Passing family knowledge from generation to generation is a way to keep traditions alive and teach success. The same can be said about business strategies. Gathered information for success has been passed on from business to business, with the hope of helping other people grow and make their business succeed.
Here’s a look at some tips that can help make your small business succeed, proved to work by successful businesses and entrepreneurs, courtesy of Forbes.com and Marketingprofs.com.
Don’t judge a book by its cover. But, if your store looks like it was hastily put together, doesn’t represent your brand in a positive manner or looks cheap, customers won’t take you seriously. They might think your products are cheap and not worth their money. Make sure your store or business looks professional and presentable. Customers like easy-to-navigate floor plans, eye-catching details and clean, easy-to-read lettering.
Author Stephanie Bond compares a storefront to a new home: “Curb appeal” draws people in. And just like a beautiful home, your business needs to look neat and clean, enticing customers to come in. In her article “Curb Appeal: How to Get Customers Through Your Front Door,” Bond recommends these tips:
- If your space is small or in an obscure location, enlarge the visual presence by painting the exterior and (or) roof in an eye-catching color combination.
- Keep your windows sparkling clean, and change your window display often, so the materials don’t age in the sun. Also, avoid cluttering the display — concentrate on a few items you’re trying to push.
- Use easy-to-read lettering. Upper and lower case letters are easier to read than all caps, and the block letters are easier to read than script.
Pay attention to what your competition is up to and stay in the loop regarding news, events and trends. A majority of people get their information instantly through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, so make a Facebook page or Twitter account to get out information about your products in real-time.
Distinctive Gardens from Dixon, Ill. knows of this success first hand. According to American Express, the company teamed up with its community and small business owners through a group it made on Facebook — Sauk Valley Shop Small. Because of its social media marketing they were able to increase sales by 45 percent on Small Business Saturday.
You can never know enough when it comes to business. You can always better your company, so take a variety of free online and in-class courses to help spark new ideas or give you great new connections. A class can also be a great place to network and meet new people and new people mean new ideas for your products and marketing. The U.S. Small Business Administration offers hundreds of links to free training and online courses through their site sba.gov.
Loyal customers expect to be rewarded — and they should be. Offer incentives, discounts and coupons and keep them happy and willing to shop and spend more. The most cost-effective way to send customers exclusive-member content, local deals or coupons is through email. Direct mail is expensive, making it hard to manage cash flow. Email costs very little, grabs your customers’ attention and offers the best deals immediately.
Clothing Boutique owner Doris Crater used an email campaign to let her customers know of an upcoming sale on Small Business Saturday. She emailed her customers, reminding them of the sale and incentives like discounts and free breakfasts. Her sales increased by $10,000 on her sale day, according to American Express.
Be Prepared for the Worst
When Hurricane Sandy hit downtown Manhattan back in November, Cognito, a financial PR and marketing firm was ready. Cognito employees took the weekend to reroute the company’s email system to its London server; they contacted the staff to let them know of this change and made laptops available. Before the storm hit, a contact sheet of the staff’s personal phone numbers and emails was circulated. After the storm, everyone was contacted to make sure they were safe.
A bookkeeper for entrepreneurs, Edgar Frohme also advises companies on whether cloud computing solutions and BYOD in the workplace can work for them.