Guest Contributor

8 Steps to Growing Your Small Business

By | Jared Jaureguy

If you are a small business owner, you are likely all too familiar with the constant feeling of fear that your operation will not succeed. Small business owners everywhere face a unique set of challenges. They find it difficult to set clear, concise goals, and when they do, they feel uncertain about how to meet them. Following a few simple steps can make your small business feel more manageable, making your goals seem more achievable. Remember, baby steps are the name of the game in the small business industry, as running a successful operation does not happen overnight.

  1. Target Your Customers

Once you create a negative experience for a customer, chances are slim you will receive repeated business. Similarly, research shows that numerous positive client interactions are needed to rectify one unfortunate encounter. Therefore, the success of your small business hinges hugely on your customers’ happiness.

It is much simpler to appeal to your tried and true customer base, so retain their repeated business by continually making them your primary concern. One way to ensure client satisfaction is to study the service provided by your competitors. Strive to elevate your customer treatment, avoiding losing valuable clients to your business rivals.

Further, customers appreciate transparency. If asked for proof of income, provide it. If you struggled in the past but have made the necessary adjustments, own up to them. The more forthright you are with your clients, the more trustworthy they will view you and your business.

  1. Utilize Word-of-Mouth Advertising 

Positive word-of-mouth advertising is a result of continued excellent customer service. Whether your small business resides in a tiny town or a metropolitan city, word-of-mouth advertising is the quickest way to build a prominent, respected business reputation. Modern technology has allowed business reviews to drive small businesses to success with just a few positive comments, so generating your online presence is as crucial as ever.

Remember to always keep an eye on the web activity relating to your business. Customers will often post questions or comments that request feedback from the company, so be sure to provide just as dedicated service online as you do in person.

Another way to accelerate positive word-of-mouth discussions is to become active in your community. Sponsoring regional institutions and fundraising for local charities are excellent ways to give back to your community and solidify your good business standing.

  1. Increase Marketing Methods 

Effective marketing is essential to the growth of your small business. Luckily, a variety of low-cost marketing options exist, catering to small businesses like yours. Classic, conventional advertising methods that remain effective include direct mailings, cold-calling, and newspaper advertisements. For example, if you are a general contractor who is looking for a residential estimating service, receiving an email from a company that does this will make your choice in choosing the correct service a lot easier. Additionally, traditional outdoor marketing techniques such as billboards, bench ads, and car wraps are time-honored ways to build your brand.

Modern technology has added a new, fresh layer to the more conventional methods of business promotion. Small businesses everywhere are turning to the internet to grow their business and elevate their brand. The first step for any business owner is to create a company website. The majority of people turn to internet searches when looking to purchase goods or services, so naturally, this is a must-have element for any organization. Websites should include a relevant blurb detailing your business offerings. Adding customer testimonials and positive reviews add credibility to your growing brand. Remember to include all current contact information as well as your distinct, recognizable logo. A logo is a visual representation of your company, so be sure to put proper time and thoughtfulness into its creation.

  1. Join Social Media

Whether you support it or not, social media is here to stay, and small business owners everywhere are jumping on the bandwagon. The power of social media is incomparable; it allows organizations to reach millions of consumers at once. Further, it offers entrepreneurs the ability to converse with their customers in real-time, addressing any product questions or concerns immediately.

Another bonus to utilizing social media is the fact that it is absolutely free. Many marketing efforts are as expensive as they are effective. When trying to grow your bottom line and remain on a budget, there is nothing better than low-cost marketing with high-impact returns.

  1. Be Frugal

Nothing is worse than gaining small business momentum only to be hit with an astronomical, unexpected expense. That said, cutting costs and remaining as monetarily lean as possible is one way to ensure your business is growing in the right direction. Luckily, many mobile phone applications are available to conduct your finances efficiently and cost-effectively. Apps relating to taxes, accounting, payroll, and more are readily available to streamline your business and benefit your bottom line.

In this day and age, office space is slowly becoming obsolete. With several web conferencing sites and video call options, cut your operating costs by creating a home office with remote employees.

Leading frequent expense checks will keep you aware of your financials and allow regular visibility into what costs are appropriate and where cuts can occur.

  1. Remember Mobile Devices

The majority of individuals today spend their free time endlessly scrolling through apps on their phones. Whether used for perusing social media or paying utility bills, mobile phones have officially replaced household computers and laptops. That said, a mobile-friendly website is vital to growing your small business.

Mobile marketing goes beyond a phone-friendly website. Modern technology allows for text marketing, pushing notifications to consumers while they are looking at their screen. Creating a customized application specific to your business offerings allows for easy client access. Further, a variety of pay-by-phone options are available to build directly into your mobile website or app. This system gives your clients a simple, straightforward ability to purchase your products from the comfort of their own homes.

  1. Build a Solid Team 

The process of hiring and training new employees generates a tremendous cost to your small business. Therefore, focus on hiring quality employees who you envision fitting into your organization for the long term. When it comes to training, ensure your onboarding procedures clearly represent your brand and company values. The more clear-cut you describe your needs as a business owner, the more prepared your employees will be to uphold your beliefs.

Ensure your employees always feel heard and recognized. Provide meaningful meetings and team-building activities to motivate and encourage them. Finally, remember to thank your team and show your appreciation regularly. After all, you can’t grow a successful small business all on your own.

  1. Maintain a Work-Life Balance 

Small business ownership inevitably results in a significant loss of blood, sweat, and tears. Most owners dedicate a considerable portion of their lives to growing their business, forgoing hobbies, time with friends, and other similar diversions. However, maintaining a healthy work-life balance is critical to meeting your ultimate business goals.

Focus on being present when you are at home. Get enough sleep, exercise, and remain active with your family and friends. A solid mental state is necessary to run a successful small business, as too much time in the office can lead to mental health concerns and job burnout. Finding that work-life balance protects both your overall well-being and that of your organization.

Hopefully, these simple steps will provide you with the tools necessary to grow your small business year after year. Though considerable dedication and patience are required, nothing is more rewarding than seeing your passion come to life.

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