Tips for small businesses: How to get ahead in 2018
Cate is an IT girl by day and a writer by night. Her fields of expertise could be summed up to web design and digital marketing. Her interests are, on the other hand, wide and ever-evolving. These days Cate is quite passionate about helping startups and small businesses to grow.
To see what she is up too next, check out Cate’s Twitter dashboard.
With the end of 2017 slowly approaching, business owners are already starting to develop their financial and marketing strategies for the next year. Every business has room for improvement, whether it’s investing more in digital marketing campaigns, or doing a better job at retaining and widening your customer base. In business, those owners who make the first step at changing up the game often end up a few steps ahead of their competitors, which is why you’ll want to recognize the problems you’ve had in the year behind you and invest heavily into some of the newest trends that are coming your way.
In this guide, we’ll show you some of the best ways how to improve your small business in 2018.
Get the Right Tools
The difference between using the right tools and not using any at all can be huge, especially for the scale on which small businesses operate. For example, if you’re in need of a web designer once in a while, you don’t actually need to have an employee in the books that will only work for you 5 days a month.
You can use a platform for finding freelancers, like Upwork, that you’re going to pay per project. As a small business you’ll want to be saving time and money on every corner, so make sure to use the best tools available to you.
Improve Your Online Presence
The area where most small businesses should be looking to improve is probably their search engine rankings. It’s dead simple – by better ranking for the keywords relevant in your niche you’ll not only get more traffic (more conversions, too!) but you’ll also build brand awareness, which can be huge for smaller businesses that are looking to expand. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) can get you the desired results but it may take a while for them to kick in, while a PPC (Pay per Click) campaign can get you a spike in traffic instantly if you can afford it.
Your online presence can also be greatly improved when you pay attention to your branding. Setting up a consistent and well planned Branding Strategy with a relevant Brand Styling Guide will help not only with presence but also with what’s next, a good content marketing strategy.
Update Your Content Marketing Strategy
High-quality content is nothing new when it comes to its importance for online businesses, but the way you show your content might just create room for you to improve. With the rise of YouTube, Facebook, or Instagram Stories, our society is starting to get used to video content more and more.
This isn’t going to change anytime soon, as we’re only speeding up towards faster, more relevant content. By showing your content through videos you’ll make sure you get the message to your target audience within their attention span. Now you can create videos from blog posts you have already written!
Budget Planning for Future Growth
The goal of pretty much every small business out there is to expand sometimes in the future. Hitting that crucial take-off point can be difficult though if you haven’t planned your budget ahead for it. Professionals such as LLB make a point that the biggest benefit of having a strong budget is the ability to limit just how much money is spent on certain operations.
Meeting budget limits will sometimes force you to change your suppliers, but in return, you’ll always know exactly where you stand. This is vital because as a small business you want to have a special reserve account you’re going to use only for selecting new business opportunities, the ones that can help your business expand.
Improve Your Social Media Strategy
Where most small businesses make a huge mistake is by thinking that they should use their social media as an advertising tool. Sure, that’s partially true, but spamming your followers with promotions on Facebook won’t get you further up the ladder. On the contrary, you might be losing some valuable leads this way! Use social media to provide relevant, meaningful content to your audience and they will come knocking on your door.
Set up a Social Media content planner that can be scheduled for better reach through all your social media channels. Automating social media outreach saves time and keeps your content relevant.
Set Up Clear Goals
Before doing anything else, you should probably decide in which area you want to improve the most. Spreading your focus to multiple areas might be counter-productive, so make sure you prioritize the areas that you recognize as the most important ones.
Whether it’s improving your content marketing strategy, reaching a new target audience, or getting into a new market by expanding your niche – you’ll want to know the priorities ahead to better prepare for what’s coming your way.
Focus on Customer Service
Many small businesses focus so hard on finding new customers that they sometimes forget about their existing ones. The fact is that 80% of average business’ revenue is coming from only 20% of their customers.
Another fact – retaining your old customers is much cheaper than customer acquisition. This is why retention of your current customer base is actually more important than finding new ones. To do this, you need to be at your best when dealing with customers – which is why customer service is so important. Furthermore, customer service can boost your reputation through the roof, which is something you can’t really buy with money anymore.
Only one in every 10 small businesses manage to pull through and expand their business, which is why you’ll want to do everything in your power to get ahead of your competition in 2018. Recognizing what needs to be improved is essential to keep you ahead of the curve, but so is maintaining the areas you’re already good at. Follow the tips we’ve highlighted in this article and you’ll stand a better chance of becoming a leading business in your niche.