So you’re off and running, pursuing your dreams of solo small business success. According to the latest Census data, you’re one of 2.7 million “nonemployer firms” in the U.S. alone. The good news? Over 35,000 of those businesses are bringing in $1 to $2.5 million a year.
If you’re trying to grow your brand, here are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind.
1. Start the day with a plan.
Every day should follow a gameplan with realistic, achievable goals. Start by checking, and responding to as many customer emails, reviews and feedback on social media as possible. To help keep all of your daily tasks in order adding Google Calendar, and to-do-list apps such as Evernote and Todoist can help you track your productivity.
2. Automate to save time.
You can’t be everywhere at once. It’s just pure physics. However, one way to keep the science working in your favor is to make use of automations if you aren’t already. These tools will help you turn newbies into regulars without having to do the leg work each time. In fact, we’ve found that they can help lead to 16 times more orders per recipient in some cases.
3. Get connected.
While you may not have a staff, don’t shy away from growing your network. One place to start is Mailchimp Meetups. These events are ideal for small to medium size business owners looking to meet others in their industry, as well as interacting with fellow Mailchimp users. On top of that, if your customer base is mostly local, you’ll want to find the nearby chamber of commerce. It’s also good to take your networking national and global by attending any number of small business conferences.
4. Broadcast your biz.
So you’re still on the fence about taking the ‘ol social media plunge? Nearly 48% of small businesses are on social media. We know there’s a lot to consider when you’re running a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account for your business. So why bother?
“For starters, it’s an easy, highly visible, and free way to broadcast your wares and whereabouts,” says our resident social guru-turned content strategist Brooke Hatfield. In her breakdown, dubbed, “Social Media Strategy for People Who Sell Stuff,” Brooke says, “Robust social media profiles are good for SEO, brand awareness, and directing traffic to your website, and they’re an invaluable way to connect with customers.”
For inspiration, here’s a guide to help you come up with some thumb-stopping social media content.
5. Get to know your market.
It’s always a good idea to keep tabs on the playing field and competition. First off, start with a competitor analysis to see where you stand, and steps you can make to get ahead.
Another simple way to educate yourself and continue to grow the business is reading. One author we trust is Mailchimp partner Paul Jarvis. Paul’s book, Company of One: Why Staying Small Is the Next Big Thing for Business, builds a case for making your business better, not bigger.
Our CEO, Ben Chestnut, has a list of high-level business books that he’s read over the years and shares with staff. He credits some of these books with having made him a more creative leader and influenced the way he thinks and runs the business. One of Ben’s recommendations is Different by Harvard professor Youngme Moon, which he says, “influenced the way we thought about the Mailchimp brand in our early days. Being different seems so simple and straightforward, but takes a lot of courage and strategy.”