“Image is everything. You don’t spare any expense to create the right image. And word of mouth is critical. Once you get a good reputation, momentum will carry you.” – Haruki Murakami
I’m reminded of this quote every time I walk down the business district where I live. Seeing how each building vies for attention from those who pass by. Some are more successful at catching the eye of the customer than others.
Many small business owners are feeling the pressure of competition in an ever growing world. While there are many ways to help your business grow, there are 3 essential elements that will help start you on that journey.
1. Curb Appeal and Signage
How your business looks outside and inside is paramount to the continued success of any business and is a show of the overall health of the company as a whole. If the outside of the company looks worn down or outdated, the first impression is always going to be poor.
Getting that curb appeal is more than just location, but also what signs are promoting your business. Outdoor signage is what the customer will see as they pass by your business. How well that grabs a potential customer’s attention will depend on how inviting or exciting that sign is.
Make sure that the outdoor signage is not only relevant to your product, but also engages the customer’s attention. This often is the first step in promoting your business as it tells the customer who you are as a company and what products or services you provide.
Since the types of signage you use will indicate the type of business you are, you’ll also want to make sure that it’s also reaching the expected demographics. Nothing is more embarrassing and off-putting than walking into expecting one thing and getting quite the opposite.
Because there are so many different types of signage that can be used, finding a dependable sign company is a great way to get started. They will be able to provide you with insight on what grabs a customer’s attention based upon location and what services you provide.
Your business’s image is important, it will be how your remembered and described to other potential customers. Do you want them to remember your business as a cheap run down place or a comfortable and welcoming environment?
2. Networking With Other Business Owners
You can turn on any television and flip through a few channels, and you are guaranteed to see a few commercials advertising some product or service. However, not all small business owners can afford the cost of a short commercial on television, let alone during prime time where the costs skyrocket.
Thankfully television isn’t the only option available when it comes to advertising. What many small business owners overlook when it comes to advertising, is the networking aspect. Your local business neighbors can often become your best advertisers or brand advocates.
Depending on the type of business you’re running, pairing up with a business can lend an advertising hand to both. One of the most successful shared advertisements I’ve seen was during my stay at a small hotel, which conveniently had its own restaurant.
When ordering food, I inquired about their available wine selection and was advised of a wonderful vineyard that was local to the area and just had to try it. Later that night, when visiting the vineyard’s website, I found that the vineyard was also promoting the same hotel I was staying at.
This form of promotion has the same effect as when a customer has a conversation with friends or family about their vacation and the interesting time they had. It will get your business out there and is mutually beneficial to both parties.
Remember that while every customer you come across is a potential brand advocate, so is every business whose products or service align with your own. Find as many ways as you can to pair products that work well together and the potential is limitless.
3. Customer Service Promotes Customer Experience
The customer experience is what business is all about and with superior customer service, your reputation will grow. How well your business grows will depend upon how well you execute this phase of the customer experience.
The idea of the customer experience is a very vast concept. It can range from how the customer feels while in your store, browsing your goods, to how they feel you’ve provided a service to them. That process will always start from the moment they see your company logo and end when they concluded their business with you.
Many small business owners struggle with this concept, not because its overly complex or vast but because they fail to come together on providing the right expectations to the customers or holding to a set expectation.
If your business can set the right expectations and hold to them, your customers will feel that they’re in the right hands. When the customer experience is successful, the customer will often become your best brand advocate.
This means making sure that what you advertise, is what you do. Nothing is more frustrating than coming in for a particular service or product and finding out that it is no longer offered. If the product or service is no longer offered, make sure to have this communicated across the board.
The flow of your business should also set an expectation. If a customer comes into your place of business and is confused by where to start, then you’ve set the expectation that doing business with you will also be confusing and potentially disappointing and will ruin any customer experience.
Promoting Your Business
All of these different aspects of the customer experience will build your reputation as a company and through that reputation, your company will continue to grow.
At the end of the day, how well your business grows will depend on how well you, as a business, utilize these 3 elements. Promoting your business is but a start in an otherwise long journey.
Author Bio: Amber Jade Perez is an experienced business consultant who knows the importance of brand positioning. As a business writer and blogger, she shares her expertise and insight with those who need it the most- struggling entrepreneurs. In her free time, Amber enjoys spending time hiking and exploring her local area with her 3 children.