When it comes to business, patching your problems just won’t cut it. Find out how to handle three hard moves entrepreneurs frequently push off.
There’s a lot of pressure for small-business owners to be masters of every aspect of their business. This is especially true when you’re first starting out and are often a one-person shop. A recent survey by The UPS Store found that one of the biggest barriers to starting a small business in 2018 was fear of failure, behind concerns about financial security.
With somewhat limited resources and fear of failing, small-business owners will often push challenging tasks to the back burner. This may work out in the short term, but it won’t lead to long-term success. Think of your business like the roof of a house. Are there problems you’ve been patching up instead of completely repairing? It’s time to invest the time and resources, replace the roof and address your problems head-on. It may not be easy or cheap, but in the long run it will help you be successful.
The three most common holes entrepreneurs frequently patch up include: marketing, recruiting and investing in digital.
Marketing will retain and grow your customer base.
Are you stuck in a rut trying the same marketing tactics again and again? It’s time to branch out and try some new things. If you’ve been unsure how to start, begin by figuring out who your customers are.
The starting point can be as simple as talking to your customers. Find out what they’re watching and reading, what social platforms they’re using, what they are interested in, etc. Once you know them, you’ll better know how to reach them. For example, social media can be a cost-effective and targeted way to reach customers. Using images, videos and other multimedia, you can demo products, advertise promotions and engage with your customers directly.
Start with existing customers, but remember to keep in mind the type of customers you want to attract, too. By doing this, you’ll be able to focus your marketing efforts on things that matter instead of spreading yourself thin.
Recruit the partners and employees your business needs.
Have you put off recruiting or outsourcing to get the help you need to run your business? Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Start off by clearly outlining the support you need to better run your business. Do you need someone with web design skills or someone to help with your finances? This is support you may be able to find from another small-business owner that specializes in these areas. Local small-business organizations and LinkedIn are great resources for discovering talented partners with desired qualifications. There’s a sea of people ready to help.
Are you looking for support in the day-to-day running of your business? Then it’s time to hire an employee. Once you get a few potential applicants, invite them in for an interview. An in-person interview can tell you much more about a candidate than a phone interview. Once you find the right candidate for your business, be sure to take the time to train her. If you’ve trained her and trust in her ability to run the daily operations, you can take a step back to focus on other priorities while knowing everything is in good hands.
Invest in your digital presence.
How does your front door look? I’m not talking about your actual door — I’m talking about your website.
Research shows that 88 percent of consumers pre-research their buys online before making a purchase either online or in-store. That means there’s a lot of potential for your website to drive traffic to your business.
You can look for a partner to help you, but there are also many cost-efficient and easy-to-use website builders. Most sites make content management simple and come with recommended formats and layouts. By utilizing these, you’ll make it easy on customers searching for your company or wanting to learn more about you. Similarly, make sure your social media presence is up to date — especially as more and more customers are turning to social media for customer service.
Making these hard moves may seem intimidating, but in the long run they have great potential to help your business be more effective and successful.
by Michelle Van Slyke