General Business

Top Five Small Business Trends 2017

As the business world continues its path escorted by new technology, it’s becoming more of a pain to keep up with all the current and ever-changing small business trends that influence enterprise models. Not everyone has the time to attend the entrepreneurial conferences going on like SaaS Annual or Startup Grind Global. It’s too time-consuming.

Still, these conferences are where all the relevant marketing data and insider information is passed around before becoming influential enough to become true small business trends. Things like statistics for millennials becoming the primary spenders for the pet industry. Or, the newest software launches designed to expedite sales are all unveiled here.

For most franchise owners, attending these conferences is just about as important as having an inflatable tube man advertising your small business. (It’s not). Reputable franchisees stay up to date with all the happenings of these conferences. From there they can supply their partners with insightful information to keep the whole company updated and competitive. So, as the summer of 2017 draws to a close what should small business owners be paying attention to?

If it Didn’t Happen on Social Media, It didn’t happen

One of the strongest small business trends that isn’t going anywhere is the relevancy of social media. For small business owners, your social accounts are your best friends. As social media itself expands with even more integrated features, the free marketing platform becomes easier to use for business purposes. Announcing events, promotions, and retail sales are as easy as posting. The best feature of social media is that it’s all free. The big three—Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are all free to use.

Franchise owners have it easy when it comes to social marketing. Not only can they use social media to keep in touch with their local customers, but corporate social media platforms maintain the digital presence of the entire brand. Even a small business’ retail experience can be crafted to be shareable material.

As the future becomes the present, it is clear that social media isn’t going anywhere and organic and friendly social media posts are one of the best ways to reach customers.

Automated Back Office Systems Make it Easier

Without having the technology that can automate internal systems, many small business owners are left in the dust. Don’t be one of these owners! Automation has been making things easier for decades but is becoming more of a normative in 2017.

The Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique franchising model uses proprietary software that automates a majority of the back-office tasks. This frees up shop owners to focus on the important things. This also reduces payroll because employees aren’t forced to do repetitive tasks and productivity is streamlined. This organization makes it easier for employees to do their job systematically.

Software levels the playing field. This leveling makes it easier for franchise shops and other small businesses to compete with multinational corporations in the same industry.

Content Marketing or Bust

One of the trendsetters of small business trend pretenses is the work of the band Radiohead. Not the music—the promotional methods.

In 2016, the band pushed marketing forward 20 years by innovating what content marketing could really look like. The musicians were gearing up to release their ninth album. Instead of doing the traditional marketing for an album release–music video releases, interviews, churning out conventional content marketing—they erased their online presence. No website, no social media, nothing—all traces of Radiohead gone.

This cryptic move made everyone but the band responsible for driving content marketing for their soon-to-release album. Twitter erupted asking about the mysterious disappearance of the band’s online presence. Every entertainment magazine ran a piece questioning the band’s decision and if this meant Radiohead would be releasing their anticipated new album. The trap was sprung and the new album’s sales skyrocketed. Radiohead’s entire promotion campaign was fueled by a genius marketing gimmick of Jimmy Hoffa-like proportions. The band’s legions of galvanized fans and marketing experts alike praised their efforts for being decades ahead of the time.

The Importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The only reason many people are still talking about SEO’s importance is that Google is forcing them to. We all know it’s important, and just about think we’ve reached a consensus of how to improve our rankings, then Google throws a curveball in the algorithm.

As recently as the end of June there have been fluctuating SERP (Search Engine Result Page) rankings making everyone question if a new algorithm update was being rolled out. Google CEO, John Mueller, offered this Tweet, “Yep! We make updates all the time!” Mueller should just keep this comment on an automated loop because that’s his response to every Google update—vague and not all that helpful.

With every game-changing SEO standard, it’s important for small business owners to keep up with the trends and rank strongly with good SEO. Another advantage of partnering with a franchise is corporate will do all of this for you! Not surprising when Forbes reports that, “the percentage of small business owners using a website analytics tool sits below 39 percent; only 25 percent use customer relationship management (CRM) software to manage their touchpoints.”

Customer Experience is the Heartbeat to Small Business

The proliferation of instant access to information has pushed consumers to demand deep knowledge from all customer service representatives. This surge will continue through the year. Sales staff of small business owners need to be able to answer questions on rates, terms, and provide follow-up support. Consumers expect to be directed to content material that provides context for their purchase.

