Picture a small business what do you see? A small shop window and a solitary figure behind a counter or is it a face-less person behind a website?
The most recent stats from the Australia Bureau of statistics show that in 2016-17, there were 2,238,299 actively trading businesses in the market sector in Australia.
A quarter of those businesses employed 1-4 people, and 61.2% were non-employing businesses – that means 88% of all businesses in Australia are small businesses.
And the landscape of small business is changing rapidly! So how do you succeed in this fast-paced, solo-operator world?
Here are five ways small business has changed and how you keep up.
1. Small business has multiple front doors
Even if you’re a primarily a bricks and mortar store, a telephone company or just a one-person sales team, the reality is you have at least two shop fronts. Maintaining your digital and website door is just as important as having an appealing street entrance, a friendly phone manner or presenting well at your first interview. Remember first appearances count and if your customers didn’t “google” you before they met you, they certainly will after!
2. Small business has virtually unlimited access to multiple platforms to manage marketing.
Going back ten years marketing meant talking to your rep for the local magazine, the local newspaper, radio and tv, and maybe organising a letterbox drop.
Now Facebook, Google, Twitter and even the local newspapers have self-serve platforms to book your advertising.
The temptation is to subscribe to everything – to services that automate this marketing for you like Adroll and Pixel Finder but the problem is, in doing this you move further away from what you need to be doing – making and selling your stuff!
3. Productivity is increasing.
Although there are some downsides to the self-service world of the internet, there are also some major productivity gains to be had. Software services like Zero, Dropbox and CRM platforms will help businesses become more productive, become more accountable to the stats and figures and improve access to your customers. So think local but act globally. These days we have access to platforms that were previously only ever available to global companies.
4. Marketing online is about telling instead of selling.
“Tell me not sell me” is the catchphrase of consumers in 2018 and beyond. With the growth of social media, we are more connected than ever and buying things we don’t even need! The business world is no longer about meeting demand but creating demand, and the only way to create demand is to tell a story that your customers connect with. A customer wants to know how you solve their pain points. As small business marketers, we need to become storytellers, we need to somehow retain the human-to-human element even if most of our interactions are online.
5. Keeping up with the demand for real-time responses, while still getting some sleep.
With the growth of messenger apps and big B2C companies setting the standard for instant response times and click to door service, the slow leisurely pace of the 90s is never coming back! The challenge has been set, now small businesses are having to step up and use automated messaging and bot services to provide the instant service and offer longer line customer service, while still retaining their sanity!
6. Knowledge is the new currency but applying that knowledge is the true superpower.
Every small business owner now has access to an encyclopedia of knowledge about marketing but how do you take that knowledge and apply it to your own business?
This is where coaching programs and business mentorship services are coming into their own. Finding a business coach, a mentor or even just a customer willing to give you honest feedback about what to do next, is critical to processing the wealth of knowledge you have about your business and your market and turning it into an actual sale!
Do you need help applying your knowledge?
Don’t miss our FREE live webinar with Balance co-founder Sonya Keenan
Sonya has worked in marketing for 30 odd-years, for big corporates, little corporates and newspapers, and at the same time run several small bricks and mortar retail stores. Sonya is a certified Partner with Digital Marketer (a premier digital marketing education community), Infusionsoft (the leading small business CRM software) and StoryBrand (US copywriting gurus). Sonya loves helping small business with this stuff so jump on board.
RESERVE YOUR SPOT AT SONYA’S FREE WORKSHOP HERE