From the outset, your business’s primary focus should be building a recognizable brand and creating value for your customers. Your efforts will yield results slowly. Business growth is an ongoing process that calls for persistence, tolerance, and commitment. There is no magic formula for outperforming competitors and becoming an overnight sensation in any field.
Do you need help figuring out how to run a small business that lasts for a decade at least? Don’t worry, here are some tips to make your venture sustainable and profitable.
1. Develop Good Business Sense
You can call yourself a business owner once you’ve obtained all the required licenses and permits, formed a legal business entity, and sold a legitimate product or service. But the truth remains: your small business will only succeed if you have business sense, no matter how experienced you’re in app development, IT support, or home-based catering. You must develop strong business acumen to ensure long-term success.
For starters, enrolling in an advanced business degree program could be a more systematic approach to taking your business knowledge to the next level. You may not be able to attend a brick-and-mortar university due to a hectic work schedule, family, and other life commitments. In that case, you can opt to pursue an MBA in management online from a reputed university. It will give you a good head start on developing your business skills.
Besides, here are a few other ways you can improve your business instincts:
Find a Mentor
Good mentors provide you with the guidance you need to grow your business quickly. Moreover, they lead their mentees towards opportunities that allow the latter to put relevant knowledge into practice and sharpen their business acumen.
Stay on Top of Trends
You need to know what’s happening within the industry and the broader impact to fully grasp your business’s challenges and opportunities. Follow prominent business people on Twitter and LinkedIn. Sign up for newsletters relevant to your domain. Also, keep abreast of the current business news.
Talk to Your Customers
You must consider what your customers say about your product or service to improve your products and services that will eventually help you in improving your business processes. Some customers will tell you how your products and services were beneficial for them or why it wasn’t useful. Others might guide you about the latest developments in the field and suggest improvements that will help you outperform your competition. You can assemble all this information to build a product your customers love and improve your processes.
2. Increase Customer Retention
As a small business owner, you must keep things in perspective. For sustainable business growth, it’s just as important to retain existing customers as it is to attract new ones. When you focus on customer retention, you save money by avoiding risky investments in customer acquisition, which can cost up to five times as much as maintaining existing clientele.
An excellent way to turn your customers into repeat buyers is by using a good customer relations management (CRM) system. A CRM centralizes your business’s interactions with customers, from initial contact to storing and retrieving valuable data across all channels like customer demographics, purchase history, and communications history. Because of this, you can rest assured that your staff will have all the information they need to provide excellent services to your customers. CRM’s features like sentiment analysis, customer support automation, and user behavior tracking allow them to identify and address issues with customers immediately, further improving your net promoter score (NPS) and customer satisfaction score (CSAT).
Furthermore, your team can glean actionable insights from the data provided by your CRM and create customer loyalty programs. By converting your best customers into brand loyalists, you also reduce the risks associated with customer churn, which can hurt your business in lost revenue and sluggish cash flow.
Make Use of Email Marketing
Starting an email marketing campaign is another great way to keep your company’s name in the minds of your customers. It’s also an effective strategy for further attracting potential customers.
Lastly, under all circumstances, you should deliver on your brand promise to keep your current clientele returning and that they recommend you to others. For instance, do what you say! if you tell a customer you’ll get back to them with further info or contact them later. Doing otherwise might lead to negative word-of-mouth and reduce your chances of future sales.
3. Understand When You Should Pivot
Given the fluctuating economic trends in the post-pandemic era, it’s common for small businesses to enter a new vertical market or appeal their product to a new target audience. Knowing when to shift business strategies is more complex than expected!
To avoid making a hasty choice for your business, consider the following indicators of whether a pivot may be appropriate or not:
You Never Seem to Get Ahead of the Curve
You might be putting in a lot of time and effort. But if your startup hasn’t made enough money for quite some time, you should try something different. You might not need to make a company-wide pivot, however, only changing your revenue model, product line, or target market may help.
Being First in the Market Didn’t Pay Off
You may believe that you are the first to come up with a unique service or product that no one has ever introduced. Still, there is always the looming risk that a bigger firm with more human resources, money, and an already established customer base can create a better product similar to yours. You don’t have much leeway to change course here, so being a small business owner you should try something new.
Your Customers Don’t Want Your Product
The anticipation of finally launching your product into the marketplace is intense. However, your audience may remain unmoved despite your best efforts. Perhaps the problem you tried to address through your product may not be a better problem to solve in the first place. Or, even it is so, but the price is too high for your target market.
Products that fail to connect with customers are prime candidates for a course correction. To provide more value to your customer base, you will need to adjust your business strategy such that it increases demand for your product. It can involve dropping prices, prioritizing feature development, or shifting your focus to a different buyer persona.
Growing a business from scratch can be challenging. Worse yet, since you’re still in the early stages of development, you might have to wear multiple hats before you can afford to recruit specialists. It will require hard work and dedication to establish a small business, but there are tactics, as discussed-above, that help you and your business to grow, succeed and thrive.