Small businesses are essential to the American economy. In fact, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, small businesses account for about half of all private-sector jobs in America. They have created almost two-thirds of all new jobs since 2000. Many small businesses are also local businesses. Therefore, they need to thrive to grow local economies.
There is a bright future for small local businesses. The New Business Insights: 2022 report released by QuickBooks in December 2021, based on a survey covering the U.S., Canada, and the U.K., showed that 86 percent of respondents valued small local businesses highly and considered them vital to the economy. Up to 57 percent plan to spend more supporting small businesses and local employers.
Suppose you’re a small local business owner. In that case, it’s essential to know what practices you can put into place to achieve this potential growth and success. This article will outline some of the best practices that every small local business should implement to succeed.
Keep Local Customers Engaged
One of the stumbling blocks to buying from local businesses highlighted in the QuickBooks survey was the lack of websites of some local companies. It is, therefore, your priority to set up a professional website optimized for local search and mobile phones.
Remember that people nowadays usually search for businesses nearby on their phones. You want your website to show up when they do.
Your website must also be optimized as an e-commerce store where people can easily find what they need and pay for it seamlessly. You want that quick conversion into a sale. And the more convenient people find it, the more they will return to shop.
Further boost customer engagement by setting up social media accounts and posting actively about your products or services. Keep your customers updated on what’s new with your business. Interact with visitors. These are potential and current customers. Reply promptly to queries.
Make it easy for customers to give feedback and suggestions both on your website and on social media. This way, you can continuously improve your business based on what your customers want and need.
Provide Excellent Customer Service
Always go above and beyond to make sure your customers are happy.
Your website must provide excellent customer service. Include a means for the visitor to contact you by phone, chat, or email and be sure to respond immediately.
Provide real-time tracking for their deliveries. Set up a clear and easy-to-follow process for complaints, returns, replacements, and refunds.
Many customers use social media for their questions or complaints. Handle these promptly and respectfully. Ensure that their concerns are immediately addressed.
Leverage technology to ensure that you manage your e-commerce website and social media accounts efficiently. Get a dedicated business mobile phone to separate your business monitoring and processing from your private phone.
If you have staff, provide them with mobile phones dedicated to your business, as well. This will ensure that all of you are always on the same page and can take shifts in monitoring and replying to customers’ queries.
Use an e-commerce platform that has a point of sale (POS) system so you can keep track of inventory, sales, and customers easily and efficiently. There are many software applications that offer this service, such as Shopify, QuickBooks Commerce, and Sprout Social.
When you’re a small local business, it’s important to give back to the community that supports you. One way to do this is by hiring locally. Your customers will value your business more when you are providing local employment opportunities.
You’re also more likely to find local people with the same values as your business. It will be easier for them to understand your mission and what you’re trying to achieve.
Furthermore, your local employees understand your local customers better. They can provide insights into what they want and need, which can be very valuable to your business.
Sponsor Community Events
Event sponsorship is a great way to market your business to the local community. It shows that you care about the same things they do. When you sponsor an event, your business will be top-of-mind when people are looking for products or services that you offer.
Choose events that are related to your business and would attract your target market. For example, if you sell health products, sponsor a local 5k run or a yoga class. If you have a restaurant, sponsor a food festival.
Keep Growing Your Local Business
So, these are some of the best practices that every small local business should implement to succeed. By following these tips, you will be able to engage your customers better, provide excellent customer service, and leverage technology to improve your efficiency. Hire locally and give back to the community that supports you. Doing so will help you achieve your goals of growth and success.