The success of a business may be made difficult due to various factors influencing its activities. In normal times, a small business must already face obstacles of all kinds. The pandemic has made 2020 a year in which having your own company may have felt like an extreme sport.
However, we have reason to believe that things will improve in the future. Business Insider estimates that the US economy will grow by 3.5% in the first quarter of 2021 and that exports will return, in the second quarter, to the level they were at before the coronavirus epidemic.
Here, summarized in 12 tips, are the things a small business can do to grow in 2021.
1: Classify your customers according to their main characteristics
You know each customer, especially if you are a small business, and if you have few customers and a predominantly B2B business approach. As much as possible, rank your customers according to a single parameter (for example: the most spent in a year) and compile a list that you can use for any additional orders.
Another way to better leverage your customer relationships is to figure out what interests them. Are there products they want to buy? Check if your catalog matches your existing customers and produce the corresponding products. If you use business management software , you can use it to easily analyze your customers and their purchases.
2: Pamper your brand supporters
Happy and loyal customers will share their satisfaction with their contacts. For example, they can publish something on social networks, which is equivalent to free advertising. People continue to trust the opinion of people they know more than marketing from a company.
If you have such customers, be sure to respond to their positive reviews and posts on Google, TripAdvisor, or other social platforms. This is a small gesture that shows you appreciate them.
Another way to show appreciation to loyal customers is to get them to tell others about your company. If they refer a friend to your business, for example, you can offer both parties a discount on a future purchase.
3: Make your small business flexible
The main lesson we learned from 2020 is that it is in our best interest to be prepared to face anything. For small businesses, this means adopting a flexible attitude. Where many large organizations are embracing working from home, there are some companies where the physical, on-site work of employees is essential. These companies should communicate openly with employees, including how they will return to work and changes to workstations. Prepare for situations with the most harmful outcomes, review your business plan and maintain an up-to-date “what if?” forecast. which will allow you to take into account all the scenarios in your cash flow.
Flexibility also involves imagining ways to make your company more efficient. Using tools like the easy-to- use Sage Cloud Demat invoicing software saves you time-consuming routine tasks. Review and invest in processes where computerization can save you time. You will reap many benefits, including after the pandemic is over.
4: Use targeted social media ads
Advertisements on Facebook are a source of opportunities such as the identification of target groups. Facebook compares your existing customer file with profiles that match those of your customers. You can thus design advertisements that address these potential customer profiles.
Another benefit is that Facebook Ads easily convert to Instagram Ads with the Facebook Ads Manager. If you choose the right approach, Instagram is a gigantic platform to rely on to grow and sell.
The main advantage of social networks lies in their targeted advertisements. When you create an advertisement, you can add criteria such as education level, professional status, location and marital events.
You may see fewer people seeing your ads due to more restrictive criteria, but these smaller numbers will actually be a benefit to you. You only reach the “good” people, those whom you would like to know your company better.
Be sure to use tracking pixels for your remarketing and retargeting ads. These are advertisements aimed at people who have already visited your website. By doing so, you remind your target audience of your company's existence during their search operations.
You lack a budget to use advertisements on social networks? A contest is a simple way to boost involvement and multiply “followers” without great expense.
5: Diversify the markets where you are active
If the market in which you are usually active slows down, can you turn to other markets? For example, you can successfully break into another city by slightly extending your perimeter. It may also be that the market you are targeting (for example, all individuals within a radius of 50 kilometers) is too large and that you would benefit from better circumscribing it (for example, small accountants who live in the city center of the neighboring city). You could identify a new market.
6: Automate management processes that hog your time
If you still struggle with paper proofs of payment every month, it might be time to use an invoicing tool . This will lighten your workload of related expenses as the software automates it for you. Another benefit is the reduced risk of human error. When it becomes easy to scan invoices as soon as they are received, you no longer need to worry about misplacing them or making a recording error in your accounting system.
7: Lean on your accountant, source of support and guarantor of financial confidentiality
You can turn to your accountant for any confidential information regarding your financial problems. You probably don't want your employees, customers, and suppliers to know that your company needs cash because it can hurt morale, trust, and overall bottom line.
Accountants were on the front line to guide small businesses through the challenges of 2020. New legislation and measures taken against Covid-19 are making things difficult for small businesses. Your accountant will explain to you the meaning of sometimes confusing measures as well as the endless additions made to the regulations.
8: Create subscription-based services
If your business model allows it, you have the option of offering services in subscription mode. You can encourage your customers to register by means of a small stimulus and, possibly, offer them a discount for these services.
Subscriptions to services or products simplify things for both you and the customer. For the latter, this is a simple way to be able to count, regularly, on your services, without having to pay for invoicing. For you, this means a constant influx of cash.
Provide various payment options for your customers. Your small business will thus preserve its competitiveness and attractiveness.
9: Ask for feedback
Don't be afraid to ask your co-workers, or even friends or family members, how your company can improve. Employees are often aware of problems (and solutions) within your company. Outsiders will have other eyes and can potentially come up with ideas that you yourself hadn't thought of.
10: Do better than the competition
It's much easier to beat the competition when you focus on the customer problem. Focus on the benefits you offer, not the features of your product or service. When you sell drills, you are actually selling the hole in the wall.
2021 promises to be a year of rebuilding. Ask yourself, "How will this affect my customers?" ". How can your company help them in the new normal? If you are able to offer your customers additional value compared to the competition, this new year will smile on you.
11: Don't charge more, offer more
It is a waste of time to lower prices to remain competitive, especially if you are dealing with big competitors who therefore have greater resources. Instead, try to beat them by offering superior service, product mix, expertise, or after-sales service.
There are enough smart people out there who are ready to back you up. Keep an open mind, be ready to listen to others and welcome their advice.