Our regular get-together of Forest of Dean entrepreneurs to share ideas and good practice took place in mid-March at the Belfry Hotel, Littledean.
A dozen of us shared thoughts about our future plans, and one or two issues led to a brain storming session about potential solutions, where everyone chipped in with their own experience.
The main item of the evening was the “Top 5 tips to grow your business this year”, led by Jo Davies of Forest Traders. A copy of the notes is available, but in summary:
1. Websites – these don’t have to be expensive but do need to be regularly updated, and also mobile optimised so people can see them easily on their smartphones. Do check the legal aspects if you’re selling online, as the law is there to protect the consumer not the provider!
2. Social media & Google My Business – also need to be used regularly, to raise your brand awareness. Facebook is more for the public (get into local selling groups), Twitter more for selling to business and LinkedIn is definitely business to business. Google My Business is like Facebook but more important for high rankings on search engines so people find you more quickly
3. Creating brand awareness & using paid advertising – work out where you name is spread and add other ways – social media, personal networking, leafleting, business cards, posters, adverts – so you have at least 9 different ways working for you. This can cost some money, but the objective is that whenever anyone needs what you provide they think of you automatically
4. Networking – seeing people regularly at a business club or similar event helps broadcast what you do through the people who attend, and creates trust between you and others which is equally important on the way to increasing sales. Match meeting costs against the potential for getting work, look at locations also, and see what networking can do for you
5. Customer engagement – this is the best way to create talk about you! People are constantly bombarded by offers of things for sale, discounts etc., but be different – ask your customers’ opinions about things, which not only gives you a higher ranking on Facebook for example but also creates trust in your business. Exhibiting at shows and fairs is another way to do this
Our next get-together is being planned for May, and everyone is welcome – please get in touch if you are interested but are not already on our mailing list, and we look forward to seeing you!