If it wasn’t hard enough to get your business started, how’s the difficulty level of keeping it going? Marketing and branding get pushed to the back burner, the website never works and people fail to pay on time. If this sounds familiar, you may want to reevaluate your business management style.
While trying to wear all hats and handle every aspect of your company, you might find yourself falling short. This likely leads to the realization of spreading yourself too thin and needing some help.
Although you may not have the money to hire another worker, seek out other options for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of your business. This will open up time to focus on the day-to-day work at hand.
Take a look at these tips to help your start-up business get back on track:
Set Up a Website to Increase Your Online Presence
If you haven’t already set up a website for your start-up business, make it a top priority. More often than not, people search for products and services online by doing a quick Google search for their specific need. If you don’t have a website, many people searching for a business like yours will never find you.
Your website doesn’t have to be spectacular for it to do what you need it to do. A basic website will work fine as long as it includes all of the pertinent information a potential customer will need. At the very least, your company website should have a description of the company and the products and services it offers and a way for customers to contact you or schedule services.
Setting up a website can take a little work up front, but it can actually relieve some of your workload once up and running. A website can act as a digital salesman who can neatly organize service requests for you.
Similarly, a website gives people a place to learn about your company, so when you do meet them in person, they already have a basic understanding of your business. Then, you don’t have to do as much work to explain what you do and sell them on your services because your website did the groundwork for you.
Furthermore, a website can reach more people than you could on your own. You can only be in one place at a time, but customers can access your website anytime, anywhere. A website can help you reach customers in areas previously out of your reach.
Get Business Contact Information to Look More Professional
Another reason your business may miss the mark is the lack of professional contact information. If you give out your personal email and cell phone number, it can make your business look less professional and less trustworthy. Similarly, using a personal address can inhibit customer trust.
Customers may not be comfortable sending private information or payments to a personal address or email. If you do not have a professional office space, using a PO box instead of your home address adds an element of professionalism and security.
To get a business email address, see if your website provider offers an email that corresponds to your website. An email that includes your company name or domain name appears more legitimate to potential customers.
Using a personal cell phone number instead of a business phone number can be okay, especially if you do not have another number to give out. However, you may want to consider using a separate phone for business calls.
Use Social Media to Engage with Your Audience
With billions of users worldwide, there is a good chance your customers use social media. Creating a business profile on social media platforms is a great way to engage with your community and come in contact with potential customers. It also serves as a forum for engaging in conversation with your audience.
If you find your community is not as aware of your business as you’d like them, consider creating social media profiles to increase awareness and engage with your audience. Social media pages supplement your website and can even help to drive traffic to your site.
Additionally, many people expect businesses to have a presence on social media. It can be looked at as another trust factor, and a lack of a social media profile can equal lack of trust.
Social media is also a great form of word-of-mouth marketing. As a start-up, you probably rely pretty heavily on word of mouth advertising already, but social media can take it to the next level.
As customers like and follow your page, the people they connect to online will be exposed to your brand. You can really extend your reach by participating in social media.
Use Contracts and Invoicing to Get Paid Promptly
If you find you aren’t paid as quickly as you’d like, make sure you invoice your customers promptly and accurately. Take time to get the invoice right the first time, so there is less back and forth about the final payment.
Also, invoice your customers as soon as you can so they have time to pay you. Similarly, you should use a contract that outlines payment policies and deadlines so your customers have the incentive to pay you on time.
Another way you can increase the chances of getting paid sooner rather than later is to offer discounts for prompt payments. Include any discounts and payment deadlines in the invoice and contract and make sure your customers are aware of the policies you have in place.
Analyze Your Pricing Strategy to Increase Profitability
If your customers pay you on time, but you still aren’t comfortable with your level of profit, you may need to reconsider your pricing strategy.
Take a look at all of your business products and services and evaluate the pricing you have set. Consider if there are any specific products or services you aren’t making money on. Those could be opportunities for you to increase prices or try to lower your costs.
Another way to increase profitability is to bundle services and products together. Try packaging a less popular service with another related service for a slightly higher fee. You may find some services sell better as part of a package than they do as a stand-alone offering.
Rearrange your pricing strategy in a way that makes sense using the data and history you have after running your company for a few months or years. Your company is probably not the same company it was at the start, so your pricing strategy shouldn’t be either.
Post Local Ads to Reach More Customers
If you have a small client base, but you feel like you haven’t really penetrated the market, consider advertising more heavily. Start with ads in your local area to reach the people nearby who haven’t heard of your company yet.
Start with a small billboard or posters around heavily trafficked areas. You could also consider creating a radio ad or a tv commercial. Depending on the audience you want to reach, your marketing strategy will differ. But, the fact remains, promoting your company in your local area will help you reach more potential customers and bring in more business.
Team up with a local print shop or marketing agency to see what kinds of promotional materials you can get within your budget. If you market your business to the right audience, you’ll soon find you have more clients than ever before.
Use Consistent Branding to Build Recognition and Loyalty
Your start-up business likely already has a name and maybe even a logo or some branding as well. However, you may feel like people don’t remember your brand or there are some inconsistencies in branding. If so, you should take a look at everything that includes your brand and try to create consistency across the board.
For instance, your logo and brand name should look the same on a business card as it does on a flyer. A billboard or poster should also have the same branding, as well as the website. When it comes to building up a brand that people recognize and remember, consistency is key.
Try to nail down exactly which logo you will use and how your brand name will be displayed. Everything from colors to fonts should be the same to create continuity between all of your marketing materials.
Use Technology to Increase Productivity and Organization
Sometimes your business could run at a slower pace than it should be due to internal organization and productivity issues. It can be hard to keep track of everything when you’re running your own business, but staying organized can help your company run as efficiently as possible. Instead of getting bogged down from running your business, try turning to technology for help.
First, evaluate any business-related technology you currently use. If you have a computer or tablet that is slow and doesn’t work as it should, consider upgrading to something newer. Your technology should support your business, not slow it down. Any technology that slows down your operations can most likely be updated to something more efficient.
Then, consider using productivity and organization apps on your phone or tablet. There are some great apps that can help you stay organized and keep track of business. Calendars, agendas and scheduling apps can help you remember every appointment and service you have scheduled.
Journaling and notetaking apps can help you stay organized when you need to jot down quick notes. Use technology to advance your company instead of feeling like it’s holding you back.
Get Your Start-Up Back on Track
Use these tips to turn your small business around and start to see the profits you need. Doing things like making your business appear more professional, engaging with customers online and staying organized internally, can help your start-up business get back to a place where it can be successful.
The post Why Your Start-Up Is Missing the Mark (And How You Can Fix It) appeared first on Home Business Magazine.
Source: Main home business mag
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