From fashion to gaming apps, there are hundreds to thousands of new businesses that start up each year. Virtually every industry is competitive, and if you want to make it, you’ll have to stand tall and stand out in a sea of options. Fortunately, doing so isn’t that hard. All it takes is a little hard work and commonsense business practices to elevate your business from unknown to indispensable.
It starts online
Twenty years ago, it was your storefront that either invited people in or left them walking down the street to your competitors. Today, your online presence serves as the face of your business. Technology has made it so that consumers never have to leave their homes to compare prices, check reviews, and buy merchandise and services.
It pays off to keep your website, social media accounts, and online reviews top of mind. If these are not consistent, your customers won’t likely recognize your brand. Likewise, if the content available to them isn’t pleasing, many people — around 38 percent — will keep clicking until they find what they are looking for somewhere else. And the content on your site includes more than just the words and pictures. Every design element, down to the typeface used in your headings, affects your customers’ opinions about your brand.
Aside from visual appeal, your website should be streamlined for use by today’s consumers. This means they should have a pleasant experience from both a computer and a mobile device and should have access to ways to contact you directly, such as a click-to-call button right from your home screen. American Express recommends that you position yourself as an authority in your industry. This is accomplished by creating valuable content, including webinars and blog posts, that illustrate your experience and provide answers to your clients.
If you plan to sell online, you must also provide your customers a safe, secure, and glitch-free way to check out, create accounts, and store their personal information. Make sure to offer a selection of in-demand items that relate to your business. Consider establishing a partnership with a few dropshipping companies. This broadens your selection of merchandise and gets your clients their products faster than if you had to wait for items to be shipped to you and then re-shipped to your buyers. Sites like Oberlo can help you find the best dropshipping companies no matter what you plan to sell.
Meanwhile, in the real world
Even if your business is primarily based online, you still have work to do in the real world. As a small business, your initial target consumers are likely those in your general area. Step out from behind the computer to meet and mingle with your potential future customer base. This is achieved in many ways, including doing volunteer work within the community and organizing grassroots marketing campaigns. This might mean passing out flyers at a local business park or attending events where you’ll have an opportunity to distribute branded promotional items. If you’ve ever been to an event, such as a boat or bridal show, then you likely have many promotional items from these events, some of which you may use each day. Freebies such as pens, keychains, and even stress balls keep your company’s name fresh in the minds of your buyers.
It takes more than passion to make your business a success. When you’re first starting out, make sure to create an image that accurately reflects who you are as an individual or what your values are as a company. Give your clients an enjoyable, consistent, and reliable experience across all platforms, and they will have no reason to search elsewhere.