Thinking about expanding the potential of your business? Owning a small business can be challenging, especially if you’re self-employed or operating with a smaller team of personnel compared to a large enterprise or franchise. But playing your cards right can go a long way. Knowing your potential client base paves the way for a successful start, but being aware about how you’re going to spend your money and consistently turn a profit is just as important. Having a website is an essential next step for maximising business income, and a great tool for keeping track of your client base’s most requested item or service. Before you make the leap, here are four steps to ensure you approach the transition comprehensively.
1. Do your research.
This includes better familiarising yourself with target demographic, seeking potential partnerships with other small businesses, advertising, and even looking into opportunities for professional development. Also, don’t underestimate something as simple as word of mouth. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have become popular methods of online business promotion in recent years, but consumers are much more likely to believe recommendations they’ve heard from family and/or friends. It’s easy to purchase followers and likes for a set fee, which will grant a temporary illusion of popularity and perhaps quality. However, it is ultimately about connecting with people, not merely collecting them like numbers.
2. Build a positive, passionate workplace environment
The most successful people tend to love what they do, and you might notice they don’t tend to describe it as ‘work’. Spread this attitude across your staff and colleagues’, making sure every individual feels that they are part of a team that is constantly striving towards a higher goal. Share your plans rather than concealing them, and foster a sense of trust and loyalty in all staff. Gandhi once famously said that ‘we must be the change we want to see in the world’. This holds true for a business environment especially, because as a team leader, it is your job to make a solid communicative framework.
3. Be savvy about expenses
Managing your own business involves a lot of expenses, from insurance payments to staff salaries. But it’s often the unexpected costs that build up over time, even something as basic as business cards or stationery. Planning out a budget is a great way to tackle this, and so is investing in a small business loan. Used wisely, loans can give you a competitive edge over other small businesses by allowing you more freedom to hire extra staff, renovate the premises Kerry Vincent style, or expand your reach with better quality advertising services. Naturally, applying for a loan means being properly organised, establishing some financial projections, and not being discouraged if you get turned down the first time. The way Michael Jordan expressed it was “if you quit once it becomes a habit, never quit.”
4. Cultivate your online presence
In today’s day and age, you cannot survive without a website and being mobile optimised is second to none. Successive generations are turning to the internet more and more for online shopping, location services, restaurant menus and more. A huge bonus that comes with a business website apart from monetisation generated from advertisement clicks and impressions is of course the ability to sell and connect with your customers.
Thanks to complex data gathering systems, online customer behaviours can be used to help you to create a highly customised online presence.
Taking the plunge to grow your SME can seem daunting, but if it’s a decision you’ve been considering for a while, the beginning of a new year can be the perfect time to follow through.
By taking charge with an open, communicative approach, the workplace can transform into a positive, value oriented environment that staff grow to respect. If you’re still unsure about whether to proceed, don’t forget the infamous words of Mark Twain:
“Twenty years from now, you’ll be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than the ones you did do.”