Small business owners wear so many hats—they are often the Chief Everything Officer for their companies. Think CEO, CMO, COO, human resources, social media manager, customer service representative and more, all rolled into one.
As a marketer for 15 years at American Express, I met hundreds of these multitaskers through Small Business Saturday, the day after Black Friday, where shoppers are encouraged to support their local small businesses. In my latest role as VP of Marketing at WEX, I’ve seen additional opportunities for small business owners to continue to expand their reach. Here are four tips any small business owner can use to grow their company:
1. Be smart with social media
It’s important to understand your customers—know what’s important to them and what social media platform(s) they are using and be sure to have a presence on those. For example, Facebook and LinkedIn are two that make sense for most businesses these days. Many small business owners don’t have time to be on social media 24/7, and that’s okay: Check in once a day; as long as you’re messaging back within 24 hours, you’ll be seen as responsive. Finally, try not to make it all about you—of course you can talk about things going on in your business and relevant news, but it’s important to engage with customers more broadly. Provide them with relevant content about your industry, such as case studies, safety tips, community news, etc.
2. Hire the right people
There aren’t a lot of small businesses that have the time or resources to devise hiring algorithms, a la Google. Nor should they—but it’s arguably even more important for a company with just a few employees that each of those workers is an ideal fit and brings exceptional value to their role. Before you even see candidates, it’s imperative to think through what your business needs in terms of skills, experience, attitude and dedication. Once that’s clear, interview with those objectives in mind—and with transparency, which can help eliminate surprises on either side.
3. Be a marketer
It can be easy to focus on sales as your company’s objective—and bottom line, it is financials that make or break a business. But don’t forget to step back and look at how to drive those sales; marketing is key, and taking a big-picture view of how to grow and prosper will be the difference between just getting by (or worse, failing) and taking your company to the next level. You can start small; sponsor a local sports team, buy a table at a small trade fair or neighborhood school fundraiser—whatever makes sense for your business—and build on those efforts by using them as a hook for local media coverage … and then rinse and repeat.
4. Deliver on your promises
As important as the previous tips are, none of those will matter if you fail to deliver on your promise to your customers. That promise is the basis of your business, whether you are a B2B enterprise, consumer-facing service or a combination of both. And for those businesses that involve actual deliveries and drivers—and many do, from florists to auto parts stores to plumbing service providers—delivering on your company’s promise can be quite literal. Look to tools, such as WEX’s Small Business Fuel Cards, or its Telematics and Smarthub products, that provide easy solutions for small business owners to track their spending on fuel, know where the cheapest fuel prices are offered and to even track drivers so you can give customers a real-time update on when their delivery or service provider will arrive. Earning customer trust is a smart way to grow your business.
Article Source: http://homebusinessmag.com/