Growing a small business on a budget

Small businesses are vitally important within society and the economy. They provide opportunities within local economies and small communities for entrepreneurs to showcase their creativity, while offering an alternative choice of employment for people and retaining money within the local area.

However, there are many challenges facing small businesses including the building brand recognition and developing a strong customer base which in turn help enterprises to grow and increase revenue.

Marketing is key for business and it can be difficult for small business owners to compete with the larger annual budgets necessary to carry out prolonged and costly advertising campaigns of more established or global companies. Therefore, it is essential to rethinking your marketing strategy to cleverly reach customers and new markets, and build brand and knowledge without the hefty price tag. Here are some low cost highly effective ways to grow your small business.

1. Professional website

A business with an online presence in the form of a professional website is without a doubt the first step in growing your small enterprise. Consumers believe that a business with a website is more credible than one without and even a business with only a social media presence.

For those with a little ICT knowledge, building a simple website is relatively straightforward and inexpensive. But even setting aside a budget to a website designer or developer is worthwhile given the long term benefits it will provide.

Low footfall businesses need a website in order to reach new customers. It offers an always open 24/7 storefront to showcase your brand, goods and services. Ensure it provides all the information potential customers will want in an easy to navigate format with strong product images and descriptions or with previously carried out work.

2. Search engine optimisation

Search engine optimisation or SEO as it is more frequently referred as is the practice of improving a website’s search engine rank and therefore traffic through the technical quality of the site, the content of the site and the number and quality of referrals or links directed to the site.

The technical quality incorporates the websites usability and ensuring every page present operates correctly. The content present on your site is also very important. It should be well written, relevant and contain key words that the consumer will search for when looking for your product or service. Content can not only take the traditional written form, but also high-quality photographs or informative and creative videos too.

When it comes to links to your website, it is known as off-page SEO. It can take many forms such as link building, guest posts and social media. Each of these link’s act as a referral to your site or an endorsement that your site is worthwhile, and help you to penetrate your market.

Larger companies invest a lot of resources in terms of time and money in their off-page SEO strategies. For small business it may be more beneficial to outsource link building to a professional and experienced agency who can develop a strategy suitable to your niche market and location to create collaborations with news outlets or industry relevant blogs all while working within the restraints of your smaller budget.

3. Social media

Whilst a website offers the most credibility, having a social media presence is vitally important these days as it is one of the greatest and most frequently used forms of communication today. The benefit to the small business owner is that it offers a large audience ready to tap into and it is free to use.

Social media is a great way to share your product or service in a fun and creative way through video and image. Showing the market, the people and work behind the product offers an insight and appreciation too.

4. Customer reviews

Word of mouth, positive reviews and customer referrals remain the strongest form of marketing. This is especially true for small businesses. People often ask family and friends for recommendations. Ask your customers to complete a review of your product or service directly to your website or on social media with a tag to your business account. Furthermore, offering small discounts for referrals or repeat purchases is an attractive incentive to the consumer.

5. Build relationships with other businesses

Building relationships with others will allow you to tap into an alternative customer base and increase interest and hopefully revenue too. Participate in industry and networking events through fairs and charity events. Consider a collaboration with a similarly niched business to offer product bundles that will be beneficial to both parties.

These are just some of the ways a small business can reach a greater audience in an effective way on a small budget. These methods will help the business to grow and ultimately increase your revenue.

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