Businesses have suffered in 2020 as markets of varying degrees struggled to stand on their feet so growing your business might seem farfetched. The economy continues to plummet and most companies are on the brink. However, as bleak as this may sound, there is plenty of hope for your business if you keep these 7 building blocks in mind in order to grow your business in the upcoming year.
Much like everything, your enterprise can run into some common pitfalls and they can include
- Paucity of Capital or having an adequate budget
- Scarcity of brand recognition
- Lack of connectivity with target audience
- Losing customers to competition
- Not cultivating brand loyalty
Consequently, this may sound like you have hit a wall but for every problem that might incur, there is always a viable solution. While, there are many unique problems that one might face when running a business, they all come with own unique set of solutions. Luckily, for us they can be classified into the seven building blocks that are critical for your business to run smoothly and effectively.
1. Procure Enough Capital
Procuring capital for your venture is difficult. You need to have a vision of what your company’s purpose is and how it will fulfill it. Moreover, you need to present that purpose in a way that your investors know right of the bat that your idea has the potential to thrive in this market.
Focusing on what your business is, the capital you require for it will vary substantially. However, you cannot write off the possibility of procuring capital to run your company simply because you think it is too small to require an initial budget or an investor.
For instance, if your business is is one where you are offering products or services that you can fulfill yourself – you still need capital for other aspects of your company that might aid in determining it a success. Such as the likes of marketing and branding.
Some of the main barriers that one might come across in running their own company is mostly capital. Primarily, without securing enough capital you might not even be able to get your company to function. Even if you mange to get it up and running one can always run into a plethora of problems in the initial beta testing phases. Some of the problems that you might incur are paying for the overheads, the marketing, employee training and other prerequisites that will aid you in keeping your business from going under. Hence, the time ti procure basic capital is before you launch your company to the general public. This will help ensure that your company doesn’t fumble during its first year of operations.
For procuring your capital, here are several ways to attain financing.
This only really becomes a building block for growing your business when it is done at the right time, to the right degree.
Also Read: Startup Funding Explained
2. Recognize Your Target Market
Your target market is a key factor in ensuring that your business continues to thrive. It doesn’t matter if your business has already launched or will launch in the upcoming future. Demographics of your target market are an integral part of your research. You might assume that knowing your target audience seems fairly straightforward, but its impact on how your business thrives cannot be underestimated.
Moreover, knowing your target audience enables you to
- Streamline your products and services so that they intrigue your target audience.
- Enables you to allocate your marketing budget accordingly.
- Home in on the market that can facilitate the most growth.
- Reach out to your audience in ways that are more appealing to them.
- Build on what you know about your target audience so as to create a connection and cultivate brand loyalty.
Now, more than ever, people prefer a certain level of personal touch. When you know extensively about your audience your effort becomes all the more effective in further growing your business.
3. Build Your Brand Before You Launch
Branding is of great importance, it defines what your brand stands for but when is it most effective?
When one delves into research it is found that 86% of consumers think that authenticity is integral in their decision to support a brand. How does one determine authenticity of a brand? This is done so on the basis of whether the image projected by the brand matches with what the brand does in actuality. This enforces you to begin branding your product before it reaches the market.
You might think that this comes under the guise of marketing but that’s not the case. It’s a matter of harmonizing your branding. This entails the promise that you have made to your customers across all your communication channels and ensuring that all your messages are being relayed accurately. This includes everything from your brand logo i.e your identity to your purchase follow up. All characteristics of your branding should align with the promises that you have made to your customers. After all, this will ensure the authenticity of your brand and aid in growing your business.
It is apparent that you need to continuously build your brand after it has launched. So as to cement your place in the market.
4. Social Media Marketing
Here’s one you have heard a million times before; put your brand on social media.
In this day and age that we reside in social media has taken over a huge chunk of our lives. According to various studies almost 50% of our world’s population uses social media everyday. That’s as big of a market as it might get.
Social media users can be readily categorized by their varying ages. Specific age groups tend to be more active on Facebook and others on Instagram. This information can be actively used for effective marketing.
It has been found through various forms of research that most social media users turn to their choice of social media to familiarize themselves with newer brands. Basically, if your brand isn’t on social media then it is no longer accessible to your audience and hence the idea of growing your business is fruitless.
Similarly, social media marketing has a huge impact on not only brand awareness but also brand loyalty. When you put your brand on social media, you’re providing a marketing outlet for your consumers to connect with you.
Social Media and Your Story
When we talk about marketing, here is another important aspect of your business that can appeal to the public; your story.
