It can be tough to run a small business these days. In fact, about half of all small business startups will fail within five years. There’s a lot of competition out there, and while a small business is defined as a business having 500 or fewer employees, many small businesses are much, much smaller, including sole proprietors and home based businesses.
Many of the businesses I work with have ten or fewer employees. Our current economic client has made it so that more people are either forced to start their own business, or they are looking for new opportunities and want to forge their own path.
With the presence and pervasiveness of the internet and social media, these small businesses have lots of great tools at their fingertips to help them survive and be successful. But even with the best marketing, there are no guarantees. Small businesses need to take advantage of many opportunities, even some unconventional ones, in order to gain a greater brand awareness and build a customer base.
Here are five things you and your small business can do to build a greater reach for your brand, and extend your influence within your community:
1. Speaking engagements
There are many opportunities for business owners to speak to local groups: other business owners, students, civic organizations, and churches, to name a few. You are an expert in your field, and this gives you a chance to share your expertise with others. I do a lot of speaking engagements, some free and some paid, and I’ve gotten quite a few clients out of them.
More than just a speaking engagement, a workshop can be more of a hands on educational opportunity. You can even teach people to do a little bit of what you do. Giving them a little bit of knowledge and some new skills won’t put you out of business. You can even contact local colleges to teach on the continuing education level, as well as other organizations such as retirement communities or schools.
3. Adopt a nonprofit
There’s nothing I love more than seeing a small business partner with a local nonprofit. It’s a win-win all around. The business can help bring attention to the nonprofit or cause. This can include sharing their needs on your social platforms, giving them some of your website real estate. You can also use your business as a drop off point for donations, and even give a portion of sales to the group. Plus, you can always donate your time and volunteer at the nonprofit, alongside your employees and customers.
4. Become a news source expert
There have been quite a few times when local newspapers and broadcast outlets have contacted me to talk about something related to social media. I’ve made a lot of connections in the media community, and as a result, I’ve become one of the go-to experts to talk about my area of business. Contact local newspapers, TV stations, and radio stations, and offer yourself as an interview subject, or even a guest on a talk show. If you do well in an interview, you very well may get called back again. Some TV and radio stations might even be willing to give you your own regular segment to talk about your area of expertise.
5. Take on interns or apprentices
Consider helping the next generation of folks who want to follow in your foot steps. Contact local high schools and colleges and see if you can have students work under you to learn your business or trade. Contact local unemployment agencies to see about helping to train someone who is currently out of work in order to give them some new skills. You might even be able to work with local prisons on some sort of work release or training program. Not only will you be giving back to the community, but it will help you build a strong reputation in your community.
Those are my ideas. What other ideas do you have for extending the reach of your brand within your community?
- 3 Corporate Giving Strategies Every Nonprofit Should Use (social.razoo.com)
- Social Media Influencers vs Social Media Ambassadors: What is Their True Value? (windmillnetworking.com)
- 4 Ways New College Grads Can Help Jumpstart Their Careers (dailyfinance.com)