With National Small Business Week behind us, here is a quick list that every small business owner needs to know, understand and remember as they continue to grow.
- Own Your Web Presence
Merely having a website is not enough anymore. Small businesses need to understand how the Internet, and most importantly Google, operate and utilize the surplus of resources available in order to maximize your website for leads/sales. From social media to your store’s website, being outdated and inconsistent are no longer options. Having a responsive site is mandatory. Being active on social media, required. Getting online reviews, critical. Understanding how search engines operate, imperative.
- Whether or Not You’re Advertising, You’re Always Marketing
Your storefront window is a marketing tool. Your website is a marketing tool. Your employees, when they are at work and when they are off the clock, are marketing tools. Identify what you want your brand to be, and get organized. Create an outline on how to get there, and implement. Starbucks, before it become a major monopoly, wanted to be known for having great coffee and a strong support system for their employees. They established this mindset early and took these steps, even though they were more financially costly than what their competition were doing, to build on the vision Howard Schultz, CEO, and Scott Bedbury, former Marketing director envisioned.
The only way to own your brand is to understand it and do your best to control it. Be consistent with your messaging across all advertisements. Your website, postcards, and sales opportunities all need to stem from the same core concept: what your business’ brand is. If you’re an Ice cream shop focused on all-natural ingredients, your print pieces need to be on recycled materials. It’s who you are. If you’re a dental practice focusing on elderly patients, all of your PR events should center on senior care. Establish what sets you apart and embrace it. You started your business with a vision in mind, understand it, hold on to it, and use it.
- Network, Network, Network, Sleep and Then Network Some More
Whether you’re a storefront open seven days a week or an online entity that can be found 24/7, you want to be dictating the conversation about your business. Your greatest resource for doing so, besides Rebuild Nation’s Blog, are fellow business owners. Discussing your brand with likeminded individuals allows you to see what you’re doing well, but more importantly what opportunities you’re missing. Consider joining your local chamber of commerce, which heralds a multitude of networking opportunities, or find and attend individual events, networking is a great way to double-check the status of your brand and attain resources and advice to elevate it.