Technology is playing its role in customer interaction. Many small business owners will need to start using CRM software if they haven’t already. Software like Hubspot or Pipedrive are the most popular of these tools. Using these systems allows for engaging customer experience before the customer even walks in the door. CRM software allows sales staff to anticipate the questions and needs of customers.

What Do All These Small Business Trends Mean?

For many small business owners, keeping up with the flux of small business trends seems overwhelming. As the playing field levels, it takes the same amount of efforts the big guys have to compete. The thing is, small business owners don’t have a marketing team, a whole floor of SEOs running analytics, and an army of salesman driving company revenue.

This is why franchising has become popularized for eager entrepreneurs. New systems of business are more complex and require more expert attention. A 2017 small business marketing trends report showed that “47 percent of small business owners have zero insight into whether their marketing efforts are effective.”  With the life expectancy of a new business closing before the first three years, many entrepreneurs will want all the expertise they can get. Good business isn’t trial and error. It’s having the proficiency to scale and compete.

Partnering with a corporate team who handles national marketing, SEO, and software driven aspects of business will free up owners to focus on the segment of business that is right in front of them. Franchising isn’t the only way to keep up with the small business trends that ensure success, but it is definitely less frustrating schematic than going solo.

With the right partnership, entrepreneurs can experience new financial freedom. Credible franchises have pre-established locations already tested in the market. All the fine-tuning of business systems has already happened. This gives owners a newfound independence. Money, scheduling, and lifestyle are all controlled on your terms.

You are your own boss.

 

Follow Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique:

 

The Big 3 of Sustainable Business Growth

There is a myriad of impeding statistics circulating the business world. According to the small business administration, only half of all new establishments survive five years or more. One-third survive 10 years or more. How do you ensure your business is one of the ones that makes it? Established small businesses, startups, and franchise owners alike need to make adjustments to build a company-wide framework for business growth.

Having a tangible course for long-term success can mean the difference between your business tanking or sustaining the momentum necessary for new heights and better views.

Businesses aren’t trees. You can’t stick them in the ground, sprinkle water, and expect them to grow. It takes an adaptive ethos. The same can be applied for the entrepreneurial spirit. Getting oneself geared for vertical mobility takes a systematic approach.

This article will help business owners grasp their inner entrepreneur and become the leader that will take their business through the course of financial ascension.

Establish Your Value

Market Gaps

Sustainability in the marketplace takes exploring uncharted niches. These are called market gaps. This is the starting point for most traditional businesses to determine if their venture premise is capable of withstanding business growth. Typically, determining a market gap is the antecedent of innovation. For instance, before Jaap Haartsen invented Bluetooth capabilities, the inventor most likely asked himself, how can we make headphones better? Thus one of the most prevalent forms of wireless technology emerged into the market.

Market gaps are not always a commodity of invention. Sometimes it is expanding on an idea that is already proven favorable by consumers. Say you are thinking of opening a retail boutique in an up-and-coming neighborhood. Established local small businesses are already accounting for all consumer demands except designer sunglasses—a market gap emerges. With some research, opening a high-end eyewear store could be a profitable enterprise geared for strong business growth.

Another example is when regional demographics allow for a certain product or service to thrive in a specific micro-economy, or shifting incline in consumer trends occurs. For instance, the pet industry has been spiking in the past few years. But research shows rural areas are not the most ideal location for a pet retail franchise while urban based pet businesses are swelling. This business growth is occurring for a variety of reasons, but the simplest one is that more people are purchasing animals for companionship in cities. As demand grows so will business.

Brand Uniqueness

Corporate executives and the Swedish grandma down the street running the meatball restaurant will tell you, it’s all about standing out. This needs to be quantifiable. What does your business provide that distinguishes itself from the competition?

Grocery stores have been around since the early 20th century, but not every grocery store premise has survived. The Whole Foods brand differentiates itself from the Walmart brand. Whole Foods capitalizes off premiumization while Walmart focuses on competitive pricing. Both stores have individualized a brand concept with customer appeal and unique marketing. The trick is to tell a story with your brand that can be summed up in a sentence or less.

Lasting businesses have an established brand that delineates the narrative of the company’s mission, appeals to consumers, and is widely recognized. Branding is integral to business growth.

Revenue Streams

How does your business make money? Your revenue streams are part of the key indicators for business growth—measurable segments that promote growth. What are your current revenue streams? Is it possible to create new forms of revenue? Of your revenue streams, which one is the most sustainable for long term success?

