As an entrepreneur running your own startup, the work never seems to end, and 24 hours is suddenly never enough. It’s more than a full-time job to keep a business running, so we sometimes forget to do the things that will actually scale your startup to the next level. These are 20 tips that just may help you make more money, so that you can keep doing what you love, and maybe afford to hire an extra help to reach your long-term goals.
20. Create a List of Goals
Everyone who runs a small business has the goal of making more money some day, but a surprising number of people never actually sit down and make a proper business plan and re-visit it to check on their progress. As an entrepreneur, you won’t have a boss or manager telling you the most important things to get done on any given day. By writing your short-term and long-term goals down in black and white, it makes it much easier to figure out your priorities on a day-to-day basis. Re-visiting your goals can also give you a big sense of accomplishment, and motivate you to keep moving forward.
An example of a goal you might set would be a certain dollar amount per month in sales. Divide that number up by business days. If it is an increase of $100 per day in sales, for example, it seems a less overwhelming than saying you want an extra few thousand dollars a month. Once you have these figures in mind, it is easier to dissect each of your goals and form a game plan.
Major corporations will hire an employee to run their social media pages, because they understand just how important it is to connect with the public on those platforms. This might seem like common sense, but a lot of people simply make a Facebook page for their business, and they think they’re done using social media. Some businesses even make the page, but then forget to ever update it on a regular basis or even check it out. This can turn into a disaster if customers start leaving negative comments about your business, and you haven’t even responded. Other companies fail to sign up and update Twitter or Instagram, as well.
When your company is on multiple forms of social media, it encourages your customers to share their experience with their friends. If they cannot tag your company, they will never tell their friends about it, and you will probably lose a lot of money in the process.
SEO, or “Search Engine Optimization” can make or break your business in today’s world of modern technology. If people cannot find your business when searching for related keywords on Google, they probably don’t even know it exists. There are several books on Amazon that will teach you about the different SEO techniques out there. Just make sure it is up-to-date, because Google changes their algorithm all the time. Tips and tricks from five years ago may not be relevant today. You could also hire a freelance expert to help you optimize your website and give you tips on how to improve your specific business.
The advice to advertise locally seems old-fashioned, especially if you have an internet-based business with customers who may or may not be in the same geographical location as you. However, ad space in local community bulletins and newspapers are often very cheap to purchase. It may be $10 per ad, and you could choose to run it only once a week in the Sunday paper, when the most papers get sold. Just keep in mind that people almost never notice a newspaper advertisement the first time they are looking over the paper. It’s really after multiple times of seeing the same ad over and over again in the paper before someone takes a new product or service seriously, thinks about buying it, and eventually make the purchase. This can also generate word-of-mouth recommendations.
Using influencers to get eyes on your brand can be an effective but expensive process. For example, YouTubers with a big audience can get great results, but they will often cost a small fortune to hire them. During an interview with Vogue, Bella Thorne revealed that she charges between $50,000 to $100,000 for Instagram mentions and posts. This sounds like a lot of money, but she has 18.3 million young followers who really look up to her. Jake Paul and David Dobrik sometimes charge millions for their brand deals to mention a product in a video. They have 17 and 10 million followers, respectively.
If you think this sounds like a ridiculous amount of money to pay a social media star, it’s really not. To put things into perspective, over 100 million people watch the Super Bowl every year, and yet a 30-second commercial during the game costs $1 Billion. Divide that audience by 10, and you still have $100 million. In a way, these brands are truly getting a bargain at just $1 million for an advertisement that will stay on this person’s YouTube channel or Instagram for years to come, instead of just 30 seconds.
If these huge numbers are making your head spin, don’t worry just yet. There is an entire subset of so-called “Micro-influencers” out there on the Internet. Some social media stars have smaller followings around a niche topic of just a few thousand people, and they might be willing to advertise for you in exchange for a free products or a few hundred dollars. Try to look into the social media influencers in your respective field, and reach out to them about advertising.
If you have an office for your business, chances are that you are working next to other entrepreneurs. Even if your fields are totally different from one another, it is still worth taking the time to network. You never know if your friendly relationship will develop into a business opportunity, or spread word-of-mouth to help you find new customers.
Since we’re talking about networking, it is always a good rule of thumb to network as much as humanly possible. Go to conventions, events, and festivals in order to meet other people in your industry.
It’s no secret that Amazon.com has become a huge part of retail in the United States, and there is no denying that a lot of people will buy a product simply because it’s available on Amazon Prime. They have a program that connects companies with reviewers, who will give honest feedback on your product listing. This program is not cheap, but for those that have used it, the results are massive.
Sometimes, you can run a contest to drum up attention about your business. Think about the McDonald’s Monopoly contest. You have probably never won anything bigger than a sandwich, and yet the idea that you could possibly win a vacation or a million dollars is enough to cause people to ruin their diets with fast food.
As a small business, there are several ways to go about doing this. You can offer an entry in exchange for following your business on social media.
12. Expand Your Sales By Adding Products On Multiple Platforms
If you sell a product, you probably have sales set up on an online platform, or you partnered with a local retailer who agreed to sell your items. Even if you have successfully started selling your products in one place, that doesn’t mean you should sit back and wait for customers to find you. With so many options on the Internet, you need to work on getting your item on multiple platforms. For example, if you sell vintage clothes, you can put it on eBay, Poshmark, Etsy, Instagram, Facebook Marketplace, and also rent a space at a local antique mall. If you invented a new product that you had made in China, you can sell it on your main website, eBay, Amazon, and reach out to both big and small retailers.
