You’re certainly aware that a lot of time, patience, tenacity and hard work are central to your success as a small business owner. Being able to manage all of these — and the teams of people who may accompany you — is key. Particularly when your business is new and growing, you have a great opportunity to put into place the infrastructure and systems to keep it going strong (and keep yourself sane).
But what keeps a small business afloat? And what separates those who thrive from those who fizzle? Here are some tips for small business owners in the wellness sector to help your venture thrive, allowing you to make the biggest impact on your audience.
Know your budget — and stick to it
It can be easy to squander money, especially when you’re in development mode getting your business off the ground. Formulate a realistic, conservative budget that you can adhere to and track your expenses carefully. Growth and bigger numbers will come, but rarely does that happen from shelling out a gigantic sum up front. Working with a certified financial planner can be useful at the outset, just to ensure you’re setting realistic targets and spending in a way you can keep up with. If you have investors to whom you’re responsible, this meticulous tracking and spending is key.
There’s probably an app for that
Almost everything you need as a small business owner can be accessed online and managed via an online portal. Email management, financial tracking, processing payments, shipping, customer email communication, booking, insurance, bill payment… everything has an app or a web-based system that you can take advantage of. While you won’t need everything, a quality accounting and sales system will probably be in order. Do some research on the best ones for your needs and seek the advice of other business owners as to what worked best for them.
Get the word out… often
Marketing and getting your name out there can fall by the wayside as you manage your day-to-day operations. Schedule your promotional pushes in advance to take advantage of holidays or popular times for whatever you offer (a post-Christmas detox? A pre-summer bikini body workout package?). Know what’s coming up and when to maximize your outreach to potential clients. Endeavor to be as creative as you can: online, in-person (like at events), paper or postcards and advertisements that make sense for your target market.
Play up what makes you stand out
What do you offer that no one else in your space is doing? Hype up your unique product, class format or remarkable results to attract the right folks. You do something that is special and uniquely you; keep that at the forefront to shape how your brand is viewed.
Leverage your clients
Encourage your regulars to write a positive review online or bring their friends to a special event, intro class or product demo. Consider promo cards or a physical object they can hand out — who doesn’t love a business card that gets you free things? Help them help you bring more people in the door.
Give gratitude, get value
Find ways to let your clients know you appreciate their loyalty. Low-cost thank you’s like a personalized postcard, a loyalty “buy 10 get 1” punch card or special events for regulars (and prospective clients) can be a great way to keep them coming back.
Maximize your presence on the internet
A buzzing social media account and strong online presence are imperative to building and maintaining your brand these days. Create a profile on Google and ensure your information is accurate, particularly your contact info, hours and website. Prospective clients will visit your website and make a snap decision about how legitimate you are. As a small business owner, you want to content and craft an online image for your business that says you’re professional, personal and perfect for that target market you’re looking to capture.
Hire help where you need it
You can’t do everything, so when it comes to expertise or managing tasks you just don’t have time for, hire and delegate. Accountants or bookkeepers can provide valuable insight and save you time balancing your books (which may turn into a financial savings in the long run). An administrator or front desk attendant may be an asset. They can help wrangle your schedule and optimize the customer experience — freeing you up to strategize higher level concerns.
Find your allies
Partnering with other small business owners can be a great way to grow your audience and get the word out about what you do. There’s likely another venture nearby that attracts a similar market; for instance, you’re a yoga studio owner and there’s a juice bar down the street. Make friends with your nearby neighbors and coordinate sharing clients. This could be an event, a shared promotion or a reciprocal offer (15% off a yoga package for juice bar loyalty members, 25% off juice for yoga clients). This may also mean sharing space or subletting your studio.
Engage with your community
Get to know who’s around, as they’re going to be your most loyal and most excited clientele. Have a presence in your community at events like street fairs or with the Chamber of Commerce and consider how you’re marketing yourself to your corner of the world. Entice locals by offering discounts for those who live nearby, like intro offers, daily deals or discounted memberships. You may also want to get involved with service organizations on behalf of your business. Adopting a highway or participating in a beach clean up as a team from your small business can be a great way to give back and connect with others in your area.
Small business owners takeaways
Every business has its own unique challenges when it comes to growing and thriving. Identify where you can spend intelligently to manage your finances and growth strategy — find experts who can help. Seek out where you can leverage resources and build relationships with other businesses. Rally the community to support the people and area that will sustain your practice long term. Running a business will takes time and energy — but good planning, solid relationship building and targeted methods of getting the word out will help you grow and stay in touch with your mission.