Small businesses have a unique feel and close-knit culture that’s often harder for large companies to replicate. So if you’re a small business that’s starting to grow, you need to take some precautions to hold onto that.
These are five of the ways in which you can retain that small business feel as you scale:
Value your staff
It’s important to keep making your staff feel valued and rewarded as the business grows. As your venture scales, it’s easy for your staff to stop communicating in the same way — you can lose the cooperative team spirit that you have as a small team.
Try to find ways to keep communication open for everyone — this could include weekly or daily team meetings, monthly meetings for the whole business, and regular social activities. And make sure you keep acknowledging and rewarding hardworking employees.
It’s also essential that any new staff are not only fully trained to do their job to the same high standards, but that they also understand your business. They need to know the history, your values, and your goals. To retain your small business feel, everyone involved needs to be passionate about it and motivated to make it a success.
Reward your loyal customers
As your business grows, you might have less time for interacting with your customers. But repeat customers that have been there since the beginning should be valued. You’ve provided products and customer service that’s made them keep coming back, so it’s important that you maintain those relationships. Your early customers are probably your biggest advocates and word of mouth recommendations should never be underestimated.
Valuing your oldest customers will also help you to build similar relationships with new customers. Reward programs and referral schemes are a good way to make sure your customers stay loyal and spread the world. There’s a number of different ways to implement a reward system — but most importantly it needs to provide real value to your customers.
Keep your blog up to date
A blog might not seem like an important aspect of your business as it grows, but it’s essential to keep it up to date so you can continue to grow your organic traffic. Plus your blog is also a way to connect with your customers old and new — it gives them useful information, insights into your company, and helps build a relationship with shoppers.
Keep it up to date with fresh content that provides value to readers or entertains them — it’ll keep them coming back to your website and your business. There are lots of different types of content formats you can use to keep it engaging, from profiles of your team members to product tutorials. Video content is also a good way to engage more with your visitors.
Variety is the spice of life, and the same principle applies to your content strategy as well. It’s what connects you with your customers on a deeper, more meaningful level, so it’s something worth investing time and resources in.
Keep offering great customer service
It’s easy to spend your time and resources on other aspects of the business, but successful small businesses are built on great customer service. Often one of the best things about a small business is how approachable they are — if you call them up or drop an email then you can usually expect a decent reply pretty quickly.
As a business grows you’ll inevitably have to streamline your customer service. It might be that you implement a ticket system or you use a chatbot to filter through messages, but receiving an automated response that you’ll get back to them within 24-48 hours can feel very impersonal.
Try to always have someone available to respond to questions during standard working hours at the very least, and keep on top of your messages. The time you take to reply to a question is the time when someone might be considering one of your competitors.
Stick to your key products
As the business scales up, you’ll expand and develop your product range, but if people know and love your brand based on some of your key products then it’s important that you stick with them. You start out by picking your niche, your product range, and then you build your business on it. If you completely change direction or get rid of your original products you’re going to lose loyal customers.
Part of the small business feel is that you sell specific products and you know them inside out — you can offer expertise and advice. You should improve and develop your best-selling products, expand the range, and move into other areas by carefully analyzing your sales and the success of your products.
These are just some of the ways in which you can maintain your small business feel. The key is to know and understand what has made your business successful to this point and to actively focus on maintaining those aspects of your business.
Rodney Laws is an online entrepreneur who has been building online businesses for over a decade. He knows what it’s like to see websites both succeed and fail – even the best business ideas can fall short. Find out how he can help you by visiting EcommercePlatforms.io or heading over to @EcomPlatformsio.