Retail Category Consultants has assisted small businesses with building strategies to drive growth and focus their marketing efforts. Here are three steps that, in our experience, will transform any small business.
1. Have a plan for reoccurring activities
While many small business owners want to take risks and experiment with new offerings, these initiatives can’t be executed without the basic activities that have brought you success. Take a step back from your daily operations to think about the big picture and prioritize your tasks with your business vision in mind.
A plan keeps you on track and ensures that reoccurring activities, such as delivering quality customer service or conducting scheduled maintenance, become automatic so that you can focus on new and bigger ideas that drive growth. A plan is the first thing we create for clients that want to expand because it makes strategizing more convenient and promotes greater workload efficiency.
Tip: put short-term and long-term goals on your plan to remind yourself of the big picture.
2. Learn from your existing customers.
Small businesses that don’t understand their customer base are doomed to fail. Instead of going out of your way to attract new customers, spend more time observing your existing customers to learn their shopping habits and create marketing plans built on proven qualitative and quantitative data.
By learning from your existing customers, you may discover that there’s an opportunity to grow loyalty and your word-of-mouth marketing. Remember, it’s always easier to get existing customers to put one more thing into their baskets that trying to get new customers to try your store.
Tip: look for opportunities to cross-sell products or services that will appeal to multiple customer segments. If these products or services are unique to you, all the better. That makes for easier word of mouth advertising.
3. Stick to where your business is most profitable.
Determine your most profitable products and services and stick with them. While sales are great, don’t neglect to determine if you could be losing money per transaction for specific offerings. For example, while Product A is bringing you a good gross margin, you could be losing profitability because you aren’t offering or cross selling with Product B, a more lucrative offering.
On the other hand, if a product is negatively impacting your profit margins, you may need to raise your prices or charge for an additional value-adding service.
Tip: driving trial with a loss leader is great but only if it leads to trial of more profitable items. If you use a loss leader to drive traffic, make sure you monitor sales to ensure you’re not just attracting ‘cherry pickers’ that want the deal and don’t offer you loyalty through the purchase of a full basket of goods.
Owning and operating a small business is as challenging as it is rewarding. However, with the right strategy, customer research, and metrics, your business can reach new heights.