There can be lots of work, effort, pushing against immovable objects when setting up your small business. But your desire, focus and passion to make it work gets you there. To the starting line. And it is only the staring line, the BEGINNING of the game. Arguably it takes more effort to keep it going or develop it. That’s certainly my experience having been running my B2B business for 16 years To Market and a B2c one for 6 years Cocktail Shaker Boys. Here suggestions for 3 things you need.
Your website is your shop window so it’s important that it looks good at least and fairly reflects the image you want to put out. Usually potential customers will browse your website before deciding how they want to move forward. And unless you sell something very unusual or tailored, chances are they’ll look at your competitors too. Make sure the experience they have is a good and positive one. Keep it up to date, looking fresh (it’s amazing how website fashion has changed over the years.) and relevant.
I’d recommend having a blog linked or embedded in your website too. It allows you to add lots of content littered with all your keywords which helps with SEO massively. All neatly without overwhelming your website with text.
2. Organise your contact sales strategy
I’m thinking more here about B2B markets admittedly. It’s still important in B2C but it works in different ways. Have a proactive business model where you can. It is easy to think that once your business is up and running that customers will seek you out. Build it and they will come. For most of us I’m afraid it doesn’t work like that. Your business has got to be out there, popping up in front of them in numerous places and in various ways. Advertising, local PR, social media (of course), telemarketing, exhibitions and trade fairs, talks, seminars, demonstrations are all a part of the mix. The ones that are right for you are dependent on what products or services you sell and your personality. For instance I wouldn’t recommend doing stand up talks to promote your new cake-making or floristry business if the idea of public speaking scares you to death.
If you’re B2B, decide how you will approach people. Networking, telemarketing, cold calling – dropping cards, flyers off etc are all valid approaches. Then keep a note of those you’ve spoken to, enquiries you’ve had etc. And by note, I don’t mean on paper, I mean in an Excel spreadsheet at least or a full CRM system if your business is of a size or complexity to warrant it.
This principle is more difficult for retailers, but it’s still important to be in charge of your own destiny as much as possible. You can still try to engage with customers, run events, and collect e-mail addresses etc. Which leads us on to the third point ….
3. Be proactive
I think I’ve pretty much covered this point above. But don’t wait for them. Assume they won’t come. And then if they do, it’s a nice surprise. If you’re B2B ensure that the majority of your working day is devoted to some activity that may help find customers. It’s obvious to say that the more time you spend looking for customers, the more you’re likely to find. You won’t find them by getting your admin system in order, or your bankings up to date or tidying the filing cabinet – as important as all these jobs are ultimately.
For advice on all of these matters, you may be surprised that I’m not going to simply say come and talk to me, cos I’m not. To Market specialises in helping companies develop their telephone teams such as customer service, telesales and telemarketing. I’d recommend putting yourself out there and getting to know people who can help you with all this stuff. There are a lot of clever people out there with specialist knowledge. Mostly people are happy to help if you want some guidance and ideas. Grab a coffee with local experts. That said if you think we can help, call us on 01858 461148. We work with companies across the Midlands including Leicester, Northampton, Birmingham, Coventry, Nottingham, Derby, Milton Keynes, Bedford, Peterborough, Corby, Wellingborough, Kettering, Newmarket, Cambridge, Bury St. Edmunds as well as wider parts of Leicestershire and Northamptonshire.