You left your comfort zone, a good-paying job with benefits, to achieve your dream of owning your own business. Congrats to you! Now, in order to maintain a comfortable lifestyle for you and your family, you need to find ways to establish growth and then maintain a steady increase each year.
Unfortunately, you can’t realize a dream–no matter how good your ideas are–without money. And, if it’s a startup, the chances of acquiring tons of money are relatively slim. However, it’s not all bad news; there are some lenders willing to offer a loan to first-time business owners with the right credentials. If you are not successful, you can acquire a silent partner who has no input to the business but still makes money on each sale.
Every business owner must have a successful marketing campaign in order to establish customers. The problem, once again, is the money. When you first start out in business you must account for every penny you spend. In many cases, the budget for marketing is small or even non-existent. Thankfully, there are many ways to acquire your first customers without the need for a lot of money. Using email or social media to send visitors to your website is relatively inexpensive.
Before opening your business to the public, whether in a brick and mortar store or online, it’s essential to have a comprehensive outline of your company customer service policies. This should include things like returns and shipping costs. Additionally, a follow-up correspondence shipped with the package, left with the customer, or emailed within a few days, will allow you to focus your efforts on the things your company needs to improve.
The Power of Knowledge
Your employees are the first point of contact with your customers and, as such, present the company. If they are unaware of all the functions of the business, services, and policies, and lack customer service skills, this may end up costing you dearly in future sales. Thankfully, this is something you can address from the start. Have monthly meetings that address all aspects of the business. The meetings will also give your employees a chance to offer suggestions and remain connected to your business.
Your employees play an important role in the success of your business. Showing your appreciation for their continued involvement in the company and its success is in your best interest. The good news is that, by offering a small token of your appreciation, you can keep your staff and avoid excessive turnover. Monetary rewards, such as monthly bonuses for sales above the quota, yearly bonuses for profits, and your thoughtfulness to holidays by presenting them with a gift card from a company like Perfect Feast, will go a long way to securing a bright financial future.
Your now established customers are a powerful tool to gain more sales with a very small investment. People who like a product or a service are not shy about referring it to other people. One way to encourage your established base to grow the business is to offer incentives. For example, launch a campaign where for every 5 customers referred, the existing customer gets a large discount on your services, a gift card, or a company check for $50.00.
Established in the Community
Recognition takes you from a business owner to a personal friend instantly. A great way to make strides towards achieving this is to get involved with the community. Host a picnic or a concert open to the public, sponsor a little league team or take up a booth at the local fair.
As a small business owner, you are constantly in competition with other businesses. However, if you set yourself apart, you’ll shine brightly and continue to enjoy annual growth.