Being in this scene is a worthwhile endeavor for anyone who strives to live the life of luxury for themselves and their family; especially with all the difficulties in life today, everyone wants to be in top.
However, as stated, this is something only people with a strong will can do as there are a lot of problems businessmen would encounter regardless of the size or the position of the company.
The Challenges of Small Businesses
With the luxurious life owning a successful business would give, everyone wants to be a part of it; which is why there are people who build their own local business to start off with their endeavor especially when they don’t really have any background with managing a business yet.
Small or local businesses are easier to maintain than bigger ones as it would require only a few people and a smaller space; hence, smaller bills. However, one of the biggest challenges these types of business (especially new ones) have to take is the presence of competition.
Take a barber shop for example.
Most people would already have a specific barber shop they go to with their own “barber” that they already trusted through the years. In fact, they would be so close to their barber that they won’t have to state what kind of haircut they want anymore. If you want to be in this type of business then it would be hard for you to compete with the ones that had been there for years.
However, it would be hard to find a location where there would be less competition as in most cases, your competition is there for a reason—that reason being, potential customers are there. With that, you have to think about a strategy in order to outsmart your competition and gain more customers (or even stealing theirs).
Unfortunately, there would be limitations for most start-ups especially when it comes to their budget since they have to adjust their strategies to the amount of capital they have and what’s more is that since they don’t have customers yet and the competition, there is little assurance that they would have their return of investment.
Now, let’s say you have surpassed the initial difficulties of starting up a business and finally, your management has become stable enough (for a small business) with loyal customers and continuous flowing of income.
You would like to believe that “it’s all dandy” now but keep in mind that it won’t always be. When it comes to business, being contented with what you have now is a mediocre move that would make your business fall in the future.
Making the cut for your Small Business
Every business had to start off with something small, which means being small doesn’t necessarily mean failing. In fact, Coca Cola started with just about nine servings a day and look where it is now. It’s all in the matter of striving hard and maximizing all the available resources you have.
When you are about to start, a good and in-tact marketing plan should be made for your business. Within this marketing plan you should indicate the budget that you need, the advertisement strategies that you would use as well as a research on your target market and competition.
By researching on your target market through surveying both offline and online platforms would help you understand what they need or what they are looking for.
Furthermore, through researching through your competition you would know what they lack, where they stand and how you will be able to compete with them.
If you are targeting a local business, then make an effort of handing out flyers, putting up a tarpaulin or other methods to make you visible to your target customers. This method still proves to be effective especially if your flyers come in a form which people can use (such as fans, calendars).
Also, keep in mind that the behavior of consumers has shifted during this generation as most of the time, they would check a company out first in the internet before trying it out and this goes to local businesses as well (i.e. plumbing business, repair shops, etc.).
This is why geo-targeting with local SEO is a worthy effort for local businesses to use. Local SEO simply targets a specific area the company is targeting along with relevant keywords related to the product or service.
This is important because people who would search for a good in the internet will most likely put their location as they would be looking for one that is near to their residence.
Furthermore, other marketing efforts can be used in order for a small business to locate their potential leads such as doing a search in social media sites and engaging in forums. After locating where their prospects hang out, they can also make use of branding to put their business out there and hope to be visible in the internet.
If you have a solid plan and strategy for your small business together with a strong-will and “never say die” attitude, you will surely be successful with your business. You will never know, your small business may be the next biggest enterprise in the world.
The Challenges of Developing Businesses
Having a stable business flow doesn’t necessarily mean that you are invulnerable. If your business is already developing, that is not a sign to stop. Consumer behavior changes all the time so you have to make sure that you can keep up.
One of the challenges of a growing business is keeping up with the market. Market research isn’t something you only do upon launching your business as business conditions would change continually; hence, as stated, consumer behavior changes. Your products or services now may be all the rage but that doesn’t mean it will always be as years pass by.
Take newspapers for example. Sad to say, there are a lot of newspapers that have already shut down due to consumers shifting to online news pages. Your customers losing interest in you or in your goods is always a possibility for a business.
