Yes, the internet is a really big place for business, and that’s great for consumers who enjoy being spoilt for choice every time they shop online. It’s a different story, though, for small businesses and startups. For them, our digitally-driven business environment can be an intimidating space – a playground for big marketing budgets and sparkly slogans.
So, if you’re a small business looking to break into this competitive online marketplace, here’s some food for positive thought: Great ideas don’t always cost a lot of money. You don’t have to be the biggest to make an impact in your market. Here are some tips to help your small business become a top pick for consumers:
Make sure you have a professional-looking website
Today, it’s possible to have a professional-looking website without spending a lot of time and money. In fact, small businesses can buy their domain name online and build a website in under one hour using a website builder. Not only could this equip your business with the latest features such as blog creation tools, a responsive mobile design and easy selling functions, you may also stand out with professional imagery and a customisable state-of-the-art style and interface.
Use your agility to move faster
Large businesses might have big budgets to make big things happen, but they often have more process to go with it too. On the other hand, your small business could have the advantage of being able to make tweaks and changes faster than your larger competitors. Whether it’s a new mobile site or new product range and pricing, embrace your nimbleness to trial new ideas and deliver them to market quicker. Yes, find out what your customers want, what works for them, do more of it, and stick with it.
Make a human connection with your audience
As a small business owner, you can be closer to your customers and form a closer connection with consumers who want to get to know the real values and stories behind the brands they support. Engaging with your customers by personally writing blog posts, responding to reviews and posting on social media could help make your brand values stand out as more authentic and meaningful.
Be individual and different
Small businesses may be in an advantageous position when it comes to using blogs and social media to take a stand on the hot topics important to them, their business and their sector. This doesn’t mean being provocative or contentious, it’s about finding a way to add value and offer a unique perspective to real conversations that are important to your customers.
Attract the best employees
It’s often said businesses – as well as their customer service – are only as good as the people they hire. And many small businesses, by their very nature, are in a strong position to offer highly-talented people the work experiences they desire. For example, in a small business there is often the opportunity to be exposed to different areas of the business, as well as a variety of projects can help enable small business employees to develop professionally. Similarly, a more flexible work schedule could help staff achieve an improved work-life balance.
So, small business owners play to your strengths when recruiting and let candidates know the benefits of working for a smaller enterprise. Hiring freelancers may also be a great way for smaller businesses to widen their talent pool and tackle extra periodic or project-related workloads.
Pick a market and focus hard on it
Spreading yourself too thinly, by trying to appeal to too many customer segments, could impact for your small business – especially if you’re competing with larger and more well-resourced businesses. Consider choosing your niche customer base and focusing your attention on their needs with products that work for them. Create a tailored website and marketing content targeted at your niche customer. Once you’re satisfied that you’re adequately serving your targeted market, you might then have a strong foundation to expand further.
You might be a small business, but biggest doesn’t always mean best. With the right strategy and mindset, there are many ways you could win the hearts and minds of consumers without a big budget or workforce behind you.