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What the 'big' small businesses are doing right and what we can learn from them

If you are small business owner struggling to grow your business, you have come to the right place. We believe that there is plenty to learn from the ‘bigger’ small businesses. There are several tricks of the trade that have made them successful, and we would like to share some those tricks with you in the hopes that you too can grow!

Social media engagement

Striving for an increase in followers is a good thing, but it is important not to focus solely on followers, and neglect engagement with those followers. Followers will only remain followers if you keep them engaged. Focus on telling the story of your brand. Who you are, why you started this business, what new projects you are working on, answer FAQ's, show some behind the scenes, show your face and be authentic. If you are posting on a weekend, make sure you can answer questions and reply to those comments in a timely fashion – the faster the better. Customers/followers feel appreciated if you respond to their comments with a like or even by sparking conversation with them. You want to make your business memorable to them.

Engaging with them personally is one way to ensure they may choose to support your business over your competitors. People do not want to be spammed, they want real relationships and connections.

Engaging on social media is just one way to create meaningful connections with your customers.

Professional websites

If you own a business (small or big), having a website is of high importance. Understandably, budgets do not always allow for fancy websites, but there are several ways to have a professional website without paying an arm or a leg. Wix is a website builder that even has a free option! This is especially helpful if you are business just starting out. Customers will always go to your website if they want to find out more about your business.

Your website communicates to your customers what they can expect to receive from you.

If a website is well presented, easy to use, clear and beautiful, it will convey a level of professionalism to your customers. The ‘bigger’ small businesses generally have a well-thought through website that is beautifully designed and user-friendly. If you are a small business just starting out having a professional website conveys the competency of your business even before you have begun trading.

Efficient communication

A successful small business is one that delivers well when it comes to communicating with customers. This means, replying to queries promptly whether that be via mail, Instagram direct messaging, Facebook messenger, or simply answering the business telephone line when it rings. Make sure to send through a confirmation of payment to customers who have purchased your products (online or from a catalogue) and notify your customers on when they can expect to receive their purchase from you (do not assume they are in the know).

Part and parcel of the reason small businesses become bigger successful businesses, is due to customers knowing what to expect, when to expect it, and communicating thankfulness for their business and support.

You can never be too successful to extend your gratitude towards your customers.

Cohesive brand identity

Each brand is established by its look and feel and so cohesiveness is essential to your small business. Your graphics, images, logo, Instagram feed, advertisements all need to be visually cohesive. Stick with complimentary styles of font on all typography and colour schemes. This applies to social media as well. The mega businesses (such as McDonald's) do this exceptionally well – their brand identity is crystal clear – you never doubt who they are when viewing any advertising from them. This type of brand identity is crucial if you want people to remember you. According to Trew Marketing, staying consistent with your brand identity builds recognition, trust, and credibility for your company – all things a small business desperately needs in order to grow.

Environmental awareness

There is a big movement away from single use plastics, the contributing factors towards environmental decay and a growing concern for greener living. Big corporations like Woolworths have made a move away from plastic and have opted for eco-friendly packaging options. Up and coming small businesses are also following suit and making changes where they can. We wrote an article on some environmentally friendly packaging ideas if you are if you’re looking for some inspiration. Customers are noticing when businesses don't make greener decisions and are making a move away from them.

Businesses that are going green are communicating their concern and care for the environment and not just about making money. Start with one change, it just takes one change to start making a difference.

There are plenty of tricks of the trade that small businesses can learn from the 'bigger' ones. They grew into successful businesses for a reason. In many ways the bigger businesses made some of the mistakes so that you do not have to. What are some of the other lessons we can learn from them?

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