The excitement of starting a small business can often turn to frantic panic when the reality of making money hits home.
Naturally, you want your business to be a success. But sometimes there seems like so much to do and so little time. Where do you start? What should you focus on first?
Fortunately, we’ve got you covered.
Step away from the noise and the well-meaning internet marketing tips, and read through our comprehensive guide instead. Here are the important actions you need to take to grow your business in 2021.
Go for a Small Business Grant
You can start your business on a minimal budget. But a cash injection in the form of small business grants or small business loans is undeniably helpful for a startup.
You can use those funds to get your business off the ground faster. Try paid advertising, or invest in design or technical support to launch a professional website.
Here is a list of funds, grants, and loans available for new and small businesses in the US: Government Grants and Loans.
Keep Your Setup Costs Low
Not every small business has access to small business grants. So if you a starting on a shoestring budget and haven’t yet hit a comfortable monthly revenue, you’ll want to keep your overheads as low as possible.
One of the easiest ways to do that is to create a simple, low-cost website.
Go for a basic hosting package, pay for your preferred domain name, and use a free WordPress platform for your blog or Shopify (for eCommerce) on a basic monthly package.
Narrow Your Audience
This tip sounds counterproductive, but a narrow audience can help you to grow a new business.
This approach works so well because, when promoting online, you need some way of reaching the billions of online users who could be potential customers. Narrowing that field is the best way to do that.
Stick to a Simple Product Selection
You can spend months researching your target customer to find out what they want. But a far more straightforward approach is to start selling products and see what is proving popular in your industry.
So start with a small selection of products, run some low-cost Facebook or Google ads to each one, and see which items bring in the best ROI (Return On Investment).
Keep Your Branding Sharp
It’s no exaggeration to say you have hundreds of thousands of competitors on the internet. Every day there are another 250,000 websites created worldwide.
So how do you stand out from all those other businesses? One of the best ways is to be clear and unique with your branding. Try going for a bold, daring, individual branding look and feel for your website.
Allow your brand to reach out to your target audience and send a statement about your business. Are you an ethical brand? Are you all about luxury? Maybe you are a small, family-run business.
Make this message loud and clear, and it will help your customers connect on a deeper level with you.
Avoid Competing on Cost
There has never been such easy access to wholesale suppliers as there is now. You can source from America, or you can export from overseas.
You can try dropshipping and cut out the storage costs. But with ease comes new challenges. When your competitors have access to the same great products as you, you can’t get into a fierce price war.
So find another way to differentiate your business without trying to be the cheapest.
Perhaps you can bundle some products together and add value that way. Or what about creating custom packaging for a product that will give your product a premium feel?
Grow a Solid Social Media Profile
Why do small businesses love social media?
Well, it’s free to use, and the longer you use the platforms, the bigger your audience. So if you are just starting in business, it’s worth getting set up on the leading social media platforms.
Create a simple profile that shows your brand and a simple statement outlining what you sell and why your customer should buy from you.
Add 10-20 posts on each social media platform. Choose a mix of promotional messages and product images. Schedule additional posts to publish daily, and that will help you gradually build an audience.
Interact with your followers, comment on other people’s posts, and you will build a rapport that will hopefully pique interest in your business.
Know Your SEO
SEO might take time and money to get right, but it is the best way to bring regular traffic to your website. You can make life easy on yourself from the start by writing good quality, keyword-rich articles for your blog.
Use Google’s free keyword tool to find popular, low-competition keywords for your niche, and write content relating to those terms.
Try publishing articles on Pinterest; it’s a good source of traffic and will also help improve your rank on Google. And don’t forget to pitch big websites to publish 1-2 guest posts too. That will give you a wider audience reach.
Build an Email List
Finally, growing a business online in 2021 means growing an audience. More specifically, a list of email subscribers. Do that, and you’ll always have a ready list of potential buyers ready to snap up your latest promotional offer.
Start with a simple opt-in box on your website homepage, and link the form to an email autoresponder.
You can add more sophisticated marketing techniques such as an automated and personalized email sequence or messaging chatbots when your business is up and running. Still, a simple email list is a great way to start.
How Can I Grow My Small Business Online? ( quick video )
You Can Make Your Startup a Success
Growing a small business in 2021 is not a given, but it is realistic if you follow a few simple rules.
Don’t get caught in fads and fashions. Instead, use the top tips in this article to give your startup a solid foundation that will provide the groundwork for a business that will thrive for years to come.
And if you are setting up your website, don’t miss our list of recommended apps before adding one more page to your website.