Tips For Growing A Small Business
Every small business owner will dream of finding great success with their company and maximizing profit, but this is no easy feat and particularly if you are operating in an industry with larger, household name brands. Fortunately, there are a handful of steps that a small business owner can take which should improve their company and help them to reach the next level. These are all effective to use individually, but when used together it can have a powerful impact on your brand and could help you to compete against the larger companies and establish your brand as an authoritative source.
Establish Clear Goals
All businesses need to establish clear short and long-term goals as this can help you to stay on track. Setting goals can also clarify your focus, track achievements and measure progress – all key areas to success. Make sure that these goals are achievable but challenging enough to push the business and encourage you to challenge yourself.
One of the best ways to grow your business is to diversify your products or services. You are limiting yourself by not adding to your product or service range, and this can be a great way to appeal to a much wider user base. It can be challenging to come up with new ideas, but your market research could inform you of a potential gap in the market.
Redesign Your Website
The website is how you present your brand to the world, so it needs to be something that you take great pride in. Redesigning the website is a good idea if your current website is not up to scratch and it could make the difference in converting a visitor into a customer. The website should be attractive, easy to use, up to date and informative. In addition to this, it is also helpful if the website has customer reviews as this is something that all consumers rely on when deciding whether or not to make a purchase. It is also important that the website is usable on mobile as this is how many modern-day consumers now shop as opposed to using a PC.
Internet marketing is essential in today’s digital marketplace, and it is particularly useful for smaller brands as it can help you to compete against much larger names. Search engine optimization (SEO) can improve visibility and brand reputation in the long term, whilst pay per click advertising (PPC) can deliver short-term results.
Everyone knows the importance of conducting market research when first starting out, but this is something that should be done again from time to time as both your competitors and target consumer can change. Try to use this information to identify a gap in the market which would help your company to stand out from the crowd and get noticed.
Understand Your Target Consumer
Following on from this, it is also important to be aware of exactly who your target consumer is so that you can take the necessary steps to appeal to this user. You should also understand the different factors that consumers consider when choosing a product. These factors include product allure, familiarity, and brand trustworthiness.
Social media is an extremely powerful tool in today’s marketplace, but it must be used in the correct fashion as otherwise, it could have adverse results. This should be a platform to inform and update your followers as well as interact with your target consumer. Content should always be relevant and interesting but never polarizing or controversial. When used correctly, social media can be used to increase brand awareness and reputation to build your user base and encourage new customers.
Improve Customer Service
One area where a small business can have an advantage over a larger company is customer service. This is a crucial part of business as a consumer will very rarely use a company again if they have had a bad experience whether it is through the shopping experience or how they were treated. Improving customer service can be a brilliant way to retain customers which is crucial for success, and it is something that can easily be done with a little effort.
Customer Loyalty Programs
Customer retention is vital to business growth, but it can be challenging to achieve. One way to encourage customer loyalty is to introduce customer loyalty programs that encourage an existing customer to spend money on your business again.
Customer referral programs are also highly effective at bringing in new customers whilst retaining existing ones. They work by offering existing customers some form of deal (often a discount) if they refer your business to somebody that they know who then makes an order.
It is also worthwhile enquiring for feedback from your existing customers as they will be able to identify areas where you could improve but also show where you are going right. This (positive) feedback can then be used on the company website (as mentioned earlier).
Attending networking events is important, in order to make as many people aware of your brand as possible. This enables you to build relationships and encourage word of mouth marketing – this remains one of the most powerful and effective forms of advertising and one which can transform a business in any industry.
It can also be beneficial to host your own events and invite members of the local community. This could be a demonstration, product launch party, workshop, lecture, BBQ or any other event. Hosting any kind of event can impact brand reputation and awareness, and show that you are a company that is personable and cares about their consumers.
Get Involved With The Local Community
Following on from this, getting involved with the local community is another way to show that you are personable, and to increase brand awareness. There are many different ways that you can do this, but a few examples include sponsoring a local charity, sponsoring a local sports team or participating in any kind of community event.
No company will succeed if they do not have the right people in place to push the operation. Make sure that you are hiring the right people and make sure that you or anyone else is not overworked. By bolstering your workforce and reducing your own workload, this will help to free up time so that you can focus on growing the business.
Technology is evolving at a rapid rate, and every business in all industries can benefit greatly from embracing the latest technology. What technology you should implement will depend on your industry, but there may be some pieces of software that would benefit most working environments. For example, Kanban software is a vital tool used in many businesses to improve team collaboration. By providing better visibility on tasks, each team member can review what stage of the process the project is at. You can review this option in more detail by reading this definitive guide to Kanban. New technology like this can be used to increase productivity, save money, streamline the operation, reduce human error and dozens of other benefits.
Every great entrepreneur understands that the learning never stops. There is always more that you could learn which will help you to be a better small business owner, so look for ways to improve your knowledge. This could involve obtaining some form of qualification, but even online training or simply reading books on business ownership can be of great value and help you to take your company to the next level.
The majority of these tips are about bringing in more business to boost profits, but the other area to focus on is your business expenses as these will have a huge impact on your overall profit. Try to find areas where you could be making savings whether it is cutting out an unnecessary service (like daily cleaning), switching energy provider, or streamlining the operation.
Forming strategic partnerships with other businesses can bring in a huge amount of new customers very quickly. It is important to identify a business that is complementary to your own, but not a direct competitor so that you will both benefit from the operation. As an example, a florist could partner with a bridal shop and offer discounts for customers of the other store. The key to making these partnerships profitable is identifying the right company to approach – they must be complementary but also a brand with a good reputation and a large existing customer base.
Reinvest In The Business
When you begin to turn a profit, one of the best ways to spend this money is to reinvest it back into the business. This could be to upgrade your current equipment/technology, to improve the office or to step up your marketing efforts. Improving the business should, in turn, improve the operation and help you to find greater success. It can also have a positive impact on morale and make the business a better place to work.
These are the main ways that a small business can grow and reach the next level. This can always be a huge challenge and particularly in competitive marketplaces, but it is possible to compete with the bigger names in the industry with a little hard work and effort. Over time, this will help you to become a big name in your industry with a huge customer base and excellent brand reputation.