While it’s a good idea to aim to innovate and get creative when running a small business, there are some tried and true business strategies that have helped countless entrepreneurs grow their businesses that you’ll want to consider.
If you’re hoping to attract new customers, retain existing ones, expand your resources, and increase your reach and revenue, keep reading for some helpful small business strategy options. While every strategy might not work for your business, hopefully they’ll give you an idea of how you can make your business stand out amongst the crowd.
Create business and marketing plans
One of the best strategies for small business owners hoping to achieve business growth is a simple one, create a business plan and a marketing plan. Writing a business plan is a great way to map out your goals so that you can stay on track to meet them. A strong business plan contains the following sections:
Descriptions of offerings and value propositions
Marketing and sales strategies
When it comes to making sure people actually know about your offerings and figuring out how to promote your business, you’ll want to consider creating a marketing strategy for your small business. Develop a marketing plan that outlines what your marketing goals are, what steps you intend to take to meet them, and what your budget looks like so that you know exactly how to promote your business and can cut out any guesswork.
Get social with customers and clients
While social media gets all the attention these days in the marketing world, there are plenty of ways to get social with your customers and clients that go far past tweeting. Yes, most businesses will want to have a robust social media strategy in place. Social media is a great way to update your audience about new product launches, sales and promotions, and can be a fun and easy way to engage with your clients or customers on an ongoing basis. Marketers have found that social media marketing can lead to increased exposure, improved traffic, better lead generation, and growing fan loyalty.
All that being said, you should also find ways to connect with your audience outside of social media. Virtual networking events, live webinars, and in-person events (once social distancing restrictions lift), are all great ways to connect with your clients and customers who are interested in learning more about your products and services.
Invest in your customer service
While we’re talking about getting social, investing in your customer service offerings is a great way to build loyalty and keep customers happy. Create an effective customer service strategy that is responsive (you don’t want to keep them waiting for long), have solutions readily in place for common issues (like missing deliveries), and make sure that all of your customer service staff interact with your customers in a way that represents your company’s culture and values. As 78% of people reported they would forgive a company for making a mistake after receiving excellent customer service, it’s easy to see how investing in customer service can pay off big time.
Provide valuable content
About 40% of marketers reported that content marketing is an extremely important part of their marketing strategy. Why are marketers so crazy about content marketing? This form of marketing does exactly what it sounds like, it relies on content. Generally, this term refers to web-based content such as blog posts, e-guides, and other content you can host on your businesses’ website. Content serves multiple purposes that can help a business meet their goals, such as:
Growing brand loyalty. As a business, your main goal is to earn revenue. However you don’t want to always be asking your customers to make purchases. To build brand loyalty, it can be helpful to give them something for free. Creating valuable and engaging content for your audience encourages them to come to you at times other than when they need to spend money.
Increasing SEO hits. The more content you have hosted on your website, the better chance that curious searchers will end up on your website after typing their query into a search engine.
Boosting your social and email presence. Want something besides advertisements and sales pitches to put in your email newsletters and social posts? Content gives you something fun or useful to promote that can help space out your pushes for purchases.
Building your authority. Want your customer base to respect you as an expert in your field? Providing top notch resources on your subject matter via content can help you build your reputation as an authoritative player in your industry.
Diversify your revenue streams
You know what they say about putting all of your eggs in one basket—don’t. When it comes to business, having multiple streams of revenue (such as selling various products or offering more than one service) can help you increase interest in your brand and can accommodate the natural ebb and flow of revenue your products and services may generate.
For example, if you own a company that only provides swimming lessons to children, you’ll likely struggle to generate revenue during the winter. If you add first aid classes for parents into the mix, you’ll be able to focus on that area of your business during the winter and can upsell the parents of your swimming students to take first aid classes all year round. If you already have a loyal customer base, try to come up with complimentary products and services you can offer that they’ll likely be interested in.
Create strategic partnerships
Running a small business on your own can be challenging, sometimes to take your business to the next level you might want to collaborate on a strategic business partnership that can help lighten your load and bring more resources to the table.
A strategic business partnership occurs when two businesses agree to team up and share their resources in order to mutually benefit. Small businesses often benefit from these partnerships because they can team up with other businesses in their industry in order to gain access to a new target market or to get their hands on valuable resources. By pairing up with another business, you can compete better with larger businesses.
There are three types of strategic partnerships:
Joint venture: This is when two companies combine their resources with the goal of meeting a certain objective. Both companies will be responsible for any costs and profits relating to this joint venture but they remain separate business entities.
Equity strategic alliance: To make an equity strategic alliance happen, one of the companies in the strategic partnership has to actually purchase equity in the other company. In some cases, both companies in the partnership will purchase equity in each other’s companies.
Non-equity strategic alliance: Two or more companies sign a contract that states they agree to combine their resources in a non-equity strategic alliance. However, neither company will create a separate entity or share any equity.
Want more small business resources to help you keep your business growing? Check out Fundbox’s Resource Center that breaks down everything you need to know about running a small business!