Small businesses are a vital part of any modern-day economy. Building a new business comes with its own set of obstacles, no matter how much knowledge you have going into the process. More importantly, there are several rewards professionally and personally, that come with successfully sustaining an independent business. You’ve become an important part of the fabric of your community, but you’ll need to work hard to stay in business.
With these seven tips in mind, you’ll be able to achieve the relationships and economic growth your small business deserves.
Research Your Competition
If your product or service is part of an already competitive market and you want to see real growth, your competition is an important piece of the puzzle. Identify their business model and how they’re selling themselves — is there anything you can contribute that is unique to only your business. Establishing a business model that stands out requires a thorough understanding of what your competitors are doing well. With that knowledge, you can create strategies that will set your brand apart and create meaningful engagement with your target audience.
Plan for Emergencies
Like any budget, personal or professional, an emergency fund is a crucial component to maintaining a secure financial situation. You should ask yourself — are you saving enough for emergencies and other surprises that might come your way?
The amount of savings you should set aside may vary depending on the size of your business — at least three months should be stored away for emergencies, but you may wish to save up to a year. If your inventory becomes compromised in any way, having those funds will prevent you from having to turn to short-term payday loans to keep yourself afloat.
Understand and Define Your KPIs
To effectively market your product or service, you want to ensure you have a clear understanding of what your KPIs should be. KPIs — Key Performance Indicators — are performance measurements designed to illustrate how well your current business plan is performing. The goal is to focus on a handful of key metrics — sales growth, sources of income, and diverse revenue sources are at the top of the list. Your marketing plan will likely depend on your current KPIs and projected timelines.
While you may be able to predict a ballpark figure when calculating your expenses and estimated profits, small businesses are more likely to run into unexpected expenses than big-box brands due to limited resources. Anticipating this in the early stages will help ensure you don’t have to dip into your savings or cut back on essentials to afford your inventory.
Invest in Quality Employees
When it comes to your staff, it’s important to value quality over quantity. A team with diverse expertise will allow you to utilize the talent around you, receive effective feedback, and proceed with more informed decisions. During the hiring process, maintain a clear onboarding strategy that’s accompanied by measurable results. A clear expectation for your employees will ensure they’re working at the highest level and will only drive your business forward.
Prioritize the Customer Experience
No matter what your business offers or at what price point, putting the consumer first is a vital component to maintaining long-term relationships and sustaining the growth of your brand. Consumers are likely to pay a premium for a product or service if they feel they are prioritized and welcomed with a positive shopping experience — this factor is often more important than your advertising strategy. Small businesses rely on their customers — ensuring they are at the top of your list will further strengthen those important relationships.
Build Vendor Relationships
The vendors you choose to work with will be a vital part of your business. Quality products are going to drive sales and create brand ambassadors. Maintaining positive relationships with your vendors the same way you would with customers will ensure you have a sound partnership as your business grows.