It’s an often-quoted statistic that 50% of small businesses fail within the first five years. Starting a company is risky, especially when you depend on the success of your business for your income. Getting one step ahead of the competition is one of the best ways of increasing your chances of success, but does this have to cost huge sums of money? There is lots you can do to stand out from your competitors without breaking the bank.
Customer Service and Word of Mouth
One of the main ways in which small companies pick up work is through personal recommendation. Try to go above and beyond in terms of customer service to make sure that every customer is delighted with your products and services, and is happy to recommend you to others. Ask happy customers to review you on websites such as Trustpilot or Google reviews, and make sure you respond quickly to questions and comments on your social media feeds. This should give you the reputation as a company which cares about its community and delivers prompt service.
Get Into the Right Directories
Business directories are all online these days, but work in just the same way as the old-fashioned paper books. If you are listed in the right directories, then customers will find your listing whether they are browsing by business type, or by geographic area. Websites such as 118businessdirectory.co.uk can put your business name in front of a much wider range of customers, and can also help boost your own website further up the search engine rankings.
Branding and Image
Branding isn’t just for big business. Getting your brand right with a great logo and consistent marketing can help your business stick in minds of consumers, whatever the size of your operation. Take some time to think about your logo and online presence, and if you find it difficult to come up with great ideas, think about paying a branding expert to come up with some concepts for you. Once you’ve decided on your brand, use your new logo across your website, social media and other branded items.
Good Online Presence
All businesses need a website, and this is one of the main ways in which a customer will find out about you. A website doesn’t have to be anything fancy; a basic template customised with your own details will be sufficient for most small companies. Link your social media feeds into your website, and post regularly to keep customers updated. Posting on social media and updating a website with new blog posts can be time consuming, so many business owners choose to outsource this job to a freelancer rather than manage it themselves.
Many small businesses have found a successful technique is rewarding loyalty. This could be something like stamping a card to give every sixth coffee free of charge, or giving a customer a voucher if they recommend you to a friend or family member who then goes on to make a booking.