How do you define success?
Maybe it’s when your small business reaches a specific dollar amount in sales, when you obtain a certain number of positive reviews, or simply when you see a packed shop full of happy customers.
There’s a lot on the line as a small business owner, and we get it — you want to make sure that the time, effort, and capital is all worth it in the end.
What It Takes a Small Business Owner To Succeed
When you think about what it takes to become a successful small business owner, your mind likely goes to the most obvious answers: Have a mission that aligns with your passion(s). Create a business strategy. Do research on your target market. Be smart about what products you’re going to offer (and how much to stock).
These are great steps to begin with, and they are absolutely necessary in building a solid foundation for your small retail business.
However, there’s even more you can do to become a well-known local business in your community, and stand out amongst the competition. And, luckily, our team of retail experts is here to help with four tips to become a successful small business owner.
1. Keep Up With Retail Trends
A good idea is what brought you to spin up your small business in the first place — but the need for brainpower and creativity doesn’t stop there.
As a business owner, it’s important to stay up to date on industry trends. If you own a liquor store, consider joining a bourbon connoisseur meetup to see what that group is talking about. Or you can subscribe to a grocery store email newsletter to get new ideas for your grocerant.
Whether you get involved with local events or read what’s happening from home, taking the time to keep up on the latest is worth it. These efforts can even help you make informed decisions about what products to stock!
2. Invest in Solid Customer Service
Whether you have a full staff or a few team members on rotation, customer service will make or break the experience for your visitors.
How do you want customers to feel when they visit your small business? Will their questions be answered by employees who know what they’re doing, or will visitors leave feeling more confused or overwhelmed than they did in the first place?
Invest in solid customer service by putting together an onboarding and training process that covers all of your bases. Make sure your team has the product knowledge they need to answer questions, feels comfortable using your POS system to check customers out, and knows how to handle shoplifting.
While developing an extensive training process takes time, it’s well worth it in the long run. Plus, the onboarding process will either have a positive or negative first impression on your new hires — so giving them the confidence they need up front can help you retain employees, too. (And you can’t be a successful small business owner without being a good leader and manager.)
3. Create Customer Loyalty to Your Business
An indicator of small business success is a database full of loyal customers. So how do you get people to keep coming back to your retail store in the first place?
Developing a customer loyalty program is step one. Consumers are more likely to come back to the same store if they’re racking up points and getting rewards by making purchases (and if you have what they like in stock, too, of course).
Once you collect a customer’s information (phone number, mailing address, email, etc.), you can ask them if they want to receive communication from you. If they’re opted in, they can receive personalized coupons, new product alerts, and in-store event invitations. All of this can create a buzz around your small business, keeping consumers excited to shop with you and stop into your store.
Plus, if you really make a customer happy, they’ll tell their friends about your business, who will then tell their friends — and so on! Don’t underestimate word of mouth marketing from a community that appreciates shopping small.
4. Analyze Small Business Data
When it comes to figuring out whether your retail store is thriving or struggling, the numbers say it all. As a small business owner, you know how important it is to monitor performance.
Reports on overall sales, hour-by-hour profits, top-selling (and worst-selling) products, shrinkage, and employee performance are some of the many reports that are worth keeping up on. Staying on top of data is the best way to monitor whether you’re on track to reach your goals, or if there are areas of your small business that need more attention.
Pro tip: Using a cloud-based point of sale solution makes this significantly easier. Instead of spending late nights at your shop running reports, you can access all of your business data from your smartphone or tablet while sitting on your couch at home.
Retail POS System: The Small Business Owner Sidekick
At the end of the day, you’re already stretched thin with managing your small business’ daily operations — and if you want to make a difference in your community, having enough bandwidth is even more challenging.
Luckily, running your retail store with a modern point of sale system can help fill in the gaps and make your job as a small business owner much more manageable.
POS Nation’s all-in-one solution comes with smart inventory management, theft prevention features, employee management, customer loyalty features, SMS and email marketing, and customizable business reports baked in — plus, so many other features that help get your small business on the path to growth.
If you’re interested in learning more about our POS software, schedule a live demo with our team of retail experts!