The following is a guest post by Isabel William.
For every new local business that survives, there are many more that go under. Getting customers to your store and operations off the ground is harder than it may seem. In the local arena, you cannot hide behind an appealing web design and corporate façade. You need to have a noticeable physical presence and deep roots in the local community. To maximize your chances of success, think long and hard about the reasons why somebody would choose you over the competition. What is it that you have and others don’t? Finding the answer to these questions will empower you to get locals to your door and also keep them coming back for more.
Formulating an action plan
It helps a great deal to launch your business with the right intention, in this case, catering to the local audience. But, it is also possible to revise your strategic documents and shift focus on the go. In any event, your business plan sets the framework for operations and gives you a sense of mission. It is the cornerstone that must be in place before you tackle all the ins and outs of daily business tasks. So, do a thorough research on the local market.
Use facts and figures to flesh out your vision and objectives. Identify potential challenges in the local landscape and factor in the competition. Determine how and where you are going to recruit the workforce. Another key consideration is related to raising ample capital to fuel your operations and growth. Thus, come up with accurate financial projections and discover the best sources of financing for your needs. Attract potential investors and communicate your vision clearly.
Service excellence and brand identity
Once you have the supporting pillars in place, you can start growing your business.
First off, note that providing an impeccable service to clients goes a long way. It enables you to inspire trust, increase satisfaction, and retain loyal customers. Moreover, it spurs word of mouth promotion, a type of free marketing that can do miracles for local businesses. If you provide wholesome food delivery, for instance, be the fastest to get through traffic jams using bicycles or motorbikes. Do not forget to handle aspects such as motorbike insurance, online ordering, and driver training.
Next, focus on cultivating a strong brand. This effort helps you rise above the local competition and cut through the marketing noise. Speak with a distinctive voice to set yourself apart. Instead of outright selling to people, commit to building meaningful and lasting relationships. Show that you care about your customers and their wants and needs, not just the money in their pocket. Show consistency across all touchpoints and foster a swell consumer experience.
Getting in front of people
Bear in mind that the location makes or breaks a local business. It must be visible from the street and have plenty of foot traffic around. Also, it is of the utmost importance to have proper signage at your location. Display your brand properly and make everything easy to read. Pay attention to elements like font, size, and colors. Capture attention and you will have more business coming your way on a daily basis.
The brick-and-mortar storefront might be the mainstay of your local business, but online presence is a must in this day and age. Therefore, develop a corporate website and a blog. Produce a stream of valuable content and convert traffic into leads. Become a go-to source of expertise and handy advice. Take your visibility to the next level by using local SEO strategies. Figure out the best keywords to rank for. Make it to the forefront of the result pages to gain a powerful edge.
Finally, optimize your social media profiles and start interacting with customers. Be responsive, engage them in conversations, and utilize instant messaging. Along similar lines, take advantage of Google My Business to connect with customers and make it easy for them to find your address, as well as other relevant business information. After all, a lot of people nowadays use search engines, Google+, and Google Maps to look for local brands, products, and services.
Hitting right home
Those who are serious about triumphing in their hometown must emphasize the local aspect of their business. So, go back to square one and rework your business plan if you need to pivot to the local market. Add great value to the life of your customers and earn their trust and loyalty. Allocate your resources accordingly and plan ahead. Get the word out and explore digital avenues for promotion. Put the best face of your brand forward. Remember that you should not fight for mere survival; build a local business that stands the ultimate test of time and delights its customers.