Seven small actions to grow your small business for 2014
Track ad ROI
This seems silly to mention, but many owners don't actually track the ROI from radio ads, television or their website. Just seeing results is not enough. You need to be able to put a number on the ROI. I see it all the time with SEM. People don't want to pay the extra money for a unique phone line or crunch the numbers to see the average increase in sales. Not doing this could be costing you a great deal of money. Tracking ROI is simple and there are dozens of solutions to do so.
Write content, even if it's only a paragraph
Even the smallest bit of fresh content does wonders for your website visitors. Your loyal customers and constant visitors will see that you're keeping the site up to date and will check back more frequently if they know that new content might be posted. When you have a break during the day, or even in the evening, write a little blurb. You could even start a blog, if you're feeling adventurous! Writing little pieces of content will help hone your communication skills.
Take up photography. Do it for the children.
Everyone has a hobby, but as a small business owner you may want to consider photography. $500 will get you a decent camera and community colleges have all sorts of classes and resources. Why? Because the web has become a visual maelstrom and your iPhone is not going to cut it. Visit Pinterest or Houzz. Your eye is drawn to the clearest and most professional images. This new hobby of yours will not only improve every social media account you run and you website, but you can bring it into your family life as well. Everyone loves a well-taken photo!
Be active in your community
Community involvement can be huge for a business. You gain an improved reputation in the community, visual and word-of-mouth exposure and grow your customer base. Your business relies on the community to support you and in large cities it can be hard to stand out. So, stand out by helping in your communities, whether its a 5-k race, trash clean-up or the Special Olympics. There are tons of opportunities and, if you can't find one, create one!
Curate your reputation
Everything mentioned above is part of curating your reputation, but the hardest part may be finding out what your reputation is. This is your business and you've staked your reputation as a person on your grit and integrity. Hopefully you know what your reputation is, if not, ask around. People that dislike you are not going to fill out a comment card or message you on Facebook. You need to know where you stand, good or bad, in order to grow.
Diversify your digital storefront
The web is an amazing place, but if you're just looking at your website and your Facebook, you've drastically undercut yourself. There are hundreds of websites that you can expand into to further your brand's reach. If you're selling products, an ecommerce site could make your business explode. If you're a service company, YouTube, Pinterest and Houzz could open up a host of opportunities you hadn't dreamed and gain you exposure. Your digital storefront should not be limited to your website.
Stay heads up on tech trends that could launch your business to the next level. That means reading up on tech trends and startups. (Just reading TechCrunch.com will give you an idea of the possiblities) Once you've found one, keep at it until it's completed to the best of your ability. Try and try again until you find something that works, then become a master at it. I saw at least 8 vendors at the gun show this past weekend using some form of mobile credit card scanning device that plugged into their smartphones. One had traveled from three states away. A coffee shop I frequent hosts local bands and encourages the watchers to use their hashtag on Twitter and Instagram to grow their social media presence. There are many cool new things coming out every day. You just need to find several that work for you. As with most things, start with one and excel at it.