Many small businesses struggle to compete with the big-box stores. They feel like they can’t compete but yet, they go against them every day to try to survive. However, keep in mind that there is a market out there for small businesses, as many consumers are just as frustrated and uninterested in big-box retailers as you are!
Keep this in mind:
- Customer Service. Larger stores know how important customer service is – and they struggle with it every day. Since they follow a cost-focused business model, they pay low wages and employ a lot of part-time employees. They also have large numbers of employees and high turnover – both of which are very difficult to manage. The quality of customer service a customer will get in a big box store is not only on the lower end, it is completely unpredictable. As a small business with a few employees, you can put a much stronger focus on customer service – and it will speak volumes to the consumer.
According to the CAN Small Business Health Index, 61% of small business owners expect their business to grow over the next 12 months, and one-third expect to do that through trying new forms of marketing and advertising. For similar small businesses looking to grow through new marketing tactics, consider expanding your inbound marketing.
According to Wikipedia, Inbound Marketing is marketing activities that bring visitors in, rather than marketers having to go out to get prospects’ attention; it earns the attention of customers, makes the company easy to be found, and draws customers to the website by producing interesting content.
If you are looking to focus on inbound marketing in 2016, here are a few tips to get started:
- Make sure your website is easy to find (SEO!), easy to navigate, and informative without being too salesy or disruptive
- Develop regular content (images, infographics, videos, tutorials, tips, etc) that interests your audience/readers and publish it in a blog on your website, in an e-newsletter, and/or on your social media channels – these are all places where consumers will come to you – so don’t make the content too salesy – keep it interesting and informative.
- Don’t forget visibility in the community is a good way to spread the word about your business. Volunteer or help coordinate community functions and make sure your business logo is displayed somewhere.
Your small business is probably based on a lot of up-front decision making as to which service or product niche to offer. The amount of time, energy and money you put in has paid off, but just how to grow your business to the next level seems to be elusive. According to Forbes Magazine:
- Small & medium enterprises (SMEs) that adopt mobile technologies to connect with customers are growing two times faster and creating eight times the number of jobs than SMEs who do not adopt mobile technologies
- SMEs that lead their respective industries in mobile adoption are also seeing 50% of web searches for their business start on mobile devices
- Mobile content and apps generated $530B in global revenue in 2014
- The majority of consumers WORLDWIDE would be willing to give up luxuries for a year in order to keep their mobile phones
Do you need more convincing? Are you ready to “up your game” in mobile technology? Below are some great applications and technologies that SMEs should consider for 2016: