Networking has worked for a long time and still does today. However, how you go about networking has evolved. Traditionally, business owners took prospective clients or people who can provide referrals out to lunch. In the digital world, many business owners can communicate with people remotely. A business owner could look into hiring an employee from Dubai or could receive referrals from someone in Switzerland. There are countless more ways to network now than in the past.
Marketing is often treated as if it is inconsistent at best. However, all of the biggest companies put a lot of budget into employing and measuring the results of marketing. Marketing is one of the few ways to ensure success by making sure that your name gets out there by using a variety of digital media. If the idea of marketing feels daunting, consider using marketing management to help you know exactly what’s going on with your business and how effective your advertisements, websites, and keywords really are.
Service is key to a successful business. Whether that means providing your clients with incomparable service or serving the community, make sure that your business is the best. Consider organizing or sponsoring neighborhood 5ks, train your employees on treating clients with respect and courtesy, and be an example of good people skills yourself. Clients are much more likely to return to or repurchase from a business that makes them feel valued.
Sometimes interest in a business will drop because it’s simply in a bad spot. If the quality of the surrounding neighborhood has gone down or become dangerous and you own a tux store, it might be an opportune time to consider a move. Renting gives you a certain amount of flexibility, but if you don’t like paying rent every month consider buying the location and selling it when you intend to move. The ages, interests, or incomes of your surrounding clients may fluctuate so adjust either your business or your location accordingly.
Again, make sure your employees are well-trained. Consider offering incentives or bonuses to reduce turnover because most clients prefer building good business relationships with the same people rather than seeing someone different every time. Hire employees that work hard but also strongly believe in your vision for your business. Also hire brand ambassadors whenever possible, employees that live a lifestyle consistent with the products or services your business offers.
Your business should ideally serve a niche group. Businesses that offer every service are already well-established, but small businesses can compete through specialization. Determine what your products and services can offer that no one else can. If you’d like to open a store that sells music, consider selling vintage records or tapes in an area where vintage goods are considered valuable. If you want to develop websites for businesses, create a portfolio that your unique skills. Pick one thing that you are absolutely the best at and focus on that initially.
These are the first steps to business success. People can’t shop at or work with a business they don’t know exists, so you have to make your business as prominent as possible. Thankfully, there’s more than one way to boost visibility, and it often takes time. Be patient with your business as it expands and be willing to take some (measurable) risks to get your name out there.