Nowadays, people might shop at a few different websites before they settle on a brand. If they see your company name popping up in more places, it builds a sense of familiarity, and they will be more likely to pick your brand. It also simply brings your products in front of more sets of eyes. Even if you have a digital product or service, you can still put it on multiple platforms to accommodate people who use both Android and Apple. Try to think about all of the sales channels possible.
Even if you do not consider yourself to be a great writer, you can establish your expertise in your field by writing your own blog posts on Medium.com. In these posts, you can answer commonly asked questions that customers may have about your product, and let people know more about your brand story. Blog posts are great for link-building in your business, and it also helps people feel confident that your brand is worth their time and money.
Entrepreneur.com and Forbes will sometimes allow entrepreneurs to write guest blog posts. It’s not exactly an easy process to get on there, but business owners who have name-dropped their own product, service, or consulting usually get a lot of great feedback when they write a guest post. However, there are other finance and business websites out there who strictly prohibit guest posts, because they do not want their normal content flooded with self-aggrandizing posts. If you have a website in mind, do some research on their submission guidelines, and contact their editor.
If you are willing to flaunt your business in the public eye, you can buy a customized vinyl decal on Etsy for $10 to $20, and place it on the back of your car window, or on back or side of your vehicle. During bumper-to-bumper traffic, people cannot help by stare at the back of your car, anyway. Even simply having the name of your website might be enough for curious people from your town to look up your business. It’s a relatively small price to pay for the chance to get a new customer.
If you have been clothes shopping at all in the last ten years, you have probably experienced a sales person asking for your e-mail address, or asking if you want to join the store’s reward program. If you begin saving the e-mail addresses of your customers, you can send them news letters and inform them about new products when they come out.
Truth be told, a lot of these emails end up in spam, or they will unsubscribe from your list if it gets to be too much. Keep in mind that if you start an email list, you need to be consistent about it too, otherwise, it won’t generate as many new customer leads as you may think.
If you go on a road trip and travel into an unfamiliar town, you may have already experienced typing into Google “coffee shop near me” or “gas station near me”. A photo, address, and rating will pop up, and people can click on that address, which automatically brings up Google Maps to help bring them there. This doesn’t just happen on its own, though. As the business owner, you have to add all of that information into Google. Take detailed photos of your business, and maybe ask your friends and family to leave some five-star reviews, so that you get started off on the right foot.
If you have a business where you make products to sell to people, and you are struggling to sell your first item, it may seem counterproductive to develop a new one. On the contrary, it can often be a great move for a budding entrepreneur.
Joy Mangano became famous for selling her “Magic Mop”, but it didn’t stop there. She moved on to invent and sell other household products, so her name is associated with helpful household gadgets. If she stopped developing new products after the “Magic Mop”, she may not be as successful as she is today.
Once you start developing new products on a regular basis, you can develop what’s called “a sales funnel”. If you’re not familiar with this marketing technique, it is basically giving someone a product that leads into them buying another product, and so on. Pokemon is a great example of this. Nintendo started out with a video game on Gameboy, and it lead to comic books, a card game, and so much more merchandise. Once kids got hooked on the game, they went on to buy other products associated with the brand.
If you are unfamiliar with the world of cryptocurrency, you may be afraid to get started. But if you are willing to do some time and research into how it all works, you may actually find that accepting assets like XRP will increase your customer base.
Blockchain technology is here to stay, but governments around the world are still catching up to regulation. In some cities, like New York City, you need something called a “Bit License” to start accepting cryptocurrency as payment. In other jurisdictions, all you need to do is account for the income on your taxes just like you would with any other type of money.
If you are even considering accepting cryptocurrency for your business, make an account on Coinbase first. At this point, it is the most user-friendly way to buy and sell your cryptocurrency. Do some research on how to accept any of your respective digital assets that you may be interested in.
3. Create Promotions Through Apps Like Groupon and RetailMeNot
If you have a restaurant, entertainment, or service business, putting up a discount on Groupon can be a great way to attract people’s attention in your local area. There are plenty of people on a budget who will browse through the Groupon app looking for a new place to go on the weekend. In many cases, people may not know your business exists unless they see it on a discount program first. Even though these customers are not paying full price, the whole idea is to get people to try out your product or service and be willing to come back in the future. With RetailMeNot, you can submit a coupon, as well, and it goes to customers that are beyond the scope of your local area.
A lot of small business owners dread checking out their business on Yelp, or they go on angry rants about snobby Millennials writing nasty comments about their restaurant or bar. As a business owner, you have the ability to make your own account, verify your business, and respond to your customer’s concerns. Even if you get a negative review, people appreciate seeing the business owner’s response to criticism.
It is against the rules to ask a customer to take down a negative review, and you can’t bribe them with free stuff, either. However, if you give a genuine apology and explain that you have taken steps to correcting the problem, that is often enough to satisfy an unhappy customer. A sincere apology may be enough for them to take a negative review down without you even asking.
Filming a commercial and airing it on TV is very expensive, and you may not be able to afford that if you’re still a startup. But we are lucky to live in a day and age when pretty much everyone has a camera on their smartphone, and uploading a video on YouTube is completely free. If you have a product that you are trying to sell to your customers, it is really helpful to film a YouTube tutorial showing people how to actually use it. Once those videos are online, you can also embed those videos onto your website.
Even if your company is an app, service, or consulting firm, you may also benefit from making a YouTube channel…That is, if you’re comfortable being on camera.