Do you feel like you’re treading water with your small business and not making progress towards your goals?
If you want your small business to be more profitable than ever before, here are some suggestions for how to make it happen. And remember: Building a successful business is a marathon, not a sprint.
According to a study by NewVoiceMedia, 51% of customers will not repeat business with a company after a bad service experience. Other studies have shown that it takes several positive customer experiences to make up for one negative one.
Effective marketing is key to increasing your sales, but you don't have to break the bank to promote your business. There are many inexpensive ways to market your products and services, including:
Creating and using a promotion kit
Sending out promotions with your invoices
Joining professional organizations
Involving the newspapers in your grand openings, moves, or charity events
Giving free workshops or classes related to your products or services
Developing business partnerships and doing cross-promotion with complementary businesses
Cold calling (yes it can still work)
Advertising your business on your vehicle with a vehicle wrap
Creating a professional-looking website can be quick and easy nowadays, and your small business needs to be in the online space. Research from the E-commerce Wiki indicates that 88% of consumers now research purchases online before purchasing in a store.
A simple website that describes who you are, what you do, and how to contact you will suffice for many small businesses. At a minimum, your site should contain:
Your business name
A summary of what you do—your products and services
Your contact information
Your address, including a Google Maps link
Your mission, e.g. "We make the best pizza in town..."
Testimonials from customers
Depending on your target market, social media can be a great way to promote your business as well. Establishing a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is standard for most businesses these days.
If you do nothing else with mobile technology this year, you need to make sure that your online presence, including your business website, is mobile friendly. Increasing numbers of people are surfing and searching with their phones—even when they’re at home.
But there are two other trends that could benefit your small business. The first is mobile marketing. There are myriad mobile-specific strategies you could be using to reach your target market with great effect, from text message advertising and mobile display ads to having your own business app designed.
Mobile payment systems represent your other opportunity. Apple Pay, Google Wallet, Venmo, Square, Intuit GoPayment, Paypal—the choices for paying by phone are now endless. Offering pay-by-phone services is a significant convenience to customers, but your small business could also realize considerable savings from being able to use a mobile POS system.
Attracting and retaining the right employees is one of the most important things you can do with your business. While hiring and training employees every other week might be business as usual for a fast-food restaurant, most successful businesses rely on hiring quality staff and keeping them for the long term.
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