Strategies for small business owners are unique in that there is generally not a template in place as there is for larger corporations. This can lend itself to creating some unique opportunities to let your imagination help you map out the best success guide, that is also specific to your small business. Of course, there are tried and true formulas and models that are great to use as guides, but the short answer is, there is no magic bullet. Whether you are in the process of starting a new business or attempting to breathe new life into an existing one to raise brand awareness, marketing is an essential piece required for overall success.
Start at the Center
As a business owner you are probably aware that there are many details and moving parts regarding the financial aspect of entrepreneurship. It is important that you as an individual have a healthy relationship with your personal finances before you can find financial success in any extended platforms. Although you may be feeling excitement, anticipation, or pure adrenaline surrounding getting your ideas off the ground, examine your personal finances before you hit the ground running to be sure that you are prepared to handle any ebbs and flows that accompany your business plan.
Your credit score is one of the top criteria that is essential to your overall financial health. This is the number that will be used to determine your fitness for loans, leases, property purchases, etc. If you are currently out of whack with your debt-to-income ratio, focusing on turning that around prior to any small business plans beginning is going to set your wallet on a solid foundation for that leap. High interest credit cards can be one of the biggest strains on your budget. Paying out huge chunks of cash each month that are not even going towards your principle will add up fast.
If you have current cards that are carrying high interest rates, consider consolidating balance totals under a card with a lower rate so that more of your monthly payment can chip away at your debt. If you need to borrow money to get personal finances in order by getting credit card debt under control financing with a personal loan might be a smart choice for you. Not only will this strategy help you streamline the number of checks written every month, but ultimately might get you to your goal of being debt free faster than simply paying minimums each month, it is the equivalent of jogging versus crawling towards the finish line.
Create an Online Presence
Especially with today’s world amid a global pandemic, online marketing strategies must be at the forefront of every small businesses plan. Being able to extend your reach well beyond your physical location via the internet is going to help you to take up space with consumers that will be essential to creating and maintaining a customer base. The internet is one of, if not the, first place that a consumer is going to look when they are seeking out information about a specific product or business, so your website and social media platforms get only one chance to make a good first impression. Your small business website will show consumers who you are, what you offer, where you are, why you are unique, and where they can go to get more information. Be sure to dedicate time to creating a user-friendly online experience that does not force the consumer to have to click fifteen times just to find out if you carry the type of product or service they are looking for.
Social media is undoubtedly a marketing strategy that all small businesses must take advantage of. First off it is free, and secondly, these platforms are serving as a main source of communication between businesses and their community of customers both current and potential. Social media is a great opportunity to showcase your businesses individual personality and be a little less formal than a traditional website. By connecting your website to your social media, you can also improve your search engine rankings which sets you apart from your competition.
Social media is also a silent hero in the customer service department. Being able to have live discussions with your customers via direct messages and/or comments on posts that you have made means that your company is both credible and responsive. Gaining the trust of your followers can also lead to marketing opportunities like partnerships with influencers which when utilized effectively can make your business and exposure levels explode almost overnight.
There are a variety of free tools and services available to help with this if you feel you are too novice to tackle it on your own. But collecting data and analyzing it under the microscope of your specific business goals is a powerful and necessary marketing strategy. As you dedicate your time, money, and energy to these efforts, you must also pay attention to what is paying off and what is not working to your benefit. Finding out as early as possible that one campaign is generating more success than another allows you to be able to funnel your efforts towards line items that have earned your attention not ones that waste it.
Trial and error are a traditional way to track analytics and it is still applicable in today’s market. Although tangible data is credible and necessary do not discount the value in the information that you can get from simply polling your existing consumers, employees, friends, or family members. Receiving feedback, digesting it, and using that in-person data to determine what is and is not working regarding your marketing strategies is almost as important and the numbers and hard facts you get through a more methodical approach to analysis.
Keep your goals both big and small in mind and apply them to your marketing approach. It is too broad to simply say you want to market more towards increasing online sales. Break down that large goal into smaller more specific pieces and use those pieces as markers for success along the way. Do not be discouraged by this approach and assume that it will not yield favorable results. A steady marketing plan is often the best bet because it allows for small missteps to be addressed and dealt with along the way instead of going all-in on a strategy and figuring out once it is all said and done that it does not support your goals.
Owning and running a successful small business means that you must have a strong grasp on both your life outside this business as well as the self-reliant tactics necessary to keep it thriving. Financial fitness in your personal life will allow you to build habits that will translate to the handling of your business finances. As a small business owner, the need to make often fast and concise decisions is common so having strategies in place as a safety net means that you have done your research regarding what does and does not suit and nurture your goals.
Bear in mind that marketing is an industry that is in constant motion and evolves frequently. Having the flexibility to research what is trending and finding ways to combine that with what is traditional and proven can lead you to the specific formula best suited for your small business. Moving past your comfort zone is the pathway to growth so do not fear the unknown, rather embrace it and allow change within your strategies to keep your mind open.