Are you a current or aspiring small business owner? Well, it’s tough out there for you.
The reality is that big brands dominate, and with the current Covid crisis and economic downturn, it’s a real challenge for smaller businesses to get noticed and find success.
In the interest of helping you find your path to success, we here at Zyro thought we’d share just a few of the most important pieces of advice we’ve heard for small and medium-sized businesses.
We wish you luck.
1. Stay in your lane
No, we’re not saying ‘play it safe’ (after all, innovation is the cornerstone of success), but we would encourage you to keep your business well within your niche.
If you’ve got a clearly defined niche, you can get to know your customers, their needs and expectations, and which kind of messaging they respond best to.
If you try to spread yourself outside of where your niche is, you run the risk of alienating your customer base, wasting money on ineffective marketing, and running up against unexpected competition.
If you’re a small business, your secret weapon is the ability to focus in on the stuff you do really well. Leave the generalizing to big business, and just deliver what you do best.
2. Sell everywhere
The word ‘omnichannel’ is more than just marketing buzz. For a small business, it’s a key strategy for reaching potential customers where they hang out online.
You may just be selling on your own online store or on Amazon, but you need to think bigger if you want to make a success of your brand.
Why not sell on your own website AND Amazon? And while you’re at it, why not sell products through Facebook, and add shoppable posts to your Instagram feed?
Diversification of your selling locations allows more customers to find you, and opens up brand new revenue streams.
3. Learn the art of triage
As a small business owner, your role is expansive. In a single day, you might be CEO, Head of Finance, Operations Manager, and Customer Service Representative. That’s a lot for a single person to take on.
Inevitably, you’re going to come up against the issue of limited bandwidth, i.e. you may simply have more tasks on your to-do list than you can handle.
That’s why you have to become the expert of prioritization. Understanding what your most important or pressing tasks are will allow you to handle those before addressing more minor concerns.
Be realistic about the impact that a given task or set of tasks will have on your company outcomes, and put those with the greatest positive impact up first.
4. Put customer service first
You might be thinking, “duh, customer service is important in every business”, but when you’re a small business owner, amazing service is what can really set you apart.
If you’re struggling to compete on price or choice, then making sure that your customers are having an outstanding experience when interacting with your business can make the difference.
Make sure you establish a dedicated service team that is able to respond quickly to customer queries and settle them in a friendly and helpful manner.
5. Market strategically
You don’t have the budget to burn through like the other big retailers, so how can you still reach the people you need to with news about your products?
Choose your battles carefully.
Instead of trying to spread yourself thin by advertising everywhere, why not try focusing on only the most promising marketing channels:
- SEO is a great place to start, as you can optimize your website basically for free.
- Social media allows you to connect with your audience with both free and paid options
- Email marketing is the most effective for driving conversion and is a great way to solidify your brand persona.
6. Be unforgettable
The bigger the company, the less they need to worry about creating a brand persona. Once you become a household name, it becomes less important for customers to connect with you on a personal level.
For small businesses, however, perception is everything, and the best way for you to establish trust among your customers is to create an unforgettable experience of your brand for visitors and customers alike.
Dare to be different, mark yourself as different from the competition, and inject some real personality into your messaging. Offer promotions and products customers have never seen before.
Do everything you can to stick in the brains of consumers.
7. Focus on team building
No, we’re not talking about corporate retreats or paintballing (even though that does sound pretty fun). We’re simply saying that delegation will make your life a whole lot easier.
If you can pass off everyday tasks to employees, you can focus on putting value into your business and growing it.
Don’t be afraid to invest trust in the people you work with, and let go of some of your responsibilities.
Growing your team might represent a cost in the short term, but will bring you huge value in the long term.
8. Take time for yourself
Finally, it’s important to remember that work is not everything in life. As well as doing your best to deliver results for your business, you need to ensure that you maintain a solid work/life balance.
One of the leading reasons small businesses fail is the those running them suffer from burnout owning to stress and overwork.
Don’t fall victim to this. Make sure you leave plenty of time outside of work to enjoy yourself and indulge in social activities.