You’ve taken the leap and finally decided to pursue your dreams, but owning and running a small business is not always as easy as it looks. Whilst it is an incredibly exciting time for you and your loved ones, if you don’t have a set plan in place, you may find that you spend more time stressing about the difficulties than you do enjoying being a business owner.
You’ve done the hard part, which is making a dream become reality, but now you have some grafting ahead of you as you grow your business to what you believe it can be. Here are some of the best ways to ensure your small business experiences the sustainable growth it deserves:
Own The Online Market
Any business failing to take advantage of the digital world is a business that probably won’t be around in ten year’s time.
Your business needs an online presence if it is going to dominate the market and beat its competitors.
Having an online presence means that potential customers can access that all important information they need with just a tap of their finger. Studies have shown that people prefer to get to know a brand before they make a purchase and that authentic brands who engage with their audience get more share of high value customers.
Make sure your website is up to scratch, keep on top of reviews – both the good and bad and make sure your website is mobile friendly as a whopping 61% of consumers spend more time on their phone on a day to day basis than they do on a computer.
Make Networking Your Favourite Hobby
As they say, it’s not what you know, but who you know that helps us get ahead in life! There is a reason why there are thousands of networking events happening around you at any time.
Networking gives you the opportunity to promote your business and attending networking events could mean that you meet the right connections you need to grow your business.
You also get incredible insights from networking too. You learn more about what markets your products or services suit, plus you get an endless array of valuable advice from others who have been where you currently are.
Seek Financial Help
Growing your business can be tricky, especially when funding is an issue. There are numerous options out there for you and your business, but when it comes to something as crucial as funding, you need to ensure it is the right option for your company.
It’s not surprising that many small business owners feel rather daunted by the idea of accessing funding, especially given the fact 25% of loan applications from small-scale businesses to banks get rejected.
But fear not! There is a new kid on the block that is doing what it can to help SME’s achieve the growth they desire. Alternative finance providers offer businesses the chance to reach their strategic goals by offering numerous products that aid the financial imbalances businesses often face.
Do Your Research
When it comes to knowing your market, there really is no limit on what you need to know about your customer base. The more you know, the better. As they say, knowledge is power and by equipping yourself with the knowledge your competitors don’t know, you’re bypassing the difficulties they may be facing to get closer to the success you’re seeking. If you get the opportunity to ask your customers questions that will offer valuable insight, whether that is face to face, by email or on the phone, jump at the opportunity! There may be something you’re completely missing about your buyer journey because you’re too focused on one area and not seeing the bigger picture.
Know Your Brand
Everyone recognizes the famous tick on trainers and that’s because Nike have worked at their branding for years to make sure that happens. Equally, you can go anywhere in the world and if you see a giant yellow M, you know a Big Mac isn’t too far out of reach. Branding is hugely important and you need to know your brand inside out. What’s your demographic? What does your average customer look like? What are their “pain points” – by this I mean what problems do they face and how can you solve them with your product or service? Knowing everything you can about your customer base will mean that business can cater its branding specifically to them and their needs.
Social Media Is Your New Best Friend
Social media isn’t just about having a Facebook profile you created years ago with an outdated picture of your business logo. You need to be consistent with it and engage with both your brand detractors as well as your brand ambassadors. Word of mouth is incredibly powerful and with the creation of the internet and social media, it is now easier for businesses to quickly lose a well-built reputation than it used to be. The internet has allowed many businesses to thrive in a short space of time, but it can also be a dangerous game if you’re not careful.
Use it correctly and you will reap the benefits. Social media will allow you to build increased brand awareness, it will result in improved brand loyalty and studies have shown that social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than standard outbound marketing.
Ultimately, the fate of your business is in your hands. It’s not a one shoe fits all solution for any business out there and it will likely be a process of trial and error before you finally get it right.
But remember, what works now might not necessarily work in a year or two. It is essential that you constantly keep on top of popular trends so that you can be sure you’re tapping into the mind-sets of your desired demographic for years to come, which is all you can really ask for as a business owner, right?
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