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Owning a business means you’re constantly striving to improve your company. However, coming up with fresh, innovative ideas to better your business isn’t always an easy task. That’s why we’ve compiled 20 (free!) ideas to give your business a boost. Even better? Most of these ideas take less than five minutes to implement.
Check them out, try a few, and make sure to share your favorite ways to grow your business with us in the comments.
1. Email previous customers
Your customers are hands-down the most important part of your business. Making them happy is what’s going to make your business grow. Take a of couple minutes each week to reach out to your previous customers just to say thank you, to send an offer, or to ask what you could do differently. Remember: happy, loyal customers are the best advertising.
2. Email potential customers
Potential customers are just as important as previous customers. Reach out to customers that have shown interest in your business and/or product, but have yet to make a purchase. A little extra personalized attention might be the key to pushing these customers off the fence.
3. Start a blog
In today’s content-driven world, blogging is one of the best things you can do for your business. B2B marketers that use blogs get 67% more leads than those that do not. Additionally, customers typically read three or more pieces of information before making a purchase. There’s really no downside to starting a blog for your business.
Carve out a couple hours every week to sit down and write a blog post that pertains to your industry. This tip takes a little more time, but the payoff is worth it.
4. Create a social media account
It’s 2017, so hopefully your business is already on social media, but if not, you need to sign up for at least one platform right now. It’s not an option anymore; social media is a necessity for businesses at this point. If you don’t have the time to maintain 15 different accounts, that’s fine. Dedicate your time to one or two platforms (think Instagram and Facebook, or YouTube and Twitter) and forget the rest. Just make sure you have a social presence in one way or another.
5. Survey your customers
The best way to make your customers happy? Give them exactly what they way. Survey current and past customers about what they like and what they’d change. Your customers will appreciate the chance to have their voices heard, and you’ll get some vital information in return.
6. Survey your employees
The same goes for your employees. After all, happy employees make happy customers. You can keep the survey anonymous to guarantee you get real answers and suggestions.
7. Offer a discount/promotion/giveaway
This is a great way to up your engagement online and in-store. Promote a giveaway, discount, coupon code or sale to encourage customers visit your business. You can do this via social media, email blast or direct mail, although the latter will cost you.
8. Write a guest post
Writing a guest post is another great way to attract new customers and expand your network. Reach out to a blogger or magazine whose audience is similar to yours and offer to write a piece. They’ll get new content, and you’ll get free exposure; it’s a win-win situation.
9. Collaborate with a fellow business owner
If you’re not into collaborating via a guest post, try teaming up with a fellow business owner to offer your customers a package, giveaway or event. Just make sure the business you decide to team up with has similar customers, but isn’t your direct competitor. You want to be able to give customers the best of both worlds with this collaboration, not have your business taken away.
10. Read a book
Improve yourself; improve your business. Pick up a new book about your industry, entrepreneurship, or an autobiography of a business owner you admire. Reading is a great way to learn something new and educate yourself with tips from industry leaders.
If you don’t want to commit to an entire book, choose a few informative articles instead.
11. Attend an event
If you’re really against reading (articles or books), attend a summit or local event instead. These are ideal for networking with fellow business owners, as well as finding new customers. Plus, you’ll likely learn something in the process.
12. Host a workshop
Once you’re done learning, take your newly acquired knowledge and share it. Host a workshop in your store, online or even in your living room. Let your customers and fellow business owners know when your workshop will be taking place and ask them to share the information. Everybody likes to learn something new.
13. Go live
Not everyone likes to be on camera, but if you’re someone that does, take full advantage of that. Set up a video camera (or use your computer or phone) and go live on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or wherever else you want to interact with customers. This not only creates content for your business, but also personalizes your brand and gives customers a chance to see the people behind the business.
14. Interact online
If you don’t want to go live, you can still interact with customers by commenting, sharing and liking their posts online. Having a social media account doesn’t mean you just post content and leave it alone; You also need to listen and interact. After all, it’s called social media for a reason. Be social!
15. Sponsor an event
Is there a local fair, fundraiser or event coming up in your town? Get your business involved by sponsoring (or donating to) it. This will increase your visibility locally, give you a reason to create content, and probably earn you some awesome PR.
Volunteering is another ideal way to increase you local presence and gain some earned media. Additionally, customers love buying from companies that give back. Let your customers know their purchases are helping to better the world around them.
17. Ask for reviews and/or referrals
Reviews are a must for attracting new customers. Approximately 40 percent of buyers form an opinion of a business after reading just 1-3 reviews, so it’s essential you have at least a few on your website, Amazon page, or wherever you sell your products. Snag a few reviews easily by sending a quick email to satisfied clients after a purchase, or direct message them on social media if you see they’ve posted something favorable. You can also take the time to ask them to refer you to their friends, family or anyone else they think might like your product.
18. Get published
This tip is easier said than done, but it’s not impossible. Using a tool like HARO (Help a Reporter Out) is an excellent way to land a little media coverage, and get yourself published in a variety of places.
Another option is to send your work to local newspapers, magazines and bloggers. You could also consider writing your own ebook, although that’s a much larger project that you’d have to be willing to dedicate a significant chunk of time to.
19. Update old information
Your customers should not have to search for hours (or really even minutes) to find your contact information. The most successful businesses make it extremely easy for shoppers to contact them. Take a few minutes every couple of months to make sure your email addresses, phone numbers, mailing address and web address are up-to-date and easy to find. If shoppers have to search extensively for your contact information, chances are they’re just going to move on.
20. Take a break
Lastly, boost your business by boosting yourself. Becoming rundown, exhausted and unmotivated is not want you want as a business owner. Being an entrepreneur requires a lot of your time and energy, so it’s important that you take a break every once and a while to restore your wellbeing and give yourself a boost. A happy, healthy business owner creates a happy, healthy business.