3 Must Do Tasks to Build a Profitable Small Business
So you’re getting ready for the big day. No, I’m not talking about the high school prom, I’m talking about opening your small business and finally selling that service you wanted to profiteer from (let’s not forget, as well as to change the world). It is often the case that when small businesses get ready for launch, they have great intentions and hopes, but may fault in their execution. This is the reason (partially) why so many businesses fail. It’s also ironically why so many students who don’t study, or study right before their tests end up failing their tests as well. The problem is that failure can often (although not always) be prevented, or at least averted when the proper steps are put into place, ideally before the business is create, or at least early in the business lifecycle.
Here are 3 things that small businesses generally do wrong, and steps you can take today to start building a positive influence on your customers or clients, as well as for your small business overall.
Small Businesses are Not Listening –
Wo wo wo – I know we just met, and you already feel like I’m attacking you. Just hear me out.
When you set out on your business journey, if you began with “I think that… so let’s do *this*” or “I feel that… so let’s do *that*” …and after those insights or conclusions, you went ahead, raised your sail, and went full forward without first obtaining specific insights, you’ve already made a huge critical mistake that even my own clients often make. And likely, that mistake is costing you a lot of money, which is, you didn’t begin your business by first collecting information. Every person has an ego of considerable size, and they believe that they know everything, or based on what they’ve seen and experienced, it must be true.
“Eventually wasted and inefficient advertising breaks the bank.”
You have to first understand your client’s pain points and the motivators that get them to buy, and then make sure you have a large enough sample-size to confirm your results. No one is immune to this… you’re doing it also. I’ll be honest, even I’ve done it.
So to illustrate this point – let’s take the process of buying a car… Jackie values her kids being protected and their safety, while George values high gas mileage, and doesn’t as much value the safety. At least, it doesn’t affect his buying habits as much. All the while, Fred values that his car be dependable and require less maintenance costs. Of course all of these are benefits and are great things, but if you don’t go to Jackie, George, and Fred before you start really building your product and service, as well as make sure that:
A) There’s a substantive demand for what you can provide and…
B) that market is willing to pay for whatever you will make or will offer.
You will end up speaking to no one because you’re not speaking anyone’s language… or in other words, their values.
So what you should do is … whether you do this online, or you go to the mall physically, you must survey people and obtain the necessary data you need to brand yourself correctly. There’s a lot of tools to capture customer preferences. Yes – it can be expensive, and yes, you should offer someone something in exchange for their time to get more respondents (it doesn’t have to be money). But the customer data one will ultimately obtain, will pay off.
When you do your survey, and your figure out who your customer is, let’s say it’s Jackie from our last example. You have to figure out more about the Jackies out there. Jackie is unique and special, but in order to market effectively, we need to be able to figure out things in common with Jackie and other people who value the same thing. We may find out that the Jackies out the tend to make at least $50,000, and they’re active people who like running. They tend to buy Adidas shoes. Thus the point is, in your survey, don’t forget to collect data about the individual – this will allow you to pick your advertising mediums much more carefully.
If you have competitors, it’s often easier to reference what your customers are doing as well as nowadays, you can even see which of their online campaigns are performing the best.
You might be thinking now – well dang, that sounds like a good idea. But who would want to spend all of this time answering these types of questions? We are a big fan of personality quizzes, or quizzes that provide some type of outcome. If you look on my website, SMBfission.com, you’ll find 2 of these types of quizzes. They’re quizzes that score answers and provide some sort of information at the end. These were big in the late 90s with themes like, “What kind of Disney character are you?” and “what is your love language?” but they can be used in almost all contexts. For instance, Redfin and Truilia use survey calculators to give you some sort of information depending on the info you input, and you get some sort of information back. It could be “how large of a loan do you qualify for?” When someone fills their survey out, Redfin or Trulia collects the data inputs, and aggregates the data – they know exactly what kind of people are coming to their website, and what they’re looking for. That puts them in a much better position to brand themselves to appeal to their market.
If you want to know which tools you can use to make quizzes, be sure to subscribe to our emails, and we’ll be sure to let you know of cost-efficient tools.
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NEXT! So Now That we Have Data, We Need to go Niche.
One of the biggest problems that small businesses have is that they don’t focus on a market and try to market to everyone. This is a huge problem that even people like me fall victim to.
I’ll use myself as an example. I’ve done digital marketing in various forms for a lot of different companies. And the truth is, I would feel comfortable doing small business marketing for 80-90% of businesses out there, because I can apply the same, or similar formulas to various businesses and just adjust certain variables to make my formulas work for respective categories of businesses, right?
The truth is: even if I can do that, my customer may not think that way. My customer wants someone who specializes in him. There are so many examples of this, from various types of clothing shops, to auto mechanics.
But let’s take auto-mechanics as an example:
Let’s say you had a Toyota Corolla Hybrid sedan. Would you rather go to an auto mechanic that was “general mechanic” or would you rather go to a “Toyota Corolla specialist,” and this person just invests his or her time in fixing Toyota Corollas. Well the answer to that is… it depends! But on face value, if these two mechanics were hypothetically the same, and had the same reputation more or less, and the same prices; in most cases, the specialist would win.
Be that specialist.
Communicate to Jackie that you service her market, exactly. And make it a no brainer for her to want to choose you.
But wait, let’s revisit something that I just mentioned and we’ll end this video on this final note…
We need to Build Trust – or in other words…
“Give away the prize. “
Yes, build trust. It seems like a no-brainer, but likely some of you are doing this right, and some of you aren’t.
I’m going to list 2 critical elements of building trust – there’s many more, but for the sake of time – we’ll start we these two.
1st – Give Away the Prize.
