How to make a small business successful
With the lack of opportunity in the job market more and more people are looking for alternative ways to make an income. As a result entrepreneurs from all walks of life are starting businesses with the sole intention of making their personal fortunes and creating a legacy. Long before that bridge is crossed, one of the many questions to answer is, how to make a Small business successful?
In this post you will discover 8 tips that will show you how to make a small business successful.
1. Know Your Customer
If you have taken the time to complete a business plan then you will have highlighted exactly who your ideal customer will be. If you haven’t done a business plan, I would suggest taking a step back and completing one. Rather than targeting everyone, be specific. If you are selling designer shoes for women then don’t aim your marketing towards eighteen year old male football fans. If your mission is to supply software to legal companies, don’t aim your marketing towards stay at home moms.
Know your ideal customer and target them directly.
2. Set a Marketing Budget
The concept of a business is to make money, right? In order to make money you need customers, agreed? Good, if you are starting out from scratch then you need to bring on a string of customers that help you to first cover your costs and then grow turnover and profits. The only way to do this is to set aside money to market your business; either through traditional methods such as flyering, sending postcards, or by going digital.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking your product or service is so good it will market itself. IT WON’T! Marketing and having a marketing budget are paramount when considering how to make a business successful.
3. Know Your Competition.
Another area that people fail to pay due care and attention to when starting a business is understanding who the key competition is in their market place.
Hint: there are very few products or services that monopolize a market. If there are one hundred thousand prospective clients in your catchment area and there are 5 other businesses that do the same as you, then you might say that you would have twenty thousand customers for your business. Wrong.
Those twenty thousand customers may be active customers of one of the competitors in the market place. That would mean that you would have to offer a compelling reason, your USP for that person or business to sign up with you.
Or, of the hundred thousand prospective clients there may only be twenty thousand active clients in the market place. Either way you will have to invest your marketing budget wisely to attract those potential clients to your business, bowl them over with amazing service and great products and turn them into raving fans.
4. Play to Your strengths
If your experience lies in sales then focus your energy on driving sales rather than focusing your time on mastering bookkeeping. That is not to say you should ignore the accounts altogether, instead get someone who is trained to do them for you.
The opportunity cost of you spending two days trying to complete your tax return between paying for someone else to do it will justify itself in the end.
When learning how to make a business successful, always play to your strengths.
5. Don’t be afraid to say No
Sometimes you simply have to say no. That may mean that you have to turn down a deal or a business opportunity because when you are growing, if you dilute your resources across too many customers then you may find that they don’t get the service levels they deserve. This could lead to bad customer relations or negative word of mouth which can be damaging for your growing business.
Sure, you can look at partnering with someone or another business to deliver on the contract however biting off more than you can chew at the beginning can severely hamper your progress.
6. Understand that No means not right now!
When a prospective client says no to your immediate product or service, don’t despair. Simply accept their decision and learn why they said no so you can re-adjust your marketing and continue to engage that customer through newsletters or emails until the time is right.
The fundamental component of this is to make sure at first point of contact you get the prospective clients email address and or phone number so you can keep in contact with them at their permission.
Don’t send a barrage of offers; mix your new product offering and special deals with useful information that can provide real value to your potential customers.
7. Leverage the internet
Long gone are the days of a website being a replica of a company catalogue. An internet presence now means developing a community for your clients and potential clients to engage both with each other and your brand.
Used correctly the Internet and the host of free applications can be used to market your small business and act as an extra sales person to attract people and also to enhance relationships with your customers.
You only need to look at the businesses that are thriving; Facebook, Amazon, Google to know that internet based businesses are the future!
8. Bootstrap where possible.
Before you open your doors it can be exciting to rush around and spend obscene amounts of money on things that you may think are important for your business.
In my opinion any expense that is not directly related to customer engagement and revenue growth is not needed. Flash offices, fresh flowers at reception and brand new cars are simply an extravagance. Be ruthless with your money and remember if it cannot be directly tied to increasing revenue in the early days then quite frankly you don’t need it.
Owning your own business is no guarantee of a life of riches, however if you invest your time and write a solid business plan before jumping on the entrepreneurial merry go round then you may find that the answers to how to make a successful business reveal themselves.
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