By Barrack Diego
Do you remember how a giant whale swallowed Pinocchio? That’s the fate of small businesses when they start out on the same field as business giants. Most people perceive mega-corps as ruthless beasts that can chew up and spit out startups without the blink of an eye. In addition, they are absolutely right. Startups need to be really cautious and smart while making business decisions to stay afloat alongside the mega corps.
Now this article applies to everyone who is trying to run a new business. You may be running a furnishing house or glass fitting service; you need to remember a few basics of survival strategies. Here are the 10 best strategies every local glass business should follow to break even within their first year of service –
Run on a budget, and set a definite goal
This is the first step that shows your seriousness as a fresh entrepreneur. You need to set a definite budget for your business before you start investing on new projects. You need to prioritize your needs and wants. You should be able to set goals to achieve maximum ROI. You need to rank your goals so you can go ahead and achieve them one by one without spending too much money.
App advice: you should try Mint. This is a wonderful app with a great UI for managing SMBs and startups. You can keep a tight grip on your company budget with this one.
Make local exclusive
If you serve a local clientele, don’t feel shy. Promote that as your USP. Mega corps don’t have that unique touch you do. You will be able to directly connect to the local buyers via local events and sponsorship programs. Pay more attention to Google Local Listings. You can put you brand name on the map and all businesses with an online presence grow 40% faster than the ones who do not.
Expert advice: try opening a Google My Business account and update your business information as early as possible like Stellar Glass Works
Be the jack of all social channels but the master of one
You will need to rule one social channel. Facebook’s Live Video and Buy Button are the craze right now. There’s nothing hotter than a business with both the options active on Facebook. However, you can also try Pinterest and Instagram if Facebook is too passé for your taste.
You should start with a thorough analysis of your social media presence and then find social media listening tools.
Technical advice: Hootsuite and Buffer are ideal tools for listening in on your brand mentions on social media chatter.
Use old-school email tactics
If your local business has tested and tried everything, you should give email marketing a try as well. This is a golden opportunity for your business to score niche customers based on local projects, local celebrations and events. From special home makeover classes to bake sales, your local glass company can organize any event and mail out fliers.
Technical advice: MailChimp is a good choice for beginners. It has an integrated CMS platform that also takes care of contact management.
Pay attention to keywords and SEO
SEO is not obsolete and those who say so are not in touch with reality. You need to monitor your keywords. More importantly, you should focus on location based, medium volume keywords that will draw attention from the mega corps towards your local brands.
Technical advice: use Google Adwords and WordStream to identify keywords that will work well for your website content.
Maintain a blog
Blog is a quintessential part of any business website. Many small businesses do away with fresh content and publish respun content from other websites. However, that really puts Google off. You need fresh, interesting content for human readers. You need to pay attention to keywords, but be sure not to stuff them in.
Technical advice: you should check out Drizly for blog tips. Try to publish at least once a week.
Leverage your local network
You need to be on your toes on social media. We know, we said to master one earlier, but LinkedIn is no matter of joke, is it? You need to stay connected with local people, local businesses and entrepreneurs through this social platform. You need to approach local TV channels, Radio, newspapers and magazines for special ads.
Bag a couple of awards
Did you know you could apply for excellence awards at a local level? Do not wait for someone to nominate you. If you win the deal, no one will remember that you volunteered. And of course, be sure to snap a lot of photos and stay on social media for at least a couple of weeks.
Expert advice: you should look for all the local awards like the Best Blog Post, Best Website Design, Best Business Website Design etc.
Share the happiness
Be it an award ceremony or be it a social drive, be sure to share it on social media. Leave no page unturned. There are some social media channels like 9Gag that hold a huge unexplored potential of customers but they do not allow direct, unpaid advertising. So organize quizzes or polls to draw potential customers out from the maddening crowd.
Have money to earn money
From lemonade stands to social media marketing, every step that can make you money costs some money. Therefore, you need to set budgets for everything that is mentioned above. Besides those, you will also need money for Facebook ads, paid search ads, print media ads and social media promotions. Paid promotions are recommended for local businesses, since unpaid ones can churn out only 1% views.
Marketing and local business strategies may seem like an easy deal but you need to invest a lot of time and energy to explore their nuances. Business strategies for small, local business need to be nifty, small, yet impactful, especially when you are pitted against business giants.
Barrack Diego is a well-known business advisor. He has helped Stellar Glass Works reach the pinnacle of its success within a couple of months of opening. His team is known for their ability to troubleshoot all SEO and marketing related concerns.