10 Small Business Tips To Help You Grow
In this article:
What to do if you're not an experienced business owner
Important growth tools and strategies for small business owners
Some advanced tips for experienced businesses owners with mature businesses
Whether you’re a freelancer or sole proprietor looking to establish your own agency or an entrepreneur with a new idea, getting started can seem daunting. You excel at your craft, though you’re not necessarily an expert in every aspect of operating a business. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to establish a thriving business, starting with these 10 small business tips.
What Can You Do To Grow Your Small Business?
Growth is key to taking your business from idea to operation. But how do you do that? These 10 tips for small business owners range from identifying your potential customers and leveraging social media to developing a strong financial plan. Collectively, these strategies will help you unleash your potential.
1. Understand Your Ideal Customer and Target Audience
Begin with the foundational question that every business, no matter its size, must know the answer to. Who is going to buy your product or service? Define your target audience by identifying the demographics, beliefs, characteristics, and lifestyle of your ideal customer. You have the opportunity to forge an emotional connection with your customers if you can tailor your message and delivery method specifically to them. Speaking directly to your prospective customers with an impactful message to their circumstance — be it through social media, email marketing, or a phone call — is a direct marketing approach to call your ideal customers to action.
2. Seek Advice From Other Business Owners
You’re not the first person with an idea, and that’s great news. Business professionals who have taken the leap themselves have a wealth of knowledge they can share to help you avoid the mistakes they made themselves. Genuine curiosity on your part to seek small business tips and advice from an experienced entrepreneur builds a relationship. The right person can potentially become a mentor to help you along your path to success or a connection who provides you with introductions to potential clients. Your professional network is an invaluable source when it comes to social capital in the marketplace.
3. Prioritize Creating an Unforgettable Customer Experience
People will remember how you made them feel. It’s the key to customer success. So, what can you do to deliver a next-level customer experience? What makes you stand head and shoulders above your competition? As an inventor, does your product make your customer’s life easier or more enjoyable? If you’re an interior designer, how does your feng shui make your clients feel when they sit down in their living room? You’ve already identified your target audience, but now it's time to dig deeper and explore their pain points and how you solve them better than the competition. Identify your differentiator and share it loud and proud, with your customer base.
4. Use Social Media Marketing as a Way To Build a Strong Community
Among the top marketing tips for small businesses is to build your community with social media. Through this popular medium, you have the opportunity to build your brand by adding value to your audience and making an emotional connection with your follower base. Whether or not you pay to advertise on social media, you'll develop an engaged audience of advocates for your growing business by developing a content strategy that leverages social channels.
5. Don't Forget About the Impact of a Market Analysis
Perform a market analysis to better understand where you fit within your product or service sector. Define your target market, intended audience, and the competitive landscape surrounding your offering. It helps here to think like the customer to get a sense of how they interact with your competition and how they may interact with your business. A thorough understanding of your market and the specific challenges facing your prospects gives you the background information you need to differentiate your service and fill a niche.
6. Start To Build Out Your Team by Identifying Hiring Requirements
It’s important to know who you need to support your business growth. Start by identifying your current role and your desired role within your business. From there, examine your weaknesses and make a realistic judgment of the impact those weaknesses will have on your growth. Then, depending on your budget, timeframe, and ability to onboard and train, hire to fill your gaps.
For example, if you’re a great writer but struggle with visual design, perhaps you hire a graphic designer. If you only have one graphic design project, you may opt to hire a third-party contractor for the project instead of searching for a full-time employee. The right pieces in the right places make the machine work, just as the right talent in the right form grows your business.
7. Be Strategic With Business Spending
Cash flow is not infinite, especially for a growing business. Even if you’ve mastered your personal finances, making smart decisions with your business spending is something entirely different. You need to decide not only how much money to spend, but also how to make payments. Will you pay by check or credit card? Does your bank charge fees for certain transactions?
While it’s unreasonable to think you won’t need to spend any money, you need to make sure your expenses are worth the cost. Consider whether the spending is necessary to your operation, if it will increase your efficiency, or if it will grow your customer base.
8. Invest Time Into a Content Marketing Strategy
As you develop your marketing plan, take a hard look at how you develop and deploy your content. You often hear about search engine optimization and the need to make your website appear higher in search results to be competitive. Getting a top-ranking page for your market is immensely valuable, but first, you need excellent content worth searching for.
Easy-to-read copy, eye-catching imagery, and impactful video all contribute to your content marketing strategy. You must understand what your target customers want to know, and deliver the information in an authoritative and approachable manner to effectively drive traffic to your business. A solid content marketing strategy, coupled with a dynamite product or service, can have prospects searching for you by name instead of stumbling across your site in a generic search.
9. Plan How You Will Scale Your Business Idea
Dream big. Decide where you would like your business to go. From there, perform a premortem on your dream to identify what might derail your plan:
Think about what could go wrong.
Identify potential costs.
Determine your weaknesses.
Come up with worst-case scenarios.
Far from being negative, this type of exercise empowers you to plan for any potential pitfalls ahead of time. For example, if you foresee demand outpacing your supply, you can revisit your pricing strategy or expand into new partnerships to reduce the likelihood of a production imbalance. Even when considering something as small as a single negative review, knowing how you’ll respond to the situation if and when it happens will set you up for success.
10. Identify Sources of Outside Funding
At some point, your growth will depend on finding additional sources of funding. This can come in the form of a business bank loan or a line of credit. It may also come from outside investors and venture capital. To secure funding, know what you need to show these interested parties — be it personal financial guarantees, profit and loss statements, projected earnings, or any other aspect of your business plan. Determine what that funding will cost you, whether it requires interest payments or equity in your company, to decide the right source of capital for your next growth step.
Find the Tools You Need for a Successful Business Journey
By implementing these 10 small business tips, you'll be well on your way to sustained growth. As you look to expand your business, remember that the right partners and tools can help you fill any gaps in your expertise, and you don't have to do it alone. Noumena connects freelancers and solopreneurs like yourself with the business expertise and resources you need for growth. Become part of the Noumena community so you can focus on your passion, backed by the support of professionals and financial experts ready to help you succeed.