So, you’ve got your brand spanking new business in a brilliant location, you’ve told all your friends and set up your Facebook Business page and Twitter account. Now it’s time to sit back and let the hoards of customers pile in, right? Well, not quite…
Anyone who’s worth their salt in business knows this isn’t always the case. Forging a veritable community of loyal followers can take years of networking to really get to know your core market. Even then, the challenge is to retain your custom – an increasingly difficult prospect in a highly diversified consumer market combining the high street, online sales and individual sellers on websites such as eBay.
Experts differ on the amount of time taken to break-even or make a profit in your first years of business, but most agree that 18 months in you should be able to start drawing a regular salary from your business.
For some, this can be quite a daunting prospect, however, there is help out there. Building a community ultimately starts with your product line or service offering. How you choose to distribute and market this forms the beginnings of a brand. However, first you should consider a few top tips to help forge that all-important dialogue between your business and your consumer:
Consider shared relationships
Think how you can work with other local businesses to promote your company in a mutually beneficial relationship. For example, as a local hairdresser, can you team up with that new bar that’s just opened up around the corner with a special blow dry and cocktails promotion? Sometimes, all that’s needed is a little out-the-box thinking…
You need a partner in this world
Venturing out in business alone is a difficult task. Sure, some have the skill and know-how to achieve this, but isn’t it better to have some support? Seek out relevant industry bodies such as the local chamber of commerce and attend their regular meetups. You just don’t know which contact could take your business to the next level.
Be brave, go bold
Don’t be afraid to carve out a sharp identity for your business through an innovative use of colours, fonts and messaging. Advertising is one form of communication with your customers, so think about what kind of audience you wish to attract. Are you a mid-range nail bar with a sophisticated palette of black and white colouring? Or the more bargain-range of the sector, with a bright and bubbly colour scheme that caters to a variety of tastes?
Don’t be afraid to go online
Yahoo estimates a whopping 74 per cent of consumers use social media to make purchasing decisions. Having some form of online presence, such as a website, where you can update your customers on ‘of-the-minute’ news, offers and competitions, is vital in this day and age.
Community is all around us
If you’re worried about being an independent in this big old world of huge brand names, don’t worry, we all started somewhere. In fact, you should flaunt your independent nature as much as possible! Our recently launched digital platform is already helping over 100 businesses in Nottingham communicate their special offers, promotions and events straight to consumers’ desktops and mobile phones, alerting them to the latest deals in ‘real-time’ via push notifications and alerts.
By following the points above, businesses can begin to understand their own target audience and voice, thereby grabbing consumers’ attention and establishing a vital foothold in an increasingly competitive high street. Platforms such as our own allow users to learn of new venues in a fun, free and engaging manner, while business owners have never been more blessed for opportunities to communicate their offering in a matter of seconds – regardless of whereabouts in the UK you are based.