Guest Contribution by Sherryn de Vos
If you have started a small business in 2019, this year it is time to expand it and turn it into a real empire! Well, maybe building an empire is too ambitious, but growing your business and making it successful is definitely doable. And for that, you’ll need to invest everything you have: time, money, work ethic, and persistence.
To help you out, we’ve collected 5 tips from successful entrepreneurs
1. Build a mobile app
Many small business entrepreneurs still believe that having a Facebook page and a good website is sufficient to attract and communicate with their customers. But in today’s digitalized world, this is simply not enough! Mobile apps have become an important marketing tool for businesses of all sizes and industries. And even though most small business entrepreneurs might think that developing and maintaining a mobile app is expensive, having one can actually help you build your customer base, engage with customers, improve your reputation, and boost sales.
If you decide to build an app for your business, you have three options: you can build your own in-house app development team, hire an app development agency, or you use an app builder such as Como or AppsBuilder to build your mobile app quickly and easily.
When it comes to building mobile apps, there’s another important aspect to take into consideration– app hosting. Successful marketing is out of the question if your mobile app has only simple client-end processing; what you need is a solid backend. Here are several options:
- You can choose app hosting with ready-made tools like the Google App Engine flexible environment;
- Another option is choosing MBaaS providers, which use cloud computing as-a-service model, and allow you to consume their service while they manage your app’s backend;
- The third option is to go serverless. With this technique, you won’t need to worry about managing servers. The app’s functions are called on-demand and run on a cluster, so they can scale as much as you need. But serverless doesn’t mean there is no Docker – in fact, Docker is serverless. Serverless is actually a technique for building distributed apps, while Docker is the ideal platform to build them on.
2. Focus on customer needs
Unmet customer needs are one of the biggest threats to your business’s success.
If customers don’t get the product or service they were expecting, they will feel frustrated. For that reason, you must always be focused on your customers’ needs. Here are some ideas that can help you provide top-notch customer service and support.
- Learn to be a pro at problem-solving. For instance, you can add a knowledge base to your website to improve its usability and deliver great customer service (you can easily build one on your website by using a knowledge base software. You should also provide multiple communication channels so that customers are able to reach you 24/7.
- Pay close attention to customer feedback. Try to listen to what your customers are saying and work on coming to resolutions that meet their needs. By doing this, you’ll provide an opportunity to build long-term relationships with your customers.
- Treat every customer with the same level of service. Be it customers who buy your products or services once a year or those that you are in contact with daily, ensure that each one gets the same level of service. Referrals, former customers, and repeat customers can be an important asset for your business so you shouldn’t risk them with inconsistent service and experiences.
3. Focus on making your employees happy
If you want your team to be productive and efficient, you need to focus on making them happy. Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs often forget to focus on their employees’ morale and try to act like old school superiors. They are constantly criticizing people and putting pressure on them only to see performance levels drop. Don’t fall into this trap. All employees want to be heard, appreciated and praised when they are doing a good job. Do everything you can to make the people who work for you happy because if your employees are happy, they will be more willing to help you reach your company’s goals.
4. Never stop looking at your competitors
The competition in business is fierce and if you look away, your competitors will try to knock you down. That’s why you should always be aware of what your competitors are doing. What services or products do they offer? How do they price their services or products? What are their marketing strategies? Do they have good customer service? Knowing all these details will help you identify their weaknesses and figure out how to compete. For instance, if you find out that they have a high-quality product but poor customer service, you can work harder on your customer relations.
5. Analyze and adjust regularly
Small business owners are constantly trying to gain insights about their customers because knowing who is most likely to buy from you is key to making a sale. But is it possible to survey every single customer who visits your site or enters your physical store? Do you need to invest in a fancy, expensive data analytics tool to get this information? Luckily, the answer is no; you can always rely on Google Analytics.
Google Analytics will help you monitor your website’s performance and progress. It will provide real-time, tangible data, allowing you to gain valuable customer behavior insights and feedback about links and pages on your website, thus helping you estimate your marketing budget, adjust your strategies and improve the conversion rates.
These 5 tips may sound basic and simple, but they’re a great guide as you start the new business year. At the end of the day, your company is what you make of it. If you want it to be successful, you’ll have to get your brand in front of wider audiences. You’ll also need to focus on your employees’ happiness and meeting the needs of your customers in order to make sure your business will last a lifetime. You will definitely face a number of challenges along the way, but if you’re persistent, nothing will stop you from building a successful business.
Sherryn de Vos is living in the beautiful city of Cape Town. She worked with a startup brand that launched in South Africa called GoBeauty where she was assisted with content generation, as well as conceptualized events focused on women’s health, entrepreneurship, careers, and tech to run alongside the brand. She has extensive experience in writing and uses a lot of her practical experience to create useful content in the business, finance and marketing world.