5 Ways to Save Your Small Business August 15 2014

Making money as an independent retailer has become increasingly difficult.  Today working harder is no longer enough.  Instead, small retailers must work smarter to capture their share of business.  Here are five ways to help your small business survive in this ever-changing economy.

   1.  Have a website and sell on your website.

If you don't have a website, you are missing out on a huge opportunity for e-commerce.  You don't need to have any technical or design experience to easily create a beautiful online store with so many free or relatively cheap website design companies out there.  Allowing your customers to place their orders online is critical to keeping up with consumer behavior.  Although e-commerce revenue is not rising at the high double-digit rates it was several  years ago, it is still rising faster than retail in general.  Don't miss out! 

   2.  Tap into existing marketplaces.

Although eBay and Amazon are the powerhouses, there are lots of e-commerce marketplaces already in place to offer you another outlet to sell your products.  Selling your products on an existing online marketplace may be the most straightforward way to start selling online. Third party sites already have an established member base that you can tap into for your own business.

   3.  Get on local business listings.

Many websites like Google and Yelp love local businesses.  If you haven’t setup your Google local listing or Yelp page, do it today.  These are two of the best free advertising means for your small business.  It allows consumers to find your business easily and it's free to you.  Once you have set up these pages, ask your customers to leave you reviews.  The more great reviews you have gets your listing higher up on the results page and makes new customers more likely to shop from you.  Besides Google and Yelp, there are several other websites offering free listings, leverage as many as you can.

   4.  Utilize e-mail marketing to stay in front of your customers.

Why does e-mail marketing present such a benefit over other more traditional forms of marketing?  Reduced time, effort and cost are the biggest benefits.  You can produce an e-mail marketing campaign n typically less than two hours.  Using recurring email templates, all you'll need to do is to approve the copy for the email and any changes to graphics, use easy database list queries to decide which customers to send to, and then just hit send. All this can be accomplished in just a few hours and by a single employee.  Keep your customers informed of sales, new products or anything else you think they should know.

   5.  Utilize social media.

Social media is an extremely effective way to stay in front of your customers.  Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook are the most popular platforms and are all completely free to use.  Each one has a different way of engaging with people, so do some homework and find out the best way to leverage each one to its fullest potential.  Social media platforms present a completely new opportunity to instantly deliver messages to millions of people. The impact on public relations is simply ground shaking.