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Expert Answers to Biz Questions

Listen in! Pick up some expert advice to a reader's question that we selected from CyberSchmooz.

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How to Improve Small Business Success in Uncertain Times

 

When you are dreaming of starting your own business you feel the passion and energy that accompanies becoming an entrepreneur. After years of working in office cubicles for bosses who never really seem to care you finally reached that point in your life where you want more. You need work that has meaning, you need to create something you can be proud of and most of all you need to see the birth of your dream in the world. One of the things you quickly learn in any small business is that you are ultimately responsible for everything. You can have off days when you work for a corporation but when it's your own firm there's a constant queue at your door. From managing staff to creating a great marketing plan, you are the one who has to make things a success. It's especially challenging when your company is thrust into uncertain times and you have to suddenly navigate in a completely changed world.

Get the Advanced Training You Need

As a small business owner, you must have the tools and knowledge to succeed. When you are in charge of everything you have to have strong skills in marketing, sales, finance, human relations and operations. Fortunately, by enrolling in a top-notch university's business program, you can boost your knowledge and improve your business acumen. When you are in a time of great change you can't postpone signing up for the courses you need. In order to finance your education, it's helpful to take out private student loans so you'll be able to enroll right away and pay the loans off over time. Getting a cosigner for your private student loan is a great idea too. With the right cosigner, you'll often be able to get a better rate from financial companies.

Get to Know Your Customers

It seems so simple to make a statement like 'really get to know your customers'. Yet most companies really don't know seem to know their customers at all. This is where small businesses have a huge advantage over regional and national firms. You can grow your firm if you take the time to really listen to your customers and understand their motivations and needs. One of the best ways to advance your business is to create a marketing database. For each customer or prospect you should have complete demographic information and a full profile of their buying habits. Ideally, you'll also want to add information about products they'd like to see you offer, things they have shopped for online and other data that you can use for targeted marketing campaigns.

Develop Innovative Offerings That Tap into Current Trends

With the pandemic, many small businesses have seen their world turned upside down. The tourism and hospitality industries have been decimated. Gyms, hair salons and other personal service enterprises have endured long shutdowns and some are still not open. Although there has been some government assistance, it's not enough to keep things going for most ventures. To survive you have to move quickly and adapt. Take a look at the business scene with new eyes and focus on what the needs and desires are now. Some restaurants have kept the doors open by pivoting to offer groceries and specialty foods even as supermarkets were having shortages. Consumers are longing for comfort and fun, so new products like restaurant meal kits delivered fresh right to your door would be very profitable at this time.

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