check mate".
It is virtually impossible to win a chess game without sacrificing certain pieces of your "army". You are forced to make sharp decisions over where you must focus your efforts and what can be lost in the process. YOU decide what you're willing to sacrifice to secure success.
Just like in business, there is rarely a clean win. Often much is sacrificed to secure success.
Finally, chess teaches you to identify a losing scenario. In chess, you are not allowed to create a situation where the king is compromised ("check") so you are forced to always examine the viability of your environment. This teaches you to look before you leap and helps avoid foolish mistakes.
There you have it, 5 things you should be doing- according to me.