What that means is that let’s say you’re a lawyer, and your product is your knowledge and familiarity with local law. More specifically, traffic law in California. You know everything there is about fighting speed tickets and other violations, the whole court system, etc… Everything there is to know for your state of California. If you want to build trust, tell people exactly what they need to do, to fight it, or help them.
WO!!! – you must be thinking now… Wo bro, “are you trying to make me bankrupt?!”
I know it sounds counter intuitive, and time intensive… but it’s true. Let’s say you get a speeding ticket… it’s $1000.
You want to fight it. You start searching Google, “how do I fight speeding tickets in California”
and that lawyer, or someone he hires, writes an article or even better, writes and article and makes a semi-professional video on exactly that subject. The person reading that article is much, much more likely to approach that lawyer, because he’s already in some ways invested quite a bit of time with that lawyer and building a relationship, even if it’s a digital one. By reading his content, even if he hasn’t spoken to the lawyer face-to-face. That lawyer’s brand is already having an influence.
Now it might be that, that person who read the article will not hire the lawyer … in fact, perhaps most readers wouldn’t… but the truth is, that type of person wasn’t likely going to hire a lawyer, anyway.
However, the deeper significance is, even for the person who doesn’t directly hire that lawyer is, that he is way more willing to recommend that lawyer who shared that in-depth piece of content, than anyone else. It makes sense, there’s no difference between content and a business owner who goes out of their way for you in-person… and word-of-mouth is still the best form of marketing for time-being.
Furthermore, research finds that often what happens is that people looking for solutions, are in most times unlikely to do something themselves. Whether it’s fixing a car, or defending one’s self in court, the truth is that there will always be some minority of people that will never hire out, but in most cases, that person will – because there is simply not enough time and patience to not do so. Will someone really invest the dozens or hundreds of hours to learn how to fix their Toyota Corolla? Chances are it’s no. There’s not enough time in the day.
Helping people really can go a long way.
The next point is, as it relates to local marketing… and as the internet gains more influence on buying decisions… just as it also relates to just about everything else… reputation can really have an extremely positive, or an extremely negative influence.
Taking our last example regarding the traffic lawyer, let’s say that lawyer produces an amazing piece of content…. It’s exactly what our searcher is looking for. It’s written beautifully… It’s a stunning, valuable piece of content. The searcher got a lot of value from it and has a positive outlook on the lawyer. So even though that person has begun kindling some sort of digital relationship through the lawyer’s digital influence, there is one factor that can sabotage that connection… and that is a negative, or possibly non-existing review.
Yelp, Google My Business, Facebook Local, YP, and the dozens of prominent local and industry directories out there, such as for example, the medical industry which has Vitals, Healthgrades, RateMD… people are talking about you… or possibly not talking about you… especially as it relates to the United States, Canada, and Great Britain. But not to mention – virtually every other country has their own set of directories as well…
That’s right. That guy who spent an hour on the lawyer’s website can have that relationship be disrupted if that website visitor goes on Yelp.. or Google My Business and sees that the lawyer has a 2-star or 3-star rating with 40 reviews.
The lawyer that was able to do a bit of nurturing with the content he worked so hard to create, is now pinned at odds with 40 people who poorly rated the lawyer. Whether people are saying that the lawyer ripped him off, or the lawyer was a jerk, or maybe, they didn’t say anything at all and the lawyer has no reputation whatsoever, that can be a hindrance to one’s ability to trust.
BrightLocal’s 2019 Local Consumer Survey found that 82% of people read and rely on local ratings and reviews second to word-of-mouth with regards to what influences their buying choices. At this point, unless people are solely relying on word of mouth, most people are going to use existing tools to evaluate what people are saying about you before trusting to do business with you.
So it’s important that you get positive reviews for your business. We here at SMBfission have a product called SMBreviewer that generates positive reviews for you from your existing or former clients. You can check it out here, at www.SMBreviewer.com. After you get your reviews, you can use our free tool, found at reviews.smbreviewer.com to take those reviews from Facebook, Google My Business, and Yelp, and visually embed them into your websites and landing pages. …And it’s completely free!
How to Get Reviews
If you don’t have any reviews, you can start by offering your services for free to 3-10 people, in exchange for a review. You might feel put off by doing that, but it’ll completely change your future if you have around 10 legitimate reviews. The Brightlocal Local Consumer Survey says that most consumers look for at least 10 reviews before they start feeling confident in a service provider or product. Don’t forget to ask your reviewer to post their review in a few different directories to maximize the opportunity – especially if you’re giving away a service for free.
We offer a free consultation and service to help get you only positive reviews. Schedule a call today.
So let’s recap!
You have an amazing talent or passion, and you want to get your service out there. But before you can do that, you need to earn the trust of your customers.
The 3 must-do steps are:
One: Create quizzes, surveys, and other tools to capture information of your target market. Be sure to understand both the respondent’s needs and well as the personal qualities of these audiences.
Two: Niche and Specialize your trade to service specific groups of people who are more likely to do business with you because they’ll feel better about working with a specialist.
Three: utilize content and reviews to build trust with your personal brand. “Give away” insights of your product or services to gain favor. It may feel like you’re giving away too much for free, but the truth is more people will feel more connected with you and will trust your abilities. The majority of consumers are not the type to learn a whole new skill from scratch and would much rather be serviced anyway.
Be sure to check out smbfission.com for more insights and articles as to how to build your business. Also be sure to check out our small business community where we provide free guidance. If you feel like you like what we’re about, and that we’re the type of people that you want to work with, contact us for a free consultation and we’ll be happy to guide you the best that we can.
Until then, wishing and blessing you wish much success!
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