• How to promote your small business locally
  • The top three challenges you should expect to face as a small business owner.
  • entrepreneurship-work-on-your-business

TIPS: HOW TO PROMOTE YOUR SMALL BUSINESS LOCALLY

How to promote your small business locally

As a small business owner, you already understand the challenges you are facing, especially if you are set up in an area that has big box stores or high saturation rates. However, understanding the best ways of promoting your business to the local area will go a long way in helping you get noticed in a land among giants. There are a variety of options available for local promotion, including free and paid options. The following are some of the best methods available to increase exposure, and grow brand awareness.

Get Involved

Communities provide excellent opportunities for growth and exposure. Consider sponsoring a local sport team, or host a fund raiser to help raise funds that will go back into the community. You can also incorporate your advertising with local cleanup or park restoration. All of these things help people take notice of your business, which will lead to increased profits later on.

Network

If there are other businesses in your area, especially those that are related in some way to yours, networking is a must. You have to make sure people are aware of your services or products, and getting out there to introduce yourself is one of the best ways to do this. When you network with others in the community, you allow for improved word of mouth – without paying a dime. Don’t forget to attend community functions either – whenever locals gather it provides you with a great promotional opportunity to make sure other businesses and potential customers know you’re there.

Coupons and Advertisements

People love saving money, no matter what they are purchasing. Consider running coupons in the local paper, or print off several and ask local businesses (non-competitors) if you can leave some for their customers. You should also make sure that there are coupons available through your website that can be printed off and brought to your location.

Advertising can be cheap if you know how to use it properly. Ask local businesses if you can hang flyers in their windows or on bulletin boards. Libraries and community centers are also great places to do this, and you will reach a wider base of potential customers.

Don’t Forget Social Media

No matter what, it seems that no business can avoid teaming up with Facebook and other social media platforms to get the word out about their products and services. The sheer number of users worldwide, along with the amount of content that is shared each day makes social media a worthwhile time investment. Just make sure to interact with people who like of comment on your page. You can also offer discounts and freebies to people who like your posts to make the process even more engaging.

There are plenty of ways to promote your small business locally, and most of them require you to get yourself out there. Businesses don’t grow themselves, so you will need to make sure to find the time to get out in your community.

3 BIGGEST CHALLENGES FACING YOUR SMALL BUSINESS

The top three challenges you should expect to face as a small business owner.

3 Biggest Challenges Facing Your Small BusinessSmall businesses seem to be popping up everywhere, and while this can be a great thing for local economies; this is not a venture to approach lightly. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 400,000 businesses started over the last year. However, another 470,000 closed during that same period. In the U.K.  1 in 3 businesses failing within the first 3 years. 20% of businesses fail within the first year, and in the next 3 years 50% of those fail. These unbalanced numbers show just how important it is to understand the reality of opening and maintaining a small business.

In order to provide insight into why so many small businesses go under, top business advisors all over the country have focused their efforts on determining the key challenges facing small businesses, and how they can be avoided. The following are the top three challenges you should expect to face as a small business owner.

Lack of Knowledge

Knowledge is a valuable tool for any business, but small businesses are especially vulnerable to the problems associated with not having enough. In a business sense, knowledge consists of much more than simple smarts – there are a number of things that you need to be sure you understand when opening a new business, including:

  • Industry – You need a complete understanding of the industry you are entering, including current trends, potential competitors (and their prices), and the overall availability of similar products or services (saturation).
  • Financials – Starting a business requires an in-depth understanding of how to deal with accounts payable and receivable, payroll, taxes, and other financial matters.
  • Marketing and Advertising – You will need to understand the best ways of attracting new clients, and making sure that potential customers know your company exists.

Time is Precious

Many entrepreneurs mistakenly believe that running their own business will provide them with more time to do what they want. However, the exact opposite is usually the case. When first starting out, you will need to plan on spending plenty of time with your new business – if you don’t care enough to be there, your employees certainly won’t. Additionally, you will need to plan everything you need to do on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis to ensure that you don’t forget anything. By taking the time to focus on your business, you will see a much greater chance of survival.

Money

This is the number one reason most new businesses fail, and the main issue is not having enough saved back to support the business until it becomes established. New businesses do not generate money overnight, so you need to make sure that you have plenty in reserve to handle recurring bills such as rent, utilities, and taxes. A good rule of thumb is to have up to two years worth of funds available to ensure that there is enough to see your business through to when it actually starts generating income.

A new business is a great way to change your way of life – providing you are aware of the challenges that you will be facing. As with any new venture, education is a valuable tool.

WORK ON YOUR BUSINESS, NOT IN YOUR BUSINESS

entrepreneurship-work-on-your-business

Entrepreneurship - Work on Your BusinessOwning your own business can be both exciting and exhausting, especially when you first start out. While your business is in its infancy, there is no denying that much of the work and labor fall to you – you have to generate an income in order to hire employees. However, once you have established your business, the key to true growth is letting go. You have to learn to follow the steps needed that will allow you to work on growing your business, rather than working in it. After all, you probably became a business owner to lessen the amount of work required each day, not increase it. The following steps will help you better understand how to ensure that you are leading your business, rather than being another employee.

Understand Your Wants

The first step in the process is to decide if you truly want to continue wearing all of the hats in your company. If you love the added stress, lack of family time, and general exhaustion that comes with this, then stop reading – you are already doing what you love. However, if you want to create a business that does not need you there every single minute of the day, keep reading. Just be aware that many of these steps will require you to move outside of your comfort zone to reach your goals.

Team Building/Understand Your Limits

The number one requirement of any successful business is a team that can make it happen. No one person is the best at every aspect of running a business, regardless of how much he or she may think so. Unless you have spent the last 24 years earning degrees in business management, human resources, accounting, manufacturing/distribution, marketing (whether it’s traditional or online/search engine marketing, such as paid search and organic search/SEO), advertising, web development, design, and labor, you are not the best person for every one of those jobs within your organization. A team consists of more than one, and it is up to you to be choosy on how you build it.

The best place to start is often with a human resources person – this will be the team member that ensures that only the best people for the other jobs are hired, which means you won’t have to oversee every aspect of daily operations. When you build a talented team that you can trust, you are providing your business with the basic tools it needs to grow.

Develop Systems and Standards

A business that has a strong foundation of operating systems and company-wide standards has a strong base from which to grow. Proper training systems, and daily operational systems are key aspects of creating a business that you can oversee. Once you have systems in place, develop standards by which your team attacks every aspect of business. This will ensure that everyone understands what is expected of them, and the best ways of dealing with daily operations.

When you follow these steps, you will allow yourself to work on your business, while your team works in it to make it grow larger than you ever imagined.