According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), only half of new businesses survive five years or more.
But, don’t let the statistics scare you. If you have entrepreneurial vision, a good work ethic, and are marketing savvy, you can make the cut. Here are four ways you can get on track as a small cleaning company and beat the odds.
- Master Doing Business in the 21st-Century: Small businesses, including contract cleaning companies, have more choices than ever when it comes to marketing and promotion in the 21st century. Social media; websites; blogging; review sites like Yelp, Google Local, and Angie’s List; online press release services; and podcasts are just some of the free or low-cost marketing options open to businesses. Facebook ads; traditional print, radio and TV ads; and online advertising are a little pricey for some small businesses, but a well-worded and targeted ad is worth the cash.
- Stay Connected: Forming an alliance with a business in a related industry is a good way to get noticed by customers and form solid business relationships. For example, if your company does outside maintenance or groundskeeping, you might strike a strategic alliance with a pest control company. A client hiring a groundskeeper might need pest control services at some point, and a pest control services company might need to recommend a good groundskeeper. This business arrangement benefits companies and customers equally.
Blogs and social media are excellent ways to stay connected with what’s going on in your industry, but there are other options, as well. Subscribe to trade journals and newsletters. Most trade publications have some free online content, but the meatier articles are usually reserved for paid print subscribers. Trade shows, however expensive, are another way to connect with vendors, clients, and industry leaders. Whether you pay for your own booth or simply attend the show to network with others in your industry, the face-to-face contact can pay bigger dividends.
- Get Noticed Online: All small businesses should have a well-maintained Facebook and Twitter page. There are at least one half dozen social media sites that can benefit all businesses to a certain degree. Instagram can be a viable platform to post photographs of new products, before and after shots of particularly impressive jobs, and company events. Use a LinkedIn page to entice potential customers interested in your products, and to attract quality job candidates. Satisfied customers can write recommendations on your company’s page, just like on a regular LinkedIn profile.
Even if you have a million “likes” on your Facebook page, you can still expand your reach on the social media giant by placing paid, targeted ads. Facebook ads appear in a member’s newsfeed, so they’re hard to miss, and ads can be narrowed down to a specific location, zip code, or age group. This helps your company reach its demographic a lot faster than traditional online or print advertising. And Facebook ads can be cancelled at anytime, so you don’t need to worry about contracts or long-term commitments.
- Consistency: However you decide to connect with your customers, be consistent. Posting a blog whenever you get around to it won’t grow an audience eager to buy your product. Write engaging blog posts and email newsletters geared to your customer’s needs and post them on a regular schedule, preferably on the same day of the week, so subscribers will expect it. The same consistency rule applies to social media. Don’t leave long gaps between posts or tweets; there’s a lot of content out there on social media, and you don’t want customers to stray.