If you’ve recently set up a business of your own, chances are, you’ve realised that you’re not alone in this venture. Throughout the course of the coronavirus and Covid-19 pandemic, countless individuals decided to change their career paths and take their income and roles into their own hands by setting up their own company and becoming their own boss. This, of course, was only logical and to be expected. The spread of Covid-19 around the world saw countless companies struggling to operate alongside social distancing and social isolation guidelines, resulting in company collapse, mass redundancies and, ultimately, a lot of people out of work. Periods of furlough also saw people having time to reflect on their job roles and many found that they’d rather have more independence, more flexible working and start a company themselves. Now, this is great. Running your own business comes hand in hand with a host of benefits. Choosing what you sell, having a say over who you work with, deciding where you want to work from, opting for your own working hours rather than making requests to managers for any flexibility. But with so many people starting businesses at once, the market has grown increasingly saturated. Many people are wondering what they can do to help their company stand out from the crowd. If this sounds familiar to you, here are a few suggestions that can help you to achieve this goal!
The first thing you need to do when it comes to helping your business stand out is to focus on your company’s branding. At the end of the day, branding is the only thing that helps consumers differentiate one company from another. Branding provides your company with its own distinct name, style, tone of voice and aesthetic. Each of these things will help customers associate the products you’re selling with your business, as opposed to anyone else. It also helps consumers to build a sense of brand loyalty, feeling connected to your brand and wanting to be associated with it. When you think about how important branding is, it becomes clear that you need to spend a lot of time, effort and money creating a brand that works. McDonalds only sell burgers, but everyone in the world knows McDonalds and will likely think of this chain as soon as they want a burger, heading there, spending money and generating profit for the company.
Creating a Brand
While it’s clear that branding is important, few people really know where to start when it comes to branding their own business. The first step is to sit down and determine what kind of brand you want. Who are you selling to? What will appeal to them? What are they looking for? Knowing the answers to these questions from the get-go can help to get things right the first time around and can make sure you don’t spend a fortune on rebranding in the future.
Finding an Agency
The majority of business owners don’t have the knowledge, time or expertise required to successfully brand their business independently. Instead, most will opt for an agency. This is a good idea, as it puts you in touch with branding specialists who can lift the weight from your shoulders. This will come at a cost, but it is almost always worth it. They will be able to discuss what you’re selling, who you’re selling to and will be able to create a brand that ticks your boxes and will prove popular with the consumer market. Of course, when choosing an agency, you should make sure to read their reviews to determine whether there services have been good to other clients.
Another area you’re going to need to focus on is SEO. Chances are you have a website for your business set up, whether you’re a purely E-Commerce store, or whether you have brick and mortar stores too. Websites are a great space to promote and sell your goods, but with the internet awash with different options and so many competitors, how can you secure people’s custom before they shop with someone else? This is where SEO comes into play. “SEO” stands for “search engine optimisation” and will help your website rank as highly in search engine results as possible. When people use keywords associated with what you’re selling, chances are, they’re going to shop with one of the first few sites that appears in their search engine results. You want your site to rank first, second or third to maximise your chances of securing a sale. For small businesses, the best option tends to be outsourcing this work to an agency that specialises in SEO. This is a constantly changing field of expertise, meaning it is a full time job and commitment keeping up to date with changes to algorithms and ensuring you know how to rank well. If your business rapidly grows, you may then want to hire an in-house SEO specialist who can keep a constant eye on your website and its performance.
Promotional campaigns are a great way to catch consumers’ eyes and attention. There are countless ways to go about this, but often, if you’re selling products, activities such as sampling, leafleting and having promotional staff talk to people about your products is a good idea. People love to actually try or get a feel for something before buying it and offering them this opportunity can help to raise brand and product awareness, as well as encouraging sales on the day or later down the line. Consider attending exhibitions, trade shows and other shows, setting up stands and campaigns in heavy footfall areas and more. Quality promotional staff who are familiar with your brand and products are also a great asset, helping to spread the word of your offerings and building actual relations with people who could become loyal, lifelong customers.
What is A Trade Show or Exhibition?
If you’re unfamiliar with trade shows and exhibitions, or haven’t attended one before, you may be wondering what it actually is and how it will work. Put simply, a trade show or exhibition is a public display where various companies get together in a large space and members of the public walk around, seeing what they have to offer. Most often, these events take place in dedicated exhibition centres, which contain huge halls where traders can set up a host of stands to exhibit their goods from. When attending exhibitions, you may also see demonstrations, as well as shows on stages where certain goods are promoted. Exhibitions tend to be visited by members of the public (making it a B2C event), while trade shows tend to be attended by other businesses and professionals (making it a B2B event).
Choosing Your Stand
If you decide to attend a trade show or exhibition, it’s important that you choose the best stand possible. They are generally sold before the event, with different placements and sizes costing different amounts to reserve. Stalls in heavy footfall areas of the venue, such as near main walkways, tend to cost more. Larger stands also generally cost more, as they provide you with more space to display more products and also give a more grand and professional appearance. Make sure to set yourself a budget and then choose the best stand for the price you’re willing and able to pay.
Customer service is important for any business. But having phenomenal customer service can put you above and beyond your competition, encouraging customers to stay loyal to your brand rather than switching. You can often find that businesses with particularly good customer service retain customers, even if a competitor is offering similar products or services at a lower price. But how can you provide phenomenal customer service? Here are some tips that can help you to achieve this.
- Offer multiple means of contact – different people like to contact and communicate with companies in different ways. Some like to be able to speak over the phone to a person for direct and clear discussion and answers. Some like to be able to use instant messaging, so they can talk without having a voice to voice conversation with someone. Others will like email response, so they can send a query and read the answer in their inbox as and when they’re ready. By offering as many different modes of communication as possible, customers are likely to feel more comfortable contacting you.
- Be available as often as possible – sure, most small businesses simply do not have the means to provide 24/7 customer support. But by being available as often as you possibly can, you can encourage sales by resolving customer queries and promoting your goods soon after they get in touch.
Of course, there are plenty more ways to get your brand name and offerings out there, but hopefully, some of those outlined above should get the ball rolling. Sure, this may sound like a lot of time and effort, but at the end of the day, this is what it’s going to take to really make your business stand out from the crowd!