By Scott Vollero
As a small-business owner, you know standing still is not an option. If you become satisfied with where you are, you’ve already fallen behind. You know you have to keep innovating and moving forward to keep the customers you have and find new ones. The problem is how to keep moving and growing. How do you know what will work and what won’t?
The short answer is you don’t. What works for one business may not work for another.
But, there are proven methods to move your small business forward that can, if not guarantee, at the very least give you the best game plan for successfully moving forward and not becoming a stagnant statistic. Here’s how.
1. Solidify Your Brand
You have a business name, you have a logo. Both are on your storefront, website, business cards, stationery and advertising materials. That’s a start. But make your brand do so much more.
“Your brand includes the entire customer interaction experience
from purchasing to returns.” —Scott Vollero
Do customers feel welcome? Can they return a purchase without a hassle? How does your business handle problems? If every interaction is handled in a positive and friendly manner, it strengthens your brand.
2. Make Use of Social Media
As a small-business owner, you may have already experienced the power of the internet and how it can make or break your online reputation. If a customer feels slighted, you can bet the customer’s opinion will show up either in an online review or on social media. But, you can use social media to great advantage as well. Building an online community around your business offers a host of benefits including giving followers a chance to get to know the people behind the business, engaging with them and asking them questions. Facebook and Twitter also give you the opportunity to offer advice and showcase your customer services. If you’re not actively engaging in social media, now’s the time to start. If you are, make sure you are fully engaged. Followers expect timely interactions. They don’t like feeling ignored.
3. Stand Out
Don’t be shy about touting the reasons your business stands out. Do you offer better warranties, faster shipping, extra perks, better products and services? Do your products fit a niche no other company does? Let the world know.
4. Get Real
Of course, you can’t just go around saying you have the best product, service and perks if you don’t. You have to actually offer the best. Don’t let customers down. Be reliable. If you aren’t honest, it won’t take customers long to find out. And there goes your business.
5. Become Your Own Biggest Cheerleader
Becoming your small business’s biggest cheerleader isn’t about the hard sell. You don’t even have to be a great salesperson to succeed. You’re passionate about your business. What you do is exciting and it shows in the way you interact with customers, colleagues and employees.
Use social media, blog posts and high-quality content to tell the story of your business and why you do what you do. Spread your enthusiasm. It won’t be long until your small business moves on up.
Bio: Scott Vollero is an international entrepreneur and expert in the precious metals and automotive parts recycling industries.