Owning a small business isn’t easy and it can often feel like you need to be an expert in many different areas all at once. You’re expected to market your business, maintain great relationships with your customers, manage your finances, and so much more. On top of that, you have significantly fewer resources than your larger competitors to stay on top of everything.
So how are small business owners supposed to keep up? Good strategies and quick wins are both key to making sure you can optimize the time you do have to see more results for less effort. Here are four of the best strategies to do just that.
Improve your web presence
In today’s world, a great online presence is the bare minimum if you want your business to be successful. In most cases, it doesn’t even matter which type of product or service you’re selling. You’ll need a website that stands out in search and looks modern and professional. And you’ll also need a social media presence on whichever channels make sense for you. This can be different for each business and depends on who your target audience is and where they’re most active.
It can also be really beneficial to set up local listings for your business. Setting up your Google Business Profile is a minimum here, but Facebook, LinkedIn, Yellow Pages, and MapQuest all have local business directories as well. Getting your listing on as many of these as possible helps you be accessible to your local community and lets new customers easily find you. It’s also worth noting that all of these options help direct already existing traffic toward you, reducing the need to spend your money on paid advertising channels.
Engage with your audience more effectively
With so many customer engagement channels available, small businesses typically don’t have the resources to focus on all of them. Email marketing can be a great option for most small businesses. It allows you to own your audience because there’s a lot more in your control than there is on social media platforms. With constant algorithm changes, you can never be sure how much access you’ll have to your own audience, no matter how much time you’ve spent building it on that platform. And email marketing tends to have a much higher ROI, estimated to be around 3600%, so you’re getting a lot more bang for your buck.
You can also have a much more authentic and personal relationship with them. You’re able to get creative and send them personalized messages for birthdays or send them content that’s tailored to them based on things like their location or previous purchase history.
Tools like Aweber can help you make the most of email marketing. They give you hundreds of email templates to choose from (based on what has worked for their customers in the past, so it’s already tried and tested), share prebuilt automation campaigns to help you get up and running quickly, give you easy analytics so you can quickly optimize future emails, and let you automate many steps on the process for an email strategy that works for you.
Build a better customer experience
Building a great customer experience is a huge challenge for small businesses. We all know this is one of the most important aspects of running a business, but without someone dedicated to customer experience (and with limited resources in general), strategy for this area of the business often doesn’t get the attention it deserves. And one of the big reasons a great customer experience is important for small businesses is that you can create repeat customers and put less pressure on your business to constantly acquire new customers.
It can often feel like small businesses are at a disadvantage when it comes to customer experience because their larger competitors have large customer support teams dedicated to this, but this can actually be a big advantage to you when you’re starting out. You have fewer customers, so you should be able to help each customer more quickly and immediately whenever an issue does arise. You’re also able to go above and beyond for each customer more easily than a big corporation can. And they’re likely to see you as another person (or a few people) instead of a large corporation. This makes them more likely to share their positive experiences with you. The more you can create personalized experiences for them and give them excellent customer service in every interaction, the more you’re able to stand out from your competitors.
Simplify your banking and taxes
For most small business owners, finances are very siloed. Different aspects of banking, accounting, and taxes are managed on different platforms. And this contributes to a lot of confusion around your finances in general. Accounting, banking, and taxes are all very connected to each other. So why are you managing them separately?
With Lili, you can automate tax savings and you categorize each expense with a quick swipe as they come. This way you’re never hit with a surprise bill come tax season or stuck categorizing a large number of expenses at once. You can also create, send, and manage invoices directly from the platform. And schedule auto-reminders for payment as well, so you’re spending less time following up with your customers on payments.
All of this contributes to better visibility into your finances as a whole, so that accounting, banking, and taxes start to feel less confusing and more like one cohesive process.