A small business has numerous advantages over their enterprise counterparts. They’re agile, able to optimize and make company-wide changes faster than large businesses.
Not to mention small businesses are better at delivering personalized customer service, which allows them to develop long-term relationships with their customers.
However, running a small business isn’t without its share of hurdles. In a survey of 1,100 SMBs in the United States, increasing profits is the number one challenge for 45% of the survey participants.
If you are in the same boat, you will want to read on and discover four simple ideas that can give your profits a nice boost.
Businesses around the world spend a great deal of money to recruit top talent, up to $3,300 per hire. And if there’s one group of people who can make or break your business’ bottom-line, it’s your employees. The same people you have greatly invested in to hire.
If they’re disengaged, demotivated, or stressed, the entire company takes a hit. But if you keep your employees happy, productivity gets a nice boost.
A 2015 study from the University of Warwick found that happy employees are 12% more productive than their dissatisfied counterparts. Not to mention the merry bunch are more collaborative, creative, and effective in doing work.
And when productivity soars, so does profits! Several studies have linked profitability to productivity. For the Fortune 100 Best Companies To Work For, their happy employees led to an average revenue increase of 22.2%.
So how do you keep employees happy and productive?
Here are some ideas:
Check out your sales pipeline and statistics. Is it full of outstanding deals? Are new customers hard to come by? If you answered ‘yes’ to both questions, perhaps it’s time for a month-long push for sales!
And for a sales push to succeed, you want to get the sales team on the act.
Selling can grow tedious and boring, especially for long-time employees. So shake things up and rekindle the fire of your sales team. Incentivize sales beyond the norm. Reward your salespeople for generating new business and upselling current customers.
For a double-whammy, consider offering a special or discounted deal to first-time customers. Doing so will not only attract new business. It also gives your salespeople another reason to reach out to potential clients.
Now, a business can carry out a sales campaign on multiple fronts - face-to-face meetings, social media, and even through the phone. But if you must focus on one marketing channel, consider using email.
One may feel that email is a dinosaur with all the social media networks, messaging apps, and other trendy communication platforms available. But time and again, email rises above other marketing channels in the ROI department.
Did you know that a dollar spent on email marketing gives $43 in return? That’s a 4,300% return on investment! And if that’s not convincing enough, know that email also generates 50% more sales-ready leads, which creates 20% more sales opportunities than non-nurtured leads.
Part of email’s success as a marketing medium is its nurturing nature. When you send emails to update customers on your latest deals and to deliver valuable content, you show that you are looking after the people in your list.
The cloud lets users access shared storage and applications sitting on a network of remote servers. With the cloud, employees can do work like they would using a PC fitted with the tools they need - but without the need to install, update, and manage applications using on-site computers.
The way the cloud works means users won’t have to pay for pricey hardware and software. The large cash outlay is replaced by low monthly fees where you only pay for what you use.
And for small businesses, this translates to reducing costs and increasing profits.
Rackspace, Manchester Business School, and Vanson Bourne surveyed 1,300 US and UK companies, looking at how using the cloud affected these businesses.
The end of the survey saw 88% of the cloud adopters reduce their operational expenses while 56% even increased their profits through cloud-based solutions. And for 62% of the companies that reduced their costs, the cloud-generated savings gave them more spending power for product development, workforce expansion, and better employee compensation.
So next time you’re on the market for business software and tools, see if you can find a good cloud-based solution. Chances are, it can be just as robust as a server or desktop software but without the high licensing fees.
Your current customers are well-equipped to market your product or service through word of mouth (WOM). They know how it works. They know the specific challenges and problems it solves. And most important, they know your company and the people behind it.
And guess what:
Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the best ways to generate more business.
For 84% of consumers, people they know are the most trustworthy source of product recommendations. And in the B2B space, 91% of decision-makers use recommendations and referrals in their buying decisions.
But how do you turn paying customers to brand advocates and marketers for your brand?
Build an attractive referral program for your customers.
For the cloud storage service Dropbox, this meant adopting a double-sided rewards program where both the referrer and referral get extra storage for free. The rewards program gave their sign-ups a permanent 60% boost!
Today, Dropbox is a leading name in online storage and backup. The service now boasts over 500 million users who upload 1.2 billion files to their servers daily.
Learn from Dropbox and countless other startups who grew by epic proportions thanks to their customers. Sit down with your top 10 or 20 clients to see what rewards would appeal to them the most, and build an attractive referral program based on that.
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