New Year, New Business
Happy New Year, fellow business owners! We hope you had a wonderful holiday season and are entering 2024 refreshed and energized.
Was one of your resolutions this year to start a new business? Or perhaps to rework, renovate, or revitalize your current business? Then, my friend, this blog is for you. We’re often asked for advice on how owners can get their small business visible and attract an audience. Here are a few quick tips for you!
Create your Brand.
When I say the word “brand,” what comes to mind? Probably a logo, right? Actually, your brand encompasses so much more than that. Your logo comes as a result of all the hard work you do establishing your brand. Here’s what we mean when we talk about your brand:
- Decide who you are as a business. What do you offer your customers? Not just your product or service, but how will they feel when they do business with you? What do you stand for? What are your values? What makes you stand out from others in your field?
- Know who you serve. Many small business owners and professionals default to saying “I serve everyone.” Not true! Really dig deep and think about the customer who will be attracted to you, specifically. Who wants your product or service and can afford it? Which customers will align with your business personality and your values? If you could fill your schedule with one specific type of client who is the most valuable, most fun or most rewarding for you, who would that be? Of course you will take most business that comes your way, but there are certain people you most want to attract. Need help identifying your audience? Use our Customer Profile worksheet.
- Design your logo and brand kit. Now that you know who you are and who you serve, you can start thinking about what colors, images, fonts, and language will represent your brand. Don’t just use a template that you think is cool! Think about how each of those elements will communicate to your ideal audience. Don’t forget to include things like your speaking and writing tone, how you and your staff will dress, and what your customer service will look like.
Build your Community.
You’re going to hear us talking about Community a lot in 2024… in fact, it’s our word of the year. We strongly believe that the best thing you can do for your small business is to build a network of people and businesses that support each other. You can do this in many ways:
- Get to know your neighbors. This can be your literal neighbors if you have a brick and mortar location, or virtual if you’re working from home or online. Make friends with fellow professionals, not to solicit their business but to support each other. Being a small business owner can be lonely sometimes and it helps to know you’re not alone.
- Put your money where your mouth is. Spend your money with local businesses as much as possible, ideally those people you have become friends with! Spending your money locally builds credibility and goodwill for you and your business, supports the local economy, and helps your friends thrive.
- Network. We recommend 3 important ways to network. First, your local Chamber of Commerce, to get involved in the local business community. This is often a larger group of people with no membership restrictions. Second, find a category-specific referral group like one of our Flourish Networking groups. These groups have one member per business type and develop deep referral partnerships and often, friendships. Last, find a way to give back! Volunteer, join a local nonprofit board, join a service club like Rotary or Elks, or any other way you can think of.
Establish your Online Presence.
Now that you know who you are and who you serve, have built your brand, and have a supportive community, it’s time to show up online! One of the most frequent questions we get is “where should I be posting?” That depends, again, on your customers. Where do they spend time online? Where might they go looking for your product or service? Go back to your Customer Profile and decide on a few key places to start.
- Google Business Profile. This is our number one recommendation! The majority of people turn to Google when searching for a business. Love it or hate it, you want to be where the people are (you didn’t think we’d get through a blog without a Disney reference, right?). So make sure you have claimed your Google profile, that all the information is correct, and that you’re posting regular updates.
- Social media. Are your customers on Facebook? LinkedIn? Instagram? Somewhere else? Create profiles and post regularly.
- Web site. We don’t use phone books anymore, so your website is the place to find out what you do and how to contact you. If you don’t have one, your customers will wonder if you’re real. So make sure that you have a solid website that’s updated regularly.
- Blogs and email marketing.
- Ads. A paid advertising strategy might be a good plan for your business! Do some research and figure out where you’ll be most successful in reaching your audience.
Write your Marketing Plan
Just like with goal setting, your plan isn’t real until you write it down. Start with your goals for the year, or the quarter, or the month. What do you want to accomplish? How many people do you want to reach and where will you find them? Decide where you want to show up, with what messages, and how often. Then write it all down, put it on a calendar, and get to work. Check out our recent blog on how to create your Marketing Roadmap!
We’re guessing you’ve set some pretty big goals for your business! The key to reaching them is writing them down and breaking them down into achievable steps. We’ve got resources for you that will help you with each step. And if any of them seem too big to tackle on your own, we’re here to help. Click here to schedule a free consultation!
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