The most advantageous source of revenue is recurring revenue. Usually, this derives from customer membership. This stream is typically for a continued service, but  differ through sectors involved with this exact source of income. Cellular service providers, gyms, and even pet stores have recurring revenue built into their business concept. The reason this is so critical is that recurring revenue maintains earnings not contingent with marketplace factors.

Businesses looking to expand need to establish areas within their concepts where multiple streams of revenue can boost profits and develop the most lucrative means.

Streamline Methods Aiming for Business Growth

Evaluation

This will take two evaluations. The first one is an introspective look into your business. What needs to be tweaked, altered, or removed? This is general maintenance for your business.  A translation and language services company that is using outdated software that wants to reach global participation is not going to last. A company like this will need to invest in purchasing or developing the technology needed to expedite services and leverage online language education. Tons of failing businesses get caught up the in this process.  Trial-and-error business growth tactics hinder business growth. You will want to make measurable changes timely to avoid wasting time and resources.

The second analysis you will need to complete is monitoring the competition. Chances are competing businesses in your industry segment are excelling in areas where you’re falling short. Take the time to see what other businesses are doing that you should be aware of. This will guide your growth strategy. Some retail stores will send in secret shoppers to rival stores to clue them in on the way competitors are merchandising their store. Have the choices your competitors helped them find success that you failed to see?

Retain Talent

Turnover is one of the biggest snags of business growth. Replacing an employee that makes 10/hour costs the company 16% of an annual salary, according to a CAP study. The same study found that replacing an executive making $100k will cost up to 213% of their annual salary or $213,000. The trick is to find talent and keep them.

Benchmark your employee retention rate with proven strategies. Hire a few ambitious and suited employees and pay them well. The payroll for a half dozen well-equipped and motivated employees that are compensated fairly will offset potential mediocre employee productivity and costs of turnover. For a thriving pet franchise, this means finding a salesperson that can educate customers and drive sales.

Employees are an investment; treat them as such.

Focus on Strengths

The best way to optimize your business is to explore what’s working. Scouring through your overhead is smart, but don’t waste too much time playing accountant. Sometimes developing the strong points of your business will be more beneficial than cutting costs, or improving weaknesses. Overhaul your recent successes and systematize them for business growth.

Skillful Leadership

Business change happens from the top down.

Proverbs like ‘football teams are only as good as it’s quarterback’ or ‘don’t be a captain of a sinking ship’ might appear callow, but there is truth in these aphorisms. If you want to be the Steve Jobs of your business you need to adopt this ideology. You will need to lead your team and employees through the intended business growth agenda. Whether you are local microbrewery, or a drone rental business, you will need to harness the leadership skills to thrive.

Even grassroots startups will need a comprehensive vision to focus the efforts of the company. Great leaders need to be immune to pressure. Roadblocks and obstacles should be viewed as a welcomed challenge, not a pitfall. Business takes finesse and intuition to forecast and implement a wise plan of action to grow dreams into reality.

Imaginative Decision Making

The ability to work through a problem sequentially is the sign of great leadership—problem-solving. The lack of simple problem solving has become so rampant in business, many outsource, or hire special project managers to handle risk minimization. The fewer problems occurring, the easier business growth becomes. The best way to avoid issues is to be predictive. If you can see problems happening in the future, you can take the necessary steps to evade them.

After hits like “The Avengers” and “Guardians of the Galaxy,” many are surprised that the Marvel company filed for bankruptcy in 1996. At the time, the company only dealt in print comic books. But thanks to some clever merging and financial agreements, the company was able to partner in making some of the top grossing films of the past decade. Don’t give up! Failure is not an inevitability.

Do not Fear business Growth; Embrace it!

Many aspects of business are a calculated risk. Just the sheer fact that you are operating a business shows that you have taken the first step in the gamble of entrepreneurialism. This requires a certain amount of open-mindedness. When employees from bottom to top feel marginalized or too discouraged to innovate—this is not good. Employees need to collaborate on ideas and feel camaraderie within the company culture.

Sustaining growth is a communal momentum. Make sure your company culture is an encouraging atmosphere that invites creativity. The brainstorming sessions it will take to get your business into a more lucrative place will be demanding. Model for employees and colleagues how diversity, respect, and ambition are the attributes for pioneering the business realm and how overcoming challenges is the kindling to the fire of business growth.

Follow Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique: