The power of AI is astounding and I am using Chat GBT on a daily basis. Therefore, unsurprisingly, I would urge business owners to adopt it as soon as possible – and many companies are already doing so. The enormity of change is already happening, and all businesses need to embrace this remarkable technology with immediate effect.
Here are my thoughts, as well as those gleaned from AI, about the best way that small businesses can enjoy success in the future – and especially when the economy is sluggish:
1) With regards to online marketing: Utilise digital marketing techniques such as search engine optimisation (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. You should make the most of social media generally, including email marketing. This will enable you to reach a wider audience and generate leads.
And if you are not already doing this, then perhaps you are living under a rock? This is a game where every accumulation of effort pays dividends and more so when you have a great team supporting the mission and vision of the owner. Whatever your vision, it is a message that needs to be regularly communicated. If leaders fail to inspire, employees can easily switch off.
2) Implement referral programs to encourage existing customers to recommend your products or services to their friends and family. Offer incentives such as discounts, freebies or exclusive access to encourage referrals. Many of us are discounting like crazy, right now.
I keep an eye on all my competitors, such as to the language they are using and what they are promoting. It would appear the public are big on discounted items. I always try to make suggestions to add value, as opposed to discount only. And I hope we get back to value adding soon. Right now, do your numbers and be aware of your margins more than ever.
Therefore, run limited-time promotions, discounts or special offers to attract new customers and encourage repeat business. Take care to perfect your automation flow of emails.
This is easier said than done, but make certain your best selling products are continually hitting the shelves. This can only be achieved by having a fully functioning and highly efficient supply chain model.
3) Strategic partnerships: Collaborate with complementary businesses or influencers within your industry. Then cross-promote each other’s products or services. This should help to expand your reach and attract new customers. But let me be clear, the additional effort needed to achieve this can be onerous. As we re-structure, we have had to let staff members leave the company. It’s not great for brand reputation, but it needs to be executed well and with the minimum of fuss.
4) Focus on customer experience: Exceptional customer service is vital at all times, and especially when margins become tighter and the economy is facing huge challenges. Always prioritise customer satisfaction. Happy customers are more likely to become repeat customers and refer your business to others. Try to add value to enhance your reputation and to build your audience?
5) It is tempting to expand your offerings: Identify opportunities to expand your products or services, as this may help you to achieve a broader customer base. While this can attract new customers and increase revenue, take care to add only low risk products. And never dilute your offering.
If you are struggling with your current product range, you may need to add something that attracts a whole new audience. Best of all sell a current fast-moving product to a different selection of customers. You may even find that re-packaging a best-seller with one audience, could capture another group of customers elsewhere.
6) If you already attend industry events and trade shows, then make a few changes before travelling to your next one. Even pretend this is your first-ever outing to such an event and capture as much information as possible. Check out what the competition is doing and add a whole new energy to your activities.
Compare sales methods and when you attend such gatherings go out of your way to network with potential customers, other suppliers, partners and investors. This can help to increase brand visibility and generate leads, and never stop acquiring data.
7) Make best use of social media: Collaborate with influencers within your industry – those that have a large following on social media. Their endorsements can help increase brand awareness and attract new customers.
I was thrilled recently when former marathon world champion and world record-holder, Paula Radcliffe, joined our brand KitBrix. When we launched the product that she helped to develop, we quickly sold out. The difference which the right person can make to a promotion is immense. Check out our KitBrix Totebrix, which I believe is the best piece of kit we’ve ever invested in.
8) Repeat customers are likely to spend more money and refer others to your business. How pro-active are you and your team at asking for referrals? Perhaps make a speech or presentation that you would not normally undertake. This will broaden the conversation about how you and your company are doing.
Remember, while these eight above strategies can help to accelerate growth, it’s important to have a solid business plan. Make certain you are fully aware of who your target audience is. And you should regularly remind the general public, or potential clients, about your unique value proposition. Currently, we feel drilling down time and time again into the core persona brings great returns.