Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has revealed that “49 percent of establishments survive 5 years or more; 34 percent survive 10 years or more; and 26 percent survive 15 years or more”.
In other words, the probability of your business surviving the next 5 year is less than its probability of failing and this is no different online. If you’re not careful, your business will most probably not last 2 years. How can you change this? From an individual level to the business level, there are a lot of things you can do to ensure your business not only survives the test of time but that it is also very profitable.
Here are 5 little changes that can take your small business to the next level:
1. Have a Clearly Defined USP
According to Entrepreneur.com, a Unique Selling Proposition or USP is “The factor or consideration presented by a seller as the reason that one product or service is different from and better than that of the competition”. In simple terms, your USP is what separates your business or makes it better than that of a competitor. One major reason why most businesses fail is because they don’t have a clearly defined USP. They just open like every other business and they fail just like every other business.
In fact, 2009 data from the SBA has revealed that more small businesses close every year than are opened every year. This only makes sense when we consider the tens of millions of small businesses that exist and the hundreds of thousands of new businesses that are created every year. Without clear differentiation, your business won’t go forward. You can take your business to the next level by having a clear USP that makes your business appropriate to a select group of people who will be your fans and customers and who will keep your business profitable on the long-term.
2. Your Selling is Weak
It’s important to understand that “marketing” and “selling” are two different things. Most small businesses fail because they do a lot of marketing and little selling. It’s all about increasing the budget, getting more traffic, paying for ads, paying for exposure, doing this and that without actual effort to ensure a significant portion of people coming as a result of their marketing becomes buyers.
Some very effective ways to sell to potential customers are by:
- Effectively using scarcity in your copy; people won’t buy what they can get tomorrow today, and “tomorrow” will never come. A little scarcity in your copy can go a long way.
- Effectively use social proof in your copy; it’s how we’re wired. We’re more likely to do something everyone else is doing because there’s less risk involved and also because it’s usually a good sign it is working. Make it clear that other people are using your product and you’ll make more sales.
- Eliminate every objections potential buyers will have, this includes their fear of whether your product will work for them, whether your site is secure and whether you can be trusted. You can overcome these fears by offering a money-back guarantee, offering unlimited support until they get the hang of your product and letting people know that your site can be trusted by telling them you use a reliable payment processor as well as advance security techniques.
3. Your Marketing is Weak
Marketing is the process of advertising your services to people who have never heard about it before with the goal of getting them to check you out and possibly becoming customers. It’s very simple. You can’t expect to have customers when nobody has heard about your business. Of course, the situation is always different for every business, and there will be cases where you don’t even have the budget your competitors have for marketing. In that case, do the work yourself. There are a lot of businesses and individuals who have done it successfully and some great examples are:
- Leo Widrich of Bufferapp.com was able to grow the startup to its first 100,000 users in its first 9 months by guest blogging.
- Kissmetrics.com was able to grow its blog to over 1 million visitors in 10 months without paid traffic. The blog now constantly gets hundreds of thousands of visitors monthly.
- The American Express blog now gets millions of visitors yearly, and this has impacted the growth of their business.
While the above are some notable examples, unless you’re ready to work for most part of the day, it might be difficult to pull it off. You might need to invest some money or do the work yourself.
4. Your Broadband Internet is now Slowband Internet
Since we’re talking about business here, how does broadband internet come into the equation? The key to building a successful business is not just about your website/business but about you as a person. Your entire business success will depend on you. If there’s one thing you can invest on to get great results for your business, it is better broadband and internet.
Here are some reasons you need a better broadband to take your business to the next level:
- It makes connecting with those who can help your business easier. Some times you’ll have to get on Skype and have a video call. A high quality internet connection makes this easy.
- It makes it easier to market your business. The web now relies to a great extent on multimedia content that can be better produced with quality internet.
- It makes learning extremely easy. With quality resources like Lynda.com and the Khan Academy, learning new skills to improve as an entrepreneur has never been easier.
5. Be Realistic
While all the above are great changes that can help your business grow, the best change you can make is to change your mindset. Your business is your baby, and you want it to succeed at all costs. Having unnecessary hope will only lead to you losing motivation and failing. Look at your business nature and industry to see what is happening and what it takes to grow. Make sure your hopes aren’t too high. That way, you can focus for a long time without much worries. However, you’ll also be surprised if you suddenly experience exponential growth.