It’s Small Business Week here in the US and I of course want to encourage everyone to shop with small businesses because they can offer some really great products/services and have put their hearts and souls into their businesses. The big businesses want you as a customer, but small businesses need you as a customer. Small businesses typically don’t have customers waiting in the wings to swoop in and take your place when you move on, so your business really matters. But let’s face it, there’s usually a reason why people move on from being customers of a small business. So today I thought I’d address a few of those issues and share some things you can do if you’ve got a small business to be (more) successful.
Information is one of the things that can make or break a business. Small businesses have tons of things to manage, often there are more balls they have to keep moving than they really can. So things fall by the wayside or just aren’t tended to as well as they could be. This includes updating all written information, including websites, brochures, posters, social media, signs, packaging and menus. By not updating your information people think you’re outdated and can get frustrated when things just aren’t lining up or making sense. Devoting just an hour or less a week to giving everything a once over can help to avoid some of the most unnecessary issues, and help you know what to delegate to others to take care of fixing.
Community is something else that can make or break a business, and a small business is in a great position to tap into community. Whether you’re a small business that has a physical store or not, you as the owner has a physical location where you live. So whether you’ve got a physical store or not, you’ve got a community that you can invest in and share about what you offer in. You don’t have to have a physical store to invest in the local community, and you don’t have to have a huge online selling platform to invest in marketing online. Most communities have fairs or carnivals or farmers markets during the nicer months, all of which are great opportunities for you to host a booth or have an ad, and some also have local news papers or TV stations that are in need of experts to share information for stories.
Finally, do what you do best. Small businesses are by name, small. You’re not expected to have every single product in an industry, or offer every service known to man. Focus on offering a variety of quality services and/or products that you are passionate about and are knowledgeable about, and some things that are unique to your small business. If you’re afraid of not having sufficient offerings for people, you can offer a service that you source products for people that are in line with your business, even if they’re not products you typically sell. For example if you sell coffees and teas, you don’t have to have every single variety in your store (physical or online), but you can clearly post that you can source a coffee or tea at customer request (and probably get a better deal than your customer would if they were to just buy it because of your industry connections).
These are just a few insights to help small businesses be successful. What are your tips for small business success?