With the vaccines being rolled out in all parts of the globe and as the economy reopens, things are beginning to look up again for small businesses.
Small business owners are hopeful that now is the best time to take that plunge or level up the way they run their business, as chances for profits are on the rise. To be successful, you will need to grab your consumer's attention and make your business stand out from competitors.
Here are 9 game-changing tips every small business owners must do to grow their business. Hint: Think modern and innovative.
1. Learn from your customers
As your business grows, getting feedback from your customers is crucial. It is essential to not only dwell on the negative feedback because the truth is both positive and negative criticism can be beneficial to your business. This way, you would know your market more and come up with ways to improve your products or services to make them more satisfied. If your customers are happy with the way you do business, everything else will follow.
Your sales, management, and even marketing will be a breeze if you pay more attention to what your customers have to say.
A great way to gather feedback from your customers is to have a fill-up feedback form ready in your physical store for them to leave their reviews and comments. You can also make use of email marketing. Some POS have a loyalty program as their feature that keeps contact information, including emails of loyal customers. You can send them a form asking for their feedback through this.
Be sure that as you do this, you are encouraging your customers to communicate with you. Product reviews are a great way to garner feedback. Other ways to connect and receive feedback include social media and documenting customer support communication.
2. Prioritize customer support and help center
The number one rule for businesses - especially for small businesses, is to put the customers first. Make customer service your top priority, and you’ll see recurring engagements to your brand.
The companies that flourish today are those that keep their customer service and help center second to none. Orient your marketing and customer service staff, to respond quickly to emails, queries, and concerns, and make sure they attend to them in the friendliest and most accommodating manner.
Prioritizing customer support gives your business the chance to turn unhappy customers into loyal ones. If you can be there in a blink of an eye, you can relieve the issue and deliver your brand promise.
In addition, high-quality support can often lead to more brand awareness and brand loyalty, and trust. Remember that “with brand trust comes social media tagging between groups and good word of mouth.”
3. Stay focused on your niche
When you begin a new business venture, it’s easy to get excited and carried away that you want to tap into different markets immediately. This is a mistake most small business owners often find themselves making. Remember that spreading yourself too thin can result in missed opportunities to capture a more focused and engaged audience.
Stay focused on niche markets and constantly work on optimizing your products and services. If you're in the restaurant or food business, then try not to stray away from your lane in the food service industry. Focus on your online presence and build brand trust. No matter how tempting it is to explore different markets, as a small business, it is best to stay committed to your niche and expand digital marketing based on that. This way, it will be easier for you to stand out more from the pack.
4. Keep your customer happy
We cannot stress this enough- your customers’ happiness and satisfaction is a top priority as you build your business and brand. Try to think of some of your favorite brands. Apart from great products and services, what is it about them that keeps you coming back?
Yes, it is an excellent customer experience. It is how that brand made you feel from the time you walked into their store to finally checking out.
Say you run a coffeeshop business. Your business could be offering the best-tasting coffee in town. Still, with lazy and unattentive staff and a lousy physical ambiance, those are enough reasons to drive even an avid coffee fan to go to the second-best coffee shop with excellent service.
Customer experience has a domino effect- it is that powerful. If you do it well, you will see a boost in positive brand awareness, traffic, and loyal customers to your online or physical store.
Many top business owners advise that small business owners should put priority on just that.
Your small business may have the most humble beginning, but if you create memorable experiences for your customers and go the extra mile to provide them the best service, you are going to go far.
5. Be time-efficient
As an owner of a start-up company or a small business, we all know that you wear many hats. You are the CEO, but you can also be the head for marketing and promotions and even store logistics manager- the list never ends.
As you grow your business, one of your most valuable assets is time. If you don’t value your time, no one else will. You must use it efficiently, and to help you do this, you have to take advantage of technology and automation. With technology and automated business tools, you can make the most out of your day and reinforce the way you run your business.
Many different tools can aid you in this department. There are calendar and scheduling tools, tools to run your e-commerce shop seamlessly, and even some to optimize your digital marketing strategies.
One of the best tools to help you be more time-efficient is to incorporate the use of a POS into your retail business. The best quality POS has an inventory management system, a loyalty program, a Back Office for summaries and reporting, and many other useful POS features. With this technology, you can focus on more important things and let the system do most of the time-consuming tasks.
