Running a small business is a true labor of love. Small business owners pour countless hours into building a sustainable and profitable company, which is no easy task in today’s fragile economy. According to Forbes, 80 percent of small businesses fail within the first 18 months.
Cracks in the business model start long before a company runs out of cash, though. This year, commit to setting new goals to boost your small business and give it the edge it needs to succeed.
1. Update your logo
Your logo is the public face of your company and like all things design related, it may need an update every now and then. Major companies such as Starbucks, BP and Gap have redesigned their logos over the years to ensure the images continue to resonate with customers and reflect the brand values.
Merging the perfect combination of image, font and colors to represent your company can go a long way to standing out from the competition and giving your business the edge that it needs. Creating a logo that elicits the right emotional response can even increase a company’s favorability rates.
A logo redesign doesn’t have to break the bank, though. For a higher return on investment, consider a company like Designhill, which allows dozens of proficient graphic designers to submit options to your request. Logo design by Designhill allows you to then rate, give feedback on and interact with the designers before choosing the logo that suits your business best.
2. Build your online presence
Costumers are the key to your company’s success and social media is one of the best ways to reach them. Social media can play a key role in boosting your brand’s exposure and credibility, ultimately increasing traffic and sales. Depending on the nature of your business, creating accounts on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook will help you build your brand’s voice.
Utilize social media to engage with loyal customers, industry insiders and make inroads into new customer bases. Maintaining these accounts takes effort but you don’t need to hire a social media manager for the job. Hubspot reports that of the marketers using social media for as little as six hours a week, 95 percent increased exposure for their business and nearly half saw their marketing expenses reduced.
If social media isn’t the best way to reach your targeted demographic, you can still give your company an online boost by harnessing search engine optimization techniques to make your website easier to Google.
3. Kick off an email marketing campaign
Email marketing is an incredibly efficient method of maintaining customer loyalty while promoting both your standard and promotional sales. Like a social media presence, it allows you to build a relationship with costumers and a brand voice that reflects your business’s values. However, unlike social media, where posts can get lost in a busy newsfeed, email marketing allows you a direct line to your costumers’ inbox.
To ensure the emails are being read, keep them brief and cut straight to the chase. If you’re offering a sale or launching a new item, lead with the big news to grab readers’ attention. Include opportunities for costumers to interact, by embedding links to your business’ social media accounts and buttons that bring costumers directly to your websites promotional landing page.
As mobile devices and technology are more accessible than ever, it’s only natural to optimize your email for mobile. Business Insider reports that 50 percent of emails are now read on phones, which means a mobile friendly email format is key.
4. Make SMART Goals
The two things small business owners could always use more of is time and money. To make the most of both, ensure your goals are SMART (specific, measureable, achievable, realistic, time-sensitive). This system will help you better monitor the business’s progress and clearly identify any weaknesses or speedbumps along the way.
Work with your team, no matter how small, to break down the steps needed to attain these goals and properly delegate tasks. Small business owners are used to doing everything themselves but ceding some responsibilities to your staff gives them important professional development opportunities and builds employee loyalty and investment in your business.
With time and money in short supply, small business owners need to keep their eyes open for affordable and focused options to strengthen their company. This year, look for opportunities with the highest return on investment to give your business the boost it needs in 2015.
With costumers expecting a more human element to the companies they frequent, now’s the time to build a social media presence that allows you to interact with your base and draw in new costumers. Pair your business’s social media activity with a focused, interactive email marketing campaign to leverage increased visibility. Redesigning an outdated logo is also an affordable way to build on a brand that costumers can connect with and trust. These techniques will increase traffic and give your small business the platform it needs to stand out amongst the competition.