Putting one foot in front of the other
Successful small businesses try a number of things to get their name out there and to let people know they exist. From the way you interact with your customers to the way you manage your books, you will be spending a great deal of time keeping your business running like a well oiled machine. To be a successful small business you have to take suggestions and learn from your mistakes. Do not be too prideful to try things that seem weird or out of your normal realm. A successful small business is always staying on their toes and looking for new things to try and lessons to learn.
Watch your books
As you run your business, watch your books. You really do not want to get in over your head in debt and other problems as you can get excited about great marketing opportunities and really hurt your company. Keep your eyes on your books at all times and have room to plan for the unexpected. Take a look at using a quality software program such as QuickBooks or Peachtree as they will both be able to provide you with help in managing your books. What makes a good software program so great is that you have a chance to run them yourself so you don't have to hire someone else to manage them for you.
Know your competition
It's not easy to break into a market that is filled with hundreds of other businesses. You need to always find a way to know what your competition is up to, even if you have to disguise yourself as one of their customers. It's a great way to get to see how they work on building relationships and what they do to get people to buy their products. Become a fan of theirs on social media sites and discussion boards so you can gain insight into what they are saying to your customers. This is a great way to bring up better marketing campaigns and to come up with insightful answers to common questions. You can subscribe to their RSS feeds by using Digg.com and Reddit.com and you should also sign up for Google Alerts to get emails when keywords and other things are being researched.
The best way to build your reputation and to get people to follow your company is through customer service. What are you doing to acquire customers and what are you doing to make them happy? Do people see that you are focused on their needs and do they see that you treat them well? They need to have a given amount of respect for your company and they really need to be able to feel a connection with your company, especially when they start to see your competitors are treating them well. Resolve customer issues in a hurry and never ignore them. The fastest way to lose your customers is by not answering their questions and showing them that you do value their support. Start up discussions with them in chat rooms and actively participate in social media sites. When they see that you are out there, they will find you and they will feel a connection.
Stop trying to sale
If you want your customers to be happy with you, quit trying to sell to them all the time. Work on educating them and providing them with valuable information. They will appreciate that you do care about them and that you aren't just working on a relationship to make money off of them. This method is called informative marketing and it can work wonders for your small business.