How to Grow your Small Business
Small business owners are the backbone of America. Without them, our economy and government resources would collapse. Small business owners face many challenges to grow to the next level. Between fighting off competition and keeping margins strong it can sometimes feel overwhelming. Keep reading for tips on how to grow your small business and boost your income.
The definition of small business is somewhat vague in that there is no exact definition. Typically, small businesses are independently owned and operated and have a limited number of employees.
Learn how to Sell
Selling your products or service is probably one of the most important skills you can learn as a small business owner. Without it, you can have the best product and the best customer service, but no customers. Mastering the skill of persuasion can help to increase your bottom line and retain customers.
You can also use these skills in other areas of your business other than sales. You can better motivate employees and become an exceptional leader. We’ve listed some of our best tips to becoming a better salesperson below.
Understand Your Customer
It’s important to know your customer before selling them anything. Understand who they are, what they need, and what is most important to them in their purchasing decision before attempting to sell.
Be Solutions Based
Don’t sell the product. Sell the solution. At the end of the day, people are looking for solutions to their problems. By explaining how your product or service can solve their problem, they’ll respond more positively and will be more receptive to your sales pitch.
When you ask your potential customer questions, they’re more likely to listen to what you have to say. Try to ask questions about how your product can solve their problems or what issues they might have because of their problem.
Learn how to Market
Marketing in the 21st century is all about digital. Websites, social media, and email marketing all can have a profound impact on your marketing efforts. Learning how to market your business is key to growing your customer base and ultimately, your bottom line.
The concept of inbound marketing is relatively new as media has evolved. Think of inbound marketing as drawing customers in, as opposed to going out to get customers. There are many different forms of inbound marketing. Some of the most common are search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, and content marketing. We’ll dive a little deeper into each below.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Think of the last time you tried to find a product or service online. Chances are, you went to a search engine and typed in a phrase to find results. You might’ve clicked around on the first few pages of results, but let’s be honest, you didn’t make it to page 15 to find what you were looking for. So how do certain websites make it to the top and others are left in the dust? This is not a simple answer. Search engines have extremely complex algorithms they use to determine what results to show to users. We will briefly cover some of the most important.
Search engines crawl your website to find content. It will analyze the content to determine what searches might be relevant to it. Providing high-quality content is the first step to moving up the ranks on search engines. Typically, the longer the post, the better for search engines. Keeping your content to at least 600 words per blog post will serve you well in search engine results.
Search engines will not only look at the content you are posting but how frequently you are providing content. If you post new content only once per year, search engines won’t think you are a valuable source for content and you may not rank as well. Try posting at least once per week in the form of a blog post or a new page to keep your websites fresh and search engines ready for new content.
You might have a perfect website with great content, but that won’t be enough for search engines to tell whether or not your content is better than others. Search engines analyze links to understand if your website is relevant to others. The more links you have your website, the better the chance of getting on the first page! However, all links aren’t created equally. If search engines notice many spam links to your website, it will be penalized and pushed down in rankings. Always be sure to obtain high-quality links as it will help search engines vet your website.
Social Media Sharing
Have you posted your page or blog post to social media? If not, you need to! Search engines take into account social media shares to help determine whether the content is relevant. Be sure to always share your posts and encourage others to do so as well.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing brings potential customers to you by providing them fresh content through your social media channels. It is a great cost-effective way to gain exposure to your business and brand. The best part of it? All it takes is an internet connection!
Give a Reason to Follow You
It’s important to give people a reason to follow you on social media. Whether it’s by providing great content that people like or offering exclusive discounts on products or services, you need to keep your follow count rising to maximize the benefits of social media.
Do you have a testimonial from a previous customer or client? This is a perfect chance to share it on social media to authenticate your business to your followers and encourage them to take action.
Content marketing is a more broad concept that often touches other areas of inbound marketing. For example, creating an infographic and sharing it on your social media channels is an example of using multiple avenues to distribute your content.
