Written by: Kevin Gardner
Starting up your own business is no easy feat. Becoming your own boss has its perks, but behind every self-devised schedule and undertaking is a host of pressing tasks that rest solely on your shoulders. Still, you started your business because you saw a place for yourself in your market and believe you have what it takes to offer your chosen field something special, something that only you can bring to the table.
Because your business is a labor of love, its success is personal. Read on for everything you’ll need to ensure that your business not only survives, but it thrives as well.
A Clear Sales Plan
Small business owners are driven by their big idea, which then prompts hours and hours of work to generate a solid plan of execution to devise a plan of operation. Too often, however, small business owners put the nitty gritty financial details to the side–if not entirely, then a little too off-center. Your products or services are certainly stellar, but without a strong sales plan, your company will fall flat a lot sooner than you’d hoped.
From sales forecasting to digital marketing strategies, it’s crucial that your company has its numbers game at the forefront. Carefully perform market research, keep track of every cent spent and create detailed budgets that have a healthy cushion in the event of inevitable hiccups.
Established brands have it easy in this arena, but it wasn’t always this way for them. Every major company, and even prominent small businesses, started from the bottom and worked their way to where they are today. There are many paths to achieve social clout, but some are better than others.
To strengthen your social proof, seek partnerships and interactions with other successful brands. Some small businesses may choose to partner with prominent internet figures, while others may seek out local, adjacent companies for a collaboration. Whatever your route, be sure to maintain a professional, positive presence from start to finish in order to establish yourself as a credible, reliable brand that your target consumers can trust.
A Solid Brand Identity
The best brands didn’t reach their status by accident. In addition to having a first-rate product and a solid business plan, prosperous companies have a strong, steady brand identity. Your company’s brand identity and brand voice are the personality of your business, and should reflect the most important tenets of your company.
It may seem as though your products and services should speak for themselves, but without good branding, your company could fade into the masses. Everything from color psychology to font choice sends a message to your customers about who you are and what you stand for, which can help or hinder your sales. Your branding should make the right impression with your ideal client, so make each decision carefully and with a clear objective in mind.
Excellent Customer Service
A company relies on its customers to stay afloat, and those customers are more likely to keep coming back when they feel seen, heard and acknowledged for their important role in each transaction. It’s crucial to maintain and build up positive and dependable relationships with your clients, and not only when they air a complaint.
When it comes to great customer service, it’s better to be proactive instead of reactive. Customers respond well to incentives such as coupon codes, loyalty programs, newsletters, seasonal sales and opportunities to positively engage with brands on social media. When a complaint does arise, time is of the essence. Respond thoroughly, politely and swiftly, and you’re more likely to create a happy customer out of a dissatisfied one.
A Strong Support Network
Owning and operating a small business is not for the faint of heart, and it’s important to not go at it alone. Even if you don’t yet have the resources to hire a team, lean on your support network whenever you can. Friends and family can help you to spread the word, take you out for a nice evening when things get stressful or lend a helping hand when you need it.
Look for the network of like minded business owners out there, too. With a community of allies on your side, you’re far more likely to see your business succeed through both good times and bad.