Setting up a small business is difficult in itself but maintaining momentum and building your business is even harder. An essential part of expansion is being able to reach a wider range of potential new customers without alienating current clients. Too many small businesses allow the latter to happen whilst desperately courting the former and end up in a worse position than before. A key issue that small businesses face is how to attract new interest, secure customer loyalty and oversee day to day operations with a limited budget. The fact is that there are ways businesses can expand their customer base without blowing the budget.
Make the most of what you’ve got
Your employees should always be one of your business’s biggest selling points. Representing the company, they should be in tune with the ethos being created and the messages being delivered at all times. Although all of this can be achieved in a subtle way, some businesses may find a more obvious approach can work wonders in expanding client reach. For example, asking employees to display the company name in their car windows is a great idea for free advertising. If your company is in the service industry or your employees are regularly in contact with customers you might consider introducing a uniform bearing the logo and name of the business. You need not turn your employees into head-to-toe walking advertisements, but if they are there and if they are willing, they are a great resource for promotion in the local area.
Creating a support network
Businesses of all sizes will benefit from the knowledge, contacts and support of a wider industry network; this is especially true and all the more important when it comes to a business in its infancy. In addition to garnering contacts in the same sector as your own, there are other less obvious avenues to pursue that can result in profitable affiliations. One such example is working with local or national charities. Volunteering your products or services to charitable fund-raising events creates a superb opportunity to promote your business. Not only will this open up a marketing opportunity to those in attendance at the event but it might even reach a wider market. Charitable functions tend to receive media attention meaning that your business can too. Far from exploitative, these are relationships that benefit both business and charity and as such should be seriously considered.
Engage with customers
In addition to attracting new customers, maintaining current client loyalty is very important. Repeat business is often the lifeblood of a small business so communicating with your customers is key. Many companies have benefited from the introduction of incentive schemes and others have had results from reward initiatives. However you decide to connect with customers old and new, having a relevant customer database such as that provided by Refreshed Direct is an absolute must. Whether its e-mail or a good old-fashioned postcard, making sure information reaches the right people is essential.
Saira Holmes writes regularly on the topic of business start-ups for a range of websites. She supports small businesses, helping them to grow and recommends the expertise of companies such as #Space & Time when considering expanding marketing campaigns.