Starting a small business may seem like the most difficult part, but that is not where your hardship ends. After you have given shape to a brilliant and unusual business idea, you need to build a website with advanced ecommerce functionality. Then comes attracting potential buyers and creating a strong customer base.
But even after you have a strong base and a brand authority, keeping them from falling apart will be the next taxing thing to do. In this era of cancel culture, maintaining a business can be tricky, especially when one wrong post can break your brand image. As a novice, you are probably committing certain mistakes that you do not even know.
So, how do you achieve ecommerce success and secure your rank at the top of the ladder? Here are a few tips from business experts who were once a small-business owner like you.
- Learn from what your customers have to say
At the end of the day, your business exists for your customers. So, learn to listen to what they have to say about your products and services. Use the feedback as positive and constructive criticism to make amends and improve your business quality. Also, iterating with your customers would help you engage with them on a personal level, thus allowing you to establish your brand authority online.
Encourage your customers to communicate with you by requesting them to leave reviews and reach out to you. You can also introduce a bonus/discount system to incentivise and reward them for their time and effort. Even when they leave negative feedback on your website, please do not ignore them. Reply politely and acknowledge what they have to say.
- Prioritise after-sales customer support
Remember that you build relations not through smart advertisements but by communicating with your customers. Moreover, as a small business owner, you cannot and also SHOULD NOT spend a lot on advertising your offerings. Instead, your focus should be to serve your customers better.
This means you must instantly reply to emails and personal social media responses. When you prioritise customer support, you get to convince complaining customers to stay with your business. Quality support also leads to better brand awareness and brand trust. So, make sure that you have clear channels that your clients can reach you through. Read what HubSpot has to say.
- Stay focused on definite goals
Quite often, you may feel lured to tap into different markets and explore other realms. While expanding should be on your list, do not rush into a territory that you are fully aware of. More so, you do not want to end up being the Jack of all trades but master of none by spreading yourself too thin. Stay committed and work towards being an authority in your niche with time.
Instead of venturing into new grounds, find out ways to optimise your existing products and services using organic SEO growth. Set goals and objectives and use them as a planning tool to continuously move forward with your small business. Focus on one thing at a time. Here are some new marketing ideas for your existing offerings.
- Give your customers the best buying experience
What keeps you loyal towards your favourite brands? The key here is customer experience. There are some 100 other businesses in your market trying to sell the same solution. Other than product features, customer experience can save your day. Try to bring in that experience in your brand for your buyers and wait for it to bear fruits.
When you meet your customer's standards, you are bound to get a positive boost in terms of brand awareness and traffic. So, go the extra mile to create a memorable experience for each of your customers – something that they do not get elsewhere. Click here to learn how to make UX your brand’s USP.
- Manage your time efficiently
Most small business owners don the hats of being the CEO, the digital manager, the customer care agent and many more such roles. That would mean an unavoidable time crunch. As you grow your small business, find out ways to manage time efficiently using the gifts that technology has to offer.
Find the best practices out there and use the power of automation to fill the gaps. As opposed to the common misconception, you will not have to spend a lot of dough in such tools. There are several free and affordable options to explore. You can use tools like Keap for digital marketing and spell checker and plagiarism checkers for your content marketing.
- Improve yourself
Your business depends on you. So, unless you keep yourself updated and informed, your business will not improve much. Whether you are an independent executioner or have a team, self-improvement is imperative. Make sure you are always aligned with your business mission. Determine the areas that you excel in as well as your limitations.
When you know your weaknesses, you will know what do you need to work on to drive in success. Also, do not depend on your employees. As a leader, make sure you know the selling techniques, basic bookkeeping and other such regular operations. Learn to be independent. This includes knowing how to prepare a powerful business presentation and more.
- Go the omnichannel way
In the 21st century, your online presence cannot be limited to just a website. Today, customers shop from every channel possible – your Instagram account, your Facebook page and your listed products on Amazon. With the pandemic raging on, people are limited within the walls of their home.
This is your golden opportunity to use the increased screen time in favour of your business. Make sure that your brand is available everywhere and have flexible options for your customers to look you up and buy your products. Also, have separate support strategies for each channel. Here are a few trends to consider while creating an omnichannel business.
- Build your team and motivate them
While handling your business all by yourself can be easy at the start, with time, it can get taxing. Do not overdo and try to do it all on your own. Learn when and how to divide tasks and conquer them. Use both human power and technical resources to maintain your brand's position and build it further.
If you do not have a working space to offer, outsource the services to remote freelancers. To motivates your employees, listen to what they have to offer and take in insights from everyone, irrespective of the designation they hold. Also, reward them for their ideas.
- Use data analytics and monitor trends
Trends change by the minute. Unless you follow suit and join the bandwagon, your business will only fall behind. So, keep track of the events occurring in the global landscape as well as in your industry. Assess the effect of trends that may seem irrelevant on the surface for your niche. Consider all possibilities for on your business.
Also, monitor the right KPIs for your business and use the data to your advantage. The data you gather will help you understand how your customers and their wants are evolving. Analyse the findings and improve your offerings to grow your business. For the tools, you can use for managing projects and expanding your reach.
- Document everything to keep score
As they say, start every good deed at the home ground first. Transparency isn't a mandate only when it comes to your stakeholders and customers. You must also keep everything transparent within your business. Communicate lucidly, test and monitor your processes to run your business smoothly. Most importantly, break down every action and document it.
This goes for even the most meagre cash flow. Several small businesses become bankrupt after a few years of operation because they do not track daily finances. Do not make the mistake of passing every expenditure as miscellaneous. Spend time in managing your company’s cash flow using these tactics.
- Carve out a niche
Even the most prominent brands have competition, and even you are bound to face contention. So, study what your competitors are doing. This will help you improve your small business in three ways. First, you will get to see what they are doing so that you can take the road less travelled and do things differently. Second, you will get to know the weaknesses of your contenders.
Third, you will learn what things aren’t working for them and will know what to avoid. Based on the data, you can target another layered niche within the established industry. Start by breaking the broad market you operate in and carving a more specific niche out of it.
- Have a backup plan ready
Half a year back, we did not have the slightest idea of how a virus would wreak havoc on the entire world. In this apocalyptic world, there are enough factors that can lift the ephemera of success in a matter of hours and topple your work of years. While running a business, especially a small one, you are bound to face unforeseen hurdles.
You can absorb the shock (at least some of it) if you have a ready backup plan ready. When you grow your business, create a comprehensive plan. The plan should include everything, starting from financial matters to post-crisis marketing strategies. Make sure that your business is covered and appropriately insured.
So many small business owners of yesterday have made it to the success list of Forbes. You can be one of them too if you know how to build a successful small business and maintain the position.
While these tips can surely help you, you need to be passionate about what you do to give your business a purpose. Do not let setbacks dishearten you. Keep sight of the goal you have set for yourself and continue to work towards it. Wish you luck!
Author Bio: Peter Clarke is a business counsellor by profession and an academic tutor by passion. he is associated with the academic brand MyAssignmenthelp.com where he assists budding business experts. In his free time, Evans likes to read books and travel.
World of WordPress is hosted by:
With Rocket, your websites will be blazing fast, always protected, and supported 24/7 by our experts with over 17 years of experience.