Every small business has its own unique story that differentiates it from the rest. This might seem unnecessary at this point but this brings us back to our initial point; the authenticity of your brand. Your story can create a feeling of connectivity from your audience toward your brand and aid in generating brand loyalty.
Brand loyalty is an important factor for a small business. Even after you have procured adequate capital, your resources are more likely to be limited. This deficit can be covered by the personal connections your brand will forge with its customers. Every time you provide impeccable services to your clients, they are more likely to recommend you to others and this also an alternate way of increasing your clientele.
Let’s not forget – if your customers like your brand – they; themselves, will continue to invest in your brand and aid in growing your business.
Your story is your secret weapon; it can be the Midas touch for your brand. You can craft it into a heartfelt, touching and entertaining version and then post it on your website. You need to draw people in by giving them a look into the person behind the brand and forging lasting connections with your customers.
To craft a compelling story, consider identifying the core values that drive your work-whether it be creativity, integrity, or any other value which is exclusive and unique to your brand. Then, use these values as the cornerstones of any stories you craft. Additionally, focus on creating content that speaks to the emotions of your audience by weaving vivid imagery and relatable topics into your narrative. Today many brand managers participate in industry-related workshops and consult with a professional storytelling coach to have no trouble composing great stories that will help the business succeed.
5. Build a Team That You Trust
Out of all the building blocks your company needs, this is an important one that can really help in growing your business.
It’s a relatively common experience of going into a store and asking an employee for help; only to realize that they’re of zero help. There’s a possibility that they haven’t been trained properly. Or they just can’t be bothered to put in the effort since it’s a minimum wage job. Maybe, they just don’t care.
Nonetheless, companies tend to suffer due to weak employee performance. When you put in time and effort to nurture the growth of your team, you’re constructing one of the 7 vital building blocks of your company.
Putting together a trustworthy and talented team can be a difficult task, especially if you want to do it before you launch your brand. The process requires you to conduct extensive interviews and scrutinize what you want from your employees. This attraction phase can be extremely tricky but it doesn’t have to be.
This is where you can build your brand as an employer. You need to ask yourself; what is it that you want from a job? Your answer can serve as the basis of what you can try and provide for your employees, and work on amplifying upon the appeal for your ideal candidates.
Employee branding calls for some specifications such as:
- Work on developing an employee branding strategy
- Advocate upon your company values and ethics
- Work on providing rewards and recognition for your employees in order to encourage and nurture growth
- Be active in your community via interactions and open conversations
- Target a specific audience for jobs just as you would customers.
Employee attraction is directly proportional to customer attraction. Your employees have the power to broaden your customer base and this is why from the very beginning, you need to put your best foot forward.
6. Emphasis on Customer Service
Customer service is one of the most important building blocks of your enterprise. You need to ensure that it is impeccable.
In today’s day and age people have started turning to small businesses because large corporations can no longer cater to their needs as much as a small business can. People tend to associate higher expectations from them since they’re at their inception and will do their best to amplify their clientele. It also correlates to the fact that small businesses have less resources and have to give it their best in order to retain their customers.
You should work upon this singular motto when it comes to customer satisfaction; We strive to achieve customer happiness, not customer satisfaction. Listening to your customer is not the only way to provide good customer service, providing out of the box solutions can also make your customers extremely happy.
You need to ensure that all your customers know that they are extremely valuable. You can do so by offering incentives and rewards to your loyal customers, make them feel special.
Your customers are the building blocks of your successful small business. Don’t ever forget that without them you have zero chances of growing your business.
7. Be Flexible
After all your building blocks in place, being flexible is of essence, to help your business thrive.
After being hit by the pandemic, a lot of small businesses went under because they refused to bend themselves to the needs presented by the pandemic. Flexibility doesn’t mean that you need to be ready for just the expected changes, as forecasted by business forecasts and trendsetters. Flexibility indiactes that you and your business are ready for any challenge that might be thrown your way.
When stay at home orders were given, there was a rush amongst businesses to switch everything online. That’s how most small businesses sustained themselves. This change was integral for their survival and this aided them in enhancing not only their customer service but also their reputation. This was a survival technique that made them sustainable and their business viable.
This might come off as just the one example but right now the world as at a crossroads. We cannot rule out unexpected events in the global business scene. Although, one thing is for sure; truly flexible companies will survive this scenario and whatever might come their way in 2021.
If you are to put in place these 7 building blocks, then your company has all that it needs to thrive in 2021. 2020 might not have been your year but with the upcoming year capitalize upon your passions keeping all this in mind.