With most local businesses in southern Ontario only now being able to open back up after a second lengthily lockdown due to COVID-19, it is time for those business owners to take serious action if they want to remain in business for years to come.
Below are 5 tips that small business owners need to heed, as these are NOW more important than ever before.
1.) Really LISTEN to your customer
There truly is real value in listening and engaging with your customers. Small business owners need to focus on that value by encouraging your customers to leave reviews on your Google MyBusiness.
The days of paying out lots of money simply for your brand awareness in order to push a run-of-the-mill product or service is all over now. So, really LISTEN to your customers and use their feedback to improve your product or service so that your product or service sales improve.
Having great products and offering great service will make building your brand automatic.
Reviews on your business are a great method to gain quality feedback. Other ways that you can connect with your customers and receive feedback include being active on social media and documenting your customer support communications.
If you already have a Google MyBusiness account and have NOT completed it, or have not logged in awhile, DO update your Google MyBusiness account. Playing nice in Google’s own “sandbox” will also server your business well.
2.) CUSTOMER SUPPORT needs to be a priority
Being quick to reply to email complaints and/or social media comments truly is critical for building your brand’s trust. It is best to respond in 24 hours or less to all emails from your customers.
If you cannot deliver what you promised then you should be prepared to provide a refund. Turning unhappy customers into loyal ones is so much easier to do than to handle costly reputation management once an unhappy customer takes their story online.
Once your business gains trust, you will find that word-of-mouth, such as social media chats, happening in favour of your business. People may start recommending YOUR business when others are looking for help seeking a trustful local business.
Delivering an experience that your customers won’t soon forget really does work wonders. Going the extra mile and a half for your customers will pay off in dividends in the not too far future.
3.) Value YOUR time
Businesses are not easy to build. They really do require a LOT of focus and commitment of your time… and at times, yes even your money.
Let endurance, persistence and determination be your best friends, as they are necessary to have if a business is to succeed after such a long time-out.
And, I’m certain that you’ve heard the saying that if you don’t value your time, no one else will. The best run businesses, owners already know that they cannot possibly be good at everything.
This is where you need to find ways to hire the right people to help you by taking over many of the daily menial and repetitive tasks, so that you can focus on developing your business into a full recovery.
However, if you are only now starting up your business, then you will need to set goals that are actually achievable, especially those of your marketing budget. And, you need to remember that when your business is small, you won’t necessarily have the influence, time or resources to do everything at first.
This is where you need to decide on what tasks could be easily handled by even a temporary or contract employee.
4.) Get your business ONLINE
Adding more ways to serve your potential customers is now more important than it has been in the past. Make sure it is as convenient to your potential customers as humanly possible to purchase from your business.
If you are not online yet, get online. If you have a stale website, get that site updated a.s.a.p.
You have options like Google MyBusiness, a means where even the tightest budget is allowed to be online at NO extra cost. You truly do not even have to PAY to have your business online nowadays.
There is yet another FREE method for getting your business online and that is by creating a Facebook fan page for your business.
Done correctly, your business CAN be ranked online FREE simply using Google MyBusiness and by using a Facebook page. So, you really don’t have any good excuse to not have your business online anymore.
If you can afford a website too… then you will find this a BIG BONUS to your business when using ALL three methods.
Once you determined your target audience decisions like these will be much easier to make.
You may even find it easier to outsource some of your tasks, such as:
- website development
- Google MyBusiness
- email marketing
- media marketing
- Facebook fan page
- social media
- SEO (search engine optimization)
Vice President, Creative Services at Kensium Richard Parr says, “Your business isn’t just your website — it’s a multitude of channels that can be leveraged to increase sales and brand visibility.”
5.) Don’t let competition get YOU down
Don’t be too concerned with competing with older or larger businesses than yours. The reason I say this is that many older, well-established businesses are stuck in yesterday when it comes to customer support and actually listening to their customers.
This will serve you well, as that sort of attitude leaves a major opening for small businesses to simply step up to the plate and win customers by capturing the market share. Serving customers well will work to serve you well in return.
Don’t be afraid to run a great contest with a substantial prize, as that too may serve you well. Think about all those who might share your contest details on their social media, providing you with FREE advertising.
Not only that but the cost of your prize will be a tax deduction as it is being used to ADVERTISE your business.
Example of a GREAT contest
Having received this in an email on the 5th of March 2021, I felt it a GREAT example of a substantial prize potential customers could win. This contest is for REAL folks.
Technology today is developing at such a quick speed by providing all sizes of businesses the ability to scale a business quicker and easier at a fraction of the cost of doing so in the years past.
Paying attention to trends, as “that’s the way we’ve always do it”, won’t necessarily work from now on as it once did.
Stay true to your business ideas that work. This will help you to communicate better and your messages will then resonate with your customers.
Being the BEST at what you do in business will truly serve you best. And, being the BEST at some THING rather than trying to be the best at everything works even better.
Focus on your chosen business, and do NOT spread yourself out too thin. Once your priorities are in proper aliment, you will be able to face obstacles with a lot more confidence.
Choose a business that you enjoy doing so that your working will be fun, most of the time.
So, continue being passionate about your business, the services you provide or the products that you sell, as well as the customers you do business with.
This will help give purpose to your business and thus help you DRIVE GROWTH throughout the year.
Should your budget allow you a media marketing campaign, you may want to check out my newest service being offered to select few clients.