Starting and growing a small business in this turbulent economy is not easy. Finances, marketing, product development… The list goes on and on of the woes that thousands of small business owners face every day. Most commonly, business owners ask themselves:
Why is my product not selling?
How can I use social media to sell more product and generate more click-throughs on my site?
Is there a way that I can make my product images look better?
How can I pay my staff?
Will I be able to do the sales, marketing, public relations, customer service at the same time?
How will I reach new customers?
Don't all these questions sound familiar? They should! All of these questions are, more or less, the same that we bloggers ask ourselves. Your business is your blog and your product that you are trying to “sell” is your blog or your expertise. If you want to make it in 2013 and watch your blog bring in money and readers, you may want to take a more small business-minded approach by seeing how you can apply these tips to your blog.
Be proactive with your business.
If every small business waited for new business developments or partners, they'd all be dead in the water. Why? Because they have learned that opportunity doesn't just knock on your door. You have to chase it down. The same goes for blogging. You have got to work hard for every opportunity and that means being proactive. Whether that means sending an intro email to an editor, picking up a new skill, or networking at events, you have to put yourself out there in every way. New to the world of accounting? Pick up a book and figure it out. Need help with social media tactics? Brush up on your skills by taking a webinar. The point is, your potential is literally in your hands; get out there and make something happen.
Make customer service a priority.
Customer service is by far one of the biggest areas small businesses focus on, especially in the beginning. They are trying to build brand loyalty and foster long-term customer relationships because their survival relies on this kind of outreach. Without ad spends and big PR pushes, a small business relies on their customer service and this is an area that bloggers need to cultivate too. When readers are having trouble with your site or have questions, try to answer them in a timely manner. If there are website issues, address them in a post and give your readers a head's up. Overall, don't lose sight of your blog's reader experience and think of ways to make it the best. A satisfied reader will turn into a loyal reader.
Analyze the competition.
How will you know how you can be better if you never take the time to look at your competitors? You always need to keep your fingers on the industry's pulse. What new posts are being shared? What new platforms are working for bloggers? Typically, most companies conduct competitiv analysis on other products to see how their own products stack up to the rest. Why? This kind of research leads to new product developments, which means new products, new customers and, in the end, more money. So for bloggers, take a look at the industry and see what is happening. What can you learn from a peer's success or missteps? How can you adapt their business tactics to your own strategy?
Don't be afraid to change it up, especially if something doesn't work.
Very often, we get stuck in patterns and routines. Even when they aren't working, we stick to them because they are comfortable. But, in order to find continual success, you need to adapt and evolve with marketing, business and sales trends just like any other small business. Your readers aren't static creatures; their behavior changes every hour. Always look ahead, see how you can capitalize on your successes and strengths and be flexible. This can be applied to your blogging content, marketing strategies, outreach efforts, brand partnerships, etc. You can be sure that small businesses everywhere are doing the same as well.
Become the master of time-management.
Chances are, in the very beginning you will be responsible for everything and there will never be enough time to do everything. Sales, marketing, website development, photography: you will have to do it all. This will probably be the bane of your existence and the only way you can manage these overwhelming tasks is by learning how to manage your time appropriately. Multitasking, prioritizing, and staying focused will help you spend less time in front of the computer and more time with customers, friends, loved ones. Analyze which tasks are the most important, aim to do them first, group your errands together if you can, and than tackle the rest. You can find time-management steps over here as well.
Don't take yourself so seriously.
Yes, building a small business is hard and tough but you don't think that these small business owners don't live it up, right? Please. They are enjoying themselves as they should be. For bloggers, you can (and should) channel fun and excitement in almost everything you publish. Life is too short to be so serious. Plus, your readers will be bored of your doom-and-gloom attitude. No one wants to read about tribulations 100% of the time.