Rome wasn’t built in a day — and a small business? That’s much the same. It takes time, dedication, and the right resources to grow that little idea into a popular, profitable business, but it is possible.
Are you treading water and unsure of how to take your business to new heights? Just don’t have the resources to do it? Here are some tips to help with both.
- Get out in the community. Increasing your visibility is important as a small business — and that doesn’t just mean taking out ads in the local paper or hiring a sign spinner to hang out at the nearest intersection. Sponsoring community events — things like health fairs, farmer’s markets, festivals, and other happenings (or even taking out a table at one of them) — can help put you directly in front of the people you’re looking to serve. You can also sponsor a local sports team or charitable organization as a way to get your name out there.
- Make your team happy to be there. Invest in your team members. Incentivize them. Give them a pathway toward promotions, and reward them when they perform well. When your employees are satisfied and feel they’re on an upward trajectory, they’re no longer just along for the ride. They become bona fide advocates for your brand — both personally and professionally.
- Stay current. Whether that’s training your stylists on the latest trends or techniques or upgrading your tools, products, and or even just office interior, staying on top of what’s current in your industry is vital — both to your reputation and your revenues. Make it a point to evaluate your business annually for any out-of-date or no-longer-valid methods you might be using, and commit to keeping your business, tools, and staff as in touch as possible with today’s customers.
- Encourage feedback. The ease at which customers can review you — and do so publicly — is often scary for small business owners. Just one bad rating could send your average plummeting, hurting your online reputation and your chance at bringing in new clients. But a good review? It’s what can drive up leads, referrals, and overall trust in your brand. It can even help your website with SEO (just an added bonus!) Plus, bad reviews aren’t all that terrible. They give you a great opportunity to correct your wrongs publicly and to tweak the way you do business to better your service in the future. Try adding a Yelp or Google review link at the bottom of your website, or send a follow-up email after each service appointment to request a review. You can even incentivize your customers with discount codes or coupons to participate.
- Team up with other like-minded businesses. Small businesses can do a lot to help each other. A local real estate firm, for example, could benefit from partnering with nearby home inspectors, appraisers, and mortgage lenders. All share the same client base, but none are direct competitors, opening the door for loads of referrals and potential profits. The same goes for the beauty industry. A hair salon can team up with makeup artists, dermatologists, tanning professionals and more to reach more customers and provide additional services.
- Get to know your customers. In the small business world, your customers are your lifeline. Invest time and effort into getting to know your customers and cultivating trusting, long-term relationships with them. Find out what makes them tick, what their struggles are and what you can do to make their lives easier or more enjoyable — even for the small amount of time they’re in your building. Show them you listen and care about their needs, and set the foundation for a lifetime of repeat business (and referrals.)
Keep in mind that it’s important to be hands-on in your operation. Outsourcing these tasks is fine, but you also want to show your employees and customers that you’re committed — to your success and theirs.
How to Pay for It All
As you read those tips, you probably have one looming concern: how will you pay for all this? Obviously, upgrading your tools, sponsoring more community events, and investing in your staff all cost money — and as we all know, money doesn’t grow on trees.
Fortunately, there’s a simple solution that may work for you: refinance your mortgage.
Whether you do it on your home or your business location, refinancing can turn your existing equity into easy, fast cash — cash you can put toward your business, your clients, and your future revenues.
Our Beyond program is designed just for small business owners like you and offers convenient, no-hassle refinancing — even without a traditional W2 job or perfect credit. Contact an Embrace loan officer today to learn more.