Running a small business can be tough, but there’s no reason why you can’t drive up profits by sticking to a few timeless rules, embracing some new ones and making use of the internet in a savvy way.
From getting your website on point to reducing overheads, here are seven tips for bringing in business and keeping a bigger chunk of it while you’re at it.
Upselling is the oldest art form but it can quickly come across as an invasive sell. However, do it well and you’ll not only net bigger profits but keep customers in the long term.
If you’re dealing with someone on a retainer, get to know them, show an interest in their business and keep in regular contact. It’s best to be in someone’s immediate mind frame any time you try to take the retainer to the next level. As for the hospitality industry, always sell something that is worth the extra investment.
So long as you demonstrate that the more expensive product has an appreciable upside (and keep it low key) you’ll not only make bigger profits, but keep customers happy.
Get in touch with old customers
We think this is a great one. Instead of repeatedly trying to find new customers, consider getting in touch with people you’ve worked with in the past.
Very often you’ll find that they’re in need of your services, or might be down the line. Re-establishing that connection puts you back in their thoughts.
Keep overheads to a minimum
The modern office is one of the biggest parasites on profit and unless your existence depends on a physical storefront, it’s almost always superfluous.
Coworking spaces, on the other hand, will give you a desk, a room or an entire floor to occupy and come equipped with internet, meeting rooms and furniture - facilities that traditionally eat into profit.
So before you find a space to rent, consider coworking first.
Every business owner wants a star performer in their midst, but landing someone first-class can be difficult. Even after you’ve found a good CV and spoken to them face to face, there’s no guarantee they’ll benefit your business. The hiring
process is stacked in favor of candidates who interview well.
Consider extending the net and posting jobs ads on international sites. It stands to reason that if you’re hiring in a 50 mile radius you’re limiting yourself to a very specific group of people, but once you look past your immediate vicinity and stretch the net beyond state lines and even international waters, you’ve got a far bigger pool to choose from.
In a day and age of Skype and conference calling, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with hiring remote workers who can assist you in finding business or executing tasks from the other side of the world.
Optimize your website for mobile
More and more people are browsing the net using their mobile phones, and usage is only going to increase.
So is your website “mobile responsive”? In other words, does it dynamically adjust to fit different mobile screens?
If not, you’re losing potential customers every day, as navigating an unresponsive site is an instant turnoff and involves zooming in and out of pages.
Almost all new website builders come with the feature as standard and you can easily check your own by minimizing your browser’s window and dragging it width ways. If your images and margins automatically adjust, you’re golden.
Track what customers are doing on your website
Trying to sell online? Your business proposition is pitched on a tightrope. Any excuse and the customer will bail.
That’s why it’s a good idea to use the various tools online to gather intel. A heat map, for instance, shows you precisely where people are clicking. The best of the lot is Crazy Egg, a simple and intuitive piece of kit that shows you what people are interested in, and what they might be trying to click on to no avail (many times, users think an image is linked when it isn’t, and so forth). You can try Crazy Egg free on a 30-day trial.
Combine that with MixPanel (which is priced from free to premium) and you’ll be able to generate insights that give you an accurate picture of where - and why - customers are failing to convert.
Keep your pricing strategy simple
This brings us to the last point. If you’re running a business online, nothing turns people away like sliding scalers and imprecise pricing options.
Want our advice? Keep it simple. Many businesses offer a pared down package that’s free of charge with a silver and gold package offering improved benefits. MixPanel is a great example here. They even offer an Enterprise solution which comes with premium support and a custom price tag to match.
You might baulk at the idea of offering a package free of charge, but it’s a good way of getting customers, building loyalty, and securing data you can use when you review your pricing strategy the next time.