If you want your business to do well, you want to get new customers both organically and through generated leads, and be good at this. As a start point it’s important to take a little time to figure out what your point of difference is.
Luckily, if you know where to start, there are plenty of different avenues to explore when looking to give your business a little competitive edge. From learning about and utilising websites and social media or understanding your competition better, to simply getting the basics right the first time around, there are many options to give your company a little makeover.
Here are a few different tools you can use right away and make your business an easy first choice to potential customers.
Do the Simple Things, Well
This may seem a little elementary, but you’d be surprised how many businesses get a little too far ahead of themselves before they’ve really nailed the basics. Customers often don’t care for all of the bells and whistles, if you can consistently do a job well.
The first step is to put yourself in their shoes – what would I need to be satisfied by my service? What would make me say “that was a job well done?”, and how could I improve on the service I provide?
The answers to these questions are usually quite straight forward:
- Streamline your processes: ensuring that you have an efficient and clear way of organising your documentation, workforce and job related costs, means that the final service the paying customer receives is a pain-free and easy experience. This could mean arranging a clear workflow so that your workers always arrive on time and spend the right amount of time at each job, or simply logging your invoices and orders digitally. All of these small steps improve the customer experience, and these are the things that’ll keep your customers coming back. If you’re interested in finding out more about clearing up your paperwork, take a look at this helpful blog we’ve put together, here.
- Only take on what you can handle: when there’s a potentially big job on the horizon and you’re already swamped with work, it’s always tempting to take the job on board. Manage your customers expectations and always keep a level head about what your workers can achieve in short periods of time. There’s nothing customers hate more than a late or incomplete job, or something overpromised and underdelivered.
These are two very straight forward points, but even in a digital age, word of mouth still counts and by delivering a top service in these areas you can harvest new job opportunities by being good at these things, which equates to more work and money for your company. Nail the basics first.
Learn from Your Competitors
There’s a lot to be said for being aware of what’s going on around your business, and learning from the mistakes and successes of your competitors. By taking the time to research who you’re competing with and understanding the market better, you’ll gain a better sense of what you can do to improve your business and make it stand out from the rest.
- Research other businesses in your area: take a look at their websites, understand where they are located and what they’re all about. From one quick search online, you can see from a customer’s point of view what might be appealing about other trade business. If you’re interested in finding out more about the customer’s perspective, especially when google searching, have a read through this fantastic article from Tradie Marketing Secrets.
- Analyse the competition: now that you’ve identified who the competition are, take some time to understand what their strengths and weaknesses might be. Are their google reviews negative or positive? What do you think they’re doing well and what do you think they could be doing better? Researching and understanding what keeps your competitors ticking may give you ideas about how you could do things better, but also help you figure out what your company has to offer. If you’re wondering where to start, read this full guide on how to perform a SWOT (Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis on businesses, here.
- Find your point of difference: Now that you know what you’re up against, do they same analysis for your own business. Figure out what you bring to the over-crowded table. Whether it’s an extremely fat service, a good quality job, your mobility or even the quality of your tools or qualifications of your workers, there are endless opportunities to find out what makes your company stand out from the crowd – once you know this, you’ll know what to sell.
Marketing, SEO and Websites
So you’ve got the basics down to a fine art, you’ve identified who your competing against, and you’ve deduced what your edge within the market is and how you can stand out – now it’s time to harness the tools of marketing and the internet to generate new business and get your name out there.
While it might seem like a big learning curve to some, the benefits of having a strong online and marketing presence are what will get your business in front of the right people and those big fish clients you’ve been trying to pin down.
- A website is the new shopfront: customers are turning to the internet to look up local businesses that can help them with their jobs, and your website is the first thing that they will see. Treat your website like a shopfront. If it’s visually appealing, gets across a clear message about who you are and what you do, and has a simple call to action prompting customers to ‘buy’, you’ll be generating leads in no time.
Websites also have the added bonus of sprinkling ‘legitimacy’ over your business. If you have a professional looking website, customers will believe that you’ll provide a professional service. People buy what they trust, and a website is the key to that. There are some fantastic services such as Squarespace that can help you get up and running if you don’t already have a website, so shop around – the tools are right in front of you!
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization): Have you ever wondered why your competition appears in a google search above your company, or perhaps why your listing doesn’t seem to appear at all? There’s an art to getting your website to appear as a top listing, but investing the time into learning how to use key words to appear in font of your customers definitely pays off. Google even provides free courses for those willing to learn, so make sure to take advantage of those if you want to take your marketing into your own hands.
If you’re not willing to put a lot of time into learning how to tailor your website for SEO, you can also go down the avenue of paying google to feature your listing. This can cost anywhere from 10c to $10 per click, and how much you want to invest in this is totally up to you, but remember, google is the modern day equivalent of the yellow papers and it’s where you want to be.
There are plenty of avenues available to help get your name out there and make your small business stand out from the crowd.
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