Running a successful small business is no easy task.
Although small businesses form the backbone of the economy, being a small business owner can be difficult and overwhelming. To help your business succeed, you must rely on strategic thinking, technological support, and a strong community network. Here are 7 tips to help you propel your small business's success.
Identify Your Competitive Advantage
To make your small business succeed, you need to understand what sets you apart. What is it that only you can offer customers? How will your business stand out from your competitors? There are 3 main types of competitive advantage:
- Price of product
- Quality of product
- Customer experience
Think about which area(s) you have a competitive advantage in. Do you, like Walmart, win over customers with low prices? Like Whole Foods, do you rely on high-quality products? Or do you distinguish yourself with a pleasant customer experience like Target? Figure out what makes you different, perfect it, and market it aggressively.
Outsourcing can help small businesses focus on what truly fuels their growth. Some tasks, when done in-house, can divert time away from business priorities. Consider outsourcing labor-intensive tasks such as:
- Content marketing
- Information technology (IT) services
- Website maintenance
- Legal advice
- Social media management
By letting specialists handle these tasks, you free up time to focus on what really matters to your business.
Perfect Your Website
Having a fast, mobile-friendly website is increasingly important to businesses' success. Websites establish business credibility—something that is especially important for small businesses which haven't built their reputation. Websites can also help attract new customers who stumble upon your site or see your pages shared on social media.
Luckily, it's becoming easier and cheaper to build a website. You can compare tools like Squarespace, Weebly, and WordPress, find the platform you like best, and get your site up and running quickly.
Use Social Media
Social media is an easy way to connect with your customers on a deeper level. It can make your business seem personal and easy to reach, deepening customers' loyalty. You can respond to customers' questions and comments, and share content and promotions they might enjoy. You can also use tools like Buzzstream and NinjaOutreach to identify potential influencers who can then promote your content.
If your business is not already using APIs (application programming interfaces), you should implement them as quickly as possible. APIs streamline operations and cut administrative work. They do this by moving information between different programs automatically. For example, APIs allow you to move an event created on your webpage to a client's Google Calendar.
You can even use APIs to simplify processes such as shipping. Shipping APIs can automatically compare rates across different carriers and return the best options. Additionally, by leveraging and implementing shipping API integration your business can access features such as real-time tracking and address validation to provide a streamlined experience for your customers. Shipping API companies also offer lower negotiated rates with carriers, saving small businesses money across the board.
Use the Cloud
More and more businesses are migrating to the cloud. Using the cloud offers small businesses tremendous flexibility. It can help:
- Lower IT costs—software is updated automatically
- Make data entry less tedious
- Improve teams' ability to collaborate
- Reduce paper waste to promote environmental friendliness
- Help busy entrepreneurs work on the go—you can work anywhere at any time
Using the cloud, your business can streamline operations and focus on its mission-critical tasks and priorities.
Running a small business is difficult work. It can be both emotionally rewarding and draining. Identifying mentors and advisors are critical to help you and your business whether any storms. Mentors offer an invaluable external perspective on your strategies, enabling you to develop more sophisticated insights and answers to problems. They can also give you personal advice as a small business owner, letting you know if your ego is getting out of check. Mentors encourage you while also keeping you accountable. They push you to accomplish your highest goals and propel your business to success.
Small businesses are vital to our economy and our lives but require hard work and dedication. Identifying what sets you apart, outsourcing, perfecting your website, using social media, leveraging APIs, using the cloud, and relying on mentors can help your business succeed.
Explore ways in which you can improve your business. Identify avenues to cut administrative tasks and focus on your business growth. Improve your business so your business can improve the world.