7 Proven and Budget-Friendly Ideas to Improve Your Small Business
Make 2020 the best year yet for your small business with our seven tips to improve sales volume, focus your marketing efforts, find new sources of revenue and build even stronger relationships with your existing customers.
In this article, we’ll cover:
- Measure Your Marketing
- Upgrade Your Sales Funnel
- Boost Your Online Presence
- Invest in Customer Relationships
- Get a Better Picture of Your Finances
- Stay On Trend
- Motivate Employees
1. Measure Your Marketing
You don’t need to measure all your marketing efforts, just those you’re putting the more time and money into. You need to know what’s helping your sales and what isn’t.
For example, Forbes recommends tracking how people are finding your website. Is it through a referral program, advertisements or a blog post you wrote for another site? Be sure you know so you can redouble your efforts in whatever area’s working. Google Analytics is a free and easy to use tool to track your website traffic. And you can use Hootsuite to evaluate your social media presence and what content is working and what isn’t.
2. Upgrade Your Sales Funnel
It’s time to make sure those top-of-funnel prospects are really converting into leads and then paying customers. You might have a lot of prospects but what is your small business doing to turn them into leads?
Your website is one place you can focus on increasing leads, says Forbes. To get a visitor’s contact information, offer them something of value in return. This could be a guided demo or a free trial, for example. Once you have their email address, you can offer them more perks like exclusive upgrades and insider tips to help their business.
In short, you need to offer something so the potential customer comes back to your site again and again. A first-time visitor isn’t going to buy what you’re offering. You need a reason for them to come back to your website, to learn to trust you and eventually buy your service or product. That’s the path to success.
3. Boost Your Online Presence
Simple updates to your website can make a big difference. Make sure your contact information is clearly visible on each page. And when a prospect calls or emails you, offer excellent customer service. Respond to them right away and resolve their concern.
Local SEO (search engine optimization) is another hot marketing trend and one of the best advertising tactics for small businesses. This article gives you all the tips you need to quickly get started on optimizing your small business for local search.
4. Invest in Customer Relationships
Improving your customer relationships isn’t a trendy or new strategy, but it works. Building customer relationships means really listening to what they need and making every effort to satisfy those needs. Try to customize your products or service based on those needs, too.
Investing in customer relationships means dedicating lots of time and resources. Be prepared for this to really reap the benefits of loyal repeat customers.
Offering excellent customer service is another must, says Entrepreneur. Forget what’s right and focus on serving the customer. Give the customer what they want. Do whatever is in your power to make them happy.
5. Get a Better Picture of Your Finances
Here’s another way to grow your small business: really commit to understanding your finances. Some small business owners are allergic to bookkeeping but unless you have a grip on your numbers, none of our other business ideas to boost sales and increase efficiency are going to work.
Commit to understanding your monthly, weekly and even daily numbers. Get a sense of the financial trends happening in your business. Don’t rely on the accountant you hire to do your taxes to help you keep your small business financially healthy—that’s not their job.
Here’s a tip: get small business owner-friendly cloud accounting software like FreshBooks. Discover how easy it is make reports that put your financials in crystal-clear perspective.
6. Stay On Trend
Understand what’s happening not only in your industry but also in your local community. How will they affect you and what can you do to capitalize on them? In the end, though, always focus on providing value to your customers, says Entrepreneur. Every new product or offering must offer significant value to the lives of your clients or customers. It must also be the highest quality possible. Otherwise, all your hard work will be for nothing.
7. Motivate Employees
Improving the efficiency of your small business and your company operations all boils down to your employees. You need to understand what motivates your employees to work smarter and more productively. Our article on improving the efficiency of employees has plenty of actionable tips to help you get started today.
Here are four low-cost ideas:
- Make work more fun. Allow employees to bring their dogs to work or organize more social events. Get employee input so the fun doesn’t feel forced.
- Recognize good work. A small bonus, paid day off or personalized gift is nice, but recognition during a meeting or one on one can be just as effective.
- Offer flexibility. Let employees determine their own hours or offer work-from-home days. Be understanding about child care emergencies and medical appointments.
- Encourage professional development. Offer to mentor an employee or look into paying for low-cost training online or in-person seminars.
People also ask:
- How Can I Make My Small Business Grow Faster?
- How Can I Make My Business Better?
- How Can a Business Improve Its Performance?
How Can I Make My Small Business Grow Faster?
Here are seven tips to increase your small business’s growth:
- Create webinars. Webinars are a great way to improve business sales. Teach something related to your product or service and then include an irresistible offer at the end. This is also a great way to collect email addresses to boost your mailing list. Advertise the webinar on Facebook or Instagram.
- Get serious about your mailing list. This doesn’t just mean sending a monthly newsletter. You need to develop a sales funnel to help turn the merely interested into customers. Thankfully, services like Drip, GetResponse and ConvertKit make this task a lot less painful.
- Create a customer loyalty program. According to LinkedIn, it costs three times more to get a new customer than to sell something to an existing customer. Invest in a loyalty program to help retain existing customers.
- Figure out what the competition is doing. New tools like AdBeat and Similar Web help you discover your competitors’ online advertising strategies. You should be putting out similar ads to their longest running campaigns, advises Entrepreneur.
- Track transactions. Harness the power of programs like SalesForce to track your sales transactions and manage your customers. This is essential to help your business scale quickly.
- Work together. A strategic partnership could really boost your business. Find another company that’s complimentary to yours and work together to increase your customer bases.
- Explore passive income. Passive income will help supplement your small business’s cash flow during the lean times. Examples include affiliate marketing, passive stock ownership and producing digital products like eBooks.
How Can I Make My Business Better?
Here are five tips to make your small business better:
- Drop the dead weight. Take a hard look at your business. What products aren’t selling? Which employees aren’t performing? What products or services should you really be selling? Make the necessary changes to get rid of what slows you down and add what will really rev your business up.
- Analyze your overhead. What can you cut down on to save money? Perhaps you can have certain employees work remotely, or the entire team even. Or some roles can become contracts instead of full time. You could even take on contractors in other countries.
- Study your competition. Do this not to emulate your competition but to figure out what no one else is offering. What opportunities exist that no one else is taking advantage of?
- Study trends in your industry. Perhaps the buying habits of your customers are changing. A simple survey of your customers can help you identify these changes. Or maybe there are global trends that no one’s applied to your industry yet.
- Find a way to stand out. For example, you could offer a guarantee, commit to better customer service or embrace corporate responsibility and give back to your community.
How Can a Business Improve Its Performance?
Read our seven small business improvement ideas above to find actionable ideas to help your business improve its performance. You might also find our article on improving efficiency in the workplace helpful.