In an economy increasingly dominated by box stores that provide goods and services nationwide or even internationally, it can be difficult to establish or grow your small business. Nevertheless, you can help your company thrive by following these three rules to keep it competitive.
Engage in Effective Marketing
Odds are you already understand the importance of reaching new customers and maintaining relationships with the ones you have. What can be difficult is the overwhelming variety of ways you might go about advertising your company. Alongside traditional avenues such as newspaper and television, marketing opportunities proliferate online, especially on social media. What’s important for a small business is to engage in advertising that reaches the highest number of prospective customers at the lowest cost. This is why digital marketing has become a must for small business owners. It can be free to devote pages to your enterprise on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and inexpensive to establish an effective website. While renting advertising space still works in many communities, there are low-cost alternatives, such as postering in local cafes and public spaces. Be sure to ask your customers how they heard about you (digitally as well as in-person) to get a sense of which strategies are proving most effective.
Lean manufacturing is all about reducing waste in your business. Some of the most common manufacturing inefficiencies include overproduction, down time, and excess inventory. If your business is to sell baked goods, for example, it’s absolutely essential to have a firm idea of how many baked goods you tend to sell on any given day of the week. If you bake ten loaves of bread each morning but only sell seven through the day, those three surplus loaves become excess inventory. With a perishable good, the danger of overproduction is clear, but the same principle applies to items that don’t spoil.
Understand Your Margins
While the importance of your bottom line is paramount to the survival of your company, it’s essential to understand the factors that compose it. Every good or service you provide has a cost to you and a benefit. Performing a thorough analysis of which goods and services are most profitable is essential to your company’s direction. You may be surprised to find which parts of your business serve you best, or you may not. Either way, let your margins be your guide in crafting your model and revising your business.
While box stores may seem like unbeatable goliaths, small businesses have the potential to establish more meaningful connections with their customers and, by practicing lean manufacturing, attain an incredible efficiency that will help them to outperform the giants.