Running a small business in today’s economy is no easy task. According to Forbes, around 80% of small businesses fail within the first 12-18 months. Without a doubt, running a business requires a great deal of determination, passion and patience. But if you have an idea for your own start-up, don’t be deterred from opening up shop. Some of the biggest companies in the world began right where you are now and they had their tough times too. It’s important to realize that there will be difficult moments along the way but if you can get through them, you and your business will be stronger and better equipped for it. These hurdles can difficult to overcome, particularly if this is your first stab at the business world, but if you can stay positive and determined, your success will be all the sweeter.
Because of the general bad shape the global economy is experiencing currently, finding useful financing for small businesses can be easier said than done. People are afraid to invest in something that has a 50% fail rate. This can be especially true if your business is attempting to compete against a larger, corporate conglomerate. But don’t be discouraged, there are small business loans, business credit cards, and there are also grants for specific groups like women in small business, non-profits and educational grants. Try using social media sites or online crowdfunding applications like Kickstarter to help you build your business. You have to be creative with your fundraising and be prepared to not receive all the funding you initially set out to get, but if you can stay determined and work hard at raising the money, you’ve already won half the battle.
First impressions always count and this is particularly true with small businesses. Unfortunately, most people do not realize that when a small business first opens its door, it has to find a rhythm first and figure out what techniques work and which don’t. For some customers, once there has been a one-time bad experience, they are ready to write the brand off immediately.
Before your grand opening, try having a soft opening instead. Invite a small amount of people to test out your products, work alongside your employees and try out techniques so that your full launch is smooth and un-muddled. Be sure to send out as many invitations as possible in print and via social media platforms and work your hardest to help spread positive word of mouth about your business. If you have an idea, you have to believe in it the most, or else how are other people going to?
3) Creating a Customer Base
If you have just launched and had a great first few weeks and the launch novelty has worn off, it’s important to start re-focusing on your customer base. In order to have your product or business move, you’re going to need people to use it. Using search engine optimization techniques will help in finding customers searching for companies like yours to find your website and check it out. If you do not have a website for your business, make one immediately. Customers like to check out websites before they make a purchase and not having one means that you’re much less accessible to a wider audience. Look into creating profiles on social platforms and use them as a form of advertising. If you run a restaurant, for instance, show off your happy hour prices, menu pictures and customer reviews. Offer repeat customers coupons. If you have a customer that brings you new business, give them a freebie or gift as a thank you. Customers like to feel like individuals and appreciate the recognition you can provide them!
This post was written by M.G. Bachemin in association with Triton Industries, LLC.