When it comes to advice for small business owners, there is no shortage of people with something to say. It’s easy to get lost in the sheer volume of information available.
Much of the information is valuable, but not all. To help you break it down a little, here are five simple things you can do when you’re ready to grow your business. This is not an exhaustive list by any means, rather it’s a place to start.
Here is our best advice for small business owners who want to grow and succeed:
- Identify your most profitable customers
- Give your team the right tools
- Invest in your website and digital marketing
- Take your brand seriously
- Know where you’re going
Identify your most valuable customers
Across industries, many small business owners have boosted growth by focusing on their best, most valuable customers. These customers make up a small per percentage of total customers but are responsible for most sales and profits. “Often companies can do well by showing more love to the customers who love them the most.” (Make Your Best Customers Even Better by Harvard Business Review)
- Find out whose business brings the highest profit margin and who has the best lifetime value.
- Map their journey, so you can replicate (and optimize) it.
- Interview this group of customers so you can identify patterns and consistencies.
- Reward customers for loyalty. Appreciate them.
Advice for small business owners who are confused about customer value
Below is the majority of Seth Godin’s blog from July 16, 2018, We’re still clueless about lifetime value:
If an Apple upgrade breaks your phone and you switch to Android, it costs Apple more than $10,000.
If you switch supermarkets because a clerk was snide with you, it removes $50,000 from the store’s ongoing revenue.
If a kid has a lousy first grade teacher or is bullied throughout middle school, it might decrease his productivity for the rest of us by a million dollars.
Torrents are made of drips.
The short-term impact (plus or minus) of our work or our errors is dwarfed by the long-term effects. Compounded over time, little things become big things.
Give your team the right tools
The correct tools for the job are a necessity. Your employees want high-tech, quality tools to complete their jobs in a respectable way. The findings one study found “Just 39% of employees reported that their company uses online and collaborative learning tools to fuel development…” (56% of employees don’t have the latest tech needed to do their job well, report says by TechRepublic)
- Identify and define tasks that each member of your team responsible for.
- Research best practices and emerging technologies.
- Involve the team members in decisions.
- Train, reward, and hold accountable your employees.
Advice for small business owners who employ others
The value of your team cannot be understated. Your team is responsible for the growth of your business. Jack Welch, retired chairman and CEO of General Electric, stated: “There are only three measurements that tell you nearly everything you need to know about your organization’s overall performance: employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and cash flow.” Employees are as valuable as customers and your cash flow.
Invest in your website and digital marketing
The future of business is online. Our best business advice for those who are ready to grow is to get online, now. It is past time that your business should be online. If you are online, optimize your website so that your customers love it and Google ranks it well. “Remember, your website is the big part of your business success. You need to give it a strong foundation so it can bring you new clients and grow with your business.” (Why You Should Invest In A Custom Website by Forbes)
- Figure out where you’re at in the marketplace.
- Determine what your customers want from you online.
- Integrate your online experience with the rest of your brand experience.
- Include digital marketing in your annual marketing budget.
Advice for small business owners who aren’t online
Use your website as the powerful tool it is. That means you need to invest in it with marketing – to promote your brand – and maintenance – to keep it performing its best. “Maintaining your website and marketing it to your target audience are two key pieces to website success.” (The Real Reason Your Website is Failing by Artonic)
Take your brand seriously
Your brand is a way for you to connect with and influence your customers. “According to the findings, roughly half of millennials (52 percent) and Gen Xers (48 percent) wanted retailers to align with their values. Only 35 percent of baby boomers said that was important.” (Report: 52% of millennials want retailers to mirror their values by Marketing Land). Now is the time to take your brand seriously.
- Clearly define your brand values.
- Develop a style guide for your brand.
- Update your logo.
- Hire professional designers and creatives.
Advice for small business owners with a weak brand
Simon Sinek, author and professor at Columbia in Strategic Communications program said it well: “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Your customers want to feel good about the things they buy. They also want connection. Your brand is the way to give them both: by aligning your brand values with your customers’ values, you form a connection with them that helps them feel good about buying from you.
Know where you’re going
It’s easier to get somewhere when you have a clear vision of that place. When you’re ready to grow as a business, spend time planning your future. Think about possibilities, your brand values, who you want to serve, and how you want to do it. Be sure your team is part of this process. Even if they don’t help define the vision for your company, long- or short-term, you still need to tell them your plan. How else will they be able to help you achieve it?
- Develop long-term goals that increase profit and improve efficiency.
- Include your entire team in planning for the future.
- Develop revenue streams that increase margins and cut spending.
- Stay optimistic.
Advice for small business owners ready to grow
Your vision of your business’s future is oftentimes called “mental preparation” and is key to business success.
Part of mental preparation is imagining how much you want to grow, and what it will take to get there. That vision might not be as enjoyable an experience as you might envision. Achieving growth comes with certain sacrifices, including often giving up control to a board of directors or shareholders. Deciding exactly how much growth is too much is the first step toward setting long-term goals. (8 Things Your Small Business Should Do Now to Prepare for Future Growth by Quickbooks)
Start growing your business today
If you’re creating a website for your business, it’s important to get all the details right. Need help? That’s why Artonic is here – to support your goals and make your website a success.
Each website we build is completely custom. We do not use templates. (Find out why a custom website design matters). Every piece of your website is created specifically for YOU – your goals, your audience, your strategy, and your brand.
Find out what it’s like to work with an agency to create the website of your dreams. View videos and read case studies about stories from our clients.
Give Artonic a call or e-mail us if you’re interested in website design, development, or marketing.