The push for big box stores has been nudging out mom and pop shops for decades now, but to their credit, the small business has still been able to survive to this very day. Of course, the definition of a small business has shifted, mainly to a home based business or eCommerce shop, but the point still remains—it is entirely possible for small businesses to stay afloat in this big business world.
Small Business Ideas—Thinking Big and Small
This is mainly due to the level of customer service that smaller businesses can provide. The attention to detail that working in smaller markets can afford shouldn’t be overlooked either. Many customers still want to feel like their dollar is important. When it comes to bigger businesses, that level of human interaction is just not there.
But unfortunately, these practices typically leave smaller businesses just that: smaller. There isn’t much room for growth when you think small, though that doesn’t mean businesses should ever stop catering to the little guy. But what it does mean is that it’s time for small businesses to think big.
Big Business Opportunities for Small Businesses
In order to do that, there are a number of pointers that smaller companies should take away from big business practices. For example, establishing yourself with a website is a great start. If you don’t have a website, you don’t really exist in today’s Internet-commerce age. This can be a great way to attract more leads and potential customers through inbound marketing.
Inbound marketing is simply making use of the Internet community to help customers find you, rather than you going out and finding the customers (outbound marketing). This is a much smarter advertising spend per dollar as it only targets those who are looking for your products or services, rather than spending hundreds on fliers that might fall on deaf ears (or eyes as it were).
The point is that the Internet has created a realm in which the small business owner can definitely prosper—as long as they are firing on all cylinders.
Social Media and the Small Business Owner
For example, social media networks are primarily areas where small businesses can shine. While bigger businesses have trouble handling the influx of communications on social networks, smaller companies can maintain that one-on-one vibe that customers like so much. Extending the small business mentality into the big business world of the Internet provides customers with a familiar feel, thus driving in more business.
The most popular places for small businesses to do business on social networks have traditionally been Facebook and Twitter, but now Google+ is becoming very important. That’s because Google+ for business really impacts your business’s rankings on the search engine results pages. So that means if you have a Google+ page for your small business, more people will be able to find you.
This also affects your local search rankings, which is vital for small businesses with brick and mortar locations. Local searches account for over half of all traffic, meaning that if you aren’t ranking locally, you’re dead in the water.
Interaction and Engagement are Key
Regardless of where you choose to make your social media nest, the one thing that every small business owner needs to understand is that interaction and engagement are more important than the number of likes or followers you have. You don’t just want the customer to like your page and then forget about you—you want them to interact and build a relationship with your brand.
The goal here is for you to stay so constant in your customer’s heads that every time they think of a product or service similar to yours, they think of your company in particular. This is simply marketing 101, building your sales through brand recognition. Social media platforms are the ideal place for smaller companies to address this since you likely don’t have the marketing budget of a large firm or corporation.
Social media sites are free to join and free to run. If you aren’t social media savvy or don’t have the time or want, you can simply hire someone to do it for you fairly cheap. Still, it doesn’t take long and is fairly uncomplicated, so you should be able to do it yourself. After all, who knows your business better than you?
Small Business Customer Attraction
All of this social media marketing and inbound marketing with your website is part of a larger category of business that is vital to the survival of small businesses everywhere: customer attraction. Whatever it is that you can do to boost your customer attraction, you should be doing it. Many local businesses have regular meetups that offer discounts to their products for preferred customers. Others simply run social media marketing campaigns where anyone who “checks in” at their location through FourSquare, Facebook or Google+ gets a discount or free giveaway.
Other small businesses play around with free giveaways through their website. For instance, there’s a small business that has seen a ton of success by giving away a free knife. While that might sound odd, the company is called Survival Credit Card Knife and the knife is exactly the size and weight of any typical business credit cards or business cards. Talk about literally bringing a survivor’s mindset to your small business!
What it Takes to Survive as a Small Business Owner in 2014
The bottom line here is that if you want your small business to survive in today’s world, you have to think a lot bigger than you are now. While you can still stay scaled down, your ideas and gestures have to reach a wider audience. This isn’t because you’re losing business to the bigger box stores—that is inevitable. Rather, it’s because your direct small business competition is out there tackling each and every tip we’ve talked about here in this article. They are getting the leg up on you as we speak! For more powerful small business survival tips, click here right now and make the advantage yours.