How do I make my small business a success?
How do I make my small business a success? is the second in a series of small business sales, marketing and business development posts. Using my own personal experiences to talk to those embarking on small, micro or consultative business ventures.
Having transitioned from a consultant to an agency business. By talking about my mistakes along the way, I genuinely believe I can help others starting their business circumvent the same minefield.
So how do you make your small business a successful business?
Sales, Marketing and Customer Service
Sales, marketing and customer service are key themes in business development. Independently they are all vital but from a business development perspective, they are pretty much all one and the same thing. In my eyes, the encompassing phrase to use is business development and here is why.
Small Business Sales
For every small, micro-business or consultant, sales of products or services are what will keep the lights on and food in the fridge. But where do you start?
Let me be frank, it starts online. Read on as I share my thoughts on how can I make my small business a success.
Find the why
The very first thing you need to do is start with your why. If you have read my previous article, where I discuss my journey and the problems I faced you know this is key.
Building a business must come from a skillset or a passion. You can buy a franchise but even then make sure that you are passionate about the choice. Don’t just look at its commercial value, unless you don’t intend to run the business yourself.
Once you establish why you need to create your pitch. Why would someone buy from you, the newbie over an established player? What do you offer that they don’t? How does your offer feel both more exciting and rewarding than what the current provider offers?
You need to establish this and more to start to define your value add.
Please make sure you digest the following statement
Buying decisions are always emotional and not logical. If you can’t find the emotional reward your product or service offers or the pain point it solves, it’s over.
Identify your customer quickly
Don’t approach your sales technique from a logical perspective. Successful small business owners and consultants study their clients intently. By building out “personas” they create a picture of what makes their customer tick, how they behave and who influences that behaviour.
This way you focus on what matters, rather than reverse engineering your products or solutions to imaginary in-need customers. Which in the short term will damage your ability to make the business grow and become a successful entrepreneur!
Enabling your sales technique
Sales enablement is the process of developing information (PowerPoint presentations), content (ebooks and webinars), and tools that help you sell more effectively. The strategy of sales enablement is to develop tools you and your sales team need to successfully engage buyers throughout the buying process.
The more you can automate your pitch, approach and nurture of your sales prospects, the faster you will close deals and accelerate cash flow.
Careful planning of the whole sales approach is needed which is why I have created a prospecting document which is available as a template to download here in this article.
Often the problem is not that the business owners or consultants can’t sell. It’s that they often aren’t identifying viable opportunities and following up with well laid out client acquisition strategies.
On that note, this is another tip for you:
If you have no current opportunities in your sales pipeline today, it’s because three months ago you weren’t doing the work to put them there.
Never stop prospecting
One of the most costly mistakes that I made is that I maxed out my capacity for delivering work and stopped my prospecting. Instead of then looking to hire, I took my foot off of the pedal and got happy with what I had. This meant that when those new clients ran into their own issues, my business plans fell apart.
My cash flow dried up, my cash on deposit was rapidly used up and I became stressed out, resentful and frustrated. In business being a few thousand in front can easily turn to a few thousand behind. So never stop prospecting.
Thoughts so far? Good? Great, keep reading how can I make my small business a success.
Small Business Marketing
For long term growth, you need to adopt a form of online marketing that suits your budget. Small business marketing does not have to be expensive if your budget is tight. Invest in a little training and writing blog copy, even for the most technically challenged amongst us, this is achievable with excellent results.
BIAS offer training courses to help you learn to write rewarding content that ranks for search engines.
The number one reason to invest in training if you don’t have a budget initially is to make sure that if the budget ever gets tight in the future, you have the skills needed to survive. It is not okay to stop marketing and it is not okay to stop prospecting.
Both activities have a profound effect on your bottom line and will save you money long term. Try and adopt an inbound approach to your digital marketing and sales processes. This strategy will help use Content, Email, SEO and Social Media to great effect. For training courses in inbound check out HubSpot Academy.
Our inbound marketing blog has plenty of well-crafted content for you to peruse at your leisure, take some time to further educate yourself there.
Customer Service Strategy
A customer service strategy should be inbuilt. Ask yourself questions like what should my clients tell their friends about the experience of working with your business? What comments would you want to be left on review websites about your products or solutions? What would I need from a service provider for me to refer them to other people?
All of these questions when answered will go some way to help you define what your customer service levels should look like. If you are not considering this from the planning of your business, then you are not planning at all.
Customer service for consultants
Consultants cannot afford too many mistakes as that will affect your ability to secure new business.
But if you are working on multiple projects how do you ensure that manage everything well and hit your deadlines without making mistakes? A good project management system like Monday would be good to look into or maybe Dropbox’s new project management suite.
Ensure your agreements clarify response times (service level agreement) and try not to get caught up answering emails, texts and WhatsApp messages late into the evening. Your ability to rest, recover and switch off is vital to good ongoing performance.
Business Development Round-Up
So in closing, there is quite a lot to consider. Building a new business is always about the customer. Set your goals around your customer and what they need. Another tip to digest is that;
Your product or service offering isn’t going to change anytime soon, so always, always build your business from the customer backwards.
That rounds up this article. I trust it has given you things to digest and plan further. When thinking to yourself how can I make my small business a success? drift back here to steady your thoughts.
Should you need any help or guidance feel free to reach out and discuss things with the team?