Being a small-business owner is no small feat. You’re taking a big jump into the professional world, often having to wear multiple hats to make sure your business will turn out to be a success.
You probably already know the great risks of operating a small business, in that 80% fall out within the first 18 months and out of the remaining ones, 50% don’t make it to year number five.
So, what can you do to make sure you’re not just another statistic? There are limitless tips and strategies, but below are some of the biggest to consider as you grow your business and continue being a success.
Know Your Audience
Any good public speaker should know their audience before they walk on stage. You want to know how the mood of the room is going to be, what kind of speech they may be expecting or how long you’re supposed to talk. Misreading the room can prove to be disastrous, meaning the speech could result in some awkward laughs or failure.
The same applies to your customer base. As a small business, you’re not Walmart, able to provide everything under the sun. You’ve got to go deep, not wide.
That’s why you should understand what your customer really wants. What do they need and what they are looking for. You can do this by simply talking to as many as possible and keeping a mental record of what they say, launching some kind of social media campaign or be requesting feedback.
Nail Down an Online Strategy
It’s 2019. If you don’t have an online presence, you might as well pack up shop and hit the road. Make sure you have a website where your customers can find you and your relevant information, like business hours, address and contact information.
You may not be the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to technology, so try and find a class in your city or courses online that can give you the basics. You don’t have to become a genius overnight, but just having solid knowledge in the area can go a long way.
In terms of reaching out to customers, take to social media. If you don’t have an Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, it’s time to sign up. People are constantly scrolling through the feeds and it’s free marketing for you.
Figure out the best time to post and what to post. It’s proven that websites or accounts that consistently put out content are the ones to bring in the most traffic. Determining when to post is a big deal too.
If your target audience is mothers, they might be checking their phones after they’ve dropped the kids off at school. If you’re going after college kids, post in the afternoon when their classes are finished.
Become a Networking Machine
They often say, “it’s not what you know, but who you know”. This rings even truer in small business, when you’re going to be relying on word-of-mouth and local help to bring people to you.
Even if you consider your store to be a big brand around town, don’t stop networking! Attend local events, meet as many people as you can and don’t be afraid to tell them about your business. You don’t want to be “that person” at a party, only talking about work, but it will eventually come up in conversation.
In a way, you are your best advertiser. The business is your baby, and no one loves and cares for it as much as you do!
Be Active in the Community
One of the best ways you can grow your business is by being an active member in the community. If you own a clothing store, for example, offer the space as for a bachelorette party or for other events. Sponsor a local children’s soccer team.
On a day like Veteran’s Day, make an announcement that 15% of your profits will be donated to the local veteran’s society, or something like that. If the local high school basketball team wins the state championship, offer a free ice cream cone to everyone that has a ticket from the game.
People will not only see that you’re being aware of the community, but that you really care about the people, the happenings and everything in between.