The excitement of starting a small business is like nothing else. You have an idea, put it into action and feel the thrill of accomplishment when it becomes profitable. Whether you want a side job or full-time income, you need to consider the future of your business. There are five easy ways small businesses can think big.
Set Short Term and Long Term Goals
Usually your first goal is to earn money. Owning a small business often means spending some of your own cash to get started. Naturally, you want to earn back your initial investment and begin to see a profit. This narrow approach won’t make your business a long-term success. Set your short term goals for the first month, three months and six months. Then consider your long term goals for the next year, three years and five years. Memorialize these goals in writing. Periodically check to see whether you are meeting, exceeding or falling short of these goals. The most profitable small businesses are adaptable and make essential changes immediately.
Create a Business Plan
Many small businesses start earning money without making an actual business plan. If your business starts to thrive, will you be able to handle it? If the business makes a couple of sales then stagnates, what will you do? Creating a business plan minimizes the inevitable highs and lows small businesses face. A business plan is much like a resume for your company. It defines what your business does and outlines its goals. A business plan includes an income statement, balance sheet and cash flow analysis. Having a business plan makes it easier to use resources wisely, make educated choices and handle unexpected complications. A business plan can also help you get a loan and find competitive suppliers.
Define Your Target Market
What types of people want to buy your products or services? This is a key question to consider. You need to reach out to your target market and give them what they want. Satisfied customers spread the word about your business. They come back to your company again. Consider the potential customers who want what you have. Develop a strategy to appeal to these people. For example, you would never use youthful slang if you want to sell something to senior citizens. Research your target market and consider how you can stand out from the competition to get their attention.
Brand Your Business
Once you define your business and its goals, brand your company. What voice do you want your business to have? How do you want to relate to customers? Your business needs to have a logo, slogan and predictable approach to addressing customers. From informational to humorous, your business can take on any persona you choose. The key is to make it recognizable and relatable. When customers see your logo or hear a certain statement, they should instantly think of your business. For example, everyone recognizes the red target sign for Target retail stores. Often a simple logo and tagline is the most memorable.
Develop a Marketing Strategy
Your business should have a website and blog as well as business cards and letterhead. Use the website and blog to create an online presence. Most people search for businesses online. They use certain keywords to find what they want. Find out the keywords related to your business. Develop meaningful website and blog content using a few of these keywords. This is formally referred to as search engine optimization (SEO). This can get tricky. For example, don’t use too many keywords or your website could get penalized by the search engines. Develop a business presence on social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Start creating a contact list that includes current customers and people who inquire about your company. Initiate email marketing campaign to reach out to them. You can hire an SEO pro for an affordable fee to handle this aspect of marketing your business.
[box type=”shadow”]Main Takeaway: Always go beyond today as you reach for greater success tomorrow. Establish goals, develop a business plan and define your target market. Brand your business and create a marketing strategy to reach out to customers. Take baby steps and soon you will see your business is making huge strides. A small business can grow and thrive when you think big.[/box]