Helping out at a printer cartridge website is what James spends most of his time doing, writing about things like toner cartridges and printing accessories when he’s not blogging or researching social media.
In these difficult economic times, starting your own business may seem like a daunting task, especially if you have limited experience. Here are nine ways to stand out and grow your business as a young entrepreneur.
1. Treat Clients and Customers Well
This seems obvious, but so many business owners fail to treat their sources of revenue properly, and then wonder why their business is struggling. People naturally want to avoid spending money, and any sort of negative experience will just magnify this aversion. Be polite, courteous, and above all, honest. Misrepresenting information to promote your product may seem like a good idea at the time, but even if a client falls for your deception at first, dishonesty will not build the long-term relationships you need.
2. Find Your Own Niche
Every business has competition. Do thorough, honest research on competing businesses in your area, and then think of as many ways as possible to be substantively different. Sell unique or hard-to-find products, make a creative theme for your business, and use flyers and other advertisements to call attention to your business’s uniqueness. If your brand stands out, customers will remember you, and many will return.
3. Use Social Media
One of a young entrepreneur’s advantages over older business owners is familiarity with social media. Use this familiarity to your advantage as much as possible. Create a Twitter feed and a Facebook page, and make sure they are updated as frequently as possible. The more publicity you can create with these powerful marketing tools, the more customers your business will attract.
4. Follow Through
This goes hand and hand with treating customers honestly. Set a clear expectation that you and your employees will do what you say you will do, when you say you will do it. Honoring your commitments is the best way to improve customer satisfaction, build trust and ultimately acquire repeat clients and customers. Conversely, before you make a commitment, honestly think about whether you can actually honor that commitment. Do not make promises you can not or will not keep.
5. Mention Your Business, Briefly
Contrary to conventional business wisdom, there is such a thing as too much publicity. When you write blog posts, speak at public events or post on your social media pages, you should mention your company along with plenty of talk about other topics. If your business is all you ever talk about, you will come across as desperate. Conversely, an entrepreneur who talks about a full, interesting range of topics seems confident and trustworthy.
6. Be An Expert
Do as much research as possible on your products and your industry, both from the management perspective and the customers’ perspective. Consider writing a book, booklet or pamphlet full of tips on how to find the best product, how to save money or how to use a popular product. Extensively train your employees so they can provide expert advice, too. Set a clear expectation that customers can come to you with all of their questions, and that if you do not know the answer, you will know exactly where to find it.
7. Focus on Helping
People pay attention to businesses that are a part of the community. Contact local schools, community centers and charitable organizations and see what you can do to make a difference. Donating money is fine, but if that is all your business ever does it will seem inauthentic. Get personally involved in community service, and create incentives for your employees to do the same with flexible scheduling, matched donations and time off.
8. Use Your Building
Your storefront or business venue needs to be as welcoming as possible. Make sure it is clean and well lit, and use color to your advantage. Focus on comforting colors such as yellow and blue. Use red sparingly: It is a powerful color, but can be jarring if overused.
9. Be Yourself
Putting on an act or misrepresenting who you are may get you some sales, but it is long-term relationships that drive a successful business. Be open, authentic and personable, and do not try to work with something you do not have. That is the key to successful entrepreneurship.