I'm proud to be an Ambassador for BiziNet, and an advocate for creating supportive environments for people in business to grow and be successful. I'm excited to share my small business evidence based research and practical marketing skills with members and be involved in this vibrant and connected community.
There are many things that can prevent us from moving forward and growing our business. Fear of failure, cashflow issues, existing work overload and taking care of existing clients and/or employees for example.
However we keep up with trends and remain competitive we must grow both personally and professionally in our business to be successful long term.
Here's some of my top tips based on researching and surveying hundreds of small business owners and marketers on what is effective to keep growing and moving forward:
1. Take action before things are 100%
Sometimes time isn't on your side in business when it comes to capitalising on trends and business opportunities and let's face it we need to bring the money through the door. If you move slowly in every area of your business it is stinting this growth, finances and clients. It's not cutting corners everywhere, it's about allowing some plans to be brought forward while working on others long term to keep things moving.
Not everything has to be perfect in order to be able to try things - and remember tweaks and adjustments can be made along the way, inf act you can learn a lot quicker trying than just hypothesising.
In marketing I'm a big advocate for pre launches and trials with small target markets and then magnifying from there to get some runs on the board. This could be a one month special offer or "first 100 customers" or a discount to trial, ask for feedback, see what worked and what didn't and build from that success.
We all make mistakes regardless if you try things before you are 100% happy or not, it's just about changing things up and not repeating the same ones.
2. Strategic partnerships
When starting out in small business especially we wear many hats and would rather put our money back in our own pockets to live or marketing to grow, not in hiring staff - and fair enough too!
Strategic partnerships are great way to grow your business without salary costs, but it's creating the right strategic partnerships. The right ones are 1 + 1 = 3 which increase your efforts in business not just in sales but extending reputation and credibility beyond.
The trick here is to do your homework before approaching a potential partner. Identify what you can offer and bring to the table for them first, what can you give not what you can get. Look for a partner with similar values and purpose to you and that will ensure they have a) the same contribution mentality and b) align to bring in the right customers and resources.
Strategic partnerships are one of the fastest ways to build momentum for both parties involved and can quickly leverage into more partnerships as well when you have the partnership framework right.
3. Look at all marketing channels not just digital
Print and old ways of marketing like print, direct mail and even billboards are often overlooked as we are so quick to jump on the digital, content and social media bandwagons.
Being a statistic and research based strategist I look at the numbers not the channels. Yes digital does work better for some industries for example Instagram is amazing for fashion and retail. However for other such as not for profits conversions and connections come best from direct mail.
The reason we need to look at all options is as we have to niche more and more to be heard in the marketing noise, the challenge is there is so much noise in digital. It's hard to compete your specific service or product on a news feed when your customers state of mind is "just browsing" how can you expect them to click to purchase? If that's your goal.
The reason I love that print magazines have a place is undivided attention. You may have a smaller audience to the thousands of "impressions" on a website, but you also have their full attention absorbing your brand, content and getting to know who you are.