One of the reasons few startups stay in business after a few years is because so many fail to plan with strategies to meet challenges. Some companies grow by building their brand into a line of multiple products, while others put more emphasis on marketing a single product's benefits. Here's a look at the top challenges for small business owners looking to expand their markets.
1. Generating New Leads and Customers
At the top of the list of sales challenges for small business owners is attracting new leads and customers. Several methods exist now to build relevant leads from digital connections such as social media networks and blog communities. You can also generate leads from pay-per-click (PPC) marketing campaigns, which take time to refine. Posting a survey form or other feedback opportunities on your website can generate a continuous flow of new leads. Offering an interactive blog or video series can also attract leads while building a base of loyal followers.
2. Building Brand Awareness
One of the keys to building brand awareness online is to distinguish from competitors in terms of imagery and purpose. Filling a need not served by competitors is a great way to make a story for a brand. The more you can define a niche that cannot be found elsewhere, the better chance you'll have at developing a loyal base for your brand. Keep the message easy to understand for your target audience and show a sense of evolution over time. Part of refining a brand's appeal can come from customer suggestions.
3. Developing an Email Marketing List
One of the best ways to stay in touch with your target market is through regular emails or newsletters. First, you need to get a recipient's permission to send them marketing materials regularly. You can build the list from your website's email and social media followers. Sending out messages every few weeks helps keep the brand at a top-of-mind awareness level. Some of the best ways to get attention through email communication are offering discounts and freebies.
4. Improving Customer Satisfaction
Retailers and supply chains understand how consumers now expect speedy and painless deliveries when they order items online. Competing for customer satisfaction has become a central focal point among businesses to maintain a loyal customer base. Many companies are moving toward doing whatever it reasonably takes to retain customers, such as offering easy no-hassle return policies. Sales representatives much become as customer-friendly as possible.
5. Hiring Productive Talent
The best salespeople you can hire contribute to your company's creative efforts and ability to deliver high-quality results. Innovative sales agents who have experience closing deals can help boost productivity. At the same time, small businesses face financial uncertainties that limit the amount and level of talent they can hire. It's crucial to analyze the cost of hiring new employees and make sure selected applicants fit the company's culture. Due to high employee acquisition costs, including training, it's essential to maintain and grow a core staff devoted to your brand.
6. Operating Within the Budget
Small businesses cannot afford to waste money in the post-pandemic era. Budget tightening has been part of the key to business survival in the early 2020s. Even before the pandemic small businesses faced economic uncertainties due to record debt and the growth of online shopping.
Many businesses were able to remain open during the pandemic by allowing remote work from home. This model has contributed to enormous cost savings, especially in computing equipment and software. Another cost-saving measure is to outsource labor, such as a sales, marketing, or IT team. Firms specializing in specific work can often offer higher output at lower labor costs than hiring an in-house staff.
7. Finding Scalable Solutions for Growth
Part of diligent business planning involves mapping out seamless solutions for growth, such as growing a base of user accounts or subscribers. It helps to work with a cloud service that offers simple solutions for scaling a business up or down. Scaling up involves using more server space, which typically is not a problem for a huge data center but can get expensive for a small local infrastructure. Being prepared to deliver large orders is one of the keys for a business to gain and retain market share.
8. More Focus on Logistics
Logistics is becoming a central concern for manufacturers looking to improve customer satisfaction. Third-party logistics firms are harnessing digital technology to make shipping and warehousing more efficient. By automating processes at delivery centers, the speed and accuracy of deliveries are improving. Companies that invest in IoT tracking devices and automation will have a competitive edge. IoT sensors are the key to the real-time tracking of products throughout the entire supply chain journey.
9. Need for Creativity
Several large companies have proven this century that creativity is an essential component of business success. Innovative solutions can disrupt markets and push the industry in new directions. Although the product is usually the focus of brand innovation, you can also make a product seem new with a fresh marketing approach.
Many times new sales and marketing ideas can come from team brainstorming. Facilitating a team spirit atmosphere of shared goals is one of the most critical ingredients to sales success. Creative energy helps fuel collaborative efforts. The management must offer employee experiences that avoid burnout and fatigue from falling into the same routines.
10. Update Technology
New technology is a significant concern for all businesses, but many small businesses do not have the capital to invest. In that sense, it will be a challenge for small companies to compete with larger companies without investing in digital marketing and advanced tools such as AI software and automation. Machine learning software, a form of artificial intelligence, can help sales agents research prospects and customers quickly.
Use this list to consider and analyze sales challenges for small business owners in the coming years. Resilient companies that look for ways to survive and prosper will be able to navigate through these challenges. Contact one of our marketing associates for more information on improving sales for small businesses.