Talk to any successful small business owner about how to start a small business, and they will tell you it takes time, planning, commitment and a lot of help and support from others along the way.
As the only bank in Australia with branches run by small business owners, we understand that turning a dream into a reality (and keeping it afloat) doesn’t come without hard work and know-how. That's why at BOQ, our people go above and beyond to help our customers through every step of their small business journey.
Here are the tips from our small business banking specialists on how to best start up your business for long-term success.
Have a marketing plan – and implement it
Effective marketing is an essential part of any successful small business plan – and without it, you risk not attracting the steady stream of customers you need to make your business a success.
A good marketing plan helps to spread the word about your business and attracts customers including via your website, social media and online business platforms. Your marketing strategy should also help build your brand awareness, engage your customers, and boost sales to ensure the long-term success and growth of your business.
However, there’s more to small business marketing than meets the eye. So, if social media for business, search engine and content marketing, public relations and pay-per-click advertising are all foreign to you, it’s important you find someone who can support your business goals with the right marketing strategy.
If you don’t have the budget for an internal resource, outsourcing your marketing to an agency or freelance resource is a great way to ensure your business has an effective marketing strategy and plan in place.
Additionally, forming business-to-business relationships also helps build your reputation and expand the potential reach of your marketing efforts in attracting new customers.
Another popular marketing technique is word-of-mouth so be sure to spread the news amongst friends and family members and ask them to help you promote your business to their personal and business networks.
Build customer loyalty
According to customer relationship management (CRM) software provider, HubSpot, investing in new customers is between five and twenty five times more expensive than retaining existing ones. So, even if your marketing efforts have paid off and you are starting to attract the right customers, you should be working equally as hard to make sure they keep coming back.
Strong, personable customer relationships built on trust are the backbone of any small business. That’s because if you continue to meet your customers’ needs over time, this will eventually lead to customer loyalty, repeat purchases and recommendations. But what can you do to keep this level of loyalty high? The answer all lies in your approach to customer service.
According to HubSpot, 93 per cent of customers are likely to make repeat purchases with businesses that offer excellent customer service. Whether you distribute feedback forms, ask for verbal comments or submit a poll on social media, there are many ways to find out how you can provide better customer service and keep customers coming back for more.
Many businesses who make attracting new customers part of their growth strategy make the mistake of forgetting their loyal existing customers. So, make sure you focus your attention equally between acquiring new customers and retaining existing customers.
Get the business banking support you need to grow
There are a number of fixed and variable costs associated with running an SME business, and estimates of these should be taken into account when you write your business plan . Taking all expected costs into account will help you to write a business case if you are a start-up business and ensure you have an accurate idea of what it takes to keep afloat once you are up and running.
The reality is that not every small business has the capital to cover the costs associated with their business growth goals. Whether you are wanting to expand your premises, buy a new business car or equipment, or open a franchise business it’s important that you have the business finance and equipment to support your growth plans.
Talking to a small business banking expert will also help you understand what financial assistance you may need to support your business growth – whether you need to apply for a business loan, equipment finance or find out about government support for small business owners.
Contact us to find out more about how BOQ Business can support your small business.