Ask any small business owner, and they’ll tell you: it can be one of the most rewarding things you do, but it can also be one of the most draining. So, where’s the balance?
How do you make it successful, without working yourself to the bone? The truth is that you probably can’t, at least, not in the beginning.
If you’re running a small business, you’re likely the only one working there, which means you often need to take on multiple roles: salesperson, manager, customer service agent, marketer, accountant. . . you get the idea.
Hopefully, though, this strenuous period will only last until you get your business off the ground and make a name for yourself. Once you’re successful, you’ll be able to put in less effort (though you will still have to work really hard!).
The Ins & Outs of Running A Successful Small Business
People tend to buy from smaller businesses because the quality is often better. Small businesses often handmake their products, as opposed to having machines do it.
Another thing to consider is that, since small businesses tend to make fewer products, they can pay more attention to each product, which generally means they can deliver higher quality products.
However, this standard needs to carry through all aspects of your small business. What’s the use of having a great product if you’re going to use bad quality packaging that could lead to your product being damaged by the time it arrives at your customer’s door?
Find a company that can help you with custom packaging, so that all your packaging needs are met.
Small businesses often don’t have the luxury of having a physical store. This isn’t great, since many bigger businesses get a lot of their clients simply from people walking past the store and deciding to pop in.
Luckily, just because your small business doesn’t have this luxury, doesn’t mean that you can’t still attract clients. You’ll just have to market that much harder.
Don’t be afraid of marketing too much – consumers often complain about marketing and advertisements being irritating, but it’s the irritating ones they remember most. You can learn more about marketing your small business here.
3# Get out of your office
As mentioned, most small business owners can’t afford to have a full-time store. But that doesn’t mean that your business needs to be run solely from your office.
A great way of getting clients to physically buy your products instead of virtually buying them is to set up a stall at a market. This can be as often as you can afford – once a month, or once a week if you find that you generate a lot of income during this time.
Ask other small businesses or scour the internet if you don’t know where to start; there are various tips for setting up a good market stall.
4# Use good suppliers
While, as mentioned, you likely do most of the work for your small business, it’s also likely that you use some form of suppliers. Small bakeries need somewhere to get their flour from. Art businesses need somewhere to get their materials from – you get the idea.
If you’re struggling with a supplier, it could reflect negatively on your business. For example, if your supplier is running late, you may run late when it comes to getting finished products to your customers.
You need suppliers you can rely on, and who deliver good quality service and supplies. However, if a usually reliable supplier slips up, that doesn’t mean you should immediately terminate any relationship with them. Try solving your supplier issues first before you give up.
5# Make shipping a priority
Just as with your packaging company and your suppliers, you need to have a decent shipping or courier company that you can trust.
Once again, if a shipment arrives late, it will reflect negatively on your business, even if you did everything right on your side. You may also want to include free shipping for customers who spend over a certain amount of money on your products.
This often motivates customers to spend more, and it may also mean that, in the future, they’ll support your business over a competing business.
6# Have a good online presence
Since the majority of your clients will find you through the internet, you should have a good online presence. If you have no idea where to start with building a decent website, it might be a good idea to hire a professional.
After all, if customers struggle with your website, they may decide it’s not worth it. You should also have as many social media accounts as you can manage since this will give you a wider audience to market your products towards.
7# Have sales
Sales are a great way to get new customers who wouldn’t ordinarily buy from you. It can also be beneficial to you – if you have any old or out-of-date stock, put it on sale at a discounted rate!
Having regular sales will mean that you’ll gain customers while also increasing your profit. Many people try to stock up on products when they are on sale, meaning they end up spending more than they would if you weren’t having a sale.
8# Go the extra mile
Small businesses don’t have it as easy as big businesses do – it’s a simple fact. This means that to make your small business stand out, you need to go the extra mile. People have certain expectations when it comes to small businesses.
These expectations often include small, personal touches. A hand-written note may just warm a customer’s heart and make them more inclined to support you in the future.
9# Good customer service
Whether a business is big or small, one thing can make or break their success: their customer service.
We know that, as a small business owner, you’re probably running the website and all social media accounts on your own, and it can be overwhelming when you have a lot of inquiries.
Set aside an hour or two per day to deal with all of them, so that you don’t end up ignoring a customer for days on end.
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