One might think that the best secrets for small businesses come from recognized expert sources. The real experts, however, are the people in the trenches – small business owners!
I recently caught up with one of our long-term clients to understand what we can do better to support their business. As we talked, it became clear that the majority of advice given to them was passed on from a friend or another small business.
It emphasized the value community but brought to light some key secrets that small businesses should be aware of. We have brought together here some of our best kept secrets for small businesses to help you and your business’s journey.
These are the 5 little-known secrets for small businesses:
1. Find a community of small businesses
Given that the premise of this article is based on secrets for small businesses shared by other small business owners, it makes sense to start with finding a community – This is where the best secrets originate.
Small business owners tend to hang out in certain communities. These can be small businesses that provide support in areas of a business or in dealing with competitors in the industry.
The first step in joining a community is to find out where like-minded business owners are hanging out. Some communities are great for sharing ideas and collaborating. In the UK, BNI and Chambers of Commerce are great places to start. In these groups, business owners meet up regularly, typically once a month, which provides a good opportunity to build relationships with other small businesses.
2. Don’t underestimate marketing
Whether you’re a B2B or B2C business, you must prioritize the marketing of your business. One of the best secrets for small businesses is that your marketing efforts now are crucial to the revenue generation of your business, even in the long term.
Marketing can have a profound impact on your lead generation, and as a small business, you may not know where to look.
Start by analyzing your competitors closely and looking at what marketing channels they are using. Take what they’re using, make it better and maximize your lead generation efforts.
We would recommend starting with:
- Your website
- Google PPC
- Outbound email marketing
3. Use a virtual assistant
Whether you’re a seasoned veteran working in a small business or starting a new venture, you know the impact that admin can have on your workload.
One of the most common secrets for small businesses is to delegate whenever possible. Most small business owners aren’t quite sure how to do this, and who to delegate to.
The rise of virtual assistants has been driven mainly by more and more businesses finding out about them. This makes hiring them one of the best kept secrets for small businesses.
With a virtual assistant, you can delegate admin and secretarial tasks, and you only pay for the time you use.
4. Do your research before purchasing data
As mentioned before, a common marketing strategy is to go outbound and purchase data, then send a lot of great emails and turn them into sales – that’s the goal!
However, without the right research and know-how, this strategy can potentially have long lasting negative implications for your business. This is another “don’t do” among the 5 little known secrets for small businesses – a key risk that all small businesses should be aware of. What you want to avoid is your email sending domain getting flagged as a ‘spam sender’.
Purchasing data is a high-risk strategy, so do make sure you do thorough research first. We would recommend finding the right supplier, too, before purchasing data. Find a supplier who is there to support you and guarantee a return.
5. Hiring is the most difficult thing you will do
Now this one might seem simple, but is the most often missed of our 5 little-known secrets for small businesses. People are the most important part of your business, and the challenge of hiring is enhanced when you are a small business.
Hiring the right person to join your company, and make an impact is possibly the biggest hurdle of them all. The challenge when hiring someone new is that they not only need to have the skills to fit the role, but the ability to integrate with your culture.
We would recommend taking a hiring course sooner than later because getting hiring wrong can be very costly!