Like we mentioned earlier, outbound marketing is the opposite of inbound marketing, you can think of it as more traditional advertising like television ads or direct mail marketing. One of the disadvantages of outbound marketing is that unlike inbound marketing, it costs money. While these costs can add up, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth it. By keeping track of your ROI you can better understand what is working for your business and whether or not you should invest more in your outbound marketing campaigns.
Pay Per Click Ads (PPC)
Want to bring customers to your website immediately? There are various advertising platforms that let you pay for each click your ad gets and sends them directly to your website. You can set bid limits based on demographics, day of the week, and many more options. Some of the most popular PPC platforms are listed below.
- Google Ads
- Facebook Ads
- LinkedIn Ads
Paying per click is not your only option, however. You can also choose to pay per view. The cost per click is usually similar to the cost per one thousand views. Keep in mind that your ad could be viewed thousands of times with no clicks, so you will have less control of your costs when paying per view.
Direct mail may seem like a marketing tactic of the past, but it can still provide positive returns, especially when paired with other marketing techniques. Trying running a social media campaign parallel with your direct mail campaign and be on the watch for an increase in traffic. It can be more difficult to attribute your sales to direct mail. To combat this, try using a specific promo code for your direct mail campaigns if you are an e-commerce business.
Email is a great way to retain and obtain customers. You can use email marketing to cross-sell your products or services as well as informing them of new products, sales, or promotions. You can pair email with a user acquisition campaign in order to obtain potential customers’ email information to sell them on your products or services later. Try asking for a user’s email address in exchange for a valuable piece of content, then you can send targeted promotional emails and increase your sales.
Learn how to lead
We’ve all had a great manager and a poor manager at some point in our lives. Being able to motivate your employees is one of the most crucial skills to grow your business. There are many benefits to a good leader.
- Decreased employee turnover which in turn lowers recruiting and training costs
- Increased employee productivity and motivation
- Increased emotional intelligence
You can ask any successful business owner and they will all admit that their leadership has helped to grow their business more than almost anything else. Becoming a better leader is not an overnight process. It will take some time to develop and improve these skills but here are some techniques you can start with.
- Congratulate employees on successes
- Encourage employees after a failure
- Listen to your employees’ problems and help them find solutions
- Connect with your employees on a personal level
Learn how to become more productive
Low productivity can kill a small business. With many tasks and a small number of employees, your small business needs to be at its highest level of productivity in order to grow. If you find yourself scrolling through social media (and it’s not your business page!), putting off stressful tasks, or not focused to complete tasks at your highest potential, your small business could be in trouble. Below are a few things you can try to increase your productivity.
Create To-Do Lists
To-do lists can help you complete those small pesky tasks that you’ve been putting off. The psychology of checking or crossing them off sparks a small rush of endorphins that will encourage you to complete more tasks. Try it for yourself, write down some tasks that you need to complete today (small or large), and check them off as you complete them.
Distractions will kill productivity. With smartphones, televisions, and computers everywhere we go, it’s easy to slack off and check out the latest news. Our advice? Set limits for yourself on certain applications or screen time to avoid some of these distractions. There are many apps that can help with this such as Forest or Moment for iOS.
Learn to keep innovating
Technology is changing almost daily it seems. If your business can’t stay up to date with new products or services, you could be in trouble. A stale product lineup is a recipe for disaster. Focus on refreshing old products or adding new products that add value and solve new problems for your customers in order to retain and attract new customers.
Hire more employees
We all have strengths and weaknesses. It is your job as a business owner to understand yours. You should focus your time on your strengths and hire others to work on your weaknesses. This should free up more time for you to advance your business and create ongoing success.
These are some of the most critical skills you can learn to grow your small business. By learning these skills you are certain to become a better business owner, leader, and person. Need some help growing your business? Check out McCall Media Solutions, our web design and marketing company who has helped with our online marketing! Also, be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our blog below!