Is it time to make-over your business?
Image is important in business today, and even the smallest organizations must put time and energy into appearances and how the public perceives the business. If you haven't cultivated a particular brand for your business, now might be the time to consider how you can increase your company's competitiveness and take a greater share of the market whether it's on Main Street, USA or the international stage.
Here are some of the resources and activities you may want to consider to give your business a fresh image and lure new customers who like the new brand without abandoning your current customers who enjoy your current business persona.
1. Work with a business plan writer to renew your business plan
If you've decided to make-over your business, your company is probably at least a few years old, and you might not have taken a look at your business plan for quite some time. A solid business plan can help get your business off the ground and help secure financing from investors.
However, the economy changes, and so does virtually every industry from automobiles to clothing to food. A new business plan can help your business take advantage of emerging trends, as well as help you reevaluate your company's direction.
Entrepreneur shares the details of what should be in your business plan:
"Your business plan should include a mission statement, a company summary, an executive summary, a service or product offerings, a description of a target market, financial projections and the cost of the operation."
If your business started as a small venture in a garage or a home office, there's a good chance you've never written one. If your business has many years under its belt, your business plan could have a lot of dust sitting on it.
2. Make-over your business with an update or refresh of your company's logos
The art of creating a good company logo requires some serious thought about colors, typefaces, images, and the continuity of the logo across many different platforms. For example, it's important to create a logo that will look good whether it's on your company's custom packaging or the signs outside your retail locations.
Here are three questions to ask yourself as you examine your logo and how you might want to update one of the most important visual features of your business.
- Is your logo outdated without any vintage flavor?
- Is your logo difficult to identify when compared to others?
- Is your logo overly complicated and difficult to understand?
Updating your logo can have a dramatic impact on the way your customers feel about your brand. Choosing a new logo does take time, and it's important to enlist the talents of artists and individuals with experience creating logos when you update this feature of your company.
3. Take control of your business's online reputation
One of the tasks many small business owners don't realize is vital to the success of their business is "claiming" the online listings that appear on websites like Yelp. If you conduct business at a physical location in your community, you probably have several listings that appear on websites that share basic details about your business (like address and phone), as well as allow customers to comment on your goods or services.
These and other websites (like social media websites) are responsible for the good – or bad – reputation of your company online. While you may have dedicated customers who already know where you're located and when you're open, there are many other potential customers out there that might have their first interaction with your business from an online source.
The Next Web shares:
"42 percent of Americans have changed their opinion about some based on online content."
If your business is located in a medium-size town, that 42 percent could represent hundreds of potential customers influenced by what people have said online about your business.
4. Change the name of your business
The name of your business is very significant, and changing the name of your business can have a profound effect on keeping current customers, but it can also have a significant impact on expanding your customer base.
If your business name isn't unique and is geared toward explanation rather than a memorable word or phrase, you might want to think about changing it.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers some helpful information on the legal steps you will need to take to change the name of your business. It's not enough to change the sign on the front of your business. You must also perform some legal changes, too.
The SBA also shares a helpful piece of advice on choosing a name that hasn't already been claimed by another company:
"Trademark infringement can carry a high cost for your business. Before you pick a name, use the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s trademark search tool to see if a similar name, or variations of it, is trademarked."
5. Start writing a blog
It doesn't matter whether you sell oranges, tires, or shoes. You can write a blog about your industry and business, and your customers will read what you have to say (especially if you pair your blog with search engine optimization services).
If you think you can't think up enough topics for a blog, you might be surprised how much available content you can create when you think about your business and its industry. As you prepare to start writing your blog, ask yourself the following questions to get ideas for topics:
- Has your business had any recent success?
- Is the busy season for your industry approaching?
- Do you have any fun stories about your business?
- Can you share a recent interaction with a customer?
- Are there any industry trends impacting your business?
Your blog doesn't have to be incredibly specific and focused. Feel free to blog about general topics as long as they have something to do with your business and you can use some keywords in the blog that are related to your industry. If you feel your writing skills aren't up to par, hire a copywriter. Your copywriter can even help write emails for your mailing list.
6. Go for a full rebranding of your business
You may decide to change nothing more than the logos, but you can also choose to make huge changes that change your business's entire persona. For example, you might do some research on the best demographic for your company and alter your business's brand to match.
However, rebranding is a project that must be undertaken with extreme caution. According to another article from Entrepreneur:
"Rebranding must be conducted carefully and comprehensively. Ideally, you should change everything at once. Redo your logo (and name if necessary) and brand standards, then apply them to all sales tools–from your business cards and website to your signage and brochures."
7. Add new products or services to your business
Some businesses offer just a few services that require skilled technicians, artisans, or employees with special abilities and education. Professionals like plumbers and lawyers study for a long time to specialize in their work, and it's not always easy to add services to that type of business. However, there are some ways that even the most specialized companies can add new offerings.
For example, if you work as a lawyer, you might consider taking on speaking engagements. Inc.com shares:
"Consider learning a new skill or adding to the knowledge that you already have. For instance, you could pick up some new IT skills like application virtualization with an online course. You could also improve your public speaking and leadership skills by joining a club such as Toastmasters International."
8. Conduct surveys and ask your customers what they want
A lot of guessing goes into creating a strong business plan, and there are so many advertising campaigns that have fallen flat because the company's advertising and marketing department chose badly when it came to a theme or advertising idea.
One of the best ways to avoid making changes your customers won't like, as well as increase the current satisfaction your customers have with your business is to ask them what they think. There are several simple ways to communicate with your customers, and Kiss Metrics offers a terrific list:
- Conduct surveys
- Speak with focus groups
- Engage with customers on social media
- Create online communities or forums
- Include web forms on the company's website
9. Revamp your customer service offerings
If your company is actually a small business, there's a chance you don't have a customer service "department" and that customer problems are handled on-the-fly by whoever is working the cash register that day.
Even if your business has just a few employees – or even just a single employee – you can make significant improvements to the experience your customers have with your company by enhancing your customer service skills or expanding
Survey Monkey shares:
"No matter how great your product is or how talented your staff is, one of the things that customers are most likely to remember is the direct interaction they have with your company."
10. Create custom packaging that enhances your brand
If you own a retail store, each time you let a customer leaves your store with a back that reads "Thank you for shopping," you're losing an opportunity to showcase your logo and brand identity outside your storefront. Or, if you own an online business, you're losing opportunities to advertise and market your brand each time you send out a package in a plain, brown box.
According to Howard Packaging, there are several types of custom packaging you can use for your business that goes way beyond plastic bags that say "Thank you," as well as offer sustainable options for packaging the items you sell.
Those packaging options include:
- Custom shopping bags
- Custom tissue paper
- Custom printed Eurototes
- Custom printed paper bags
- Custom printed plastic bags
- Custom printed boxes
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Is it time to make-over your business? You can benefit from sustainable packaging options from Howard Packaging. Find out what we can do for your business. Request a Free Catalog and Sample Kit Today!