Whether you’re a one-person shop or have several people running your small business, there are certain things you need in order to make your company stand out from the competition. These items bring credibility to your operation while helping to differentiate you company from many of your competitors. While you may have the perception of these items costing a fortune, there are ways to bring them to your organization with limited impact to your bottom line. In fact, they may even help improve your bottom line!
Here are six ways small businesses can boost market presence:
- Up your web presence. Today, you need to be online in order to be competitive. A few years ago this might have meant hiring a marketing agency and investing a lot of money in order to compete with the big guys, but today you can easily build a cost-effective, professional-looking website. Companies like 1and1.com can inexpensively help design, build and even host a website. If you have a little design and web knowledge – or have a relative who does – you may want to consider creating a WordPress website. Sites like Themeforest provide hundreds of low-cost WordPress-compatible website templates that can make you look polished and professional.
- Get social. While a website is a must-have, people know that it really only tells YOUR side of the story. Today, prospects and customers take to social media to hear what other people think of your company, products and services. If your company has a social media presence (like Twitter, Facebook, and Google+) than you can be part of that conversation. You can address peoples’ likes and dislikes with your company and help guide discussions about your product. If you don’t have a social presence, others define your company for you. Oh, and all of these social media channels are completely free to use.
- Start blogging. A blog is a great way for prospects and clients to learn about your company and your industry expertise. It’s where you establish thought-leadership and how you bring value to the table. It’s also the content that you will use to start discussions in social media. This is the content that people will share and discuss. Be sure to write blogs that contain that value-added information that people are seeking. You can spin up a blog off your company website in almost any content management system, including the two mentioned in point one above.
- Look the part. It’s important to portray a professional, consistent image if you want to get noticed. Consider getting a professional logo designed. Services like 99designs.com offer creative ways to get an affordable logo created by professional designers. Make sure you also have a simple, professional email signature, and get some business cards printed. Companies like VistaPrint and Moo.com give you the ability to customize professional business cards inexpensively. Advances in printing and design technologies allow you to spend minimal amounts on building your brand.
- Get a corporate address. Some small businesses are home-based, and while part of the beauty of running a small business is the ability to work from home, you really don’t want your business mail coming to your home address. Get a PO Box to use as your company’s corporate address. Some post offices even give you a physical address that routes to your PO box. You can use that physical address on Google Places, which can help you get found on the web. It’s a subtle, inexpensive detail that can project an air of professionalism.
- Accelerate business growth. In the early stages of growing your small business, and in many industries regardless of your size, cash flow can be hard to come by, yet is required for growth. Whether it’s meeting payroll or investing in capital equipment, cash flow is a business necessity. We’ve created a free guide that highlights the best business financial strategies, including invoice factoring. Take a peek at the free guide.
These six things are inexpensive, can differentiate your small business from your competitors, and help position you for market success. Start here and then check back on our blog for more ways you can boost your small business success.