There are more than 30 million small businesses across the United States, according to the Small Business Administration. For owners, this means there is a lot of competition. If you want to stand out from the crowd, try following these six tips.
1. Don’t Try to Serve Everyone
Your business doesn’t need to be relevant to every potential consumer in order to turn a profit. Instead, set out to serve a niche audience and do it well. This will help you build a base of fans or customers — and keep them loyal.
2. Create a Strong Online Presence
Even if your business relies primarily on in-person customers and offline services, it is essential to have a strong online presence. That’s because so many business interactions begin online. In fact, according to a recent report, more than 80% of shoppers begin researching purchases online.
This presence should include:
- A website designed with user experience in mind. The site should be responsive and work well on mobile. Fifty-seven percent of internet users said they would not recommend a site that had a poorly designed website.
- A complete Google My Business listing. When consumers search for your business one of the results they will get is a Google My Business listing that includes all your most important information: address, services, hours, contact information. These listings result in clicks to your website, calls to your business, and even requests for directions to your business.
- An engaging social media presence. According to GlobalWebIndex, 54% of social browsers use social media to research a product before making a purchase. If you’re not sure where to begin, create a Facebook page. This is currently the most active social media channel for businesses. But don’t just put it up and walk away. You need to have a plan for sharing useful and engaging content.
3. Concentrate on Customer Service
Your business may be offering the best product or service in the world, but if you’re not focusing on the needs of your customer during every interaction — in person and online — then they won’t want it. According to Microsoft, 90% of Americans say they consider customer service when deciding whether or not to do business with a company. And more than half say they would switch companies because of poor customer service.
4. Keep Your Customer’s Data Safe
Consumers are worried about the safety of their data. According to a recent report, more than 60% of online users in the U.S. are concerned about the misuse of their data. And it’s not without reason: a web hack occurs every 39 seconds.
Follow these tips to help keep your customer data secured:
- Keep your software updated.
- Be transparent with your customers about how their data is being used — and keep on the data you need.
- Create strong passwords.
- Educate your employees on the importance of data security.
- Have a plan in place for disaster recovery and emergency preparedness.
5. Make Sure Your Store or Office is Safe
There are millions of workers’ compensation claims made each year. The number one claim — and the leading occupational hazard for people over the age of 55 — is slips and falls, according to the National Floor Safety Institute. To protect your business from a workers’ comp claim and to keep your employees and customers happy, you need to ensure the environment is safe for everyone.
6. Have Easily Accessible Parking
This seems like such a simple thing but consider this: Today’s drivers already spend about 17 hours searching for parking spots each year. If you don’t want to get frustrated and give up visiting your business, you should ensure that your location has parking that is readily available and that doesn’t require a trek to get to your front door.
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