Owning a small business can be one of the most rewarding experiences, however, the big leap into the great unknown can leave you with financial strain, no time for yourself and some serious anxiety. For some people, working for yourself and doing something you love is the big dream however this aspiration can lead us to underestimate the work needed to turn that dream into a profit.
So, what can you do to make sure your business is a success? The answer is to arm yourself with knowledge. The more you know, the more you earn. So, let’s get down to business with our top 10 tips for you to grow your business!
The most integral part to any business is Research, Research, Research! One of the main problems small businesses face is lack of research, and without research there is no solid business strategy. Whether it is researching competitors, suppliers, online platforms, customers or financial support there is never too much information. Knowledge really is power in this instance.
If you own a small business or contemplating starting one there are many things to consider. In reality a brand with the research behind it is the difference between standing out in the crowd and getting trampled by one!
When naming your company, it is important to be aware of your competition. Are there many companies with similar names? What is their online presence? Are they a similar product to you?
Thinking about how your brand name will look on business cards, letterheads, work wear and business cars is just as important as your shop front or online store.
Another thing to consider is your brand colour pallet and tone of voice. This will help you stay consistent across all platforms, making your brand identifiable even when you don’t have your branding visible.
Where you find your contractors or purchase your products could be the difference between success and failure. Over saturated suppliers who supply many companies in your area can make you seem like just another brand. Hunting down unique sources gives you an original edge. You might may pay more, but you will definitely make more.
Other things to consider when researching suppliers:
Do they offer discounts for bulk orders or ongoing contracts?
Do they charge for shipping and is it negotiable?
Where are they located and how this will affect their service to you? Ie. are they in a different time zone?
Do they offer training or POS material for your marketing?
What is their shipping turn around and are their stock levels reliable?
Do they offer stock on consignment or will it need to be paid upfront?
Planning ahead so that you are never short of products/produce makes your business run smoothly. Losing customers due to stock being unavailable is a common occurrence with small businesses and asking the above questions when choosing a supplier is one way you could avoid this mishap.
The world is now very much living and breathing online and the internet is a great way to reach out to customers that wouldn’t otherwise find your business.
Your total online presence doesn’t end with your website. In fact, this is just the beginning. A website without any SEO has little to no visibility. Consider optimizing your Google visibility with optimised SEO content and keywords. Stay relevant by regularly updating your product information and by creating engaging content for your customers such as blog posts, videos and articles.
The other important feature of a website is its ability to capture data. Using tools such as Google Analytics and Automation Software will allow you to track how often customers visit your site, their activities when they are online, the time of day they are most active and tracking abandoned carts will help you optimise your business and increase sales. It will also help you important information like their email address and location, allowing you to use this data for future marketing.
If you have a shop front, having an online store will open the door to a 24/7 revenue stream and will expand your customer reach nationally. Make sure you consider offering multiple payment options to your customers such as Zippay, Paypal and Afterpay in-store as well as online, as this can be a huge incentive for purchasers. Using a “buy now, pay later” platform will allow your customers to purchase your items now, even if they do not have the funds immediately available.
Understanding your demographic and where to reach them is key when looking into advertising your business. If you advertise the wrong message to the wrong audience, you might as well be a butcher advertising to vegans.
Once you have established your customer demographic to target, you will decide on the media platforms to utilise and finally, creative. You will most likely need a graphic designer to design your campaigns so be aware of the cost of a designer on top of the different pricing for sponsored ads on the varying online and traditional media platforms. There are many online platforms that you can utilise which will help to reduce design costs.
If you’re not sure which advertising platforms to utilise, you could start by looking at what your competitors are doing (if they’re doing it well). Look at their customer-base, is this similar to your desired customer? Try the same campaign across multiple platforms and see what generates the best results for you.
Know Your Customers.
Knowing what makes your customers tick is an integral part of any successful brand.
Deciding who you want to market your brand to is not always as easy. Your demographic online might be vastly different to your in-store customers.
Information is key to target the right people at the right time. By utilising clever Social Media Marketing and Google Marketing techniques and Google Analytics data from your website, you can find out valuable information about your fans, biggest fans to ensure you’re providing them with the right messages, and best services.
Research your competitors on Instagram and Facebook and check out the profiles of their customer base and have a good old-fashioned stalk.
You will start to see patterns in their behaviour. It may be their age, gender, location, other brands they love or if they have kids. Once you get to know your customer, you will begin to speak their language and you will be able to build a loyal, engaged follower base.
If you have a physical store or service you should be asking your customers the right questions to gather this data. Consider asking them their post code, email address (capture their data), and their birthday – for later promotions of course, but you will also gather their age.
We all know using social media is essential for any business in 2019 to be successful. However, have you considered using social media brand influencers to help build your follower base and increase brand awareness? Social media influencers generally only partner with specific brands that they’re authentically interested in. They have huge, loyal followers who trust their opinions and brand suggestions. These posts can be paid for by the brand, or you can provide product in exchange for content.
By partnering with an influencer, one post can instantly reach a market of over a million potential customers.
Make sure that you monitor the engagement rate of your preferred influencer before approaching them as sometimes the numbers don’t add up. There are multiple websites that you can use to check the engagement rates of these influencers.
Your store or office location is obviously important but depending on your type of business, choosing the right location could make or break your business.
Does your business rely on walk-ins? Is physical brand presence important?
Commercial leases can be pricey, but worth it if you choose the right location. Knowing your demographic and their daily habits is important when choosing the right space. Shop fit out and overheads such as staff and stock need to be considered for the kind of location you choose.
Having a realistic sized space for your business is extremely important. It can be tempting to save dollars on monthly rent or mortgage costs by choosing a smaller square meter space, however this could end up blowing your budget in storage or travel costs. Especially if you have minimal staff and tight turnaround times. Think about your production lines, if you will have enough space, and where can you store your stock.
Finding loyal, dedicated staff can be a challenge in every industry. In this age of technology, it’s totally okay to check out prospective staff members on social media before hiring. Facebook and Instagram can give you a clearer indication on how your employee will behave in real life rather than the well-polished version you meet in a 10-minute interview.
Taking resumes and university degrees at face value is becoming a thing of the past. Recent studies show that employees entering the workforce today are more interested in their own entrepreneurial pursuits and real life experience than obtaining a university degree. It can be more valuable to spend the time it would take earning a university degree gaining real world experience. Although there is still a place for formal education and qualifications in many industries, you could find some of the most loyal, experienced and hard working staff if you focus on other qualities.
Get Your Finances In Order
Following the above advice will get you thinking about just how much you will need to finance your small business.
Instead of monthly payments, some Business Loans have a fixed, daily repayment schedule which can allow you to better manage your business finances and budget more effectively.
Unlike a bank, Capify’s Business Loan requires minimum paperwork and is an unsecured business loan.
If your business is seasonal, there are flexible loan options that can adjust to the highs and lows of your business cash flow.
Now that you have the information to move forward it is important to build a relationship with your lender. At Capify we believe in a hands-on approach with small businesses. We work with you to best grow your company not only financially but with with expert information to help you better your business. Apply for a Capify Loan here.
Or call 1300 760 930 to speak with one of our friendly Lending Consultants now.
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