6. Use different channels and platforms to reach your customers
Omnichannel strategies are becoming more and more popular today- and that is no wonder! Customers today are shopping in more places. On your e-commerce store, on Amazon, on Instagram, on an online marketplace… the list goes on.
To make sure you build brand awareness and offer more options to cater to your customers’ needs to purchase your products, start developing an omnichannel strategy.
Remember that as you begin, you may not be able to sell everywhere and anywhere. Develop your omnichannel strategy while you get to know more about your target audience, where they shop, shopping habits, and behavior.
If you have an e-commerce business, it is best if your site has a live chat tool so your customers can reach you easily. Monitor all your social media channels closely and be prompt in responding to your clients and potential customers.
This way, you’ll be able to capture more information about your customers and improve your relationship with them to optimize your omnichannel strategy.
7. Don’t fear competitors
We are going to repeat it, loud and clear, Don’t fear competitors. And yes, we know that is easier said than done. You are fresh meat in a highly competitive market, and that can be pretty intimidating.
Keep in mind that you’re introducing new products into the market because you believe that people need them. Your small business offers something your competition lacks. Focus on that and carry that with confidence and pride.
David Zimmerman, Director of eCommerce Solutions at Kensium, encourages small business owners to “not be afraid to compete against companies that are bigger or older than you. Many of these older companies are still hesitant or unwilling to shift their businesses online, leaving the door open for small businesses to win their customers and capture market share.”
A great way to get ahead of your competition is through technology. With the advancement of technology and automated business tools such as POS, the way you run your business and cater to your customer needs can be more efficient, modern and entails less work on your part and less time on your customers.
8. Boost online promotion and online marketing strategies
You are a small business owner in an arena of serious competition. It is important to choose your battles wisely. This is why only the strong survive in the small business industry because the pains and challenges can be daunting and stressful. Focus on your most valuable assets and plans to stay steady on the path to success.
Today, the best way to make your business be known is to take advantage of the internet. Small businesses should invest if not all, a huge portion of their resources to boosting their online presence through online promotions and marketing strategies.
This is the most cost-efficient and effective way to get the word out about your brand. You can use Google ads, social media platforms, and review sites. Pair that up with SEO, email marketing, and collecting customer reviews and feedback.
For those businesses that are already established, take a closer look at the following tips to boost your online reputation:
Email marketing: Through the loyalty program in your POS, you may send a nice and friendly email to your loyal customers to inform them about new promotions, deals, or even just good news about your store to entice them to purchase again.
SEO: It’s a lot easier when your brand has already established its name. Once your business has some authority, you can go after bigger keywords and rank for them more quickly in search engines.
Website: Consistently update your site by keeping things fresh in both design and content. Not only will this make you more attractive to Google, but you will also be more likely to attract customers.
Marketing automation: Create email sequences to welcome new customers to your business, send out abandoned cart emails, and provide weekly updates to build your relationship with your current and potential customers.
9. Take data seriously
Use data analytics to your ultimate advantage. The most successful business owners do not just rely on gut feelings and fleeting emotions to make important business decisions. They have data- solid facts and figures to base their decisions on. Data is also an excellent basis to assess your growth and performance. By taking data seriously, you can make more informed and calculated decisions and make better forecasts so you will know what to adjust or change for the better.
The best POS system has a Back Office that contains real-time data that assesses and summarizes your overall business performance. From stocks, sales and expenditures, to employee performance and other analytics, you will all find it in your POS Back Office. In just a glance, you will be able to make better decisions for your business.
It is an understatement to say that the Covid-19 pandemic has not been kind to small business owners. Almost 100,000 small businesses closed their doors permanently in 2020, in the US alone. The skies weren't blue either for those that managed to remain open.
Consumer habits have also shifted as they cut their expenses and businesses scaled down their budgets due to the pandemic's uncertainty. Even global revenues have dropped significantly.
Business success is a tricky thing, with a lot of influential factors involved. In a “normal” year, small business success can be threatened by a wide spectrum of obstacles. But as things are beginning to look better with the global economy reopening post-pandemic, we hope that you find these tips we shared with you useful in growing your business. All it takes is hard work, endurance, and a dose of adaptation and flexibility in this innovative and modern era.
Edited by Chooli