Building a successful business isn’t easy, and it’s only getting more challenging as digital technology and the Internet are changing the game and making it easier than ever for average people to start businesses on a shoestring budget. But despite the shift toward e-commerce and virtual businesses, local brick-and-mortar companies aren’t going away anytime soon. Some industries still require doing business with customers at the physical, local level. But competition is fierce. How are you supposed to stand out from the crowd of competitors and make your local business thrive?
- Provide Outstanding Products and Customer Service
Quality products and services – along with outstanding customer service – have always been the foundation of any successful business, and that is truer today than ever before. Small businesses are constantly looking for ways to reduce costs while maintaining quality of products and services. But the temptation is always there to cut corners and hope that nobody notices.
The problem, of course, is that somebody always notices – and then they shout it from the rooftops to ensure that the whole world knows about their horrible experience. This is why maintaining the absolute strictest standards of quality and service should be at the top of your list. Your company must deliver an excellent customer experience each and every time it does business or interacts with your customers and prospects in any capacity. Never, ever cut quality. The damage done to your reputation and your brand will be immeasurable and nearly impossible to reverse.
- Create a Modern Professional Website
Do you want to know a secret? Some of your competitors have websites that look like they were created in the Dark Ages. And some of them don’t even have websites. Do you know what that means for your company? It means that there’s an easy way to set yourself apart from them and grab a share of the local market that those guys are totally missing.
Consumers and vendors today expect to see companies with a professional web presence. Your company’s brand and image are largely based on first impressions – at least when it comes to gaining or losing new customers. A clunky old website isn’t going to impress anyone, and not having a website is even worse.
Do you know that there are people in your community right now using Google to search online for the kinds of products and services that you offer? If you don’t have a website – or if your website screams, “Obsolete!” – then those people are likely going to do business with one of your competitors instead of with you. Professional web design services can make a huge difference in how local customers perceive any company’s website. First impressions matter!
- Get Involved In Your Community
Another way many large- and medium-sized businesses get noticed in their local communities and rise above their competitors is through corporate social responsibility – which is just a fancy way of saying that they get involved in improving their communities. There are a variety of ways to do this, even for small businesses. Some of them require a financial commitment, but others only require a few hours of your time and a heart to help others.
Many businesses sponsor community events like outdoor fairs, family-friendly concerts, and local carnivals. Some participate in environmentally-conscious activities such as recycling programs and neighborhood cleanups. Others donate products and services to local families in need. Whatever industry you are in, there are ways to get involved to help people in your community. It just takes a little imagination and effort to find something that’s a good fit for your brand and abilities.
Finding an edge against your local competitors isn’t always as complicated as it seems. Sometimes, all it takes is a laser-like focus on the fundamentals – quality, image, and character – to set yourself apart from the competition and build your business one customer at a time. If you find yourself lacking in any of these areas, try making some changes and see how that affects your visibility in your community and your profitability.