Whether you’re running a small business or you’re planning to launch a startup for the first time, you probably know by now that it is not easy. Sure, you might have struck gold with an idea that no one has ever come close to, but unless you can create an actionable plan that you can follow through with, all that ingenuity will go to waste.
To make matters more stressful, the market is teeming with competition at every corner. These companies are more established with years of experience on you, and their pockets are probably so deep that they can afford to blast away any newcomer to the scene with grandiose ad campaigns.
But that doesn’t mean you should give up! The business sector is a battlefront, so wield your weapons strategically. Tuck these tips into your arsenal and use them to outsmart your small business opponents for lasting success.
1. Research your niche
Before you start making any big moves, be sure to conduct thorough market research. That’s where you’ll find the key that can unlock the door to the consumer’s mind. Identify the niche audience, or who you’ll be marketing your product toward. Swimming floaties for toddlers? Shoulder straps for trombonists? Team-building retreats for corporate organizations?
Of course, the good or service you sell might not be as specific as these examples, but the goal is to figure out what your ideal customer looks like. Then, you can figure out where to find them and how to position your offering as better than your competitors’.
2. Recognize your weaknesses
You might think you can do it all, and hey, maybe you can! But clinging to your pride or siphoning your profits and doing everything yourself is a sure recipe for disaster. You are but one person, so there’s no way you can give each task item the full attention it deserves. Things will inevitably begin to fall through the cracks as details are overlooked and corners are cut in the essence of time.
Plus, some things are just simply outside of your skill set. For example, do you know anything about the consulting sales tax? No? Well, your accountant probably does, and they can check to see whether it can be leveraged to reduce your total bill come tax season.
3. Get with the (technological) times
Most Millennial entrepreneurs live and breathe technology, so holding video conference calls or drawing over a digital whiteboard display comes naturally to them. But in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s been a huge surge in displaced workers who have started their own company as a freelancer or independent contractor at a late stage in their career. Regardless, no matter how old or young you are, proponent or opponent, you need to embrace the new era of technology in the business world.
Automation is everywhere, from virtual HR desks and customer service reps, to advanced analytics software that can track traffic to and from your website. These technological tools are what you need to stay toe-to-toe with the industry leaders in your market; without it, you’re as good as toast.
4. Participate on Social Media
Another way to interact with your target audience more efficiently is through the use of social media. In the past, it was seen as unprofessional to blend personal and professional relationships online, but now, these platforms are critical to forming connections—especially as you’re first starting off.
You don’t have to run paid social advertisement campaigns to attract an audience, simply follow likeminded accounts and hashtags relevant to your line of work to start spreading awareness of what your company is all about.
5. Obsess over customer satisfaction
At the end of the day, customers are your life blood and it’s imperative that you give them the proper appreciation to keep them coming back for more. It might be tempting to go for a cheaper product to turn a quicker dollar, but always prioritize quality above all else. Back it up with best-in-class customer service, and there’s nothing they could potentially press back against.
Of course, you can’t please everyone, no matter how hard you try. So, if you ever come across a disgruntled customer comment or review, take it in stride and reply with a courteous response that attempts to remedy the situation.