Small Business Strategies
It can be tough to develop marketing and small business strategies when you are a local business serving a local market. Many small business owners take a “why bother” approach or a “the customers will come” attitude to marketing their business. Some small business owners don’t even consider their local ad buys, or their customer service to be marketing. But it is.
Not acknowledging that the good will of your community and the word of mouth from satisfied customers is marketing, is a mistake. In fact, it could be one that costs your business growth, customers, and revenue.
Taking the time to create a marketing strategy for your local business can be the difference between just getting by and growing your business into a strong and vibrant part of your community. Small business strategies don’t have to be complicated or costly either… but developing a strategy and a clearly set goal will give you and your staff a rudder to better navigate the flow of your local economy.
What Is Your Goal?
Make a clear, singular, measurable goal for your business. For example, “I want to grow my year’s revenue by 5%”, or “I want to earn enough to hire an extra hand for the summer”. Keeping your goal simple and easy to measure will allow you to determine your businesses success and give you some insight of how to improve performance moving forward.
There are quite a few people who own small businesses who aren’t even entirely sure who their customer is! Some business owners might answer that “everyone in town is a potential customer”, while some aren’t comfortable thinking about customers outside their already established history. Neither of these answers give the business owner any insight into who their customer is.
Take the time to get to know who the people are who choose your business, and who are the people you want to choose your business. Doing this provides you with what you need to attract new customers and better serve your existing ones.
How Will You Reach Them?
Once you get an idea of who you are talking to, your audience, you need to find a forum for them to hear your message. Facebook and Twitter are very powerful tools for finding local people to connect with. Online forums and blogs are a great way to further refine your message’s audience.
Use online services such as Foursquare and Yelp to empower and engage your best customers. Those who love your business will spread the word and share their love for your business. When you reward those who come through your door regularly, the ones who are a part of your business’s development… you’ll be reciprocated 10 fold.
Plus, don’t overlook more traditional means of connecting to your target market. Use coupons, local event or team sponsorship, and charitable events to continue to keep your business part of the conversation.
How Will You Continue to Develop Community Relationships?
A community is an ever changing, growing and emerging thing. Like any good relationship, it’s one of give and take. If you are not willing to run a business that supports its community, then how can you expect the community to show your business much support? So get out there… participate, shake hands, and get to know who the people are walking through your door and supporting your business. When you build connections with people in your community, you’re creating more than just customers, you’re building a business.