Stagnation is the bane of every company’s existence. A small business that refuses to improve will, sooner or later, become obsolete. This article shares six improvement tips to help you run a successful business.
How Often Should You Look for Ways to Improve Your Business?
Looking for ways to improve your business helps you avoid the negative effects of remaining stagnant. As your company grows and changes, you must evaluate its performance to ensure it operates at its full potential. This evaluation involves looking at how things are going and measuring your current achievements against your short and long-term goals. It helps you identify the inefficient aspects of your business processes and decipher the best strategies to refine them.
Conducting thorough quarterly reviews of your business is a great way to improve its performance and achieve sustainable growth. These reviews help you assess possible areas of improvement to keep your business thriving in the highly saturated eCommerce industry. As a small business owner, here are a few tips you can apply to keep your company’s performance on an upward trajectory:
1. Encourage customers to provide reviews of your business
According to PowerReviews, about 95% of consumers read reviews before making any purchasing decision. Reviews are the lovechild of word-of-mouth marketing and customer feedback with the power to influence a potential customer’s opinion. People love to hear what previous buyers have to say about an item, as it helps them decipher whether a product or service is worth their money. Having great reviews directly translates into increased sales and higher customer loyalty.
Besides influencing consumer purchasing decisions, reviews also help you understand how your customers feel about your business. They reveal the pain points of your product users, allowing you to provide well-tailored solutions and create positive customer experiences. You can encourage your customers to leave reviews of your business by:
- Offering incentives, such as discounts or lower shipping fees, for buyers that write reviews.
- Asking for reviews on social media platforms and websites.
- Engaging with existing reviews.
- Simplifying the process of submitting reviews
Where are potential customers looking for these reviews?
Nowadays, traditional marketing tactics are not enough to convince a potential buyer to patronize your brand. Modern consumers look for reviews on specific platforms and alter their purchasing decisions based on the information they find. Ensuring your company is listed on these platforms makes it easy for your customers to leave a review and for potential customers to read them.
- Google: Google is the world’s largest search engine. Shoppers looking to learn more about a particular business or product will often check what information Google has to offer first. Customer reviews generally appear in the search results for your company. Businesses with good reviews rank higher in search engine result pages, which boosts your company’s online visibility and makes it easier for your target audience to find you.
- Yelp: Yelp is a free review site with approximately 184 million monthly users worldwide. It allows buyers to rate businesses on a five-star scale, and research proves that a one-star increase in your Yelp rating can boost revenue by 5-9%.
- Facebook: With more than 2.38 billion monthly users, Facebook remains the biggest social media platform since its launch in 2004. Many shoppers turn to this platform to read other people’s opinions about a business and its product offerings.
- Product pages: According to the Shopper Experience Index published by Bazaarvoice, product pages with at least one review experienced a whopping 354% increase in conversation rate. This proves that customers look for reviews on these pages and shape their buying decisions accordingly.
2. Connect with Your Community
Establishing a connection with your community is one of the most effective marketing tools for creating a positive image for your business and facilitating improvement. It increases brand awareness and promotes customer loyalty by keeping your company’s message relevant in the minds of your target audience. To connect with your community, you need to take your business to where they are. Identify the social media platforms your potential customers prefer and build an active presence on them. This allows you to reach your target demographic, so you don’t waste your efforts attempting to connect with an uninterested audience.
Building relationships with customers
The long-term success of your business depends on the quality of the relationships you build with your customers. It is an excellent marketing plan, as it allows you to develop an emotional connection with consumers, which humanizes your brand and boosts retention rates. Engaging your customers is key to building rapport and learning about the issues they care about.
One of the best ways to do this is by creating two-way interactions between your small business and its audience. Encourage your customers to share their thoughts and opinions about your company on your website, blog posts, or social media pages and respond to them. You can also send a weekly or monthly email newsletter to keep your audience abreast of new developments in your business.
3. Look into automation
Business automation involves using technology to automate mundane, repetitive tasks, allowing you to focus on more essential duties. Contrary to what you might think, automation is not only for big corporations. Investing in automation technology streamlines your business processes with minimal human assistance and even fewer errors. This results in higher productivity and efficiency, lower operational costs, better customer satisfaction, and an overall increase in revenue.
Examples of automation technologies you should look into include:
- Customer relationship management systems (CRM)
- Transportation management Systems (TMS)
- Inventory management software
- Accounts payable software
- Content management systems
- Social media marketing and management software, etc.
What tasks can be automated?
The technologies listed above can help you can grow and improve your small business by automating various tasks, such as:
- Customer Service
- Digital Marketing
- Tax Preparation
- Data entry
- Order Processing, etc
4. Consider Acquisitions and New Development
Consistently looking for new development avenues is a great way to improve your business and widen its reach. You can collect insightful data by staying on top of the prevailing market circumstances in your industry. The data helps you identify new trends, niches, or competitors that can inspire your improvement strategies. You may also discover struggling businesses open to an acquisition or buyout, presenting a fantastic opportunity to expand your client base and boost market penetration. Other development strategies you should consider include product range expansion, investments in other businesses, better sustainability efforts, and vertical integration.
5. Attend an event — or host one
Although connecting with your client base on social media is fantastic, attending or hosting events allows you to interact face-to-face with existing customers and build relationships with new ones. Networking events facilitate physical conversations with your target audience, so you can learn about the different ways they interact with your company. They converge a wide pool of consumers in the same location, creating an avenue for you to promote your business and acquire new customers. Attending events also helps you connect with other small business owners. You can share ideas on how to run your companies or even cross-promote each other’s products.
Note that an event does not have to be extravagant to get the attention you’re looking for. What matters is the quality of the conversations you engage in and the relationships you develop.
6. Listen to your customers
A business that doesn’t listen to its customers is doomed for obsolescence. One of the best marketing tips is to ask your customers for feedback and act on it. Being open to hearing from consumers helps you learn the effectiveness of your current business strategies and the specific areas that need improvement. Ask your customers about your business. Ask them to share what they like, what they don’t like, and how you can make their buyer’s journey easier. More importantly, when they respond, listen to them. This will help you learn more about your customers’ needs and the steps you should take to meet them. It also makes your customers feel valued and boosts loyalty.
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