With that, you would have to keep on looking for ways to keep your customers interested by improving your goods as well as looking for new prospects.
Franchising is something you have to deal with if you really want to make your business grow; however, building a new branch is just like starting all over again as you would then have to research about the perfect location for the branch.
Furthermore, together with your expansion comes more expenses not only with the new construction but also with the added manpower; hence, you would have to have another budget for this. But expansion is very important if you want to be in the competitive scene and possibly beat the competition.
Nurturing your Growing Business
As your business grows, you also need to be alert to new problems and priorities.
Keeping in touch with your current customers would give you the image of thoughtfulness and friendliness; hence, would keep your customers loyal. This can be done by e-mailing them or by engaging with them in social media sites.
That way, they will be updated with the happenings in your company and you would also keep your relationship with them. A good relationship with your clients can mean referrals from them to their friends; hence, more prospects.
Furthermore, you need efforts to develop your brand in a wider market if you plan on expanding which is why you should take the time to make a budget for more advertisements such as T.V commercials, billboards and online marketing efforts like SEO, Social Media Marketing and other strategies in order to be more visible for your target customers.
Additionally, a disciplined approach to management that focused on leading employees, developing your management team and continuous building of strategies will help you gain a constant cash flow. Thinking ahead may be a good idea as well and instead of treating each problem as a one-off, develop systems and structures that would make it easier to handle in the future.
The Challenges of Established Businesses
Being an established business doesn’t mean there won’t be any problems that would come your way. Similar to that of developing business, you may still be prone to lesser sale from losing the interest of you customers. Although this may not be that much of a problem for you considering the number of customers you have, losing sales is still losing sales.
Plus, there is a possibility that this can have a domino effect with your other customers. This is why businesses are struggling to build a relationship with their customers in a more extreme extent.
Furthermore, stable and very successful enterprises will bound to have “haters” whose main goal is to tear the business apart; thus, bashes and other bad feedbacks will surely show especially in the internet since the internet is the most used for background checks.
Also, the life of a business is a never-ending cycle; hence, expansions are still needed to maintain your business’s competitiveness. Therefore, branching out your business is necessary as well as pulling out more expenses to succeed. This is also true when you want to fund your projects as a specific budget will still be needed; hence, cash flow should always be secured.
Retaining the Top Spot in your Niche
Like with developing businesses, keeping tight relationships with your client through continuous communication is necessary in order to keep them interested in you. Furthermore, you should remember to reward them for being loyal as well with promos and discounts.
That way, they will be determined to stay loyal to you. Also, let them have fun by holding frequent contests where they can participate and win fun prizes.
Charity works are a good marketing strategy too as this will give you a positive feedback as well as a light tingling feeling of happiness in your heart. Branding and SEO can also be a useful strategy for you to retain your spot in your niche so you will still be visible in the internet.
Changes in search engines happen all the time so you should keep in track with those in order to avoid falling in the depths of the search engine pages.
Online Reputation Management will also help you to improve your reputation and keep it positive by countering bad ones.
Keeping your customer service in check will also improve your reputation so, if needed, make sure that your customer representatives are well-mannered and can really deliver.
Your efforts should not stop even if you have more than ten branches and millions of customers already. There are a lot of improvements that can be done with the constant changes in the field of business; hence, you should continue to do what you are doing now and also improve on it. Remember, your customers are the life of your business; thus, what they want you give and where they go, you go.
An example is Jollibee Food Corporation. It started as a local fast food restaurant in the Philippines and now expanded their stores in the U.S, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Hongkong, Brunei and Vietnam—this is because of the increase in number of Overseas Filipino workers.
Ultimately, there are a lot of pitfalls in every aspects of a business regardless of its size. This is why a proper plan and a well thought-out strategy should come in order.
Also keep in mind that the efforts done for your business is similar to what you will do when you are married—it is continuous as problems will come your way no matter how established, strong or big you are.