SCORE, Counselors of America’s Small Business Owners, offers 10 tips for small business success in 2010:
- Grow your customer base. Understand your customer demographics and why they buy your products and services. Win clients over with new and diversified products. Offer multiple price points, and create packages or customizable plans which give your customers greater freedom and flexibility.
- Expand low budget marketing. Promote your business for free on Twitter, and set up a Facebook fan page. Start a blog and comment on other blogs. Take this opportunity to communicate with customers about your business. Go viral.
- Surround yourself with experts. Get feedback from advisors you trust. Entrepreneurs count on SCORE for free and confidential business mentoring. Use a mentor to test ideas, map a sales plan and focus on success. Ask SCORE for advice by clicking on http://www.score.org/ask_score2.html.
- Add ecommerce through a website. Your business needs a website to stay competitive. Secure all variations on your company’s domain name. Use online forms to encourage interaction. Add a shopping cart to sell your products, not just promote the brand.
- Free up time to sharpen your focus. Organize for success. Set a time each week to handle routine tasks. Use a PDA to keep track of phone numbers, dates, appointments and meetings.
- Create experience events to draw in customers. Host special events like demonstrations, trunk shows and classes. Offer rebate programs to encourage repeat purchases. Rearrange merchandise to make it appear fresh, and provide a fresh customer experience.
- Network to build buzz and referrals. Join groups that represent your clients. If you don’t have the money to join an association, offer to donate your services. Take advantage of social gatherings, committee appointments, membership meetings and networking events. Each meeting is an opportunity for referrals.
- Track your cash flow. The one thing all businesses need is cash. Ensure that you collect receivables within 30 days. Monitor invoices. Pay early when you get a discount. Always keep an eye on your cash. Prepare cash flow reports so you understand your cash needs.
- Plan for financing success. Even if you’re in business, you should have a business plan ready to submit to potential lenders. Know how additional funding will help you grow your business, and demonstrate your ability to repay the loan.
- Consider an LLC. As a sole proprietor, you are personally liable for the debts and liabilities of your business. A corporation or limited liability corporation (LLC) protects your personal assets and property. You can register your business as a separate legal entity.
For more information, click on: www.SCORE.org.