In order to succeed, small business owners must have a knack for predicting the future. Rather than just rely on their inherent desire to be an entrepreneur, they must also carry a figurative crystal ball with them at all times, keeping abreast of any and all trends that will help earn business.
Whether you are running a small pet supply company, a computer software business or a mom-and-pop toy shop, the following five trends are especially important and useful in today’s market.
Mobile Marketing is Major
The world is spending more time than ever on their phones. According The Greenville News, more than 50 percent of people in the United States have a smartphone, and the number of folks who have a tablet has just about doubled. In addition, most people read their email on their phones. As a result, small business owners have to make sure their websites and their emails are mobile-phone friendly.
As an article on Technori.com explained, business owners need to look into responsive web design, which means creating a system that ensures their sites will look good and work well on a regular PC as well as a smartphone.
Respect the Power of the Consumer
In the good old days, both happy and disgruntled customers shared their thoughts about a company with their neighbors and friends—probably on a rotary telephone. Now, they can tell everyone about their experiences on review websites such as Yelp and social media sites. As the Miami Herald points out, smart small business owners need to be aware of the ever-growing power of the consumer and be absolutely certain they are delivering top-notch products and customer service. Just how powerful is a site like Yelp? Pymnts.com cited 2013 a survey of Yelp users, which found more than half of the respondents said they made purchasing decisions after using the social media review site.
Choose Your Credit Card Wisely
At times, small business owners may have to rely on a credit card to purchase supplies and other products necessary to run their company. Before plunking down their regular old Visa card to buy what they need, small business owners should do their research and find the best credit card that will work for them. American Express small business cards such as the Plum are especially popular right now. This card allows business owners to have some say in how much they have to pay each month towards their balance.
Be Social Media Savvy
Most people think of Facebook and Twitter as great ways to connect with old friends, but they also offer terrific ways to advertise. Small business owners can pay these incredibly popular sites to be sure all of their friends and followers see their posts or to guarantee posts end up on the pages of folks who have listed specific hobbies. A terrific example of how powerful social media can be was described by PunchMedia.com. A study that was conducted on Zappos, a popular online shoe merchant, found each status update that occurred over a two-month period had a 1.75 percent conversation rate. In other words, around one in 50 people made a purchase based on the update alone.
Be the Master of One
Remember the expression, “Jack of all trades, master of none”? While it may be tempting for small business owners to offers all sorts of products and services, the Tennessee Small Business Development Center strongly suggests going for one specific niche. So, instead of trying to sell every type of pet supply known to man, stick to one.
A great example of this philosophy is Starbucks. As an article in the Huffington Post noted, “Starbucks stands for coffee.” Sure, you can buy scones and K-cups and other related items there too, but in general, the company is known for one main thing: Its java—and it promotes it well.
Author: Jason Huff. Before becoming a business and tech writer, Jason managed a small PR agency.