How to Promote a Small Business to a Community?

. 8 min read
How to Promote a Small Business to a Community?

Small business is considered to be a crucial segment of the economy in most countries globally. In India, it enjoys a special status with several incentives, concessions and exemptions.

At a different level, the connection of small business with local communities is rooted emotionally. Owners of many trading firms in the retail sector in India address their regular customers personally, more like a relative. In other sectors too, entrepreneurs treat many of their customers as part of their extended family and not just contributing to the revenues.

New startups, capacity expansions are regularly raising the level of competition in the small business domain in India. How to grow a small business under competitive circumstances is a common question troubling the minds of owners.

For handling competition, consolidating your support base is the first among many crucial small business growth tips from management experts.

How to Make your Business Grow in the Face of Competition?

Small firms face various challenges; funds shortage and low sales are the most prominent ones. A successful entrepreneur manages available resources to lead the company to profits.

Flexible strategies, the ability to identify problem areas and keeping track of customers are the key factors that show you how to help small businesses grow. The owner's face usually is the identity of a small company, and familiarity with the local community becomes an inherent strength.

Therefore, if you ask for tips on how to grow(a) small business, the best answer will be local marketing and making stronger bonds with the community. Given below are some of the steps:

1. Join a Business Chamber

Major cities and even smaller towns in India have a local chamber of commerce. These chambers look after the business interest of the members and take up policy issues with local and state administration.

Weekly or monthly meetings of these chambers provide excellent networking opportunities. Good relations with other business owners may lead to recommendations that can bring additional business. So if you are wondering how to grow your business through networking, attend these meetings.

Sponsoring Chamber events is another idea of promoting your firm. More importantly, several people contact chambers for a recommended list of businesses, and studies show that customers prefer buying from the suggested list of companies.

2. Community Activity

Become active in the local space; try to be part of as many events as possible, from community development programmes to Diwali celebrations; stamp your presence in each activity.

Sponsoring local events, like a cricket match or a walk for health, are cost-effective promotional measures. Use these events to reinforce your (firm or business) branding through attractively designed visuals.

Consider spending time for the community as a necessary step if you are considering how to expand your business.

3. Build a Relationship

How to grow a business if you do not invest in your customers? In marketing, it is said that the cost of retaining a customer is much less than finding a new one. Developing a solid relationship with your customers is crucial for a local business; a strong relationship often helps fight more prominent brands.

It would be best to utilise digital tools intelligently to drive your business to success through better customer relations.

E-mail marketing is an excellent option for keeping the customers updated on new arrivals, discounts and more. In this way, they feel more connected to the brand/ company.

a man is working on laptop and its shows word Customer Loyalty

4. Customer Loyalty Programme

This is a time tested ‘how-to-grow-business’ tip or strategy; even some of the biggest global brands have this programme. The hospitality industry, airlines, credit cards use loyalty schemes extensively.

The terms of the programme should depend on the nature of your business, with the twin objectives of increasing the purchase frequency and value.

Rewards, either a gift or a discount, may be offered to the customer after the business target is fulfilled. Low-cost, simple monitor software is readable available for the loyalty scheme.

5. Referral Rewards

Word of mouth is an excellent promotional method. A satisfied customer frequently becomes loyal to a particular store or company; as part of the programme, the management rewards the customer for bringing in new business.

It is observed that customers generally trust the recommendations of family and friends for a new purchase decision. Many companies work out special offers for both the loyal customer for recommending and the new one for the first purchase.

6. Product Demonstration

New models of home durables or a unique variety of paints, or the latest mobile phone brand model are becoming more sophisticated. At the same time, the facilities to a customer are getting upgraded, and the functions are becoming complicated. Several users remain unaware of the full capabilities of their newly purchased appliance or equipment.

If you want to know how to make your business grow, organise a product demonstration (at the store/office or some other venue); it is an excellent way of connecting with your customers.

Owners may tie up such events with the launch of a new model (of an appliance) or a new product category; customers benefit a great deal by understanding the features and full user benefits. However, as a savvy marketer, you must have a clear call to action procedure linked with the event.

7. Customer Reviews

Customer reviews and feedback are the best ways to assess the standard and quality of your business. Online reviews are common these days, and you must request your regular and new customers to write about your firm or their purchase experience.

In addition to the website, you should open accounts with popular review sites. Offline reviews work well too. You can request customers for a review right after the purchase at your store. You may offer a token of appreciation (a candy perhaps) to make the customer feel valued and create a pleasant buying experience.

8. Improve Online Presence

Convenience can change habits –and that’s happening in the internet space; most youngsters today would search online for a business, even if it is the corner drug store.

  • Improve your website ranking by using simple SEO techniques.
  • Target social media platforms – you can establish the presence of your company quickly in a cost-effective manner. You must have an active presence (regular updating).
  • Improve the quality and depth of your online profile- You may hire a digital agency or may get the job done through freelancers.
  • Set up your listing with Google, which is the most popular medium of searching the internet for a local business. Enlist your firm with other local business sites (Just dial, India Mart, Trade India, among others)
Modern Workplace with Laptop showing Landing Page with Online Presence

How to Grow your Business - Other Marketing Inputs

  • Consumers are usually price-sensitive, and you can consider offering a time-bound product-specific price discount.  However, the price strategy needs to be used cautiously; sometimes, customers wait for the next discount sale and may even shift to another brand/variety if the deal is not coming.
  • Running a contest for customers is another effective marketing strategy.

The Final Word

Lessons from an article on how to help small businesses grow will undoubtedly open up your mind and make you think. But, remember the three crucial tips:

1. Adaptation is the key to survival for a small business.

2. Developing your community of customers is the best marketing strategy.

3. Your customer handling, public relations and commitment to service are the best promotional tools for local business.

These could be the solutions you are looking for on how to expand (a) business.

Also read:

1) Is Market Research Useful for a Small Business?
2) Why are Small Businesses Important to the Community?
3) Best Tips for Small Business Owners
4) Where to Get a Small Business License?

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Q. Will online promotion work for a small retail shop selling garments in a semi-urban town?

Ans. The effectiveness of online promotion will depend on what percentage of your potential customers are netizens, but, considering the future, you should always maintain an active online presence.

Assuming that there are fewer internet users in your location, you should plan other channels of promotion too, like joining trade associations, sponsoring local events, customer referrals, and local outdoor activity.

Please remember that whatever be your line of business, you will not be able to stay ahead of the competition unless you take proactive actions.

The ‘how to grow business’ tips in this article will give you a perspective of promoting your shop to a prospective customer community. Find out the best suited promotional strategies for you and plan accordingly.

Q. I have a small micronutrient manufacturing unit. How can I grow in my area by fighting strong brands?

Ans. The best option for you is to actively nurture your community of retailers and their customers (farmers). Meet them in small groups; explain your product benefits and best practices for improving the crop yield and other tips on improving productivity. Cost-effective outdoor display (banner/wall paintings) to support brand recall is necessary. Online presence is also required with an eye to the future.

Q. I am in the marriage hall renting business. How can I expand my business?

Ans. a) An attractive website, active social media presence

b)  Listings with all  business sites

c) Joining the local business community (chamber of commerce)

d) Good public relation- you may distribute your business card among the guests attending a function; you can also think of a referral discount scheme.