Setting out on your own and starting an independent business is an exciting adventure and also a challenging one!

Whether you’re a sole trader or currently working with a team of others to realise your dreams, there’s a lot to consider when going into business for yourself. It’s a lot of hard work, and in the early stages, you might have to do a bit of everything to keep things moving along and to keep your overheads down. If you are planning a new start-up venture, or are in the first few years of trading, consider these tips and see how they can help boost your visibility and help you work towards success.

Utilise Social Media

Social media has come a very long way from simply being a tool to keep in touch with your nearest and dearest. Now, these platforms are being used by businesses all over the world as part of their digital marketing strategies. These online channels are brilliant ways to keep businesses in touch with consumers and allow companies to directly engage with their audience. Make sure you’re using as many relevant social media platforms to increase your brand awareness and reach a wider market. It’s also important to carefully curate the content you post, however, as this will have an impact on your brand’s image. Content should be relevant, engaging, and posted regularly to keep your business visible. This should also be applied to other digital marketing strategies such as blog posts, SEO tactics, email newsletters, and so on.

Network

Networking is essential for anyone who is looking to enhance their career prospects, and independent business owners should also take advantage of these opportunities. It’s a chance to introduce your brand to others in the industry and beyond, as well as making great contacts that could be advantageous to you in the future. You should also think about getting booth/stalls at industry fairs, or if your businesses are focused around food, jewellery or other craft-made products, being present at local independent seller’s markets is a must.

Make Your Shop/Office Stand Out

Customers need to find your shop/office easily, which is why choosing the location carefully is important. For example, if your independent business is a café, finding a space that is central to the town/city is best as these locations will have more foot traffic passing by, all of which could be a potential customer. Consider how you are indicating to customers that your shop is there, too. Having a custom sign made for your café, shop, or office is a great way to catch people’s eyes and an opportunity to promote your brand. Specialists such as Bristol based SignMan will be able to create the perfect sign for you to have either in or outside of your shop/office to make it stand out.

Reward Customer Loyalty

Supporting independent businesses is a popular ideology, and it seems that more and more people are trying to move away from big-name brands and supermarkets. Although this is great news for independents, this shouldn’t be taken for granted; customers will always want to feel appreciated no matter where they shop. Having a rewards scheme in place will help to retain customer loyalty and boost the business-customer relationship. It will even encourage people to spend more at your store. If your independent business is office-based, these schemes can apply there, too. Consider offering regular clients discounted services as a gesture of goodwill and thanks for their loyalty to your company.

Use eCommerce Websites

Your business website should always look professional and be easy to navigate, but it should also include eCommerce functions. Again, this can be utilised for office-based businesses too, as you can provide your clients with the option of paying for services via your site. This is important because many consumers now use the internet to buy products, and if you don’t include this (or at least sell via other online retailers), you will lose out on a lot of sales.

Set Reasonable Targets

Although the start of any new business is an exciting time, it can be easy to get carried away with certain details or set yourself high standards. While the latter isn’t a bad thing, just remember to be realistic about what your business can achieve, especially in the first few years. It might take time for things to get off the ground, so break down your targets into reasonable, bite-sized chunks so you won’t get overwhelmed or disappointed.

If you’re planning to start an independent business or are in the process of getting your start-up going, think about the points above and use them to help you on your journey.

By Ed

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