Adding a personal touch to your small (personal) business

When it comes to running your small business, customer satisfaction should be one of your top priorities. One way to deliver a good customer experience is by adding a personal touch to your customer interactions.

Here are three ways to add a personal touch to your small business:


Send a happy birthday email

Sending a happy birthday email to customers makes them feel special and lets them know you value them. It humanizes your brand and helps establish and retain relationships. Not to mention, it gives you an opportunity to show some personality.

The first thing you need to do is collect your customers’ birthdays. You can do this by asking customers to enter their date of birth at the checkout page. If you already have an email list, you can craft a birthday collection campaign instead.

To give your happy birthday email a personal touch, use your brand voice in the messaging. You might even consider offering customers an exclusive coupon or discount on their special day. Subway, for example, gives customers a birthday cookie.


Ask for feedback

Another way to add a personal touch to your small business is by asking customers for feedback. Not only is it a great way to let them know their opinion matters, but it can also help you improve your business.

To get started, you can set up a simple feedback collection form on your website. Keep in mind that you should only ask customers for as much information as you need. Typically, this means their email address, the product or service they’re providing feedback for, and their feedback message.

Alternatively, you can ask customers to provide feedback over email. The benefits of using email to solicit feedback are twofold:


  • You can automate feedback emails.
  • You can ask customers for feedback after key interactions.

For example, you can set up an automated feedback request email to be sent to customers a week after their purchase. Or, you can ask customers to provide feedback after the onboarding process. Ride sharing app, Lyft, asks customers for feedback after a ride.


Thank them for their purchase

Thanking customers after they make a purchase is perhaps one of the simplest ways to add a personal touch to your small business while delivering a good customer experience. You can use this as an opportunity to let customers know you appreciate their business.

From an implementation standpoint, you want to configure your marketing automation tool to send customers a thank you email soon right after they complete their order. Alternatively, you can thank customers for their purchase after the product has been delivered to them.

To give your thank you email a personal touch, remember to use your brand voice and tone in your subject line and messaging. You might also consider signing off the email with the CEO or founder’s name to make it feel personal.



Adding a personal touch to your small business can help you build strong customer relationships from the get-go. The best part is that it’s incredibly easy to do and there’s lots of room for creativity. You can get started by sending customers a happy birthday email, asking for feedback after key interactions, and thanking them for their purchase.

What are some of the unique ways you add a personal touch to your small business? Let us know in the comments below.

How much does it cost to start a business (hint: it depends)

Whether you’re launching a service-based company or a product-based startup, there are certain things you need to take into account to ensure business success and profitability – such as calculating startup costs.

While there’s no magic formula for finding out exactly how much money you’ll need to finance your business, there are some startup costs and additional expenses that are common to most businesses. Adding those costs up will give you a workable estimate of what you need to start your business.

Let’s start by discussing what business startup costs are and go through a step-by-step process on how to calculate them.


What are business startup costs?

Before we dive into what you need to start your business, it’s important to get acquainted with the different types of business startup costs. They can be classified into two main types: one-time costs and recurring costs.

One-time costs:

Capital expenses (or capital expenditures) are one-time expenses that are incurred when purchasing fixed assets. These are up-front payments you make when investing in your business to buy, improve, or maintain long-term assets. As a result, you’re able to upgrade the quality and quantity of products and services you can deliver.

Some common examples of capital expenditures are as follows:

  • Buildings (plus additional costs that extend the useful lifespan of a building)
  • Intangible assets (such as business licensing based on state and federal business laws and patents)
  • Property and rent expenditures
  • Land (plus the cost of maintaining and upgrading the land)
  • Furniture and vehicles
  • Inventory and vendor expenses
  • Technology expenses (such as computer equipment and software)


Recurring costs:

Recurring costs (also referred to as operating expenses) are ongoing expenses for running the business. They may contribute to startup costs but are incurred throughout the lifespan of the business. So, you’ll have to set aside funds to cover these expenses during the startup phase.

Here are some of the main recurring costs you need to take into account as a startup:

  • Rent
  • Administrative costs
  • Office supplies
  • Utilities
  • Sales and marketing expenses
  • Taxes and insurance
  • Website
  • Travel

You’ll also have to consider operational costs for initial business startups such as licensing, legal, incorporation, and permit fees.

How to calculate startup costs


Here’s how you can find the startup costs of your business:

Step #1: Identify what’s absolutely necessary

When you’re accounting for the above-mentioned startup expenditures, you may notice not all of them apply to your business. For instance, if you’re launching a service-based business, you don’t have to account for shipping and inventory expenses. Similarly, if you’re an online business, you may not need to factor in travel expenditures.

Once you’ve read through the list and figured out all the items that apply to you, determine what expenses are absolutely necessary to streamline your finances. For instance, if you can’t afford to rent space in a building, you might consider working from home.

Step #2: Jot down estimates

After you’ve drafted a complete list of your expenses, assign dollar amount estimates to each item. Keep in mind that these approximate expenses can vary based on your specific business requirements.

When finding approximate costs for your business expenses, consult peers in your field and do online research to make informed guesses about what amount you should allocate for each item. Doing this legwork early in your startup journey will help you come up with a realistic budget plan and devise a workable game plan to launch your business.

Step #3: Determine your break-even point

After you’ve figured out the estimates and have a clear idea about how much funds you’ll need to jumpstart your business and keep it running, you’re now ready to perform a break-even analysis.

Calculating the break-even point enables you to find out how much money you’ll need to cover your business startup expenses and ongoing operating costs. This information will help you make a business plan to ensure your startup remains profitable.


Financing your startup

Now that you understand how much money you’ll need to launch your business, you’ll have to arrange funds to cover the costs.

Here are a few ideas for raising capital for your startup:

  • Investors
  • Loans from friends, family members, or a financial institution
  • Business credit cards
  • Crowdfunding or Kickstarter campaigns

Although there are different ways to finance your business, you should do proper research and consult with your financial advisor for guidance.



While you may have a great business idea, it’s important to take control of your finances before you turn your winning concept into a thriving and profitable business. Calculating startup costs help you understand how much money you’ll need to start your business and keep it running.

Do you have any questions about how to identify one-time or recurring business costs specific to your industry? Let us know!