Growing a small business requires a lot of decisions about when and where you spend your hard-earned dollars. Every aspect is as important as the next, and the temptation to skimp on marketing to save a few bucks may seem like the only logical option. The good news is that building your business doesn’t have to be expensive. You can grow from small business to million-dollar empire by simply making smarter decisions. Here’s how:
Craft an elevator pitch
Six to eight seconds is all you have to grab a person’s attention. This is why you need a compelling elevator pitch. How can you sell yourself in the most succinct and interesting way? Once you have successfully engaged a potential client, you have very limited time to convince them to buy what your selling. Make those moments count, you’ll be surprised at how much business a clever elevator pitch can generate.
Get involved in your community
Big business starts local. Think of ways you can establish a presence in your local community. This could mean sponsoring a sports team, donating to a charity, or speaking at events. The options are endless. It’s about working out where your ideal customer spends their time and money, and how you can get in front of them by giving back to the community.
Collaborate and network
Not much opens business opportunities like good ol’ fashioned networking. Get out there and meet people, shake hands, talk to each other. Even if that person is not in a position to establish a business relationship, chances are they know someone who knows someone who is. That’s how networking works. Teaming up with other non-competitive businesses and running cross-promotions is also highly effective in generating new business leads – and all it costs is a slice of your time. Not sure how to network? Check out how shared office spaces are fast-becoming networking hotspots.
Ask for referrals
Don’t be shy in asking your customers for referrals. Most people are more than happy to oblige, but lack the initiative to do it unprompted. Ask your customers to leave reviews on your social media sites, or to tag you in any relevant posts about your business. You can also offer incentives for referrals, such as a rewards program, loyalty discounts, or free products or services if they refer a friend.
Did you know blogs are one of the most trusted sources of information? You need to capitalise on this. A business blog is one of the most effective tools for small business growth, and best of all, it’s absolutely free! Furthermore, it’s a great opportunity to establish brand identity and voice, assuming your content is original (which it should be). By creating informative content that people are searching for, you bring traffic to your website and boost your sales. But people can only find this information if you write about it. So get writing!
Build an email marketing list
Email marketing has become one of the most popular methods of communication between businesses and customers. An effective email marketing strategy keeps you at the forefront of your customers’ minds, without having to wait for them to find you. But it’s important that you actually offer value to your subscribers and don’t just spam them with pointless emails. Doing so will put them off and make them more likely to unsubscribe to your services.
Host a VIP forum
Create a little exclusivity around your business. Having a forum for VIP’s (which is really just a fancy word for customers) creates the feeling that they’re getting something special. A forum also allows customers to share their opinions and experiences with your products or services, which is an inexpensive but effective way of getting valuable information to help tailor your business.
- Be passionate
- Have a consistent social media presence
- Make customer service a priority
- Learn (and remember) the names of your customers
- Send handwritten thankyou cards
Building your business is about building relationships. A small business can and should have big ambitions, but it all starts with making smarter decisions and having more of a focus on what you provide than what you receive.
- What’s the difference between running a small business and running a successful small business? Good habits. Just like developing good personal habits can help you succeed as an entrepreneur, developing good business habits is equally as important. If your business is not performing as well as you’d like it to,…