Running a small business is no easy feat, and that's why not everyone has the confidence to do it. You can have a brilliant idea, but it takes work to have a brilliant business. We've rounded up tips on how to run a successful small business to help you share with the world exactly what your brilliant idea is and how it can make a difference to customers.
Did you know that only 49% of small businesses have a website? A staggering 97% of online searches are by consumers looking for products and services and more than half of these are local searches like “Hairdresser Hackney”. Having a website is a key method to ensure a successful small business and creates opportunities for you to increase your reach, be accessible to new customers and be a direct source of revenue. Just do a quick google search for, “create a website”, and you’ll find lots of low-cost solutions out there. For example: Wordpress is great for website novices... The basic plan which includes a custom domain name is £5.99 per month. Not only do you have hundreds of themes to choose from, but it’s simple to use, plus you get email and live chat support if needed.
Build a product and they will come was the old approach to businesses but as the years go by, the choice for consumers has skyrocketed and you need to shout about your small business to cut through all the noise out there. So our next tip to run a successful small business is to test out a few marketing channels such as email marketing and social media (which won't cost a lot of money). With your new website, you now have the ability to speak to your customers via email marketing. 99% of consumers say that email is their preferred way to hear from brands (and they're checking their inboxes every day). By simply collecting customer email addresses you can email out offers and incentives to drive them back into your store.
Social media is a great way of keeping in regular contact with your customer base and encouraging repeat visits with incentives. A staggering 59% of the world's population engages on social media platforms and it's paved the way for businesses to manage and reach their customers without having to run expensive marketing campaigns. It can be daunting to define what social media channel is right for you, so start with one and build out your customer base. Establish what you want to achieve by using social platforms and ensure it's set up clearly to achieve these goals, plus think about what you find engaging when you're scrolling through them and emulate that, it's highly likely what you like will resonate with your customers.
The daily activities required to run a successful small business means that you are super busy which means our tips above might seem impossible. The good news is, there are affordable platforms out there that will allow you to schedule all your social media posts across any of the social media channels you decide to go with. Take a look at social media management platforms such as Buffer and Hootsuite as a starter for ten to better understand the capabilities and costs (plus they have handy guides that will help you get set up).
New technologies can give your business a competitive advantage if chosen wisely. They can help you to do your work more efficiently, give you more insight into your business and possibly even help you save money whilst making more informed decisions.There are often assumptions that small businesses aren't suitable for big name brands out there that can offer you these things. However, many offer freemium services such as Google Analytics which will help you monitor if all your hard work is paying off with your website, email marketing and social media. It can help you keep an eye out for trends such as common times customers are engaging with your brand, or highlighting what parts of your operations might need some improvements. Make the most of what's at your disposal for free, the customer is king so the more you can find out about them, the better chance you'll have at running a successful small business.
We've touched a few times on how hard it is to cut through the noise and reach your customers. The choice customers have can result in what's known as digital deafness where they don't even hear brands trying to talk to them. Incentivising customers is a key way to get through to them and remind them why they should keep shopping with you. Customer loyalty programmes such as cashback, rewards your customers every time they shop in your store and will motivate them to keep coming back. Check out how our cashback app works and how you can start rewarding your customers (without you having to lift a finger) 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your customer base i.e. your most loyal customers...Which is 72% of visits to your business!
This may seem like an obvious one but in order to run a successful small business, you need to make sure you have a clear roadmap and plan for what you intend to do. Being a key decision maker can result in your time being taken away on other priorities that can crop up. So make sure you know what you need to do, break it down to manageable chunks and refer back to it each week. Trello is a great online tool with free versions that help you create 'swimlanes' for what needs done. You can create cards and move them along columns such as 'to do', 'in progress' and 'done' (plus you can set due dates and it'll let you know if you're getting close to it).Plan your marketing strategy ahead of time, this can be anything to a weekly level, all the way up to 3-6 months in advance being sure to think about business objectives, your targets, the activities required to meet these as well as the budget you have to enable you to do this.
You have made the biggest leap by starting your business so let’s make sure together that it is a success. For extra tips and tricks on how to run a successful small business, check out our Business Owners Guide to Customer Acquisition.