Excerpts from business.com
2020 certainly had its challenges for businesses, but that doesn't mean there won't be an opportunity in 2021. Whether you're starting a business, or just looking for ways to strengthen the one you have, there are 7 building blocks that will help cut problems off before they occur according to business.com.
- Find enough backing - Most of the main barriers to starting up and successfully running a small company involve money. Consider what's required for overhead, marketing, employee training, and salaries. Develop a business plan to present to potential investors, or if looking for a loan, your bank will request that as well as well as cash flow projections.
- Know your audience - Identify your target audience using demographics and then streamline your products and services to appeal to that group. Use marketing dollars where they will reach the greatest number of that group and pinpoint a portion of that target audience that provide the most potential for growth.
- Build your brand before you launch - 86% of consumers state that authenticity is a key factor in their decision to support a brand. That means you have to be committed to the promises you make to your customers and put that message out there before you try to sell them a product. One of the best ways to do this is to have content on your website that explains your story and that you can link to from other trusted sites.
- Use social media marketing - More than half of social media users use their platform of choice (Facebook, Instagram, etc...) to research brands they're not familiar with. If you're not in their feed, they're not buying. Likewise, asking for reviews on Google or Facebook can build a positive reputation for those who aren't familiar with your company.
- Tell your story - Let people know how your company began and where you see it headed. This ties back to being authentic and building trust. People connect to people, not companies, so get personal and let them know what your company means to you on your website and through your personal social media pages.
- Focus on customer service - People expect good customer service from a small company. Don't just aim for satisfaction, aim for customer happiness. Look for unexpected ways to delight your customers through bonuses, incentives, or rewards. Show them they're valued and they'll keep coming back.
- Be adaptable - In no other year have we seen the importance of being able to adapt to new circumstances quickly. For instance, many businesses rushed to offer online services when stay-at-home mandates occurred. Considering new avenues, or even entirely new lines of business, that fit within your service structure, could be the difference between surviving and thriving in 2021.